Freestyle practice class:
Last night I decided to do a class theme I’ve done before, but not for awhile. The idea is I would decide on one technique for each attack that one normally would have on a freestyle. That way, we can cap off the class with throwing in a line where uke uses one of the attacks, choosing between (yokomen, shomen, tsuki, ryoto kata tori (two hands on chest))

So I started off the class with yokomen duck technique, probably not the greatest one for a freestyle, actually, because uke doesn’t go very far. What I like about the technique is it is different than other techniques, can be done by different levels of students (there were a white belt, a 6th Kyu, an the rest were blue belt and above.

For Ryoto Kata Tori I used the “school girl” technique, which teaches the principles of how to throw really well. Ideally the classic ” step back” technique would be used if this were an actual freestyle.

Then, tsuki, for a freestyle simply present a target and turn slightly to just miss the punch, and throw of course! Shomen, to duck is somewhat like the yokomen technique, you’re here then your not!

Might I add it was a really hot day about 90 degrees and I was sweating just leading warm ups. But I like to do a more aerobic class on days like this!

So the students enjoyed the variations, and of course the newer students enjoyed improving their rolls. During class, I started to appreciate the simplicity of it all. It is present the target, move at the last possible moment when uke is already off balance. That’s timing!

Since I asked students what attacks they normally have during a freestyle, one student said two hands on one, and I wanted to know from the front or behind? From the front is obvious to me but two from behind also happens, as we all know! So we capped each mini randori with a two on one throw! Everyone seemed to have a good time with that one!

Also, it really is a challenge when ukes have different attacks during line technique, even for me. We’re used to the same technique, and the same attack, so doing something like this causes students and myself to realize more why we’re practicing and what we want to accomplish.

For me, I saw the challenges as recognizing the attack, throwing expeditiously, catching balance expertly, and quickly. The techniques the selves rely on skill, they are not particularly difficult techniques to learn though.