Friday, January 3, 2014

Asley Gonzalez's legal pick up

My judo friend Lance Wicks was the first to notice that Asley Gonzalez of Cuba has worked out a crafty way to overcome the prohibition on leg-grabs.

Under the current IJF rules, you are not allowed to grab a hold of your opponent's leg or legs. This has effectively eliminated pick ups from judo (with the exception of perhaps Ura-Nage, which involves hugging onto the upper body of your opponent).

If you watch Gonzalez's match against Varlem Liparteliani of Georgia, at first glance it looks like he has grabbed his opponent's right leg in an attempt to pick him up. However, if you watch very closely, and in slow motion and in close ups, you'll notice that Gonzalez is not actually grabbing Liparteliani's right leg at all.

Instead, what he has done is to first attack Liparteliani with a drop sode-tsuri-komi-goshi. Liparteliani steps over him to avoid being thrown but Gonzalez's left hand maintains a strong grip on Liparteliani's right arm.

Gonzalez then begins to pick up Liparteliani while maintaining that grip on Liparteliani's right arm. At no point does he let go of the arm to switch to holding the leg. If he had done that, he would have been given a hansoku-make penalty as it would then be considered a leg grab. But because he maintains a strong grip on Liparteliani's right arm throughout, there was no actual grabbing of the leg. Thus keeping the attack legal.

Here are some screen captures that will highlight the key point that keeps this attack legal. You can clearly see that Gonzalez is holding onto Liparteliani's right arm rather than his right leg.

Gonzalez is underneath Liparteliani in a drop sode attack.
Liparteliani steps over but Gonzalez holds onto Liparteliani's right arm.
From this view, it looks like Gonzalez has grabbed Liparteliani's right leg.

Actually, Gonzalez isn't grabbing Liparteliani's leg but his right arm.
Gonzalez has trapped Liparteliani's right arm in between his own legs.
Gonzalez never lets go of his left hand grip, making this a legal attack.

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