Four Judo Throws to Master on the Mats

Learning to become a master at Judo involves focus, determination and dedication; and, as with any other sport, you need an understanding of the basics in order to perfect your craft. To help you become a better Judoka, we’re taking a look at how you can enhance your throwing technique in preparation for your next opponent and secure victory in style. Take a look at the following throws and remember to head for the mats with your trainer once you’re done so you can start practicing and improving your Judo skills.

1. O Goshi (Major Hip Throw) This manoeuvre stems back to the original 40 throws in Judo, created by the founder of the sport, Jigoro Kano, and symbolises the fundamental principles of Judo. Before you engage in training, remember to practice only with someone who knows how to break-fall so that you both remain safe from injury. Start off by pulling your opponent out and off balance. Move in and place your hand around their back at the level of their Judo belt before pulling them in close to you. Next, lock them to your hip and, with both elbows outstretched, pull your opponent up and over your hip. Make sure your entry isn’t too deep, as you need to allow enough room to move in before turning your hips slightly and making the throw. Take a look at this throw in action.

2. Harai Goshi (Sweeping Hip Throw) This throw involves using the hips with a sweeping leg and uses tight body contact to throw your opponent onto the mat. Start by gripping your opponent’s elbow with one hand and use the other hand to grip their gi at the back or top of their shoulder. To make it easier to assume this position, you can pull your opponent in first or pull them in downwards so they naturally come back up. Once they move upwards or they’ve been pulled in close, pivot on your front leg and move the other leg outwards. Your pivoted leg can now be stretched outwards with your toe pointed whilst keeping your opponent’s arm close to your chest. Finally, sweep your leg backwards at pace and pull with both arms while twisting your head and upper body. Your opponent will then move up and over your leg before crashing to the mat. Remember to lock your opponent towards you before rotating your body. If you don’t come in close enough, it will be harder to throw them and easier for them to break free. Watch a visual demonstration of the Harai Goshi technique by Beijing Olympian Matt D’Aquino to see how it’s done.

3. Uchi Mata (Inner Thigh Throw) Next up is the inner thigh throw, known as Uchi Mata. This throw is a popular technique in the world of Judo today and you’ll soon see why. Instead of moving your leg to the side of your opponent, this time it will be placed between their legs and inner thighs, whilst you bend forward to break their balance. Start by pulling your opponent forward. Their natural reaction, as with Harai Goshi above, is to try and rise back up. When they do and their weight shifts, sweep your leg up between their legs, make contact with their inner thigh and throw them forward using your arms. This is a quick move to master and is perfect when you’re grappling with your opponent. Watch this video of Uchi Mata being performed by the pros before trying it yourself.

4. Seoi Nage (Two-Arm Shoulder Throw) The last Judo throw on our list involves using your arms to throw your opponent over your body. Move closely into your opponent first and place one hand on their arm. Lock your other arm up and under the top of their arm near to their armpit. Next, pivot on your front leg and move your outward leg inwards before making close contact with their hips. You’ll then be able to bend forward slightly and use your arm strength and momentum to throw them over your body onto the mats. Check out this animation of the main stages of the two-arm shoulder throw before you practice your own skills. Also check out this depth video by Judo great Katanishi:

Time to Practise Now that you’ve learnt the basics for these four Judo throws, it’s time to head to the mats and start training. Remember to make sure that both you and your trainer or opponent are safe before trying out any of these manoeuvres, and don’t forget to have fun when practicing. If you put the time and dedication in now, you’ll be confident and comfortable carrying out these throws in your next Judo match. Best of luck!

About the Author: This post was written by Blitz, the UK’s leading martial arts supplier.

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