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Sharpen Your Osoto Gari Throw with these Tips!

Sharpen Your Osoto Gari Throw with these Tips!


Every good judoka has one throw for each direction. For sending someone backwards, Osoto Gari is a good choice. If done correctly, it will put the opponent flat on their back and totally out of breath. 

Daniel McCormick demonstrates a version of the throw below, one that he has adapted to covering longer distances. McCormick represented the United States in the 2008 Olypmic’s in judo.

McCormick is coming in as a left handed fighter, so he has his left foot forward. This means that when grappling against someone right handed, the leg that he needs to reap is far away from him. 

Typical stances for grappling is that whichever side hand your dominant (called the power hand), that same side foot is leading. Most matches this means that each person has their right foot forward. In a left on right scenario, each person has the opposite foot forward and this changes the strategies for grip fighting and throwing.

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So to do Osto Gari in this situation would require either awkwardly changing the lead foot and grips to attack the opponents front leg, or closing the distance to back leg.

McCormick goes for attacking the back leg. He starts by stepping his back foot (right) behind his lead foot in a T position. This looks like the stepping pattern for Harai goshi, Uchi Mata, and other hip throws. The opponent is going to be worried about being thrown forward, not thinking about going backwards. McCormick encourages the idea by using his grips to pull his training partner forward, like he is thinking about loading him for a throw. Their natural counter response is to start setting their weight backwards. 

Once their weight is going in the right direction, the lead foot shoots diagonally across and hooks around the calf of the back leg. Once the foot plant can plant on the mat, the back foot steps around. The back foot has to step up so it is parallel to the lead foot again. I should be able to draw a straight line between the two feet. If the back foot doesn’t step up all the way, then the throw won’t have as much power.

Three things happen for the finish: his grips tilt all of the opponent’s weigh on to the leg is he attacking, the lead foot pulls straight back, taking the opponent’s leg with it, and McCormick’s chest smashes into his opponent’s chest, pushing him backwards as the leg is taken away. These three things smash the opponent down into the mat.

Now you have a forward throw, and a strategy when fighting someone in a right on left situation. Go get those ippons!

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