Foot sweep drill, part 5

Yoko wakare

This time, we'll look at several options when you sweep at uke's foot and he pulls it away and you miss. Originally, we looked at putting the left foot down next to uke's left (toes pointed across the line, or toward uke's rear) and then getting kosoto gari. Then we put that left foot down turned toward uke and slipped into tani otoshi or a sit-down variation of sukui nage (or even gedan ate for the aikido players). Lastly, when we put the foot down turned even further in throw to uke's front we got either ashi guruma or o-guruma.

Another possibility (again, assuming I swept with my left and uke pulled his right foot back out of the way), is to put my left foot down right behind my right heel (on the balls of my toes). Basically, you turn and end up in a classical tai otoshi.

I'm always wary, though, of just spinning around willy-nilly in front of uke, so I feel like I'd better have a very real kazushi first. I think what prompts me to take this kind of backward step, as opposed to stepping forward as in the first three throws, is just how much uke is bracing against me to keep me away from his feet. If he's braced so hard that I can't step forward for kosoto or ashi guruma, I might as well go with that energy and put my foot down behind my support leg and use his bracing forward energy to through him forward. In other words, I don't think I want to just arbitrarily decide, Hey, I like tai otoshi, so I'm gonna spin around in front of him and throw him, ha ha! I'm pretty sure Kyle Sloan sensei would choke me mid-turn.

Here's a weird one. Let's say that I'm sweeping with my right foot now and miss (uke pulls back his left). My original idea was to put my foot down in between uke's, toes pointed out to my right (toward uke's front, parallel to his line), then let my collar grip slide down to his elbow, go up with my left hand (which is already on his other elbow), step in with my hip and get sode tsurikomi goshi.

It's not a bad idea, per se, and could work. But the interesting thing was, if I did exactly what I just described with my hands after he pulled his foot back, that alone tended to throw him or at least get him perched forward on the edge of a cliff. Something about the hand going from the collar to his elbow directly over that empty hole in space he just created by pulling his foot back just really screwed with his architecture. At most, I'd say all you might need is to stick the left leg out in front of his far knee and catch another ashi guruma.

I suspect, though, that if I swept with my right foot, actually caught uke's foot and made him pull it away, then I can predict that hole happening a little more in advance, and do the elbow thing at the precise moment his foot is traveling back (rather then after, or after I realized that my initial sweep had failed), no foot was necessary. Anyway, just something to play with.

Another possibility was yoko wakari, another sutemi waza (or sacrifice throw) or even yoko guruma or yoko otoshi. I attempt a sweep with my left, uke pulls his right foot out of the way and I miss, I don't just put that left foot down in a step, but I proceed to do a fall. I could do a side fall to my left which is yoko wakari, or let my left foot slide in between uke's and take a fall which is more yoko guruma. For yoko otoshi, I would put my left foot down in between uke's feet, then put out my right leg in front of uke's left as I sat down. I'm not 100% sure about any of these, but I suspect they live there.

Sacrifice throws are always a bit dodgy, of course. If I can help it, I'd rather not just jump on the ground and give uke the chance to just land on top of me. Usually, I think of sutemi waza as sort of a last ditch effort; I'm going down anyway because the other guy got me in a throw but didn't get all of it, and I'm attempting to counter it, that sort of thing.

Nick Lowry sensei also commented that yoko tomoe nage might exist in the condition where I miss with my left foot, I put it down, and stick my right leg into uke's gut, but I have no experience with that throw whatsoever, so I won't even attempt to elaborate on it!

Next, we'll take a look at a whole host of throws that stem off of uke pushing back forward after we catch his foot. We've been playing with this a lot lately in morning class and have had a considerable amount of fun with it!


  1. Why, thank you my friend. Indeed, I do like the application of shime-waza when folks decide to turn around directly in front of me. It's very easy to apply ushiro-goshi when your partner does this.

    It's also a little eerie you mention tai-otoshi. We worked on that last night for about 20 minutes.

    Keep up the nice work! I really love what you're writing.


Post a Comment