Comparing Saito Sensei with Sugano Sensei – Freestyle 2

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This particular freestyle had a bit of spirit.

With Sugano Sensei, you would see him move in freestyle similarly to a basketball player dribbling, moving and looking for an opportunity for a layup. Then he would suddenly turn as an attacker went after him. If someone grabbed him, you would see him unbalance them at the point of contact.

Here you can see his movement in a more classical approach:

Clearly he had strong position, but his movement was not as open as I described above.

Hitohiro Saito did an exercise for freestyle during a seminar when all the attackers would grab. And they meant to grab powerfully and lock him down. He used his strong hips to burst into sudden turning movements. Despite very strong grips, no one could hold on. He simply kept turning throughout the freestyle, never doing a technique. He was demonstrating that you did not even need to do techniques against a grab, as no one could hold him.

These are different styles of training in freestyle and both are quite useful. But I would say that the lesson from Hitohiro Saito’s approach is excellent to build confidence in one’s ability to defend themselves. If you have that skill, then the additional tools of Sugano Sensei’s training are very useful. Of course, Sugano Sensei’s approach is also used in the Iwama style.


A good example here:

You can see the movement of Sugano Sensei, plus a good deal of power in evidence. This shows the benefits of the complete Iwama System.