I don’t know what brought these anecdotes to mind recently. I haven’t practiced judo in nearly 40 years. But I thought I’d share them. The video above is a visual aid for the first memory. The throw being demonstrated is called uki otoshi. It’s considered a “demonstration throw”—very rarely seen in competition. However, I did use it in competition in a tournament whose senior judge was a 9th degree black belt from Japan. He promoted me on the spot—being able to use the throw in competition demonstrated an understanding of the principles of judo far above my rank at the time.
And there’s a relationship between the first and second anecdotes. I’ve mellowed quite a bit over the years. In my younger days I was quite the hot dog. In another tournament I did something I’d heard described but never attempted before or seen. In competition my opponent threw me with a shoulder throw (ippon seoi nage) that was too high and too slow. I flipped in mid-air, landed on my feet, and threw him with a drop seoi-nage for the point. It was a stupid thing to do. I sprained both ankles, not fun. I still feel that sometimes. Maybe that’s what brought these anecdotes to mind.