How to Perform Judo’s Harai Goshi (Sweeping Hip Throw)

Judo’s harai goshi is a sweeping hip throw that originated as an attempt to prevent an escape from an effective uki-goshi, or a floating hip throw. According to Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo), Shiro Saigo (one of the earliest disciples of Judo) could always devise a way to escape his throws, given enough time. When Saigo figured out how to escape from Kano’s uki-goshi, Kano had to figure out a way to prevent it. Like a good game of chess, Kano came out with thought and intention and came up with the harai goshi.

Here are our step-by-step instructions on how to perform a harai goshi:

1. While in a face-to-face clinch, step forward with your right leg - pivoting on your left foot - and place the ball of your right foot by your target’s right foot. Your foot is moving across your body to get there. Once placed, tense your big toe to get a good grip with your newly placed right foot.

2. Push the back of your right thigh up against the right thigh of your target. Use this hip as leverage and a lifting mechanism to bring your opponent off balance. It will help if you pull your opponent with your grasp on him via the clinch, to further increase the imbalance that will allow you to flip your target.

3. Once you’ve created this imbalance, you’ll want to kick your right leg up behind you - heel first - to complete the throw.

4. Finally, when the initial imbalance is created, pull them in with both arms and twist your upper body and head to complete the throwing motion. This should all be one fluid motion. Create the imbalance with your hip, initiate the throw with the leg kick and complete it with your upper body.

What’s your favourite Judo throw, and why?

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