Feeling Powerless? Sharpen Your Technique With Sagi Muki
If you feel like you are being dominated in training understand that you are not alone. If you have the urge to get better despite your own shortcomings you are on the right path. We all have our limitations and acknowledging them is the first step to improvement. One issue that is commonly brought up in combat sports is a lack of power/strength. While having a baseline of strength is required to perform your favorite Judo throws, Judo is ALL about technique!
If you are new to Judo, many of the throws can look like acts of Herculean strength. Watch a compilation video of the Ippon Seoi Nage, and you’ll see grown people being tossed around like a sack of potatoes. The fact is that as much as these are impressive feats, the require more timing and technique than anything else. This is where Sagi Muki comes in.
Fresh off of a World Title, Sagi Muki is here to help you sharpen your technique to a razor’s edge. In 2019 Sagi was an unstoppable force. HOW he achieved this is through rigorous training and attention to detail. Since we touched on the Seoi Nage, let’s watch The Champ demonstrate this staple Judo technique at the highest level.
Sagi starts this technique left foot forward and has his partner’s collar grip. This is countered by blue with an over the top collar grip on the same side. Sagi begins his entry by FIRST addressing the grip on his collar. Sagi grips with his free hand directly underneath of his partner’s grip. For beginners breaking the grip can be more manageable with perfect hand placement. By breaking the grip Sagi can start to add a little movement into the exchange.
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Kuzushi is made possible by pivoting his lead leg away from his partner while simultaneously pulling with his lead hand. This movement starts to open your opponent up and will lead to the eventual attack. Another key detail to make note of is how high Sagi keeps his elbow on the pulling arm. By keeping this high elbow it’s hard for his opponent to sink into a defensive base. This opening will allow easier access to the Seoi Nage.
This particular version of the Seoi Nage is performed with Sagi’s hip. Again, the throw isn’t based off of power. If you are trying to uproot a defensive opponent you will feel it. Everything up to this point is to make sure the opponent’s base is conducive to our throw. For beginners, think of making your partner tall and on their toes. This will allow for a smooth entry and eventual finish.
Watching Sagi perform the technique continuously will start to help understand all of the mechanics at play. At times it looks as though Sagi teleports into position to execute the throw. So let’s take a quick look at how he manages to end up back-to-chest. To pull of this technique you are going to need a lot of practice with the footwork required for the entry. It all starts with our pivoting step. If you don’t step far enough you won’t have the space needed. If you step too far, you won’t be able to get your hips to their hips. So once you master the initial pivot step you can begin to RE-pivot. This second pivot involves being VERY light on your toes to allow a smooth transition.
Now that Sagi has broken the grip, elevated his partner’s base, and entered back-to-chest, it’s time to throw! Sagi enters into the technique with low hips and loaded legs. His legs serve as a spring to “up-root” his partner’s base. His grips now assist his legs in taking his partner’s weight over his head. That is how you take strength out of the equation and rely solely on technique!
Thankfully for us Sagi recently released Power Judo, which is a 4-part instructional that covers Sagi’s ESSENTIAL concepts and techniques. Go over everything from gripping to Sagi’s favorite throws. Power Judo by Sagi Muki is sure to increase your skill, and efficiency like the man himself!