For the competitive judo player, it might seem counterintuitive to be offensive, but not actively attempt to score. It feels like unwrapping a chocolate bar but not eating it. Or pouring a glass of wine but not tasting it. The Double Tap Foot Sweep can be akin to these sensations, but just like abstaining from a chocolate bar can help you achieve your fitness goals, or not drinking wine can help your athletic endeavors, being offensive with this move and not scoring can set you up for a whole bunch of opportunities for success.
The idea behind the Double Tap Foot Sweep is to create the appropriate set up for bigger throws. Even if all you get out of this move from your opponent is a stumble, or you force them to move in the right direction (for your purposes) you can view it as a success. And therein lies the beauty and simplicity of this move.
Jack Hatton, ranked number 1 in the US in the 81kg division, shows us this simple yet effective technique. The Double Tap Foot Sweep works great on both same side and opposite side athletes, meaning you can be left handed against a left handed opponent or left handed against a right handed opponent and still find equivalent success. Jack is a left handed athlete and he does a truly excellent job showcasing this technique against an opposite sided opponent.
This technique can be a great way to gain reactions from your opponent, and you can capitalize upon those subsequent reactions in order to score the points you’ve been after. A few key things to take note of during the video:
Jack is able to initiate this sweep from the double collar grip. This is why this technique works so well with same or opposite side athletes and opponents, the double collar grip alleviates any concern about the handedness of either judo player. Make sure you have a firm grip on the lapel, it’s about to go down.
Notice that Jack doesn’t go right for the kill, he doesn’t sweep the front leg initially. Instead, Jack with his left leg and drives downward to achieve a reaction from his opponent. That downward motion will cause your opponent to attempt to defend and counter and will set you up for the sweep. Only then does Jack put himself in an advantageous position and go for the leg sweep.
Watch how big Jack’s step up is with his right leg. He doesn’t take a baby step and he doesn’t hesitate. He fully commits to that step and thus, the sweep. If Jack didn’t step this big with his right leg, he wouldn’t have enough power to make the sweep work fully. He may get a stumble out of his opponent, but more than likely his opponent would recover immediately and Jack would be back to square one.
When Jack does move to sweep the leg, he stays on the outside of his foot and sweeps his leg as high as he can. This is all part of the full commitment to this throw. If Jack didn’t sweep as high, his opponent’s feet wouldn’t be as firmly swept out from underneath him. Jack’s ability to sweep high is ultimately what seals the deal, takes his opponent’s legs out fully, and puts him on his back.
Without a doubt, you have heard the phrase “timing is everything” before. From job opportunities, to relationships, to swinging a baseball bat, and especially to judo, this phrase rings true in a variety of settings. With this particular technique, timing really is everything, and that’s mostly because it depends on your assertiveness, your opponent’s reaction, and you taking advantage of it.
After watching this video and reading this post, head back to the mats and give it a try. When you drill this technique, make sure that you’re focusing on the timing of the movement and not how hard you can “kick” your training partner. First, they won’t appreciate it, but more importantly, the kick isn’t the point of this throw, the point is to move yourself into an advantageous position, receive a reaction from your opponent, and put them on their backs in order for you to find ways to score big time.
If you're looking to kick or grab your opponent's leg instead of sweep it, we're no longer talking about the same technique, are we?
When you try The Double Tap Foot Sweep out for yourself, make sure your partner knows what they are in for too. You have to have a training partner who is willing to work with you for this to work, they have to be okay with getting thrown in order for you to reap the benefits of learning and attempting this technique.
Also, make sure you're taking the time to recover between sessions appropriately. Your body needs to learn through adaptation as well as rest to properly come at training ready to go!
So while it may seem counterintuitive to be offensive and not actively try to score, trust that this technique will help you set up bigger throws, and ultimately lead to big scores. Try it out and see what works for you, don’t forget to go for the big step and see what you can get away with using this super versatile and fun technique!