Drilling For Success With Ilias Iliadis
OK, so we all know the saying that drillers are killers, and we’ve all heard the saying that practice makes perfect, right? The saying “practice makes perfect” isn’t exactly correct though. The consensus amongst specialists in performance is that practice makes permanent. So when we’re drilling we need to be very clear what we are drilling, why we are drilling, and how we are drilling. Who better to get these details from than one of the greatest Judokas in history Ilias Iliadis, who won an Olympic gold medal in Judo at just 17 years of age?
The first drill we have here is something Judo is well known for, aggressively taking the grip in order to strategically set up the throwing game. First Ilias starts without his gi on and his opponent has a gi on then for one minute Ilias is continuously attacking for the grip, while his opponent is strongly breaking the grips that Ilias makes. Ilias notes that this is great conditioning for your grip strength and also your finger strength to both grip the gi and resist having your grip broken from the gi.
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During the attacking phase we can see some similarities to a Wing Chun or Bruce Lee style of Jeet Kun Do. There is a lot of interception of the hands, sticking hands, misdirection of the hands, two hands on one hand to gain the advantage, footwork, and controlling of the limbs to off-center his opponent and win a dominant position of their center line. Not only is this then a great drill for both Judo and BJJ but also great training for managing the little space one often has in a self-defence situation.
When the roles are reversed and Ilias puts on the gi and is now defending against his opponents grips we see just as high a work rate and Ilias never letting his opponent settle in on a grip as he knows it can take only fractions of seconds before his opponent is building on the grip to break balance (kuzushi) and set up their own trips and throws. Again we see very dynamic interception of his opponents grip attempts as well as framing against his opponent and managing the distance by pulling his opponent in to shut their power down, or moving away from his opponent to be outside of their range. Combine this with foot work and explosive movements through the core and it’s easy to see how this awesome drill is going to help take this crucial aspect of your grappling game to the next level.
Building from this gripping drill to secure a dominant inside grip we have another drill so we can start to execute our own throws, in this case Seio Nage.
Here Ilias echoes a military dictum - You Fight How You Train. Often Ilias sees people drilling for Seio Nage without giving any attention to their opponents grip so their opponent actually has a grip on them while they are drilling Seio Nage! As Ilias says, if you don’t care about this in training its creating a habit that in competition you will try to throw with Seio Nage while your opponent is gripping you and have a reduced chance of success because your opponent can stuff your throw attempt with their grip.
After we’ve been drilling to remove our opponents grip and gain our own dominant inside grip it’s time to put that work into action and make it pay for us with the Seio Nage! So drill with the freedom of movement that you have when your opponent is not gripping you and this will create a positive habit for competition throwing.
Following this gripping detail Ilias shows us his footwork for Seio Nage, which is really precise, intentional and deep foot placement followed by sinking the hips deep down into the throw to really get underneath our opponents centre of balance and move strongly through for a powerful Seio Nage!