A Bit of Judo

This is the second throw I learned out of the book–O-Soto-Gari, “major outer reaping.” You get the other guy’s weight all on one foot, the leg that’s “outside,” closest to you, and then you sweep that foot out from under him. The result will be a very gratifying “Thud!”

I don’t think I ever won a judo match with this throw. Everybody knows it, and is on guard against it. But it’s a fun throw to practice.

The Ol’ Major Hip Throw

This is the first judo throw I ever learned, O-Goshi. This irresistible name means “Major Hip Throw.” I learned it from a book, “Combat Judo” by Claude St. Denis. That summer, it launched me and my friends on a judo kick.

Wouldn’t you know it? The very first time I tried to use judo in a friendly wrestling match, I pulled off an O-Goshi–and it never, ever happened again, in several hundred judo matches. I guess that’s because everybody knows this throw and they’d be embarrassed to fall victim to it.

I have a feeling that despite an interval of several decades, I could still do this throw. Can’t say that for a lot of the others. But learning O-Goshi is like learning how to ride a bicycle. Once you learn, you never forget.

The Ol’ Knee Wheel

What am I doing, sitting here, going through nooze items, when I have a Newswithviews column to write? I’d better get to it.

Meanwhile, allow me to indulge you with one of my favorite judo throws, “Hiza Garuma.” The name means “knee wheel.”

The beauty of this throw is, I could teach any of you to do it in a matter of minutes. Just block your partner’s knee with the sole of your foot, make like you’re turning the wheel of your car, and down he goes. I learned it from a book when I was 13 or so, and taught it to all my friends that summer. There was a whole lot of hiza garuma goin’ on in my neighborhood.

While I’m working on my column, feel free to teach yourselves hiza garuma. Find a loved one or a business associate who doesn’t mind taking a fall. But don’t try it on strangers you pass on the sidewalk: that’s more trouble than it’s worth.