If you haven’t heard of Angie Delgado yet, you’re about to know her name as familiarly as the best professional athletes you follow. Angie is the number 1 ranked athlete in the United States in Judo. THE number one, meaning she currently outranks all other male and female athletes in the US! As if that weren’t enough, Angie competed in the 2016 Olympics and represented the US in the 52kg category. If her accolades didn’t speak highly enough about her, wait until you see what she can do on the mats. Her specialty is The Koshi Garuma to Ouchi Gari.
In this video, Angie describes and executes one of her favorite combinations: Koshi Garuma to Ouchi Gari. Watch once first all the way through, and then re-watch to really grasp all of the details she throws into this combo. Much like a refined palate can pick out the initial taste of food, and goes back for a second bite for the equally important undertones profiles of the dish; this combination is packed with flavor and personality. Speaking of food, among the many things Angie does well, eating right is right up there with them. As a fighter, what you fuel your body with is of utmost importance. Without further ado, let's get started!
A Career in Sales
In this combination, a successful result relies on real commitment from both players. That means that the assailant (in this case, Angie) has to really sell and attempt the first throw, as if it were her true aim (the first throw referring to the Koshi Garuma). Once Angie sells it, her partner (in this case, Adonis, also a number 1 ranked US athlete in the 60kg division) has to give her a real reaction in defending the forward throw.
Newton’s Laws of Motion
Let’s take a brief moment here to throw it back to high school science class. Whether or not you paid attention to them, Newton’s Laws of Motion are in play whenever we are. In this case, the best example is Newton’s Third Law. Simply put: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Angie cites this law in the video (looks like she paid attention in science class) and it is a really fitting description for what she is doing.
By selling the first throw, she’s able to get an equal and opposite reaction out of Adonis, that reaction is what allows her to execute the Ouchi Gari using Adonis’ reaction against him. How does she do this so well? And what can you take away from this step-by-step? We’re glad you asked!
Step 1 Koshi Garuma to Ouchi Gari:
First and foremost, you have to make a committed first throw, which forces your opponent to block. Your ability to sell this throw, and their subsequent reaction, is what sets up a successful Ouchi Gari. Without you selling the Koshi Garuma, the Ouchi Gari doesn’t happen. This combination can be deadly to your opponent, but you have to set it up right.
Step 2 Koshi Garuma to Ouchi Gari:
Once you’ve sold the Koshi Garuma and your opponent takes the bait, take a step and pivot back into them and get your head close to theirs. It is very important that your head is on the opposite side as the leg you are reaping, so pay very close attention to your head placement when you spin back into your opponent.
Step 3 Koshi Garuma to Ouchi Gari:
Now the fun part: Sweep the leg! Keep contact and maintain pressure on your opponent’s chest through the duration of the sweep. Angie sticks to Adonis like glue in this video, not giving an inch and doing everything she can to support the work she just did.
Step 4 Koshi Garuma to Ouchi Gari:
Your landing is critical, by ensuring you land smoothly and maintain that chest pressure on your opponent, you give yourself the best chance at staying in control and finishing the job. It’d be foolish to not take advantage of a well-executed combination like this, the easiest way to lose it at the last moment (and you better believe it is easy) is to forget to maintain chest pressure on your opponent. Don’t make that mistake!
Combination throws are underutilized and vastly underestimated skills. When doing judo, it’s extremely important to have a super strong arsenal of combination throws. How many times have you been doing judo and felt like your opponent knew each and every move you were throwing at them? With a well-executed combination, you can trick your opponent and rack up scores, and find a way to win.
Misdirection and Trickery
Misdirection is sometimes the best way to get scores. Really selling throws, tricking your opponent and catching them off guard is the way to do it. Angie does a great job misdirecting Adonis into thinking she is fully committing to a forward direction. Little does Adonis know, she has no intention on carrying out the full Koshi Garuma. Adonis plays a strong defense, which is just what Angie wanted (and needed) and by the time she shifts her momentum and transitions into the Ouchi Gari, it is too late for Adonis and Angie scores with her backward technique.
A Final Thought
The cool part about combinations is that they can be unique to the individual. While most combinations have been tried and experimented with, you get to decide which works for you and which ones you can really sell and score with. So get off the internet, get to the mats, and try a few out! Let us know how they go.
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Do you remember learning Harai Goshi when you first began? Think back for a moment and recall what you were taught.
Harai Goshi gets taught in a multitude of different ways. In the tips that follow, you're sure to remember learning the technique initially, and maybe pick up a few new and improved methods for executing them as well. What's more is we have Kelita Zupancic, 2x Olympian, executing the lesson here! Who better to learn from than she? Ultimately, regardless of whether or no you like Harai Goshi or feel like you can utilize and identify with the throw, the video, Kelita, and the FUJI team put together a really effective step by step. Think twice before you write Harai Goshi off!
This video highlights the main fundamental principles of Harai Goshi as a throw. The details Kelita speaks to in this video are what your focus should definitely be on when drilling. When you are drilling Harai Goshi, make sure you focus on the smaller finite parts of the throw.
Have you ever heard the phrase "The beauty is in the details?" That old adage applies to life, sports, and especially judo more than anything! Once you drill the basics of Harai Goshi over and over, the rest of the big picture can be applied much more easily. Focus on the key technical points Kelita outlines, hit the mats, and then let us know how it goes!
Harai Goshi Breakdown:
In this video, Kelita Zupancic, 2x Olympain from Canada is going to teach you how she likes to utilize Harai Goshi.
A few things to pay super close attention to before we get started:
The grips she is using as well as how she manages to get the proper reaction out of her opponent.
Kelita has been using Harai Goshi for years on the international competitive stage. Make no mistake, she's an absolute animal when it comes to executing it. And without a doubt, the best person to learn this technique from. Here are some of the key details that this former World #1 athlete has when executing Harai Goshi:
Harai Goshi Step 1:
The first step to Harai Goshi is starting with a proper grip! The hand on the sleeve should be rolled underneath your opponent's arm rather than on top. Also, notice that Kelita likes to pull the head down so that her partner is forced to stand up. If you are struggling to get to this grip. When you're first starting out with Harai Goshi it's easiest to learn standing in a static position with our partners stationary. With such a technique and so many moving pieces, it is best to learn step by step and when there are limited distractions.
As with anything, we add speed as we continue drilling it and getting more and more proficient at it. As we get better and you think you might be ready for randori, take a moment and try it moving first. Ultimately, the power from this throw comes from having impeccable timing. So make sure that you are a master of each component before adding speed and complexity to it.
Harai Goshi Step 2:
Once Kelita's opponent starts to stand, she focuses on a big high pull, using her opponent's momentum against them. A common mistake made here is pulling forward and not up. It is super important that you pull UP and not forward with this technique. Reason being, we do not want our opponents reacting in a backward direction. Which will be the case if we pull forward. An upward pull will get our opponents to squat or try and move out of the way as a reaction. Think about what you want your opponent to do, and what you'd need to do in order to get them to react as such. That's the basis for any good technique, and it is true here as well!
Harai Goshi Step 3:
The key to getting this throw is to make sure you have a good strong rotation into the throw. Make sure that your back is to your partner's chest and you sweep low on the leg to finish the technique. This is the number one most common mistake for most athletes when attempting Harai Goshi. Now while we are trying to do randori we may not need a full rotation to score. It is super important to note that when you're drilling, you have to train a full range of motion. This will ensure that we strengthen all the possible muscles in their deepest respective ranges needed in order to get the technique to work.
Training Harai Goshi
There are a lot of different ways to do Harai Goshi. Every elite level athlete takes the basics and tweaks them just a little to fit their own body. This is to better suit their particular strengths, and avoid any weaknesses simultaneously. Kelita, in particular, does an exceptional job at bringing the focus of each technique back to it's very young roots. She then viciously executes the basics in order to get the most out of each technique. She does this especially well with one of her all time specialties seen here, Harai Goshi.
A Final Thought
Something to keep in mind for novice to elite level athletes: If a technique is not working for you make sure you take a step back and look at the basic principles. This will help you to see where and how you went wrong. More often than not, a simple examination of mainstay techniques will lead you right back to the problem. For complicated techniques with so many moving parts, those very finite principles and basic components to the throw are usually what we leave off when we lose focus. Make sure you return to your starting point and execute the basics exceptionally well. And, when you do, you may just be the next up and coming Kelita Zupancic. But you'll have to bring it up with her!
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Uchimata is one of the most spectacular throws in Judo. Don't believe us? Ask Alisha Galles, US National Champ in 63kg division. This technique makes for some of the best highlight reel footage when browsing YouTube. In fact, the general population probably thinks of uchimata (unbeknownst to them) every time they think of judo throws. Yep. That popular.
In this video, 3x United States Olympian Travis Stevens teams up with 63kg US National Champ Alisha Galles to show you her version of Uchimata. While basic, Alisha's version is still extremely effective in competition. Evidenced by her US champion title.
Take a look and learn uchimata from this dream team duo. They break it down into bite size pieces to help us out with comprehension. Remember, no matter what age, weight division, or gender you are, you can always learn uchimata and use it in competition. Whatever your preferred version is, just make sure it works for you!
Uchimata is one of the most spectacular throws on the IJF Circuit!"
- The best grip for Alisha's version of this throw is pretty basic but super effective. She has a hand on her opponent's collar and locks down on the sleeve with her other hand, "killing" the sleeve. This ensures that her opponent's hand cannot come up.
- Her opponent's struggle to raise that hand will allow Alisha to pull and knock her opponent off-balance. Making it easier for her to step into her opponent.
- With Alisha's pulling arm, she keeps her elbow higher than her shoulder, creating a bunch of space for her to creep into her opponent and control them.
- Use your best uchimata footwork to finish the throw!
A Final Thought
Everyone has their own version of uchimata. Travis and Alisha are both seasoned veterans in this throw. Being proficient in uchimata (amongst many others) is just one of the skills you'll learn at the team USA training location, Pedro's Judo Center in Wakefield, MA.
The best part of uchimata, aside from it being an awe-inspiring spectacle, is how accessible of a spectacle it can be. While not necessarily easy to learn, there are ways to make it your own and make it work for you and your style of judo.
Learning from Travis and his team is a great opportunity to improve your judo! Have some fun and let us know how it goes!