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A former Judoka (over 15 years' experience) in my JJ class throws by yanking and pounding.

This is contrary to what I have read about Judo, have seen in videos with Kyuzo Mifune, and have been taught in JJ kata. We are first taught the main technical elements: distance, timing, balance, frame. In throws, we first let gravity do all the work. Strikes, breaks, and forcefully planting a thrown uke into the ground are added later. But our new student seems capable of throwing only by yanking and planting, and I am not sure he knows anything different is possible. Is this an exception or a standard situation?

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  • Thanks for your edits, but that's not what I meant, although I didn't go a good job with the first version. I edited.
    – avs
    Dec 13, 2017 at 9:27
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    I think question is fundamentally about how the throwing style of judo differs from jujutsu, which should be fine. The way this question is asked, however, sounds more like, "why don't barbarian judoka throw like civilized jujutsu practitioners?"
    – mattm
    Dec 13, 2017 at 21:52
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    It's also not clear why pounding is opposed to technique and flow. There are many throws where uke falls only with gravity that result in a hard (pounding?) fall. For example: tai otoshi, yoko gake, okuri ashi harai
    – mattm
    Dec 13, 2017 at 21:59

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It's not clear what you mean by yank, pound, and plant, so I will try to illustrate what is expected.

This is video of Kosei Inoue, a world and Olympic champion and the current Japan national team coach, demonstrating uchi mata. There is a strong, sharp pull on the sleeve arm. Inoue uses an upward and in pull with the hand on the lapel. The throw is forceful and results in uke striking the mat, which produces a reverberating sound. Uke is not able to roll out of this fall.

This is Mark Huizinga, an Olympic champion, demonstrating several throws at speed. The strong pulls, quick entry, body contact, and throw impact are expected for a high-level competitor.

Judo throws are analyzed in three parts:

  1. kuzushi (off-balancing) Position uke's body to restrict their movement and ability to resist and apply force. This is done with some combination of the hands and arms, sometimes blending into the body movement of tsukuri:
  2. tsukuri (entry) Body control and speed are emphasized to position tori's body to be able to complete the throw
  3. kake (finish) Throw uke with speed, force, and control largely onto uke's back. One way you show throw control is planting all of uke's mass on the ground at the same time while still supporting the fall by pulling up on an arm to prevent uke's head and spine from impacting the ground directly.

Judo uses the phrase "maximum efficiency, minimum effort". Kuzushi is used so that you can use your force effectively, but your opponent cannot. In this way you can defeat someone physically stronger. This does not mean, however, that you do not apply force. Once you understand how to efficiently apply force, you then apply your force.

The modern sporting aspect of judo usually leads to an emphasis on winning competitions, then perhaps polishing of technique afterward.

Kyuzo Mifune was an exceptional technician. By accounts, he was able to defeat basically everyone despite being small with slight build. He is an exception, and not the normal case. His level of skill is aspirational, but cannot be expected.

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  • Thank you, your answer illustrates yet another point: that Judo is a sport, where one cares how exactly the Uke lands. And, yes, by "planting" I meant exactly what you said: arranging for the Uke's mass to hit the ground simultaneously. In JJ, the objective is different, and the kata--pure technique--is taught before everything else (shime, atemi). BTW, I didn't object to applying force in principle. My question was about helping gravity with force.
    – avs
    Dec 13, 2017 at 16:24
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    @avs: You can get a good grasp of the technical principles of Judo by reading Kenji Tomiki's thoughts on that matter. Using unnecessary force is part of Judo competition because of the nature of competition, but should not be used in training that does not focus on competition. Dec 14, 2017 at 11:24

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