Skip to main content

Examining 3 Judo Throws for BJJ


Judo Throws in BJJ

Judo is an excellent complimentary art for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and one from which BJJ was created originally. However, there is a disconnect between sport judo techniques and sport BJJ techniques; some throws put you in a very vulnerable position when you hit the ground, and others allow your opponent to reverse the position and come up on top after the throw, even if it would have been ruled an "ippon" (instant win) in sport judo. Here, we'll take a look at three relatively safe throws to use for BJJ competition, and discuss briefly why the transition to the ground can be successful with these particular options.

O Goshi and Ko Tsuri Goshi

White belts in BJJ often learn the "hip toss," which is really one of two throws: o goshi (major hip throw) and ko tsuri goshi (minor lifting hip throw—note that translations can be somewhat imprecise, but the gist of the move is thus described). One easy way to begin learning this technique is to start with standard judo grips, with your right hand on their lapel, and your left hand on their sleeve. Release the right-hand lapel grip and shoot for an underhook on your partner's left side.

Where you grab will determine which type of throw you will do here. If you grab the belt, it's ko tsuri goshi, which is just fine for this standalone technique. Alternatively, pat your partner in the middle of the back, and then you have o goshi. Either way, you will now have the ability to lift your partner off the ground with your right arm. Step in front of them, making sure your feet are inside of your shoulders (if you're too wide here, it is very difficult to lift your partner). You should now be facing the same direction as your partner.

Make sure your right hip moves out in front of your partner's hip, facilitating the throw (and making it all but impossible for them to step around and avoid being lifted and thrown). Accentuate the off-balance by lifting on the sleeve as well, and you can finish the throw, being careful to pull up on your partner's sleeve to help them execute a proper breakfall (and so that you don't inadvertently follow them to the ground and get rolled in the process!).

Entering Into Tane Otoshi

The next throw is tane otoshi, or "valley drop" (again, very loose translation here, but I don't really care what you call it, as long as you do it properly!). Enter into o goshi as before (avoid grabbing the belt for this one, but instead, grab the fabric of the gi right where your partner's shoulder blades come together).

When your partner pushes their hips forward in order to prevent being lifted and thrown with o goshi, simply step behind them and extend your right leg all the way behind both of their legs. Now, sit. As you sit down, your partner's weight will come down with you (this is technically classified as a sacrifice throw for just this reason). Make sure your right foot points away from your partner so that you avoid pulling them onto your knee and hyper-extending your knee joint! From here, you should be able to come up into side control.

Tane Otoshi as a Counter

Similarly, if someone is trying to throw you forward, you can counter with a tane otoshi. As they step in to throw you forward, it's important to stop their forward momentum first by pushing your hip forward and pulling your sleeve back. As you do this, simply grab the back of their gi, around the same spot you grabbed to execute the more offensive version of this throw described previously.

From here, you can simply extend your leg (it's my left leg in the video shown), and then sit down, pulling your partner down with you.

Ko Uchi Gari: Pulling

Ko Uchi Gari, or "minor inside reap," can be a fantastic throw for BJJ. Start with standard judo grips once again. This time, you want to make your partner take an exaggerated step forward with their left leg. To accomplish this, step backward with your left foot while pulling your partner's sleeve with your left hand (pull not only across, but also upward, making your partner's leg light).

From here, you need to do a shuffle step of sorts in order to catch their right foot with your right foot just as it's coming down to the ground. Timing is essential for this throw to work properly, but when it does, it is a thing of beauty. The best your opponent can hope for is a successful guard recovery once they hit the ground (and they are likely to get it).

Ko Uchi Gari: Pushing

The pushing version of the ko uchi gari doesn't differ in foot placement, but the off-balance direction is very different. Instead of trying to get your partner to step forward, you're looking to drive them backward and to their rear left corner.

You can drive your right hand through your partner's shoulders, and jam your left hand inward to their belly to help accomplish this. Another shuffle step is required to get the timing right, but it's considerably easier to hit this one than the pulling version. From here, you can go right into a knee cut guard pass.

Judo Redux

I trained judo for a number of years before fully making the switch to BJJ, and I enjoyed a great deal of success in local, regional, and international BJJ competitions (and local judo tournaments) applying the principles of judo with some slight modifications.

These changes applied almost exclusively to the transitional region, that gray area between the feet and the ground. This is often where the battle is won or lost, and these three throws provide a great example of throws you can use in sport BJJ. As always, let me know how these details are working for you! I'm all ears.

© 2017 Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith (author) from Richmond, VA on June 21, 2017:

Nice! You really can't go wrong either way, but my heart is obviously with BJJ.

Mamerto Adan from Cabuyao on June 19, 2017:

I'm now in the process of choosing between BJJ and Muay Thai to mix with my Kali. And seeing this article made me think of BJJ!