Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Did Saito counter Yamashita?

In Yasuhiro Yamashita's final bout of his career, he faced his biggest domestic rival, Hitoshi Saito. Their match started out as a fierce battle of grips. They had fought each other many times in the past and knew each other's techniques too well for any big throws to happen.

It seemed like it would be a tactical match throughout when suddenly in the fourth minute, Yamashita attempted a sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi which missed and caused him to go tumbling to the ground. Saito landed flat on top of him though it was debatable whether he had much control.

Many people say that shouldn't matter because in the case of counters like uchimata-sukashi, if the opponent misses and lands flat on his back, it's an ippon even if there was lack of control on the part of the opponent.

In this case, not even a koka was awarded although it could have easily been an ippon (or at least a waza-ari).

The shock of a near score caused Yamashita to start attacking like his life depended on it. Saito, in contrast, chose to be defensive, perhaps thinking that the near score would be enough for him to win a decision.

He eventually got a shido and lost the decision at the end of the match. Was it fair? Watch the video and judge for yourself.

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