Solo Practice (Uchi komi) To improve De Ashi Harai (Barai) Okuri Ashi HaraiI thought that I would like to spend a little time on Solo Uchi Komi. Particularly practice for De Ashi Harai (Barai) Okuri Ashi Harai. The foot placement of these throws is far too often poorly executed. Combine this with poor timing and these throws end up with a bad reputation, are often misunderstood and frequently underused because of it.
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Training To Get The Timing CorrectIn this post, I want to deal with training to get the timing correct. It's really simple and depending on how serious you are in learning how to do De Ashi Harai (Barai?) and Okuri Ashi Harai correctly and efficiently, you can treat it as a game or as a workout.
In the video below I show my favourite way to practice De Ashi Harai and Okuri Ashi Harai by myself. I simply tie a knot in my belt and hang the belt over my shoulder. It is, I think, self-explanatory but basically, all you do is walk with the knot between your feet and sweep as you walk. As you get better you walk faster.
Of course, if you miss the knot with your foot you are not getting in good practice, so my suggestion is to set yourself up a start line and have a finish line and every time you miss the knot go back to the start. the less you have to return to the start the better you are getting; you can see how this can easily become a game.
Turn Your FootIt is vitally important that (I cannot overemphasise this point) you turn your foot so that the pad of your foot is hitting the knot. Do NOT let you the edge of your foot do the sweeping. Not only does using the edge of your foot weaken the sweep but if you practice in this bad habit, you will only antagonise any partner or opponent if you are constantly kicking when you practice (Randori) these throw with a partner. Worse you could end up with a penalty in Shiai (contest). Remember what you practice you will do in the contest.
I say that you will weaken the throw buy using the edge of your foot because you are hardly using any muscle that way, so your sweep will not carry any power. As a kick, it will be sharp but not carrying any power.
You can test the amount of power you get to use yourself, by holding a walking stick or staff vertically on the ground and seeing how much force you have to use to sweep it off the ground compared to kicking it off the ground. Increase the force on the stick a little each time you sweep or kick and see which one wins. Be careful with this you could bruise your foot (or worse) when you kick.Remember "Get it Right Don't get it fast" and you will improve your Judo.