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What the heck was that??!!

I came across some videos of the men’s Japanese nationals last month, and there were a few floor passes in particular that blew me away.  I had to watch a couple of them more than once to be sure what I was seeing.  Check these out!

Makoto Okiguchi Floor 2009 Japanese Nationals

WHAT THE??!!  That first pass TOTALLY caught me offguard…I had to watch it several times to be sure what he was doing.  It’s basically a double pike with a full-out to a punch front 1 ¾ .  It almost looked like a side-somi in there because of the straddled legs as he starts the twist, but I think that’s more for style.  I can’t believe the spring he gets off the floor into that front 1 ¾…probably could do a double front there!  I think that’s also the first time I’ve ever seen a back 1 ½ immediately to a Randi (front 2 ½ twist) – incredible!  And that was a TRIPLE full side pass that he basically made look like a double full…and stuck easily.

Kikuchi Shusuke Floor 2009 Japanese Nationals

A beautiful laid-out double Arabian!  I had to watch that one a few times too to decide if it was truly an Arabian versus a back half on the first flip…it appears he completes the half turn just before passing vertical, so I would count it as an Arabian.  No one has ever made it look that nice!  He gets an amazing tight arch position on the second flip, and I can’t even believe he stuck that!  The second pass is also incredibly difficult…it’s a pass we’ve seen many times from Marian Dragulescu – a full twisting double layout punch front 1 ¼.  We also don’t see many double layout dismounts these days because of how long the routines are – this was phenomenal.

Koji Uematsu Floor 2009 Japanese Nationals

Nice whip-half to Randi (front 2 ½ twist)!  Also a cool piked double Arabian half out on the second pass, and that 2 ½ to rudi side pass looked effortless.

Kohei Uchimura Floor 2009 Japanese Nationals

Absolutely beautiful!  My favorite part of the routine was definitely that triple full dismount – probably one of the most perfect ones ever done!  There really are hardly any visible errors in this routine – he stuck all the passes that land on his feet, and he rolled out nicely of the other two…notice how he kind of opens up and extends his body at the end of that front full 1 ¾ and the tucked Thomas – very stylish.

More videos from this competition still to come!