O soto gari
This thread is my entry for the Best of the Best Contest. I am submitting it for the Grappling category. For more information about the Contest click here.
Iíve been tempted to do some technique write ups for some time, however, given the variety of teaching Ė good and bad. As well as the myriad variations of O soto gari I shied away for fear of creating too much controversy. However, Iíve decided to bite the bullet and just bust one out and see what happens.
I have split this into 4 sections; Basic, Intermediate, Against Kenka Yotsu and Advanced.
This is also reproduced on the blog so if the vids get nuked by youtube. They will still be there.
So without further ado, once unto the breach.
There is a secret to O soto gari that is so basic and so simple, yet is over looked or simply not known about by so many coaches. It is a secret that being unaware of it can be traced as one of the root cause of so many problems with O soto gari. What is that secret?
Itís shockingly simple.
When starting O soto gari many people start standing straight on to uke and then step out to place their foot correctly
The effect of this is that it starts the entire throw direction going off in the wrong direction. Going diagonally away from uke, it twists toriís hips away from ukeís and as a result wrecks toriís ability to properly apply kuzushi with the tsurite.
The mind boggling simple fix and correct positioning is to slightly off set yourself from uke so that you entry step is an almost straight one
The reason behind this is simple and for those of you have trouble with stiff arming. Try this little test in uchikomi.
Stand straight onto to you partner and have them stiff arm you whilst you try to enter.
Trying to push directly against ukeís strongest points will allow all your power to be dissipated.
However, if you place yourself slightly off centre with uke their ability to resist you entry effectively collapses.
Once you have correctly positioned yourself for O soto gari then you can start to learn the over key elements.
Unusually for a Judo throw Iím going to start with tsukuri, then cover kuzushi, then kake. In fact in reality all throws should be taught this way, but in O soto gari it is particularly important.
Often people will enter for O soto gari shoulders first.
Whereas you should enter with the hips first, however, this doesnít mean to come in as if youíre been lassoed around the waist.
Itís important to think in terms of placing your upper body next to ukeís body as if you were moving your entire body as one whole rather than stepping and then allowing the rest to follow. Envision it as one motion.
At this point it is probably worth mentioning foot placement. I know a lot of people have very entrenched opinions about foot placement. The reality is that in a randori or a shiai it will vary vastly on you, your opponent, ai yotsu, kenka yotsu and a variety of other factors. However, for the basic canonical form you should step level with ukeís foot leaving enough space between you and uke for your hips to fit into. This means exact distances etc... will vary from person to person and vary based on your uke.
In Judo there are always many ways of achieving kuzushi, some of which arenít to do with a hand action at all. However, for a beginner it is important to learn the canonical version of kuzushi in order to fully grasp the principle and the basics of the technique. This serves as a foundation for future adaptation and personalisation.
For O soto gari the tsurite Ė lapel hand Ė is the most vital. Your forearm must make firm and sustained contact with ukeís chest. It is important that you attack the chest.
Applying kuzushi like this will push your partners upper body away from you causing a loss of control and failure to achieve shimekomi
The tsurite should, as well as, having chest contact with uke act in an upwards motion, towards ukeís chin. This is so as to gain control over the head which facilitates control and off balancing of the whole upper body.
This action should be simultaneous to the action of the hikite Ė sleeve hand Ė both hands must work together and in concert.
The hikite action is that of a pulling down to toriís waist if uke is of a similar or greater height.
The hikite action against someone smaller is that of pulling outwards, away from ukeís body, and upwards.
Note how Yamashita has positioned his body and hips relative to that of uke.
Perhaps the most critical factor to effective kake asides from effective kuzushi and tsukuri is the leg action.
The toes must be pointed to achieve maximum reaping power and the correct leg action;
The reaping leg should be brought as high as possible, the greater the height, without compromising stability the greater the power of the throw.
The reaping action should be performed in a full 180 degree arc so that the foot rises to this point
And then reaps ukeís leg with a smooth powerful action, to finish at this point.
The direction of the head movement should be be level.
Up until the moment of the reap where it should be directed straight down
This should have covered all the pertinent points for learning the absolute basic O soto gari.
The intermediate period of learning O soto gari marks the transition from acquiring and familiarising yourself with the basic movements outlined above.
Here some of the finer points of O soto gari are addressed.
First is that of the action of the planted foot. On planting the foot it is important to dig the toes into the mat in a clawing action. By exaggerating this action you will ensure that you step on the ball of your foot rather than flat footed.
This aids in facilitating power transfer from the hips, forward into the reaping leg so that it can be applied to uke.
One of the main key intermediate skills of moving from the basic static uchikomi for O soto gari is being able to do O soto gari properly on the move.
As I emphasised strongly earlier, it is critical to off centre yourself relative to your uke to perform O soto gari. However, doing this on the move can be tricky.
There are two main methods, that I have seen, both rely on the chasse step.
The best way to illustrate these two methods is through video.
Apologies for the soundtrack I forgot to remove the original soundtrack when making it slow mo. Its either this or 50% speed Russian techno.
However, you should be able to see from the video that tori advances and steps slight off centre with his right as uke retreats with his left, then tori performs a tsugi ashi step and brings his left foot to his right and then accelerates forward to perform tsukuri.
This stepping pattern is highly effective in moving uchikomi and nagekomi and allows you to fit in many repetitions with the correct off centring and leading with the hips.
Note the high leg action in preparation for the reap.
An alternative action is the one favoured by Yamashita
In this action Yamashita advances for a few paces, then retreats then advances again.
At this point he twists in his tsurite side hip.
Then using that action combined with his advance performs a tsugi ashi action bringing his tsurite foot to his hikite foot.
And then accelerates into the technique
Again this audio track or half speed Russian techno.
These are of course drills based around a cooperative uke designed to instil the core movement skills.
Often, however, you will encounter situations for which these core drills are not specifically designed for, the challenge of kenka yotsu Ė opposing grips.
In Judo there are two types of grips.
Same side grips Ė Ai yostu, right on right, left on left
And opposite side grips Ė Kenka yotsu Ė right on left.
For the O soto gari specialist the kenka yotsu situation can present some unique challenges.
The Kenka yotsu situations usually sees uke and tori positioned as such, tori indicated in red and uke in blue.
There are two main methods of resolving this situation.
Firstly through ayumi ashi.
Tori and uke stand in the Kenka yotsu situation
Tori advances with his right foot,
NOTE TORI IS A LEFT HANDER. IF YOU ARE A RIGHT HANDER REVERSE ALL THE ACTIONS
He then advances with his left in time with ukeís reaction.
He is then in a perfect position to execute O soto gari
Note how in this instance tori does not attack uke straight on, but because this is a kenka yotsu situation he has had to adapt how he positions himself off centre in relation to uke.
The alternative and more often seen version in randori and competition is that of the Ken ken O soto gari.
Missing posts moved here: http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=104805
This thread is about O soto gari. Discussions regarding different but similar throws will not be allowed. Off topic banter will not be allowed.
Great post, Judoka_UK. Very quick question, and JNP feel free to delete or move me if it's off.
Would you consider translations of the Japanese for novices or outsiders? Even a glossary. It'd make it more immediately helpful for anyone who's not familiar with, or who's forgotten, the Japanese.
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If you start of standing square to uke, then you can also take a step to the front of uke right foot (for right vs right situation) with your right foot, or to the inside of his right foot, depending on what works best for you. This is common in moving variations of the throw.
These videos are by Bruce Kamstra, the Judo BC Team Coach, showing fundamental movement skills and then a progression. Bruce is a very skilled and knowledgeable judoka. They are all useful for adults as well, in fact, I have been doing the same basic thing for years. I still do all of these myself.
Fundamental Osoto Gari Movement Drills
Osoto Gari Skill Progression
Notice the placement of the lead foot, how Bruce puts it inside uke foot to achieve the positioning that Judoka_UK described.
This is how I teach Judo, starting with fundamental movement skills, which may not involve doing Judo at all, to the basics of the throw, to throwing while moving. If fundamental errrors exist, I address them with more fundamental or basic movement skills.
As an example, if you can't hop on one leg, then doing Osoto Gari or Ouchi GAri is going to be problematic.
Osoto Gari - Major or Big Outside Reap (throw)
Uke - Recieve of the technique-gets thrown, choked, armbarred, pinned etc
Tori- Executor of the technique
Kenka Yotsu-Opposite grips/posture. Uke and tori are in opposite stances with opposite grips. So one has a right hand sleeve and lapel grip the other has the opposite. Usually each will have the foot on the side gripping the lapel forward.
Ai Yotsu-Both uke and tori have the same grip and stance, both right or both left.
Tsukuri - "making" the throw/technique. Basically getting one's body into position to throw, which creates kuzushi. All of this takes place because tori recognizes a moment of opportunity.
Debana - moment of opportunity. an "opening" caused by the combination of uke movement/posture/gripping/mental or emotional state or all that allows tori to tsukuri and cause kuzushi in accord with the debana.
Kuzushi - literally "broken or broken down, crumbled". Uke is placed in such a position that he cannot effectively resist what tori wants to do to him. Kuzushi is in effect a multiplier of tori leverage (in my opinion).
Kake - The actual throwing action, to do the throw
hikite - "drawing hand/arm". Normally the hand/arm that is holding uke sleeve. The drawing action is the action of drawing uke out, applying the action of that side of tori body to that side of uke body, part of tsukuri action leading to attaining the proper relationship between the bodies of uke and tori for kuzushi to be achieved.
Tsurite - "lifting or lifting from above hand". Normally the hand/arm holding uke lapel. This hand basically transmits the action of tori hips/body to that side of uke body.
Tsugi Ashi - "following step". One foot slides forward or backward, the other follows, never quite catching up or passing the lead foot. The feet are kept the normal distance apart.
ken ken - hopping
If Judoka_UK objects or wants to redo this himself, please feel free to remove or modify my post.
All looks right to me Ben. Not a Japanese speaker though.
A question was raised in the about the high leg action in a removed post. As Ben said then the high leg action is more of a training principle to get you to be able to apply maximum power. As with all things in Judo you train to extremes in order to be able to overcome resistance in randori/shiai.
More advanced forms of O soto gari uchikomi see tori concentrating on other aspects of the throw.
Note how he concentrates on just one part of the whole entry process and then builds 'back up' to a fuller entry.
However, beginners should always try and get their leg as high as they can whilst remaining stable in uchikomi in order to drill muscle memory.
Excellent write up, judoka-uk. I have a question but I'm not asking this in a challenging sort of way. Where did you learn how to pull relatively to uke's height? Some of the videos of Yamashita teaching O Soto Gari when he was at Georgetown University a couple of years ago show him explaining that it doesn't matter so much if the hikite pulls down or pulls outward as long as both hands are working together.
Originally Posted by judoka_uk
By the way, this post of yours was linked on the Bullshido facebook page. Well done.
Cheers Dave. I don't think I explained that bit particularly well its actually a little more complex than I said.
The action against both smaller and larger partners/ opponents is more out and across the chest first, then in the case of larger partners/ opponents downwards to your hip.
I just watched the video and he does say that in his case he pulls out and then to the hip, but others do it differently. I wont try and second guess a meaning.
However, in his book O soto gari in the section for O soto gari against a smaller player it says:
However, because you raised this point I went to check in Daigo for reference, Daigo says:
"My body may bend a little if the difference in heights is acute, but I want to keep as upright as I can in order not to shorten the reaping arc. This is one reason why I start a different pulling action with my right hand. Instead of pulling to my side I start to pull outwards...[it continues] I turn my wrist and pull his sleeve and arm across my chest... The effect of this action is to pin my opponent on his left leg, the one I intend to reap"
So from that you might imply that pulling down was the standard method i.e against people roughly your own size.
the direction of his right [tsurite] hand [is] lifting up in a circular motion. At the same time he pulls towards his left hip with his left hand
I teach these differing actions depending on your uke and people find they are succesful with it. Obligatory, your milage may vary, though.
If you're 6ft like me and working with someone 5ft 7 if your draw them outwards and upwards I find they're are weighted much better onto their heel than if I pull downwards as it tends to spread the weight evenly over the foot making the kzuushi less effective. Similarly I find for same sized and taller opponents i.e 6ft and above that pulling down combined with strong powerful upward action with the tsurite to their chin is much better at getting their weight onto their heel and not spreading it out across the foot.
This may be down to my body type and ability level more than anything else though.
After all I'm no one to question Yamashita, but I would say his comments are ambiguous as to whether a beginner should do one type or another.
Last edited by judoka_uk; 3/09/2011 1:35pm at .
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