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How To Do Judo Throws – 7 Key Stages

judo throws

How to do judo throws

How to do judo throws is something every beginner judoka wants to know. Learning to throw comes with lots of practice. But here are seven key points to focus on to give you a head start.

Judo moves – master them all!

Yes, that’s right. These seven tips apply to all judo moves. And no matter, if you are a novice or advanced you can keep coming back to these key points.

Basic Judo Throws

It doesn’t matter if you are starting off with basic techniques suitable for beginners like O-Goshi, De-Ashi-Barai or Osoto-Gari – or you are looking at more advanced waza like Uchi-Mata, Tai-Otoshi or Harai-Goshi these key points are the same.

For our Ultimate Judo Guide to all judo throws visit this page.

7 Key Stages to Learning Any Judo Technique


1. Get a grip!

First up! Get to grips with the grips! Each judo move has a specific kumi-kata (grip). Make sure you know what grip you are after.

For example for Morote-Seoi-Nage take hold of a simple collar (eri) and sleeve (sode) grip.


2. Break balance!

It is much easier to throw someone who is off balance. Before you attack always make sure you have broken your opponent’s balance. This is called Kuzushi in Japanese.

For example to break balance for Harai-Goshi pull your partner forwards and onto their tip toes.

3. Make an entrance!

Next focus on the entry. Make sure you turn in quickly, and that your body posture is correct.

For example the entry for an Uchi-Mata is a two-step one. First place your support foot. Then make contact with your hip.


4. Fast Feet!

The next key point to check with you are studying a new judo move is this: footwork. Good footwork is the key to good balance. When you practise look down and check your support foot. Are your toes pointing in the right direction? Are you on balance?

For example with Osoto-Gari make sure your support foot is placed to the side of both of uke’s legs, and far enough away to allow your attacking leg to swing through.Footwork – correct placement of your support foot (or feet). Good footwork is the key to good balance. 

5. Heads up!

Look where you want to throw, and the rest of the body should follow. Your head, shoulders and upper body should be aligned. Make sure all the energy of the throw is going towards the same direction.

For example with Tai-Otoshi, look towards a point on the mat where you want uke to land.

6. Be on time!

Get the timing right! If you attack too early (before uke is off balance) or too late (when uke has regained balance) you risk being countered. Practise so you feel the timing.

For example with Okuri-Ashi-Barai close your eyes when you practise and learn to feel the right time to attack, which is just as uke brings their feet together.

7. Finish with control

The judo throw has not finished until uke is on their back. So don’t stop mid-air. Finish the throw using your hands, and body to rotate uke and direct them right into the mat with control.

For example with Kouchi Gari, don’t stop as you hook the foot, but drive backwards towards the tatami.

learn judo throws

Find a technique to study

There are 40 judo throws to learn in the Judo Gokyo, which you can find in our top selling judo book. Now available to buy on amazon.

Train with Uchi-Komi

Use the Uchi-Komi Challenge to perfect your judo moves with repetition.