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    Need Help Against Larger Opponents

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    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:15 am

    Hi all,

    First time here.

    I'm reaching out looking for advice, tips, technique suggestions, anything.

    Okay, here's my story.

    I've been doing Judo for almost 2 years... currently a Yellow Belt (soon to possibly be an Orange Belt). I just turned 37. I've really been enjoying Judo since I started, and it has made me a lot more fit than when I started. That was one of the reasons I started... I'm a Web/Graphic Designer, so I needed something to get me moving. Plus it's just a great skill to learn.

    Okay, so I find that I do quite well when it comes to practicing technique in a controlled style, where we practice moves on each other in a repeated fashion. But Randori is definitely a whole other beast. Much different actually trying to put those moves into practice. Much more challenging for me.

    Now, the problem that I've been having is this. Randori is challenging enough when it's against an opponent of equal rank and size. But if it's against someone much bigger and stronger than you, then it seems exponentially harder.

    When I first started, there seemed to be more people that were comparable size as me. But lately, it seems that everyone showing up to class is what I would consider "larger than average" (me being average). I feel like a little guy surrounded by beasts. On top of that, the majority of them also happen to be Black Belts. Not all, but most.

    I'm finding myself being really discouraged lately with Randori. I know Kano advocated technique over strength... but I must say that lately I've lost faith in that notion. I'm even a bit upset at myself for even thinking this way. But all I can say right now is what I'm experiencing, and try to describe it a bit. So here's how I describe it.

    When I'm doing Randori against an opponent of equal size and rank, I feel like I have a chance. There's some back and forth... sometimes I take my partner down, sometimes they take me down. But I feel like I'm at least able to apply my technique some of the time. But it seems that lately I'm forced to go up against opponents that are in some cases up to 100lbs heaver than me (on average at least 30-40lbs heaver or more. Remember that video game called Double Dragon where there's those huge punk gorilla looking guys? Well, one of the Black Belts is sorta like one of those, lol) - anyway, I feel like when they lock up their arms a bit, and provide resistance, I'm not able to get past that in order to even get into a position to apply my technique. For example, trying to do O Soto Gari to these bigger guys is like trying to do it to a huge Oak tree. I'm not able to do Kuzushi on these guys... so even attempting to do so is like trying to do Kuzushi to a Mac truck. And when attempting it, I'm just opening myself up for an easy counter attack. The other side effect of this, is that all this grappling at full resistance with these guys makes me absolutely exhausted... and I'm really maxed out and find it hard to find the energy anymore to even attempt moves after a while... I'm just trying to hang on and survive and play a more defensive game rather than offensive.

    So while at times I just feel like quitting and giving up, I want to try and see if I can persevere and figure out if I can do better technique, and if specifically there's any techniques I can do when faced with larger opponents. Since it looks like I'm going to be going against larger dudes most of the time... I need real strategies that I can apply.

    I feel like I'm not able to gauge my progress, because it's an uneven ground on which to have reference. I've already broken my collar bone in Judo about a year and a half ago, and I also worry about the possibility of getting a major injury again when I feel like I'm getting thrown around like a rag doll out there. Even a lower rank guy I was doing Randori with last night is throwing me around like a rag doll. That was the impetus to me looking for advice.

    I don't mean to sound like a whiney baby! I know in an audience like this I risk coming across that way. Right now, I'm really just looking for tools and technique suggestions on how to go up against opponent much larger and stronger than you. I know technique is supposed to trump strength and all that... but in the real world, when actually facing someone much larger and stronger than you, and you can't even get past their hold, that notion is just a lofty concept that doesn't seem to help at all. It basically just seems like a bullshit idea.

    Appreciate any help you can offer! Smile

    Thanks
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    tafftaz

    Posts : 330
    Join date : 2012-12-31
    Age : 51
    Location : Wales, UK

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by tafftaz on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:45 am

    Not a bullshit idea.
    The answer is practise. lots of practise.
    You are still only a yellow belt. You have got a long way to go.
    Plenty of people on here have beaten much bigger opponents throughout their judo career, including myself, but for a good example watch the videos below. Koga fighting in the All Japan champs.
    No bullshit in any of them




    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:55 am

    Thanks for this. Inspiring. I'll just keep at it I guess. Maybe I need to try some different techniques that don't require me to force them so much into a particular movement.

    Creamy creamy baileys

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    Location : Dark side of the moon

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by Creamy creamy baileys on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:59 am

    Watch the following...especially the section on Boyd Belts. It might help reframe


    tafftaz

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    Age : 51
    Location : Wales, UK

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by tafftaz on Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:08 am

    bluefuze wrote:Thanks for this. Inspiring. I'll just keep at it I guess. Maybe I need to try some different techniques that don't require me to force them so much into a particular movement.

    Movement is your friend. Use your body to move them and not just your arms.

    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:21 am

    tafftaz wrote:
    bluefuze wrote:Thanks for this. Inspiring. I'll just keep at it I guess. Maybe I need to try some different techniques that don't require me to force them so much into a particular movement.

    Movement is your friend. Use your body to move them and not just your arms.

    Yes, I think you might be onto something. Probably one of the toughest aspects right now, and where I feel the most fatigue, is with my arms. For a good part of Randori, it seems more like an upper-body arm fight, and super tough to get "inside" their zone to do any moves. Almost all of my favourite moves, require me to get in close, and to get inside their space. You know what I mean I'm sure. Perhaps I need to attempt more hip techniques where I get down as low as I can, and let my body do more of the work, not just my arms. Perhaps a lot of the moves I'm currently attempting, would be better suited to when they either make a mistake or as part of a combo... where I've solicited a reaction that enables that space to open up. In other words, maybe they're not the best opening moves, but better as follow-up moves.

    Thanks!

    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:36 am

    Creamy creamy baileys wrote:Watch the following...especially the section on Boyd Belts. It might help reframe


    Thank you so much for this. This really does help me A LOT. I can totally, TOTALLY relate to that Boyd section. That was me last night! lol This guy was a White Belt (though he's mainly a mid-level BJJ guy). But having this huge guy (lower Judo belt than me), exercise that much control over me, was very discouraging.

    So THANK YOU for this video. Really helps.

    jkw

    Posts : 130
    Join date : 2013-01-04

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by jkw on Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:17 am

    Perhaps try to reframe your goals in randori against larger opponents (and in general)?

    As a beginner, you can define success in randori as -

    - practicing good ukemi
    - being relaxed
    - moving from your hips
    - defending with your hips not arms
    - making lots of positive attacks from standard grips
    - incorporating things you learn into your randori

    These are all aspects of your judo you have direct control over and all will improve your judo.

    In terms of your original question, against larger opponents you might find it useful to try ashi-waza.

    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:35 am

    jkw wrote:Perhaps try to reframe your goals in randori against larger opponents (and in general)?

    As a beginner, you can define success in randori as -

    - practicing good ukemi
    - being relaxed
    - moving from your hips
    - defending with your hips not arms
    - making lots of positive attacks from standard grips
    - incorporating things you learn into your randori

    These are all aspects of your judo you have direct control over and all will improve your judo.

    In terms of your original question, against larger opponents you might find it useful to try ashi-waza.

    Thanks. Yes, I think those are good and reasonable goals. The two points that you made (moving from hips, defending with hips not arms) interest me, as I can't say this has really been discussed much in class. So I'm interested in learning more about that. Actually, I gotta say that Sensei never really discusses or teaches anything about Randori for the most part. It's like he leaves that overmuch a "self-learning" thing. Which I can understand. But at the same time, I would love more tips on this aspect of Judo. I've had a Black Belt offer a couple tips that were great, and would love more of that sort of thing.

    Yes, ash-waza is something that I'm currently focussing on a lot right now. It's a personal goal of mine to become quite proficient in this area. Again, while I see some progress, it's something that is less effective for me on a large person than on someone that matches my size. But that being said, maybe that's because I'm not good enough yet! Smile I noticed yesterday for example, up against the bigger guys, that I did decently in getting my ash-waza timing down. But I lacked the follow-through/follow-up to the move to take it home. So perhaps that's an area I can work on.

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Stacey

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    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by Stacey on Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:36 am

    I'm going to add thinking in more directions than forward and back. Look up threads on stiff arming, and dealing with stiff arming. Look at how technique can be applied from something other than a straight forward, straight back perspective. Start looking at how people are leaning and use it. Start elarning how to break grips and swim in, and all of the stuff you can do to move around and move your partner around.

    Most of the places I've practiced, I'm the little one. I used to take the biggest guy I could from each semester I taught and toss him around a bit to get the others to pay attention. I'm getting a bit too old for that these days (plus my dojo's changed along with my location). You want to realize that you're going to be faster than some big guy, use that speed, and use that generally upward angle (it really sucks when they are fireplugs - you definitely have to vamp your technique when they substantially outweigh/muscle you and are shorter).

    And remember, when you get something, you're getting it on technique.

    Frustration and plateauing - it's all part of judo.

    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:45 am

    That's some really great advice and feedback. Thank you. I was feeling kinda crappy last night and in general lately, but now you guys have made me excited again Smile

    Ben Reinhardt

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    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:53 am

    Stacey wrote:I'm going to add thinking in more directions than forward and back.  Look up threads on stiff arming, and dealing with stiff arming.  Look at how technique can be applied from something other than a straight forward, straight back perspective.  Start looking at how people are leaning and use it.  Start elarning how to break grips and swim in, and all of the stuff you can do to move around and move your partner around.

    Most of the places I've practiced, I'm the little one.  I used to take the biggest guy I could from each semester I taught and toss him around a bit to get the others to pay attention.  I'm getting a bit too old for that these days (plus my dojo's changed along with my location).  You want to realize that you're going to be faster than some big guy, use that speed, and use that generally upward angle (it really sucks when they are fireplugs - you definitely have to vamp your technique when they substantially outweigh/muscle you and are shorter).

    And remember, when you get something, you're getting it on technique.

    Frustration and plateauing - it's all part of judo.

    Nice post !

    I'd add as a caveat that not all big guys are slow, but if they are speed and quickness can be an advantage. Plus, it is possible to move too quickly.


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    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by BillC on Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:05 pm

    Ben Reinhardt wrote: ... Plus, it is possible to move too quickly.

    True true true ... ha ha.  I remind my students of that every workout that it is common to be too late to execute a technique, but it is just as common to be too early.  Here's a reference my sensei used to use ...



    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    hobit

    Posts : 21
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    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by hobit on Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:48 am

    Im 37, 5'5" just turned 5kyu. And found my self at a similar point. My attitude has changed after relising that every time I was countered was a win! I had at least got into a position to try the throw. Keep attacking and keep trying.

    Stacey

    Posts : 541
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : your worst nightmares

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by Stacey on Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:00 am

    Ben Reinhardt wrote:
    Nice post !

    I'd add as a caveat that not all big guys are slow, but if they are speed and quickness can be an advantage. Plus, it is possible to move too quickly.

    Yes, yes, and not all people who outweigh you are stronger than you, but boy, will it feel that way.

    OP, when you feel like you're up against a brick wall, you are. It may be strength, it may be size, it may be experience, it may be youth. Just remember; the brick wall you're up against wasn't built in that spot, so figure out why it's a brick wall, and where those bricks end.

    One of the things I do with students is put them on their back, knees bent, and make them use just their feet to push themselves across the floor. First time, their shoulders should be directly against the floor and they can't lift their butt up off the floor - just a straight push. Second time, I have them pick up their shoulders and round their back, and see how easy or hard pushing themselves across the floor is in comparison. Then, get them to move, rocking from side to side as they push across the floor with their shoulders off the floor and their back hunched.

    Next, when you're doing a bit of ne waza, try getting grips with your partner and practice feeling for and taking advantage of leaning. Start by getting grips and closing your eyes. One person starts to lean, and the other one tells them what direction they're going in as soon as s/he can. Try it with your grip as strong as possible, and then try it with your grip as light as possible - see if that makes a difference (hint, it will). Once you've gotten a feel for that, try the same routine again, only this time, instead of telling your partner what direction they're going, take advantage of that direction. try a few different things and see what works. From your knees, take a step, forward, backward, out to the side, whatever, and see if you can put your partner on his/her back. Then reciprocate.

    Next time you ronduri, use what you've learned to help you move or not move, move your partner or not move your partner. Play with it. And remember, every time you wind up on your back, you are learning. The day you stop landing on your back is the day you quit working and exploring and learning.

    idealab

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    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by idealab on Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:46 pm

    It's very hard to beat a much heavier player at the skill same level, but when there is some skill gap, a skilled lighter player can still win with fast movement and good techniques. Here is a video from the 2013 U. S. National Championships Master Open final (about 100 pounds of weight difference apart from the height difference):


    noboru

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    japan academic championship - open category

    Post by noboru on Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:41 am

    Below is link to video reportage from Japan Academic Championship - a competition in open category (all weights - one category). In the report is a young japanese judoka with relatively small physique (168 cm 68 kg), where his technical and aggressively fight defeats much heavier opponents (1. 181 cm 125 kg, 2. 179 cm 81 kg, 193 cm, 3. 139 kg, 181 cm, 4. 130 kg ).
    We can see a great fight for grip ( kumikata ) and perfect mastery Seoinage and Tomoenage and also big the fighting spirit and his good physical condition.

    平成15年 全国高等学校柔道選手権大会 【個人】
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtkUEoHtRDg

    bluefuze

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    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:06 am

    Very nice, thanks you Smile

    TheWizardofOdds

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    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by TheWizardofOdds on Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:46 am

    I am/have been in your exact position and the way you articulated it almost had me checking it wasn't my post!

    Every week I give away at least 28 pounds and much more to the majority of the guys I train against. It can be very frustrating and only someone in the same position can understand fully what it is like to be immensely drained to the point of exhaustion after just a few minutes against the big guys. To go from one to another in tachiwaza/ newaza is no joke. You feel like a bag of washing very quickly. And I'm fit.

    It's good advice to use your full body rather than your arms when trying to upset their equilibrium. You must be ready to explode though when you have them, you cannot wait. I always feel that with a couple of the guys if they get both hands on me I'm as good as done for. They have such strength they can just force me off balance.

    There's no shame in countering against them either. You have to use whatever you can to your advantage. Let them move, a lot of big guys keep their feet together. I've found that tani otoshi as a counter has worked nicely. You don't always have to make the running. Also, a few weeks back I was trying to throw a guy with tai otoshi as we were taking turns in uchikomi. He's not a very good uke and just stood rigidly obstinate. I could not move him and with the big guys you don't get much cloth to grip either. I kept trying but just succeeded in hurting myself as he fell on my ankle. In desperation I put my right arm around his back in the same way you would for a right o goshi. Everything else was the classic tai otoshi. I threw him like this a number of times as now I had the leverage. OK its not exactly the classic throw but the point is to find a way to tweek your throws if necessary against the big guys. They can grab a paw full of your GI but you seldom get that privilege.

    One other thing, I love o soto gari too but it's really asking for trouble against much bigger opponents at least as a single technique. Much better as a combo. I have learned the hard way.

    bluefuze

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2014-10-24

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by bluefuze on Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:32 pm

    Nice to hear I'm not alone. Thanks for your comments! I'm glad I posted this Smile

    forgeron judo

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    winning in randori, not a panacea

    Post by forgeron judo on Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:02 am

    From reading the above comments and advice received, I am of the opinion that you would gain some advantages if you just practice to relax and not be obsessed to beat or score against an opponent during Randori practices. You must give more time and attention to understand the basic principles of the techniques contained in the Gokyo, then practice those techniques from different angles and positions so that you are able to see the opportunities to apply them against the opponent. Your maturity and greater success will appear when you are not concentrated at fighting the opponent and scoring but when you are able to control and anticipate the movements of the others.
    The randori period is for experimenting your self control and your dexterity in the application of techniques.You must become conscious of your ability to avoid,to anticipate and to take the offensive at the proper time.The more you will train with senior belt holders, the more you will be able to identify your weaknesses and appreciate the lessons associated with the JU principle. Try to outsmart the opponent and not fight him to prove yourself as better
    judoka.

    GregW

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    Location : Norman, Oklahoma

    Re: Need Help Against Larger Opponents

    Post by GregW on Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:04 pm

    In my teen years (back in the 1970s) I was always way lighter than my partners and opponents.  I was tall and skinny (6 feet, 115 pounds) at the age of 14.  In shiai, I typically had to fight guys who were anywhere from 140 to 170 pounds.  Most tournaments I take my club to nowadays has a 15-percent rule, where no one is permitted to fight against anyone 15 percent heavier than their weight class.  They didn't have that rule back then.  

    I got beaten a lot until I figured out that tai sabaki was my friend.  I learned to move my body so that a much larger uke had to move with me just to keep a grip on me.  Get a big guy moving and you can throw him.  Use the principle of ju to flow with him and let him wear himself out.

    It wasn't until much later in life that I figured out that I had incorrectly learned kuzushi.  I had always thought of kuzushi as pulling or pushing uke into a position to throw him.  Then I watched one of Hanon Sensei's videos on happo no kuzushi.  It opened my eyes to something I had never realized.  Now, when I teach happo no kuzushi, I have the students do it very slowly and gently.  I tell uke to keep his feet planted until he absolutely must take a step or fall over.  I teach the students that kuzushi emerges in the moment that uke must take the step or fall.  

    When you begin to sense that, you'll see that kuzushi appears over and over again as you move with your partner or opponent.  It's fleeting.  It's only there for just a moment.  A really strong player can force kuzushi to appear, but he gives up certain advantages when he does.  He advertises what he is about to do with ever pull or push.  When you learn to recognize the moment that kuzushi appears as a result of tai sabaki, you realize that it's a matter of being quick enough to exploit the opportunity or having your motion in sync with uke to exploit the opportunity.

    It takes a lot longer to train this way.  My students are young and inexperienced and they tend to freeze up when they go to a tournament because the other players muscle them around.  I tell them to not worry about it.  Just gain experience and keep practicing.  Eventually they will see and feel the moment of kuzushi and begin to exploit it while using minimal strength.  The hardest part for them is keeping their minds centered when they fight.  It's easy to panic when a really strong guy grabs you and starts crushing you down or slinging you all over the place.  They get distracted by grip fighting.  It will take time for them to calm their minds and gain control of their emotions and their thoughts.  

    I had the fantastic opportunity in the years before earning my black belt to train with a friend who was literally over 100 pounds heavier than me (I weighed around 200 pounds; he weighed 315). He had been a bricklayer and he was strong as could be. It was like trying to do o-goshi on a refrigerator. In the end, I got to where I could throw him regularly in randori by using this approach.

    My judo ideal is Mifune.  I strive for my judo to be like his.  You don't see overt displays of strength in his judo, even against much larger opponents.  His judo flows and relies on perfect timing and dynamic body positioning.  It just takes lots of time.  Enjoy the journey!

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