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Judo/Sambo UnderGround >> Kids that are Lefty


4/11/12 12:00 AM
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glassman
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Saw the lefty thread and have a quick questions for the lefties here. My son (7) has been in Judo for about a year and loves it. I started in my late 30's and only have a recreational level of knowledge, so I leave all the coaching to the club (he is at an excellent club).

He is left handed and sometimes really struggles to learn throws as they are taught right handed and is always having his footwork corrected. I know he is only 7 and learning judo is a very long road, but should he initially be learning throws left (his instructors do not know he is left handed) and then pick up the throws righty later, or does it not really matter?
4/11/12 8:02 AM
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judoblackbelt
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My advice would be to let him do what comes natually whether he leads with the right foot forward(righty) or left foot forward(lefty). I don not coach kids so I would like to hear from those who do. 99% of the kids I watch are righty's at our dojo. Our instructor is a righty. So I can see where there is some difficulty learning the foorwork for a kid who is lefty.(and the only one).
4/11/12 7:11 PM
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JoshuaResnick
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it does bother me that the isntructors didnt ask if they have any lefties, but that's typical of a righty... they just assume that 15% of people doesnt exist.

NO! you son should NOT learn judo right handed. he should learn it lefty. he needs to grip with his left hand on the lapel and his left foot forward. his instructors will not like this, but that's their issue and not his. anybody who knows anything about education knows that you will hinder the development of a child if you force them to do things backwards than their brain and body wants to.

talk to them and tell them your kid is a lefty. if they say it doesnt matter then come back here and we can have a conversation about you finding a judo club with people who know a thing or two about not being dumbasses.
4/11/12 8:47 PM
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glassman
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Thanks for the advice. I'll talk with the instructors and let them know. The club is a great club, with former olympians coaching, so I am sure they will be okay with it.
4/13/12 1:09 AM
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JoshuaResnick
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yea, you should be fine. so long as they sound reasonable when you talk to them.. they should have him be a righty so his partners can practice and then him be a lefty when it is his turn.
4/13/12 5:21 PM
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cdueck
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A good coach would have him be lefty all the time both for himself and his partners.  
4/14/12 4:37 AM
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JoshuaResnick
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cdueck..

no, not necessarily. a good coach will have him take a neutral stance when necessary for skill development, a righty stance when his partner needs him to be a righty and then allow him to be his natural left stance at all other times.

a lefty learns to fight against a righty in part because there are times in practice when they must play that very role. it helps them understand the differences moreso.

but, well, nice try in knowing it all.
4/14/12 11:39 AM
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cdueck
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 I am a lefty and I understand what you are saying but it only helps the other kids to have to deal with one, especially if there are other kids in the class to train with. If he is the only child then I concede your point but if he is not then there is really no point to having him switch up for others benefit. 
4/15/12 9:40 PM
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JoshuaResnick
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yea. no. you are wrong.

if you pair the two lefties together then you will teach them that right-handed judo does not exist and the same for the right-handers that lefties don't exist. you'll have lefties who literally have lost their numerical advantage over the right-sided players... not a smart move.

You get them practicing together at a young age and making only the necessary accommodations for technical development and teaching them to be "good uke's."

in randori, or in grip-fighitng (kumi-kata) sessions, then you throw it all out the window and have them stick to their sides.

as they get older and more proficient you can even have them practicing throws RvL and LvR in a more specific manner, but you'd better have a sensei who really knows his stuff for this to work well.
4/18/12 9:14 AM
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Sam Lowry
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Well I think you should practice every throw left and right if only for developing balanced muscles evenly. Just from a general health perspective rather than an elite Judo perspective. And if he is seven he does not know if he wants to be an elite judoka anyway.

Personally I get back ache if I practice a bunch of certain throws one sided but not the other.
4/18/12 9:11 PM
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JoshuaResnick
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Well, Mr. Lowry... That perspective depends totally on one's goals.

I would have a small child learn throws to both sides. But not every throw. The truth is that there is zero to be gained from learning every throw to both sides. it does not "develop balanced muscles evenly" as you state. In fact, just the statement alone makes me question how much you know about human development... but, here is a tip..

if you practice one throw to one side millions of times you body will not become unbalanced or lean to that side or this or anything. The reason you are getting a back ache is poor technique, plain and simple.

got to be honest though, thank you for granting me the opportunity to correct the myths you previously believed in.

4/19/12 3:28 AM
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Sam Lowry
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Edited: 04/19/12 3:43 AM
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JoshuaResnick - Well, Mr. Lowry... That perspective depends totally on one's goals.

He's freakin 7 years old he does not have any goals yet. Apart from eating watching cartoons possibly. At 7 you have time to try every technique left and right for a good five years so to see what works for you.

Yes it IS healthy to try and excersise the left and right sides of your body reasonably evenly ESPECIALLY while the body is still growing and developing.
4/19/12 3:40 AM
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Sam Lowry
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Edited: 04/19/12 3:45 AM
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Just from my personal experience if I do a very high number of uchikomi one side and not the other I personally find it just feels uncomfortable afterwards when the muscles stiffen up unevenly. I especially mean with big major throws. I personally like to start with lots of ogoshi left and right to get warmed up in uchikomi. I think my technique is fine because it has worked in randori (occasionally) on some decent players, but mostly it leaves me generally feeling good afterwards. But whatever works for you hey.
4/19/12 3:58 AM
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Sam Lowry
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Edited: 04/19/12 4:44 AM
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...but yeah back on the original point the coaches probably should notice he is lefty and allow him to try things left handed first time. Still think you should try every technique both left and right at least a few times though. The brain is funny, I can think of at least one throw that I for some random reason I got working in randori on the left first, despite being right handed.
4/22/12 5:21 PM
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JoshuaResnick
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Yes... by all means, like I said, TRY all the throws both sided, but you dont have to DO all the throws both sided. Trying and doing are not the same thing, not even close.

somebody might play lefty and use a righty seionage witout changing grips... that's perfectly fine.

but the idea that you unbalance the human body by being righty or lefty is nuts. you dont. in fact, by selecting a dominant side people reach proficency and can begin to work on a very high skill level. when you start doing everything to both sides, your mental faculties cannot compensate for it-- regardless of age-- and you eventually become neutered with the inability to to make that one thing you do best work under duress...

now, this doesnt mean it is a water of a 7 year old's time to give things a try to both sides, but the instructors have to know what they are doing or else it will have a negative influence later.
4/22/12 6:41 PM
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owchimata
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When I started judo, I was righthanded for he first few months until one of my seniors realized I was more inclined to play lefty. Switched everything up and I started to progress much faster.

Interesting thing is, while primarily lefty, I can demo most throws right handed without too much effort, including throws I've never learned or practiced.

The coaches would be idiots not to allow a 7 year old to use their dominant side - that's akin to forcing a left handed child to write with their right hand.





4/22/12 7:27 PM
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Sam Lowry
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Indeed I was not suggesting that everyone should be able to do all their throws left and right, unless they have some godlike natural talent I guess. But it seems like a good idea to have at least one throw that one can do to one's non favorite side. To help decide which one it's going to be, it seems like a good idea when teaching basic throwing mechanics to try them all both left and right.

On the balanced workout thing I am a fairly one sided in randori. But I like to do a bunch of uchikomi left handed not really expecting to get that technique in randori (unless the planets suddenly come into alignment), but just so that all my muscles hurt more or less the same by the end of the session. Cos that is how I like to feel at the end of a workout. OK maybe that is just me.
4/23/12 2:17 AM
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mortician
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 When I wrote that thread I forgot to add I'm primarily right handed but like hockey I do judo left handed. 

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