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The one thing Putin Taught me about Judo... (kind of)

In the early days of this blog, I did some book reviews, including a review of a book written by the current Russian Premier - Vladimir Putin and co-authors Vasiliy Shestakov and Alexei Levitsky (you can read the review here). Although the book is out of print, you can find it on google books - here.

One of the things I really like about the book, is what he refers to as the 'Technical-Tactical Set' (you can see an example for Tai Otoshi on pp. 80-81). For each technique, he shows how to set it up as a sequence both to and from other throws. For example: turn your blocked Tai Otoshi into a Seoinage.

Granted, it's not earth shattering, but when I first saw it, it enabled me, (generally a visual learner) better understand how to follow-up one technique with another and, more importantly, that attacks aren't one off - there's no one swing of the bat, or taking a shot and waiting for a rebound - the attacks are continuous, and need to come in rapid succession.

On many occasions, I've seen many beginners and intermediate Judoka try one attack, and when it gets thwarted, they step out to reset. They don't realize that even though their opponent may have defended their first attack, they've left themselves vulnerable to a second attack. In a lot of cases, this has to do with changing direction - for example, my opponent blocks my Uchimata (where he's thrown forward) by resisting backward, so I follow-up with O-Uchi-Gari (since he's already moving back, it's easier to take him that way).

Of course, in the heat of a battle, it's hard to train yourself to attack that way - that's why you need to practice it - practice your combinations, drill them, until they are second nature and you can feel which way your opponent is going to go.

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