Kids Judo Books by Koka Kids
Judo Books by Koka Kids

Ashi-Waza: 5 Best Leg Throws For Beginners


Ashi-Waza are not easy to learn. They require timing and a great deal of practise to perfect.

But they are an essential skill and beginners should start learning them as early as possible.

Why? Because great footwork means great throwing skills.

Ashi-waza develops movement, it is key to breaking balance and forms the building block to many judo combinations like for example Osoto-Gari into Uchi-Mata.

Ready to get going? We suggest your start with these five throws:

What is Ashi-Waza?

First up though. What is Ashi-waza?

It is the Japanese term for all foot/leg techniques.

Judo throws like uchi-mata, ashi-guruma, hane-goshi all fall into this category and you can find tutorials ashi-waza in these judo books.

There are 21 ashi-waza to learn

See the full list in Judo Throws: The Ultimate Guide to Every Judo Technique.

Or watch this superb compilation by Efficient Judo.

Top Five Ashi-Waza for Beginners

Let’s whittle that down to a more manageable five.

Here are our top five throws suitable for all judoka, including beginners:

1. De-Ashi-Barai

Ashi-Waza Deashi Barai

To see the full tutorial click on the title of the throw.

2. O-Uchi Gari

O-uchi-gari leg throw

To see the full tutorial click on the title of the throw.

Or click to get Ouchi-Gari coaching resources.

3. Kouchi Gari

Ashi-waza called Kouchi Gari

To see the full tutorial click on the title of the throw.

4. Hiza Guruma


To see the full tutorial click on the title of the throw.

5. Osoto-Gari

To see the full tutorial click on the title of the throw.

Ashi-Waza Combinations

All of the above are perfect for direct attacks.

But their use explodes infinitely when you start using them in combinations.

Use them to get a reaction. To create movement. To set your partner up.

Here are some classic combinations to try:

  1. De-Ashi-Barai into Uchi-Mata
  2. O-Uchi Gari into Tai-Otoshi
  3. Kouchi Gari into Morote Seoi-Nage
  4. Hiza Guruma into Harai-Goshi
  5. Osoto-Gari into Osoto-Guruma

Dojo Drills to Improve Footwork

To get really skilled you need tons of practise.

Use dojo drills to improve the fundamentals. Work on balance, movement, kuzushi and timing.

Get creative with your drills.

Use the force!

Ashi-waza drill

This drill develops timing.

Feel when is the right moment to attack. Stop trying to look.

Tori closes or covers their eyes. Both judoka step to the side. As uke brings their feet together Tori can try a footsweep like Okuri-Ashi-Barai.

Start slowly, only building up speed as the skill comes.

Kuzushi Pulls

Games and Drills for Ashi-waza Judo

This drills improves the forward pull needed before a backward attack.

Pull uke up from a seated position. Pull sharply and keep your back straight. As uke steps forwards throw backwards with Kouchi Gari or Ouchi Gari.

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