Blue Belt Uprooting Nage

As previously discussed uprooting throws generally involve lifting a person or moving such that one or both feet are raised from the ground in some manner. Naturally the person is then delivered, often forcefully, to the ground. These throws are commonly used in Judo and Jujitsu styles but are also practiced in other martial arts systems as well.

Several of the throws in this belt involve what are referred to as Sutemi Waza, or sacrificial techniques. With Sutemi Waza you sacrifice something in order to accomplish the throw. The thing you normally sacrifice is your standing position. As a result both you and Uke will end up on the ground at the completion of a throw involving Sutemi Waza. You will want to study and consider the best way for both you and Uke to land when practicing these throws. Nage involving Sutemi Waza can result in very fast, violent, and impacting throws. You should be well-prepared for the aggressive nature of these throws.

Osoto Gari

The word Kari (Gari) refers to reaping. The word Soto means outer. In this case the letter “O” means great or grand. So Osoto Gari is a major outer reap throw.

The throw is typically initiated when two people are in close contact in a face-to-face orientation. You will want to grasp the Uke by their lapel or shoulder with one hand and at the upper arm with your hand on the side you intend to throw them on. You would then typically step forward with your front leg to establish a position on the ear side of Uke. Your front leg should be immediately adjacent to Uke’s front leg. Your back leg then moves forward of your front leg but your body structure does not move forward. Your back leg will be relatively straight with the heel about six to twelve inches above the floor.

Now drive this leg back and down forcefully, sweeping Uke’s nearest leg out from under them. You generally concurrently press forward with both arms into the Uke’s upper chest to facilitate the throw. Uke will fall on his or her back or opposite side directly in front of you. You can help ensure they land on their side by cinching up on Uke’s front arm as they fall. This also allows you to then control his or her arm so that you can perform some subsequent control or locking action with that arm.

This throw does not work well if Uke has his or her weight predominantly on the leg you are not sweeping. In order to best achieve the throw you will want to use your hands to twist and pull Uke forward to shift their weight onto the nearest leg as you move to his or her ear side. But this can be a bit delicate. The sweep may also potentially fail if Uke has all of his or her weight on the leg you intend to sweep.

Since your front leg is adjacent to Uke’s front leg you may find it difficult to insert your back knee leg between these other two legs. To accommodate this twist your hips quickly to the outside as your back knee comes forward. This also has the advantage of amplifying the power of the pulling and twisting motion needed to soundly root Uke on his or her nearest leg.

Yoko Otoshi

This is a side drop throw. This is an instance of Sutemi Waza or a sacrifice technique, which in this case means that you are sacrificing your standing position in order to accomplish the throw. You and Uke will both be on the ground at the completion of the throw.

To accomplish this throw you must grasp Uke with both hands in the upper torso area (chest, shoulders or upper arm). You then induce Uke to step forward (often by just stepping back with one leg) so that his or her front leg is adjacent to and just inside of your front leg. For example, Uke’s right front foot will be just to the inside of your right front foot. Usually you will want to grasp Uke’s upper back arm.

With Uke in the proper orientation you now take a very deep step forward with your back leg to insert it so that your inner back leg presses against Uke’s outer front leg. You do not allow your upper torso to move forward any more than necessary. As your leg makes contact with Uke’s leg you fall to the floor on the side of your inserted leg. As you fall, pull Uke forward with a twisting motion using both of your arms. Uke will fall on his or her back near your head but somewhat away from you. They will land with their body roughly aligned somewhere between 90° and 180° to your body with their head near your head (but perhaps an arms-length away). Their alignment and distance from you is primarily a function of the amount of force exerted during the throw.

This throw is very commonly used in Judo, Jujitsu, and a variety of other martial arts. It is a very effective way to get someone to the ground. But the throw has two major disadvantages you must consider when using it. The first is that you will end up on the ground. The second is that your opponent is often not near you at the completion of the throw so it is not easy to immediately implement a strike, lock or controlling action. These two disadvantages may mean the throw is good for demonstration and sport uses, but it may be less practical (without some additional considerations) for self-defense.

There are ways to use your head and shoulders at the earlier stages of the throw to establish better control of the opponent’s arm so you land in a position that allows immediate access to the opponent’s arm. Experiment with using your head and shoulder position to help control how far away the opponent lands as a result of the throw.

This throw can be used on someone who has stepped forward or who is standing with both feet close together (e.g. Heiko Dachi). It is also used often when you and Uke are moving face to face and parallel to one another.

Tani Otoshi

This throw is commonly called a Valley Drop throw. It is another Sutemi Waza or sacrifice throw and is quite similar to Yoko Otoshi. The difference is that you are inserting your tripping leg behind both of Uke’s legs rather than adjacent to one of his or her legs.

You can initiate this throw from a large variety of different initial positions and entry methods but the fundamental throwing action will remain relatively consistent. You position yourself to the ear side of Uke and then extend your back leg so it is parallel to the back of both of Uke’s legs. Use both of your arms to encircle and/or grasp Uke’s upper torso and then drop your back hip to the floor. Pull Uke backward as you press your extended leg into the back of his or her legs.

Uke will normally fall on his or her back immediately beside you. With practice you will be able to immediately roll forward so you end up on top of Uke at the completion of the throw.

Yoko Guruma

Yoko Guruma is commonly called the Side Wheel Throw. It is another sacrifice throw and is typically executed from the Uke’s ear side. The easiest way to learn this throw is to position yourself such that you are directly facing Uke from his or her ear side. For purposes of explanation, we will assume you are on Uke’s right side in a stance such as Heiko Dachi. You should practice the throw from both sides, but to clarify our explanation we will assume you are on Uke’s right side.

Now wrap both arms around Uke’s torso and pull in tightly. Attempt to get Uke to lean forward somewhat as you cinch your arms inward. Concurrent with this movement insert your right leg between Uke’s legs and then roll onto your right hip. Maintain a very tight grip on Uke as the throw is initiated.

This is a very fast and somewhat violent throw. Uke may be thrown so his or her head is above your head and his or her feet are completely opposite your feet. If you managed to trap and hold Uke’s ear-side arm and neck in the initial phases of the throw then Uke will not be thrown as far and you will likely gain a positional advantage when you both complete the roll.

There is room for a good deal of variation in how you might initially grab Uke with your arms. You might elect to encircle Uke’s arm and neck with your two arms. You might simply wrap both arms around Uke’s thorax. You might also grab Uke’s far shoulder and grab Uke’s belt behind his or her back with your opposite hand. Try a variety of different grabs to see what works best when you and Uke are in various relative positions.

Ashi Guruma

Often referred to as a Leg Wheel Throw, this maneuver usually is performed when you have one hand on Uke’s shoulder and while you grasp his or her opposite upper arm with your other hand. Usually you step slightly back with the leg on the side grasping your opponents arm. As Uke steps forward, you use this same leg to step to the opposite side of Uke. This causes you to turn your back toward Uke. Shift your weight onto this leg and then press the calf of your opposite leg into the shin of Uke’s same-side leg. Pull in and forward on Uke’s arms to initiate the throw. This is not a sweep, but instead the calf of your leg merely acts as a barrier that Uke will now be thrown over.

To clarify all of this a little further, let’s assume you grab Uke’s left shoulder with your right hand. You then grasp Uke’s upper left arm with your left hand. Step back slightly with your left leg until Uke moves forward slightly.  Now spin CCW until your left leg is generally adjacent to Uke’s left leg. Uke will now be directly behind you. Shift your weight onto your left leg and then press the calf of your right leg back into the shin of Uke’s right leg as you concurrently pull Uke’s right arm inward in a circular manner. Uke will probably fall on their left side in front of you. You should maintain control of Uke’s arm. You will remain standing as a result of this throw.

Practice this throw on both sides and with a variety of entry strategies that allow you to perform the throw the instant Uke shifts his or her weight forward onto the front leg.

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