Sunday, October 10, 2010

Throw or takedown?

John Coles is investigating the difference between throws and takedowns in the martial arts for his forthcoming book, and has written a couple of blog posts on the subject.  John points to some discussion of the various takes on the difference this thread from the Martial Arts Planet forum.

An empirical exploration that anyone (with a bit of experience) can do is go through their style's syllabus and pull out the techniques explicitly labelled as throws and those labelled as takedowns and look for any differences of principle.

That's what I intend to do!


Anonymous said...

In my view a throw is a technique that uses leverage and impact to end a fight, usually and preferably leaving you standing. A takedown is a transition to groundfighting to finish the opponent with punches, chokes or locks. I know in judo they regard tani-otoshi as a throw but in my view it's a takedown since it's not likely to finish the opponent through impact alone. Tomoe-nage on the other hand is a pure throw since it's quite possible to throw the opponent onto his head causing a concussion or worse. Another way to look at it would be say that a throw uses technique and finesse to get the opponent to the ground while a takedown tends to rely more on strength and it's usually messier. Of course there's overlap and it's just a classification which is flawed to a degree (like all classification systems) but it's quite useful. Then again: what's in a name? If it does the job do you really care what the proper name is?

John Coles said...

Dan, thanks for taking an interest in my work and blog. Anon, literally gagging here in wanting to devulge my work. Suffice it to say, (a) the decivness nature of a technique designed to take a person to the ground is a common method of differentiating between throwing and takedown technqiues, and (b) is seriously flawed due to its subjective nature. Everyone will consider this or that technique to be one or the other based on opinion alone. You mention judo. Judo does not even recognise takedown techniques within their classification of all judo techniques. All techiques which take a person to the ground are throws in judo. Wrestling, known for their takedowns, do not recognise this class of technique in the international competition rules of the various wrestling styles. Brazilian jiu-jitus and MMA use the terms interchangably or, as many authors when writing a book on the subject do, refer to all techniques designed to take an opponent to the ground as 'throws and takedowns'. If there is no meaningful difference, why are the two terms used so often?
I can assure you, an understanding of the difference between the two different types of techniques (and they are differenct) DOES faciliate the understanding and study of these techniques. That is answer to 'what's in a name' which has been a common question raised with me, even by my own former instructors, when discussing the subject. Stay tuned as I hope to have this book published next year.

Dan Prager said...

Hi John

I'm looking forward to your book, and am happy to wait!

It's true that our judo syllabus contains only throws, whereas our jiu-jitsu list of restraint and control techniques lists several takedowns plus many throws, so those are the ones that I have been looking at.

No enlightening answer yet from me; I'll wait for the book!