but here's the fun part. before my surgery, harai goshi and ashi guruma were my tokui waza (not quite a classical ashi guruma, but that's what I'm gonna call it, the entry was similar to a harai goshi but there was minimal if any hip contact and it was a guruma type action that finished the throw). every time we had a choice of what technique to practice, those were the ones I worked on (harai goshi when my partner was above 6', "ashi guruma" if they were shorter). I spent hundreds of hours of mat time on nothing but harai goshi and my version of ashi guruma. they were my go to techniques in randori, and although I don't think they were technically flawless by any means (I'd need a lifetime of practice before I can claim that), they were pretty good. I could land them fairly consistently on people my own size that are more advanced than myself.
now, something is terribly wrong. every time I do uchikomi and nage komi (static or moving) they just feel off. my uke still goes over, but they don't feel crisp and snappy like they used to, I feel like I'm hesitating every time. and I've landed a grand total of maybe 10 of them in randori since the surgery (all of which were on people much less advanced than myself), and the surgery was about 8 months ago. it's gotten to the point that the throws are so low percentage now that I almost don't even try it in randori anymore.
there's a silver lining to this cloud though. now that I don't have to worry about my kneecap dislocating anymore my de ashi harai, okuri ashi harai, and kosoto gari have become much much better, my tai otoshi has become very snappy (in fact it's my main tool now), and my osoto gari (a technique that I thought was lost to me after I decided to stop using it for a long time to develop my other waza) is back with a vengeance. I'm even landing other koshi waza (tsurikomi goshi, sode TKG, and uki goshi) pretty consistently. heck, I even work my seoi nage in randori successfully now that my knees let me squat lower.
despite the fact that I am very happy about my improvements with my other waza now that my knee is more stable, I am very unhappy about the loss of my two favorite throws. I feel like the year of focused effort I put into making that throw an effective tool was wasted. despite landing them hundreds of times in randori I only used harai goshi ONCE in shiai, and never once used my ashi guruma outside of the dojo.
the thing is, it's not like my knee hurts when I do them. my knee is fine. in fact it's better than it's been since the car accident that initially screwed it up (9 years ago). but I still hesitate to launch them. and that brief hesitation is all that's needed for my opponent to escape.
I thought maybe I could do what I did to bring back my osoto gari, and just focus on nothing but that throw in randori for a little bit. but my osoto went away because I consciously willed myself to stop using it so I could develop other waza. so to me the situation seems completely different. it has been entirely unsuccessful. it seems in addition to hesitating to do the throw, I'm also doing it wrong. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but there's definitely a problem with my application that didn't exist before the surgery.
when I get a chance I'm gonna try to put together a video comparing my old harai goshi to my new fail of a throw that looks sorta like harai goshi. but in the mean time, with all the judoka out there and all the knee surgeries, I know I can't be the first one to have had this problem. how do I bring a throw back from the grave when the injury that killed it is now gone?