Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Self Defense - The Outer Reaping Throw

Always start with a strike

he first time I came across the Osoto- Gari (major outer reaping throw) I was standing on the mat, holding onto a partner.

I recall that everything in the world was in its rightful place: I could see the length and breadth of the mat, the walls were all there and the waning light of the evening was still coming in from the windows.

Suddenly, the soles of my feet were facing the ceiling and my head was coming down – hard – onto the surface of the mat. My ego as well as my self-complacency was swept along with my feet. I managed to land in one piece using my very limited skill at break falls.

This angle shows the power of the simultaneous step and strike under the chin

I also recall one of the members of our class. Clairie had two short pillars for legs and a low centre of gravity, a human chassis with the heavy duty suspension of a truck. He loved nothing more than to work out with tall, skinny people.

The osoto-gari was one of his weapons of preference. He’d drive straight up from his legs and take me and the world I knew along with him. Suffice to say, I gained a deep respect for this technique!

Breaking the attacker's balance

The osoto-gari can be found in all the martial arts, particularly in Judo and Jiu Jitsu. It’s a competition move in Judo and when it’s done well, it’s breathtaking to watch.

Today, I’d like to introduce a basic form of osoto-gari shown through a few simple steps. I should add that throws like the osoto-gari require practise – and lots of repetition. Judo people practise the entry part hundreds of times on both sides just to get the distance and timing right.

1.  For the purpose of self defense, always begin by grabbing the attacker with one hand and striking with the other. In the photo shown, the strike is a punch to the area of the solar plexus – which requires skill and practise. Non-martial artists should use the basic claw or palm heel strikes.

2.  In our photo, the defender steps into the attacker’s right side. Your left foot should step deep into that direction. In fact, your foot should step out behind the feet of the attacker.

The reason? Your centre of gravity has shifted behind that of the attacker’s.

At the same time as you step, pull his arm down toward the ground with your left hand – while striking hard under his chin with the heel of your right palm. The angle of attack for your right hand should start from your lower abdomen or hip and drive up sharply.

Doing so will uproot the attacker, breaking his balance.

The final throw

3.  Now lift your right leg up behind the attacker's right leg. Slice against the rear of his right leg with the back of your right leg while pushing his head backward and down into the ground with your right hand.

Timed correctly, the effect of the throw can be devastating.

There are further variations, and I’ll cover some of them in future posts. A few that I’d like to present to you today come into play at the end of the throw…

Instead of lifting your leg high and straight, lift your leg in a bent knee position then drive the leg backward against the rear of his leg by straightening your leg and stomping the ground just behind his right foot. This is basically a stomp kick used as a throw.

The other variation has your leg extended just behind his right foot – or both of his feet – with your right foot planted firmly on the ground. From there, it’s a matter of pushing him over your right leg.

In Jiu Jitsu, we always finish an osoto-gari with either a series of strikes, kicks or a lock on one of the attacker’s limbs as soon as he hits the ground.

Remember please, the osoto-gari requires practise. But once it’s properly drilled, it’s a good weapon to have at your disposal if you’re ever attacked!

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