I got a clean throw off against a resisting brown belt during randori last night! The instructor was actually standing right there with his stopwatch and pointed it out. He further noted that the brown belt can throw me around for the rest of the randori and I’d probably still feel good about the whole thing. And that was the case: the next time the brown belt and I made contact, he threw me in a biggish uchi-mata-type of throw. I think he swept me soon afterwards, too.

The throw I got off was actually aiki-ish: the brown belt reached in for my lapel with his left hand, and I entered, taking his arm back, to the outside and down. I may have inadvertently prepared the ground psychologically a bit earlier during class, when I was working with him in uchikomi on various throws and chokes. He was going fairly fast with his fit-ins during that part of class where sensei makes us uchikomi a hundred times each (we have ten minutes) and I was actually a bit tired. “Hey, how old are you?” “Seventeen.” And obviously full of energy. We work some more, and I mention that I’m thirty-five and that the body starts to get creaky after thirty. He took it a little easier after that, and was helpful in giving corrections for my body position when we were doing koshi guruma. Possibly, he was still in that mindset when we randoried. Oh, he’s the guy whose teeth gashed up my knuckles last week. We’re about the same weight, though he’s lankier in the way 17-year-olds are.

One koshi guruma note: the way the instructor teaches this throw, it’s not ogoshi with a headlock on uke. The right hand (from a right-handed grip) should remain open and actually palm out. Hips are swung in more deeply than in ogoshi, and the right arm swinging down makes the throw. The right arm doesn’t actually do a headlock on uke, and its finishing position resembles the aikido irimi-nage done such that tori is really driving uke into the ground.

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