Judo/Uchi Mata

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Question
QUESTION: Hello, great name by the way :)  I was wondering why uchi mata is such a difficult technique?  Being so difficult I found it odd it is in the 2 gokyu for orange belt, why so early?

ANSWER: I don't think uchimata is such a difficult technique. It is usually taught after harai goshi and before hane goshi as it is placed in the gokyo. Some people have more difficulty achieving success with it than harai goshi, but other people pick up on it right away. Each person's learning curve with a throw is so subjective that it is hard to say what works for everyone.

Uchi mata requires greater control of uke, and better timing than any hip throw. In that sense it is a bit tricky, but I don't think learning it needs to be postponed until later in the curriculum. None of the throws are mastered when they are first learned, and uchimata is a throw that can be developed for a long time as you advance. I always had trouble with tai otoshi and found it a very difficult throw for the same reasons as uchimata, but I've seen beginners who adapt to it right away.

I think the secret for making uchimata successful is to learn to anticipate the opportunity for it. This requires considerable skill and experience, but you have to learn and practice the basic throw before you are ready to even try it in randori or shiai. This is why it is learned early on, but not mastered until much later.

At least, that's my opinion.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: That makes a lot of sense, thanks!  The reason I asked about the difficulty is because I just learned it, and my instructor said its a difficult throw to do. I've also heard from many other judo instructors.

ANSWER: When an instructor says something is difficult, it often means that there is a lot more to learn about it. Keep studying.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: That makes a lot of sense, I really like osoto gari, tai otoshi, ouchi gari, but struggle with seo nage, o goshi.  Last question, the reason I started learning judo is because im really a bjj guy (actually really a karate guy, and realized there were many judo like throws in the katas!) and thought judo would be great to learn to take down someone and be in a dominant position right off the bat.  Which throws do you recommend for bjj?  Bjj players tend to bend at waist a lot more and pull guard or look for morote gari(?).

Ps-I really enjoy judo and wish I had more time to train it!

Answer
uchimata is a great throw for BJJ. Your back exposure is less than most big throws, it is fast, and it works against someone with spread legs who is bent forward. It does take some practice though. Combined with ouchi gari it is great forward/backward threat. Kouchi gari also works well. Of course, there are also single and double leg takedowns (morote gari, kuchiki taoshi, kibisu gaeshi), drop seoinage, kouchi gari and other throws, but you can't master them all.

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Neil Ohlenkamp

Expertise

Mr. Ohlenkamp can answer any questions about Judo having practiced it since 1968. Author of a best-selling book on Judo and a 7th degree black belt, he compiled a comprehensive web site (JudoInfo.com) to provide the information to everyone.

Experience

Mr. Ohlenkamp has been practicing judo continuously since 1968, as a student, athlete, competitor, teacher, coach, referee, leader, and author.

Organizations
United States Judo Association, United States Judo Federation, Nanka Yudanshakai, United States Ju-Jitsu Federation, Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan, Encino Judo Club.

Publications
As a pioneer in promoting martial arts around the world through the internet, Mr. Ohlenkamp created one of the first web pages devoted to Judo. Since 1995 his Judo Information Site at JudoInfo.com has been the most highly acclaimed, most popular, and most comprehensive Judo web site on the internet. He runs several other Judo sites like JudoForum.com, DoJudo.com, and BlackBeltJudo.com. He has authored a best selling book on Judo, contributed to other martial arts books, and had articles published in most major Judo publications. The U.S. edition of his book is Judo Unleashed (2006, McGraw-Hill) but is also available under other titles in the UK, Germany, Russia, and The Netherlands.

Education/Credentials
Mr. Ohlenkamp is a 7th degree black belt and has been nationally certified as a Judo instructor, coach, and rank examiner. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development with a specialty in recreation from California State University, Northridge.

Awards and Honors
US Judo Coach of the Year-1999, U.S. Team Coach at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea, the 1989 World Championships for the Blind in Manchester, England, and the 1990 World Championships and Games for the Disabled in Assen, Netherlands, and member of the International Blind Sports Association Judo Technical Committee from 1988 to 1993. 6th degree black belt in USJJF jujitsu.

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