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O Goshi With Ilias Iliadis

O Goshi With Ilias Iliadis

O Goshi is classified as a koshi waza (“koshi” means the area above and around the sacrum and “waza” means technique) and as such is an incredibly powerful technique. As we are using our hips as the fulcrum of the throw we are using our own center of mass to move our opponent. O Goshi (meaning Full Hip Throw) is a staple of the Judo takedowns, and is included in the original forty throws developed and employed by Judo founder Jigoro Kano. It belongs in the Dai Ikkyo (first group) of traditional throws of Kodokan Judo, and as such is amongst the first throws a Judoka will learn. 

Here we have 3 times World Judo Champion and Gold Medal Olympic Judoka Ilias Iliadis showing us O Goshi, which is also one of his favourite throws.


As always with our throws it’s all about the set up. Ilias tends to use this throw against a taller aggressive opponent and will also use the points situation of a match to set O Goshi up. If Ilias is ahead on points and his opponent is feeling pressure to attack they may come in strongly with a high collar grip or reach over the top for a back grip, using their size to get a dominant grip over Ilias. This dominant grip however opens up our opponents arm and leaves them vulnerable to an underhook, which Ilias uses to perfectly set up his O Goshi. 

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The stance for O Goshi here is against an opponent that has his left foot forward and is taking their main grip with their left hand. This leaves them open to an underhook from our right hand while we grip their sleeve with our left hand. Stepping our lead right foot through to the opposite side we now have back to chest contact but keep moving our hips (koshi) through the movement to create the fulcrum for our throw. 

Once we have our hips in place as the fulcrum for our throw we now use a ‘steering wheel’ motion as our sleeve grip and underhook work in conjunction with each other and we rotate our body to pull our opponent over our hips and complete the throw

The kuzushi (breaking balance) for O Goshi from a static position is that we are pulling our opponent up and forward onto the balls of their feet, or we are pulling them up onto the balls of their feet and to their front right corner. The stance we take for an orthodox O Goshi is that we bend our knees and sink our weight down into a defensive posture (jigo hontai), which brings our center of gravity underneath our opponent while at the same time keeping the integrity and uprightness of our posture.

The variation of kuzushi Ilias is showing uses our opponents own momentum against them because as they are aggressing forwards and taking a high grip over to our back they are already beginning to raise themselves forward and up onto the balls of their own feet. This is the moment Ilias takes advantage of to execute a big O Goshi. A key detail with O Goshi is that unlike some other hip throws such as Uki-Goshi the hip in O Goshi is lowered to ‘load’ our opponent onto the throw and then our knees are straightened so that our opponent is lifted up during the throw. As we are coming underneath our opponent and loading their weight onto our hips we control our opponents balance, making the rotation through the technique possible even with larger opponents

As with much of Judo tachi waza (standing technique) the options for positive controlling transitions to ne waza (ground techniques) are clear. We retain control of our opponents arm on completion of the throw, giving us options for juji gatame (arm bars) or pins such as side control and scarf hold (kesa gatame) that allow further set ups for submissions on the ground. 

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