Green Belt Rooting Nage


These five rooting throws range from relatively simple to complex. Many of these are common Karate type throws, but some are used by other disciplines as well.

This article relies on abbreviations and background information about the octagon concept. If you are unfamiliar with these aspects of the octagon then you may wish to review the article on the octagon found in the See Also section at the end of this article.

Ude Kansetsu Nage

These throws involve locking an arm (Ude) in some manner as a means to initiate or facilitate a throw. Such a throw might be employed anytime you are able to gain control of an opponent’s extended front hand. There are a many different variations of this throw, but they all involve essentially the same concepts of locking the elbow and shoulder in some manner to facilitate the throw. We will discuss four different but related throws. With a little creativity and thought you should be able to find many other possibilities. To simplify explanation we will discuss how to perform these throws when Uke has extended his or her right arm.

In the first variant of this throw we will grasp Uke’s front hand using our back hand as we step to the outside of Uke’s arm. So if Uke has extended the right hand we will step L7R2 to move to the outside of the arm as we concurrent grab Uke’s right wrist with our right arm. We now use our right arm to pull and twist Uke’s right wrist until Uke’s right elbow is oriented upward. Now extended your left forearm so it rubs across and presses down into Uke’s right elbow and then step forward with the left leg to put additional stress on Uke’s arm.. The goal here is not necessarily to injure Uke’s arm, though this is clearly possible. The goal is to root Uke and then move Uke’s torso forward until Uke must fall onto his or her stomach.

A second version of this throw is to step to the face side of Uke and grasp Uke’s right wrist with our left hand. This has obvious attendant risks that must be immediately addressed. The most expedient method is to impact Uke’s left shoulder to retard any forward movement from that side. We then immediately grasp the outside of Uke’s right elbow with our open downturned right hand. Now we pull inward with the right hand as we raise our left arm slightly. This forces Uke’s arm and shoulder to be locked. Now rotate CW and step back with your right leg to force Uke’s head downward. During this rotation it may be possible to pull Uke’s hand into your chest so that you can release the grip of your left hand. The inward pressure of your right hand will help ensure Uke’s hand stays firmly against your chest.

The next version begins, as with the first version, by stepping to the outside of Uke’s arm. We concurrently grab Uke’s right wrist with our right (back) arm. Now we turn and pull Uke’s wrist, but our intent this time is to force Uke’s elbow to point directly downward rather than upward. We then utilize our left biceps to press upward and forward against the triceps of Uke’s right arm. This pitches Uke forward and onto the balls of his or her feet. Now you simply step forward with your left leg while keeping your left arm in place and pulling down and to the outside sharply with your left hand. Uke will be forced into a forward roll as a result of these actions. In Aikido this throw is referred to as Mia Otoshi, though the throw is often initiated from a different point of origin.

A final version involves crossing centers so it not ideal from a Tensoku Ryu perspective. Nonetheless the throw can be useful so we will explain how it is accomplished. This throw works only if Uke attempts to employ his or her back hand after you have grabbed the extended front hand.

Grasp Uke’s extended right hand with your right hand, grabbing Uke’s arm at the wrist. This movement crosses your center line. While it is possible to rotate your torso so that you do not cross your center, this would be ill advised since Uke could then readily strike your right side using his or her left hand. So we need to keep our center oriented toward Uke. As Uke begins to extend his or her left hand we pull inward slight with our right hand to reduce the effectiveness of Uke’s left side. We also move our left hand up and to the outside of Uke’s approaching left hand, ultimately grasping Uke’s left wrist with our left hand. So we now have doubly crossed centers.

We now begin to correct our crossed center condition by placing Uke’s left arm over top of his or her right arm. We now rotate our center CCW as we concurrently pull up on Uke’s right arm and down on Uke’s right arm. This twists Uke’s arms together so they lock against one another. We can then step forward with our right leg which will pitch Uke forward and initiating a forward flip. Uke will land on his or her back in front of you with Uke’s head near your feet.

Momentum Throws

This is a relatively simple throw but it requires that your opponent has already provided some significant forward momentum. The necessary momentum may come from an Oi Tsuki or perhaps from a Mae Geri that causes the opponent to step forward rather than retract the kick. However it is derived, some forward momentum on the part of the opponent is required to make this throw effective.

As the opponent moves forward grasp his or her front hand and then step back but to the face side of the opponent. The purpose of this movement is to increase the forward momentum and pull the opponent forward over his or her front foot. As the opponent’s center of gravity moves over his or her front foot, lower your center of gravity and circle the opponent’s front arm down and inward briskly. The opponent will do a forward shoulder roll ultimately landing on his or her side or back. You may wish to retain control of the opponent’s front arm which may prove useful for subsequent locks or other manipulative actions.

Often this throw is done by holding the opponent’s front arm with both of your arms. It is also often done by using one hand to help pull the opponent’s head forward and down just prior to pulling his or her hand inward and down. This can add to the forward directed energies necessary for the throw to be successful. It is also beneficial when working with a partner to help guide the Uke into a safe forward roll.

Bent Elbow Throw

This throw can be difficult to establish in some situations but is quite successfully accomplished if the initial setup requirements can be established. The throw requires that you can bend the opponent’s arm substantially while being close enough to wrap both arms around the resulting bent arm. This is not always easy to do safely in a heated conflict.

Grasp the opponent’s front arm wrist or lower forearm with your back hand and force the opponent’s elbow to bend completely. You will normally collapse the opponent’s hand back toward his or her chest thereby bending the elbow completely.

Bending the arm can be accomplished by using your front hand to crease the opponent’s elbow as you step to the opponent’s face side. Before your front hand is trapped in the crease of the elbow, slip your front hand under the opponent’s triceps then up until it too can grasp the opponent’s front wrist.

With both hands holding and trapping the opponent’s arm and wrist, lower and twist the opponent’s wrist to his or her side to force the throw. You may find it beneficial to rotate your center away from the opponent as this will add a circular component to the throw that helps to move the opponent’s head further from his or her feet.

The opponent will typically fall on his or her back but may land on the side opposite the arm you are holding. In most cases you will want to release the grasp of one of your arms after the throw is initiated so that you can remain more erect at the completion of the throw. If you maintain a sound grip with both arms you will be forced to lean forward resulting in a potential throwing opportunity for your opponent.

Again you will have an opportunity to place the arm you still control into a lock or use it for some other manipulative, controlling, or striking opportunity.

Inner Front Leg Throw

Move to the opponent’s face side and position your foot inside of the opponent’s front foot so that your knee rests just to the inside of the opponent’s knee. Bend your front knee and press it into the side of the opponent’s front leg while concurrently using your front forearm to restrict the forward movement of the opponent’s opposite shoulder. This is an important part of the throw because it forces the opponent to remain rooted on his or her back leg. The opponent will fall onto his or her side or back.

You will notice that you can use either leg to initiate this throw. You might step forward in a Mirroring movement. So, if the opponent steps forward with his or her right leg you might step forward with your left leg. You might alternately use a Mimicry movement. If the opponent steps forward with his or her right leg, you might step forward with your right leg as well. The alignments and mechanics of these two approaches to this throw will change somewhat, but the basic mechanism is the same. You should be quite familiar with performing this throw using both Mirroring and Mimicry.

With practice you will find you can do this throw with little or no effort and with a great rate of success. Anyone who steps forward in an aggressive manner toward you is vulnerable to this throw. It is very effective and quite easy to execute once you have had some practice to establish the relevant foot positioning, angles, and shoulder restriction skills.

It is not required to be effective, but wrapping your foot (either your heel or toes) around the opponent’s heel can provide you with some increased control. The throw works perfectly fine without this added complication, but you may find, at least initially, that this can help you get achieve and increased level of success.

When using a mirroring movement to establish this throw pay particular attention to how you are positioned relative to your opponent. If you pay close attention you may find, due to the mirroring nature of the movement, that both you and your opponent have the same position relative to each other. This means the opponent can throw you as readily as you can throw the opponent. The only real advantages you have are surprise, intent and momentum. If you delay your throw your opponent may identify an opportunity. There are ways to help mitigate the risk in this situation. Try to spend some time to think about how you might decrease the changes of the opponent reversing this throw on you when employing a mirroring initial movement.

Outer Front Leg Throw

To perform this throw you first move to the ear side of the opponent. This throw is only applicable if the opponent has stepped forward with the foot on this side of his or her body (e.g. in an Oi Tsuki). Place your foot in close proximity to the opponent’s heel. You may elect to place your foot to the outside, inside, or behind the opponent’s heel. Any of these positions will result in a similar but somewhat different throw. You may use either what had been your front or your back foot for this placement. This suggests there are numerous variants of this throw.

If your foot is to the outside of the opponent’s foot then bend your knee and rotate your center such that your knee (or possibly your shin) presses inward on the opponent’s leg, causing his or her leg to bend. Reach up and grab the opponent’s head or opposite shoulder to restrict his or her ability to restructure. The opponent will typically fall backward.

If your foot is on the inside of the opponent’s foot then press your shin (if using what had been your front leg) or your calf (if using what had been your back leg) to press into the calf of the opponent’s leg, forcing his or her knee forward. Restrict the shoulders or head to prevent restricting as the opponent’s lower torso goes weak. The opponent will normally fall backward.

If your foot is behind the heel of the opponent then you will typically try to root the opponent onto his or her nearest leg (the one you have stepped behind). Grab the opponent’s nearest shoulder and pull the opponent into your center. Hold the opponent in this position as you rotate your center away from the opponent in a manner that causes his or her center of gravity to pitch backward. You will want to rotate your feet or slide your foot slightly during this rotation to provide improved stability and to further move your opponent’s head and upper torso behind his or rooted foot.

You may find that when your foot is behind the heel of the opponent that it is still possible to use the side of your shin to press into the back of the opponent’s leg. Your ability to do this will vary greatly depending on the opponent’s structure, which leg you are using, how quickly movements are occurring, and how much of a void there is between you and the opponent. You may wish to experiment with this many times to see how and when each leg could be used to destabilize the opponent’s front leg when your foot is directly behind his or her heel.

As you can see there is a great deal of variability in the use and application of this throw. The bottom line is that if your leg or foot touches the opponent’s leg or foot then there is almost always a possible throw that can be immediately employed. Learn to feel this on first contact with an opponent. It allows you to gain an instantaneous upper hand in a conflict. These throws are easy to accomplish and quite effective.

In many of the descriptions above we speak about restricting the head or shoulders of the opponent as part of the throwing sequence. The purpose of this is to affect the opponent’s center of gravity. If you hold the head or shoulders in place, but pitch the person’s knees out from under them in some manner, then the center of gravity is suddenly shifted backward and into the torso. The person will find it impossible to support this new weight distribution with the compromised leg structure. They will readily fall. If for some reason they are resistant to the fall, a little additional pressure on the shoulders or head will provide sufficient impetus to overcome nearly any resistance.

See Also

The Octagon

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