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Interview with Nobuo Sato about Mao and Kozuka after Japanese Nationals 2010

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by galaxy, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. galaxy

    galaxy Active Member

    WayCon, kwanfan1818, alilou and 9 others like this.
  2. let`s talk

    let`s talk Banned Member

    Thanks! Interesting how her coach thought that her 3A in SP was originally a "bad tactic."
  3. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link! :encore:
  4. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing! :) Very interesting interview!
  5. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Thanks a lot for the link.

    It must be nice to have a wise old person next to you that's got enough energy and confidence to start a journey with you.
    I hope Asada can see a happy ending.
  6. Extranjera

    Extranjera Member

    Mao's programs at nats surprised him? Surely no more than me :D I was almost sure she would skate better programs than at NHK, but her FS at nats was... :respec:

    I don't understand him. This rule (possibility od doing 3A instead of 2A in SP ) gives her an opportunity to gain huge lead over other skaters, so why does he think it's a bad tactic? I know it's risky, but Mao usually doesn't have problems with landing, only with underrotation. One year ago doing 3A instead of 2A in SP wouldn't have been viable for her (well.. it wasn't evn possible), but now we have different rules and even UR 3A is better than 2A.
  7. Kelvster

    Kelvster Well-Known Member

    Lol at the remark that Kozuka is "a little scatterbrained"
  8. miki88

    miki88 Active Member

    It's always a big risk regardless. Sato is very old school, so he can be more conservative in his tactics.
  9. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Think her TEB performances in the last 2 years more or less answer that question.....
  10. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for the link!
  11. Extranjera

    Extranjera Member

    Not exactly. When she's out of shape (like at TEB in the last 2 years) she makes mistakes in many elements, not only in 3A (and not only in jumps). For example her FS from TEB 2009 had clean 3A-2t and 3A< with two-foot landing, but the most serious mistake was completely unexpected fall after 2A (!) ;)

    On the other hand when she was in her top shape (She gained shape before nationals) all her 3A were clean or UR.

    And doing 3A-2T in SP was much riskier than doing solo 3A.
  12. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Thank you, galaxy!

    :respec: to Mr. Sato. I <3 him.
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Word. He seems to thoughtful and humble and kind.

    If I was a skater, I'd love to have him as a coach. :)
  14. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    What a wonderful interview, thank you so much for posting.
    There are coach/ students relationships which feel so right- ( and of course I realize it's different from the inside and could change at any moment). But Sato/ Kozuka/ Asada and Y.Sato/ Dunjean/Abbott/Czisny partnerships seem to have such wisdom and quality about them. I have great respect for the Sato family, and for Mao for being such a very strong person.
  15. WayCon

    WayCon New Member

    I suspect that when coach Sato said that the 3A was a bad tactic for Mao, he was alluding to the emotional strain it put on her. She has always had more problems with her SP, and the 3A is a lot of additional pressure to face day after day as she practices, after she goes to bed at night, as she enters the ice to compete.

    In a similar vein, I've seen Miki Ando crank out quad after quad in practice, but she doesn't try them in competition. Morozov is not pushing her to do them.

    Sato knows, and Morozov is learning, that there is such a thing as "too much." Too much grinds the skater down, until there is nothing left for the competition.
  16. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Same here. :D ;)
  17. VarBar

    VarBar Well-Known Member

    Thank you for such an interesting interview. Looking forward to further improvement from Mao.
  18. galaxy

    galaxy Active Member

    let`s talk and (deleted member) like this.
  19. yukster

    yukster Member

    I couldn't watch the first clip ( it said private...:( ), but you can see a bit of the Mao-Kozuka pair skating at around 6:50 in the second link. It's soo cute!!:D Thank you.:)

    Watching the whole documentary reminded me of the interview I once read where Kozuka said something along the lines that praciticing with Mao has been a real inspiration for him; watching Mao getting up and tries the jumps over and over again, no matter how many times she falls, gave him power and motivation. Watching the clip, it seems like Mao feels the same. :)

    And about relearnig of jumps...
    I've always thought that Mao's problem was more of a mental thing, since it seemed like her jumps have improved so much in practices... I know practice and competition are two different things, but still, Mao looked TOO concentrated and thinking TOO much before the jumps. I was kinda frustrated and felt like "Oh Mao, why can't you just go for it, without thinking too much!?" But it wasn't that simple, of course. In the documentary she said something like, "It doesn't work well when I think too much, but if I don't think anything at all, my old habits come back."

    I really admire Mao's courage that she decided to relearn most of her jumps and am happy that her efforts seem to start paying off. :)
  20. robinhood

    robinhood Active Member

    Because I'm no teknik...can you guys tell me in what ways has Mao reworked her jumps? to the naked (and non-profi) eye they look the same as before. She does seem to have more flow in the rest of her skating, though
  21. yukster

    yukster Member

    Oh I'm no teknik, either. But I think her flip has improved to some extent ( esp. the ones at Nats ); better flow in and out of the jumps, I think. She used to have little speed going into the jump and had a weird entrance, going from deep outside edge into inside?? ( Sorry it's difficult to explain in English.:D )
    Flip used to be her best jump but I guess fixing her fultz affected the jump for the past few seasons... She still gets "e" for her lutz jump, but it doesn't look as bad as before.
    And I think she is trying to rework most of her jumps in terms of speed, timing and flow.
    She has a long way to go, wish her best of luck! :respec:
  22. bibi

    bibi Member

    Her 3flip has shown a big improvment.

    Before= 4:58 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5xL-JbloMw
    -- here, before taking off, she kept changing edges and her torso was so bend that it became parrallel to the ice!

    Now= 1:30 here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyr_RDuK7jc
    --here, she tries to keep her body straight before taking off and she doesn't switch edges as before. As a matter of fact, she doesn't hesitate before the jump and doesn't use the movement of her torso in order to get the height.
  23. poths

    poths Well-Known Member


    Sato is so under rated as a coach. His daighter had some of the best basics in the sport, as does Kozuka and on top of that he has a reputation for adding to a skaters skills and package - Ruh for example, became really consistent with her toe and salchow and found the loop with him aswell as more speed and spunk- Nakano went from a nobody post Juniors to 4th in the world - and Asada....well, we'll see come 2014, but if anyone is going to give her more speed and attack it's Sato. His wife is highly influential in the whole process aswell FTR. I like the parallel that Yuka and Jason have shown this year with Czisny and Abbott- you get the feeling it's a real joint effort. :)

    My :wall: with Asada is the fact that she had 3flip/3toe and 3 flip/3loop in 2008, if she had a 3 axel, 3flip/3toe and 3 loop in the sp who would EVER get near her TES?
  24. let`s talk

    let`s talk Banned Member

    It wasn't and it isn't that simple considering all that J-media pressure that Mao has to deal with. No figure-skater was ever under such a microscope as Mao. Not even Miki during a couple of years before Torino, when J-journalists stalked her everywhere, came to her high school canteen, wtf?, as if she couldn't have school lunch peacefully like all kids do. The fact that Miki took practically all J-media attention on her shoulders was one of the factor that helped Shizuka to win- she was left, at least partly, by J-media and could prepare for the Olympics quietly. Ironically, after Miki skated badly in Torino and J-press left her more or less alone, she started skating better. Of course there was a bunch of factors, like changing a coach, moving out of Japan, etc., but still. Now we have the similar story happening with Mao but much worse. The J-media is not even near as bad as paparazzi. The last ones are generally not invited, they stalk celebrities secretly and then they sell the stuff. Everybody knows that paparazzi are bad guys. J-media stalk Mao officially, repeatedly and without any consideration of her feelings. Mao is not some kind of bitch with iron jaws and sharp teeth. She has a very soft, refined and sweet personality. No wonder that she has "mental thing", as you put it, partly thanks to all that media attention that she is dealing with since she was a kid. When I see the next TV episode/interview with Mao on J-TV, I want to scream: Live the girl alone! Let her train peacefully! Yeah, that's pointless. I wish she could go back to Arutyunyan or another coach overseas but Mao wants to live only in Japan with her family. So, the only way out if there will be more skaters in Japan who will take some media pressure off Mao's shoulders. But.... even Kanako got from J-press a nickname... "mini-Mao". Again Mao.
  25. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member

    That's what happens when you leave Artunian. :slinkaway

    I think that if Mao had stayed with him for the last 4 years, she would have had a much better chance at challenging Yuna for the gold at the Olympics.
  26. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow


    RA was the one who wouldn't teach Asada how to lutz, because, he said, it's simply unfair to skaters to change the rules along the way.
    Or maybe, I say, because he didn't know where to begin, he was afraid to fail.

    Didn't Asada take 3-3s out of her program because they were often marked as under-rotated?
    If so, could we say that she ever had those combinations, or should we better say that she got away with them before the CoP changed?

    -- I'm not bashing, Asada is my favourite skater in the current ladies field.
  27. Okami

    Okami New Member

    Arutunian is a good coach and I have a lot of respect for him, but I don't think he was a perfect coach for Mao in terms of improving her jumps. Mao already had her 3F-3L when she came to him, and it actually started to become less consistent back then due to the fact that as Mao started to grow, the hammer toe on her flip started becoming more prominent and it affected the speed/flow out of the jump.

    As for 3F-3T, Arutunian actually said in an interview that Mao started practiced it on her own and jusk asked one day to put it into her Lp and he agreed. Mao also expressed her wish to fix her flutz back then, but Rafael was against it and mentioned in an interview that the new rules are unfair to the skaters who were told their whole life that their technique was fine.

    If Rafael started fixing Mao's flutz and the hammer toe back then, maybe she wouldn't have to struggle with her jumps later on. Of course, there's no use to cry over the spilt milk. Arutunian was also undre a lot of pressure, and if he started fixing Mao's technique back then and she started to struggle people would end up criticizing him for "spoiling" Mao's jumps.

    Bibi summarized it quite well. :) Here are 2 gifs that might be helpful:

    Old 3F: http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/8806/mao3fworlds2009lp00.gif
    Note the long pause after the mohawk turn and the way the free leg raises nearly above the head level on the take-off.

    Improved 3F in practice:
    Normal speed: http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/193/mao3fnag01nor.gif
    Slow-Mo: http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/3412/mao3fnag01slowmo.gif
    (Gifs borrowed from BoI :) )
    There's no long pause after the mohawk turn, the torso is more upright and the whole body doesn;t lean so much to the inside due to the fact that the toe-pick is placed not so much to the inside. This should also help with fixing Mao's flutz - the reason she can't keep the outside edge right now is the fact that she toe-picks too much to the inside, so her whole body leans to the inside, and she looses the edge.

    She's also working on adding more speed leading into her edge jumps, so they could be more "across" than "up-and-down". More visible in practice clips than in the competition so far; Nobuo Sato mentioned after Nats that this is something they willl concentrate on before 4CC and Worlds.

    Mao's jumps in the competition are still fluctuating between the old technique and the new one. As she and her coach said, the process of fixing the jump has just started and might take up to a few years. I must say I'm seriously impressed with how far she's come so for. It must have taken some serious resilience and the nerves of steel to do as well as she did at Nats considering the circumstances.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  28. smarts1

    smarts1 Well-Known Member


    Well the thing is, I agree with you, Mao had many jumping issues that were overlooked from 06-08 (except for the flutz). But besides that, there wasn't much pressure for Artunian to fix her jumps because she was already landing them well.

    On another note, when Mao went to Tarasova, her jumps were all over the place. And then when Mao went to the Olympics, she had an epiphany that in order to come out on top, she has to rework all of her jumps.
  29. Okami

    Okami New Member

    The first half of the first season of Mao working with TAT was actually pretty successful. Mao got 3S back into her LP, got credited with a clean 3Lz, landing 2 3As in the LP and 3A in the SP. But whereas Rafael was hesitant to change much about Mao's technique TAT went in other extreme and had Mao working on just about everything. 3A combos with 'Tano 2T (and 3T in practices), 3S, cleaning up 3Lz, 3F-3L, 3L-3L, 3F-3L-2L, 3L-3L-2L, 3T, 2A-3T, 3F-3T, 3T-3T, new spin positions, etc... And, as coach Sato nicely said at this years Nationals, if you try to catch too many birds at once, you'll catch none.

    That resolution didn't come to Mao after Olys, she spoke about wanting to have a full set of clean triples as far back as in 2007. And she slowly worked towards that goal until 2009, when a bit od a growth spurt messed up her jumps. Her hammer toe became more prominent, which affected 3Lz and 3F. Because due to the hammer toe Mao didn't have as much speed and flow out of her 3F as when she was younger, her 3-3s became unstable. Because she couldn't do a 3-3 in her program, there was no point to do a 3S (as solo 3L gets more points and is Mao's best jump, anyway).

    I criticized Mao's decision to do 3 3As last season, but after the season ended I realized that Mao probably just stuck to the jumps she felt the most confident in. She probably knew that there's no chance for her to regain all the jumps before the Olympics, so she stuck to regaining consistency with 3As and 3F. But I don't think she would've be satisfied with that set of jumps even if she won and no other ladies attempted a triple higher than 3L. Mao was always rather adamant about setting new personal benchmarks, regardless whether or not her jump layout is CoP-smart. This season she could've probably medalled in or even won her GP events if she limited her jump layout to those jumps she feels the most comfortable with.
  30. galaxy

    galaxy Active Member

    Welcome back to FSU, Okami!
    It's been long since you post here last. We missed you!