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Yoko Gake: It's The Little Things. Are You Doing It Wrong?

Yoko Gake: Nage No Kata, Dai Gokyo (5th Group)

This is one of the throws that Judoka have a lot of trouble with. Yoko Gake is the first throw of the last set of the Nage No Kata and the last throw of the Gokyo.

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The level of discomfort you feel when being thrown with Yoko Gake is dependent on how good your breakfalls are. This is because the landing for this throw is very hard. Tori cannot give any support as it is a sacrifice throw. In fact, this whole set(the 5th in the five sets or 5 lessons or the Gokyo of Professor Kano's Judo) is sometimes known as the Sutemi Waza group.

I kind of get the designation of Sutemi Waza group because most of the throws are sacrifice throws, but not all. Still, it's not a bad designation.

But getting back to the point almost inevitably the problem people have with Yoko Gake is in the last step before the throw; the Kazushi. This video shows clearly the drawing of Uke onto his toes and this is the precise step people don't do. Without this step, Tori tends to slam Uke with his foot and instead of Uke going over, Tori is met with an immovable object.

So not only does this throw finish in a potential hard landing but Uke is confronted with the possibility of being painfully kicked in the ankle if it is done poorly even if it a fall is the result.

All this can mean that Uke is very reluctant and further complicates things by being resistant.

Now you may think that this is irrelevant and you would be correct if the only time Yoko Gake was used was in competition. But in order to use it in a competition, you first have to practice it and if your Uke is resistant and will not allow you to lift her/him on their toes you are going to have a job to learn it correctly. More than that doing the kata form will be next to impossible. On top of that if you kick your partner in the contest instead of throwing them all you do is make them mad and more determined to beat you.

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Get It Right Don't Get It Fast

So the moral is: "Get it right don't get it fast". That is when you learn Yoko Gake take it slowly and get it right before you attempt the throw don't rush it; make sure that you include the lift in the last step of your practice. What you practice is what you will do so make sure you practice correctly and turn good practice into a good habit. Such good technique will always serve you well; be it in competition or Kata.

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