My Experience In Throws
By Leon Ben
It must be remembered that the article here purely reflects the views of the writer. All articles and stories written by members do not necessarily represent the views of the Art, Dojo or Instructors

When first embarking on my journey of Ninjukai Taijutsu, the most daunting aspects of the art were the various throws that were to be learnt. I am sure that I am not alone, in saying that, because throws can be a difficult if somewhat scary technique to execute (or be executed upon), especially if one does not understand the particular technique, or even the general concept of throws. This little story will convey my experiences regarding throws in the white and yellow belt level, how my understanding of throws changed, and how I was able to overcome some my initial problems regarding throws.

When I first started doing Ninjukai Taijutsu, I remember that I had joined with a friend of mine. This particular friend (who no longer does the art) was relatively tall and slender, and he was going to be my first throwing partner. Due to his build, and the way in which throws work, I found that I was able to execute my body throws quite well. I also found due to the softness of the mat, that throws did not hurt as much as I thought they would.

However, once the group started swapping training partners, I quickly realized that I did not know the concept of throws very well at all. My training partner was of similar height to me (quite short), but much more stockier than I was. Throwing him was like throwing a sack of rocks, I found it very difficult. For a while it was frustrating, because I did not understand how I could quite easily throw someone, yet have so much trouble throwing another person. In my mind, I was doing what was shown of me, I thought since I am copying my instructor, I should also be able to copy the technique, and therefore copy the throw. After a while, and after some frustration, I understood what I had been told all along.

This image shows me doing a throw without breaking my opponent's balance. This way was VERY hard, since I was only using my arm strength.

This image shows me using my hip and body positioning to break my opponent's balance.

Since everyone has different body types, the way in which my throwing partner, and my body interact, will differ to another person and my throwing partner. After that, I realized that the key to executing my hip throw on this person, was simply to get in much closer, and sink lower to ensure that his balance was broken.

Being able to execute a hip throw on various different body types gave me some sort of an understanding into the concepts of throws. But my understanding was going to change again in the orange belt syllabus. Although many of the body throws work in the same way as a basic hip throw, for some reason I had a bit of a hard time executing these throws on various training partners.

One thing that helped me overcome this problem, was to think about the throw as not being just a technique, but more of a response to a situation. Whether or not I was a centimeter off in terms of where my hand was on the throwing partners arm, or whether my feet were a millimeter too much to the left did not really matter.

The key was to understand the basic principles of the throw (breaking of balance and application of force), in the context of the throw to be executed. This understanding was only actually grasped after experiencing failure to do the throw, and feeling through various experiences, what I had been told from the start. Techniques are useless on their own, because they always depend on the situation. Although I understood that from an intellectual perspective, I couldn't really grasp it until I looked at the technique in terms of the situation, which in the case of learning these throws was determined by various body types and positions.

In the end, the throws felt right. This does not mean that I have perfected the art of throwing, because I know that I am far from that, if that is even possible. But I do know that I have learned through my experiences, that I have grown in my understanding of not only throws but other techniques. Also, even through the experiences of just trying to get a throw right, I found that I had to examine my way of thinking, not only in terms of learning techniques, but where my ego was when learning these techniques. Internal examinations such as this, would help me throughout my journey, and I think will also help me in times to come.

The results of using my body positioning to execute my throw properly.