How To Do Osoto Gari In Judo

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Judo, a martial art originating from Japan, is renowned for its dynamic throws and strategic techniques. One such technique, Osoto Gari, is a powerful throw that can be highly effective in competition. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of executing Osoto Gari, breaking it down step-by-step to help both beginners and experienced practitioners refine their skills. So, let’s explore the secrets behind this essential Judo move.


What is Osoto Gari?

Osoto Gari, also known as “Major Outer Reaping,” is a throwing technique used in Judo to off-balance and project an opponent onto the mat. It belongs to the Ashi-waza category, focusing on leg and foot techniques. Osoto Gari involves sweeping or reaping the opponent’s leg, causing them to lose balance and fall to the ground. It requires precise timing, proper grip, and coordinated movement to execute successfully.


What are the key principles behind Osoto Gari?

Executing Osoto Gari effectively requires understanding and applying a few key principles:

  1. Off-balancing: Osoto Gari is most effective when the opponent’s center of gravity is disrupted. This can be achieved by breaking their posture, using grips to control their upper body, and directing their weight onto the targeted leg.
  2. Timing and Distance: Timing is crucial in Osoto Gari. It is essential to attack when the opponent’s weight is shifting or when they are in a vulnerable position. Maintaining an appropriate distance is equally important to ensure a successful throw.
  3. Breaking the Balance: To execute Osoto Gari, the practitioner must create an opening by forcing the opponent to shift their weight onto the targeted leg. This can be done through footwork, sweeps, or combination techniques to disrupt their stability.


What are the steps to perform Osoto Gari?

To execute Osoto Gari effectively, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Establish a strong grip: Secure a dominant grip on your opponent’s upper body, using either an overhand or underhand grip.

Step 2: Off-balance your opponent: Use a combination of footwork, sweeps, or other techniques to break the opponent’s balance and shift their weight onto the leg you intend to reap.

Step 3: Timing is key: As the opponent’s weight shifts, position yourself for the attack, ensuring the correct distance between you and your opponent.

Step 4: Reap the leg: With precision and explosive power, drive your leg across and behind the opponent’s targeted leg, sweeping it in a reaping motion while maintaining control of their upper body.

Step 5: Follow through: Complete the throw by rotating your body and driving your opponent to the ground, controlling the descent to ensure a clean and successful throw.


What are common mistakes to avoid when performing Osoto Gari?

While learning Osoto Gari, it’s crucial to be aware of common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Weak Grips: Failing to establish a strong grip can diminish your control over the opponent’s upper body, reducing the effectiveness of the technique.
  2. Incorrect Timing: Executing Osoto Gari at the wrong moment can lead to an unsuccessful throw or even put you in a disadvantageous position.
  3. Poor Footwork: Neglecting proper footwork can hinder your ability to create the necessary off-balance and prevent effective reaping of the opponent’s leg.


How can I practice and refine Osoto Gari?

Improving your Osoto Gari technique requires consistent practice and attention to detail. Here are some tips for practice:

  1. Drills: Perform solo drills to focus on footwork, balance, and hip movement. Repeat the steps of Osoto Gari to enhance muscle memory and coordination.
  2. Controlled Randori: Engage in controlled sparring sessions with training partners to practice applying Osoto Gari in a dynamic, realistic setting.
  3. Seek Expert Guidance: Training under the guidance of a qualified Judo instructor will help you receive personalized feedback and corrections to refine your technique.


How can Osoto Gari be used in a competitive setting?

Osoto Gari is a versatile and widely utilized technique in Judo competitions. It can be employed as a standalone technique or in combination with other throws and techniques. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to exploit an opponent’s balance and capitalize on their movements. By mastering Osoto Gari, you can surprise your opponents, score valuable points, and create opportunities for follow-up attacks.



Osoto Gari is a fundamental Judo technique that demands precision, timing, and coordination. By understanding the principles, practicing diligently, and avoiding common mistakes, you can enhance your proficiency in executing Osoto Gari. Remember, consistent training and seeking guidance from experienced instructors are vital for honing this technique to perfection. With dedication and practice, you can add this powerful throw to your Judo arsenal, increasing your chances of success both on the mat and in competitive scenarios.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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