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Osoto Gari With Kayla Harrison

Osoto Gari With Kayla Harrison

Osoto Gari, meaning Large Outer Reap is classified as an Ashi-waza (foot technique) and is one of the 40 original throws developed by Judo founder Jigoro Kano. It’s part of the Dai Ikkyo, or First Group, of throwing techniques learnt by all Judoka and as such is a staple of the tachi waza (standing technique) game and a high percentage technique either for a completed throw or setting up other throws. 

Who better to teach us about Osoto Gari than the most successful Judoka in American competitive history than twice Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison?

We’ll start with looking at an orthodox Osoto Gari so we understand the technique and then see Kayla’s variation that helps us drill down into high level execution of Osoto Gari. 

Osoto Gari is classified as an Ashi waza (foot technique) as it’s our sweeping leg that completes the throw. The set up for orthodox Osoto gari is that each player is in a right vs right or left vs left stance and we have the standard sleeve and lapel grip on our opponent. 

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In order to break our opponents balance (kuzushi) we are first pulling our opponent slightly forward to bring their front foot forward and then pushing on their lapel to shift their weight into their heels and bend their spine backwards. The sleeve grip here is is pulling them upwards and opening their body while taking some of the weight off the leg we are going to reap. As we move to complete the throw this lifting upwards with the sleeve grip comes back down so our opponents elbow is close to their body and we have a ‘steering wheel’ action with our lapel and sleeve grip to move our opponent into the throw. 

As we are breaking our opponents balance with our upper body we are moving our lead foot to the same level of or past our opponents feet so that our weight is set past their center of gravity. If we don’t get this footwork right we leave ourselves in a difficult position to throw successfully and even create an opening for our opponent to counter-throw us. For this reason it’s crucial we get our lead foot at, or even better past, the line of our opponents lead foot. From here we step through with our back foot and strongly reap their leg while driving through with our upper body. Ippon!

Now, all this is easier said than done. Unless our opponent doesn’t know what is going on they won’t simply give us dominant grips that we can use to throw them around with! Here we see Kayla using an intelligent gripping strategy that systematically sets her up for a dominant grip, which allows her to control her opponents movement and place her in the best position for executing Osoto Gari. This is needed because Kayla’s opponent will be hiding and concealing openings that she can use to gain grips and therefore Kayla has to crete her own openings to grip them.

Kayla comes out from the start with a left foot forward stance in order to confuse her opponent momentarily. From here she may not be able to get inside sleeve grip under the elbow and so takes a strong grip on top of their sleeve at the forearm. From her Kayla can stiff arm her opponents wrist down into their own stomach and gain control over this side of her opponents body. This control forces Kayla’s opponent to step back in order to create space to move and as they step back Kayla steps in with her lead leg and pulls their sleeve open as in the orthodox Kusushi for Osoto Gari. 

Now this initial kuzushi has been gained Kayla, instead of taking a standard lapel grip, steps through with a ‘clothes line’ against her opponents neck and head to create the ‘steering wheel’ movement that further breaks her opponents posture and completes the throw. 

The Real Judo Chop and Other Favorites by Kayla Harrison

Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison is ready to show you the techniques that helped her become one of the most accomplished combat athletes on the planet! The Real Judo Chop and Other Favorites by Kayla Harrison will increase your success rate with throws, grips, and submissions! If you want to learn more and win more then see Twice Olympic Gold Medalist Judoka Kayla Harrison’s full course over at Judo Fanatics here!