Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Takato's Yoko-Sutemi (Side Takedown)

Takato likes the side takedown, rare among Japanese players
One of the reasons commentators like to say Japan's 2013 World Champion Naohisa Takato has European-styled judo is the side-takedown that he does.

I do wonder where he picked up this technique. Even as a cadet, when he was only 17 years old, he was already seen using this technique.

In fact, he won the 2009 Budapest World Cadet Championships using this technique against Matheus Machado of Brazil. The very first clip in the video pasted at the bottom of this posting is of his final match against Machado. You'll see that even at 17,  his side takedown was already fully-formed.

It's worth noting that back then (circa 2009) Takato was also seen using te-guruma regularly, another very European-styled technique. (He has since abandoned that technique for obvious reasons).

This is not to say he doesn't have traditional techniques. Kouchi-gari was a regular feature in his judo back then and is still so today. He also has a very good sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, which can be considered a traditional technique. Not many people realize this but he can do an effective uchimata too, and it's done in a rather conventional way.

But it can't be denied that he does have rather unconventional techniques in his repertoire, especially the side takedown and utsuri-goshi, which you don't see many Japanese players doing. He also likes to attempt sumi-gaeshi, popular amongst European lightweights, rather than the tomoe-nage favored by most Japanese lightweights.

We will be looking at all his techniques -- conventional and unconventional -- over the next two weeks.

Starting with this blog posting, I am going to be uploading a series of daily posts analyzing Takato's judo, inside out. We start first by looking at his side takedown. In the early days, he would occasionally grab his opponent's right leg to execute this technique but like many other players who specialize in the side takedown, he has adapted with the times and today, he is adept at doing this technique without any leg grabs.

Today, we look at his successful attempts at side takedown. When he succeeds, it's a very spectacular throw. Tomorrow we will look at his unsuccessful attempts at the technique (there's something to be learned from watching the failed attacks as well).



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