Foot sweep uchi komi

Okuri ashi harai

I guess we can't get enough of new drills in morning judo. This one is another variation of the basic advancing foot-sweep drill we typically do at the beginning of every class.

That drill consists of starting on one side of the dojo and one partner advancing and sweeping uke's foot with every step, left right left right, and so on. When he gets to the other side of the mat, it's the other guy's turn. It's primarily a control drill, although sometimes we might throw on the very last one, or have uke do tsubame gaeshi.

It's a good, solid drill, especially if you're just learning how to do a foot sweep, but after a while, I think it becomes necessary to add little challenges into the mix [sly grin]. Scott has been keen on getting guys to starting moving around in a more random fashion once they get the hang of something (green belt, maybe third brown), which is a good thing. We often teach a throw in a similarly basic fashion, with limited linear motion: uke steps back and forth with one leg, and we learn how to step on the correct line and how to do it off of uke's step, etc. It's a good way to teach a throw to someone new; but once they get the hang of it, why try to get them throwing more on the fly.

Which is usually where hop randori comes in: we move around, I throw one, then the other throws something, back and forth.

But today, we decided to try something a little different. Instead of doing the foot sweeps in a straight line, Scott had his partner going any old direction, moving around the mat. Great idea, so my partner and I started doing the same thing. Then I had them add in one throw. For example, you move forward, sweep sweep, left right left right, then at some point, I take the foot I've just swept with and step back with it, three feet on a line. As uke comes forward with me, I reach out and snag ko uchi gari. I would do that a couple of times (both sides), and then it was the other guy's turn.

Then we switched partners and did the same thing, but with hiza guruma only, also changing directions and going back to throw (although when Scott and I played, we messed around with doing an advancing hiza, which was fun).

Switch, then work with o soto gari only; then ouchi gari; then okuri ashi harai.

One thing we didn't think of at the time that may have helped would be to have uke be the one to determine when tori needed to step back into the throw by suddenly resisting or pushing slightly back forward, which would also help develop the "you pull, I push; you push, I pull" sort of flowing response.

At any rate, it was kind of a nice way to combine our foot sweep drills with our uchi komi drills.


  1. That's a great drill. I need to practice more on my foot sweeps as I'm not committed enough when i do foot sweeps and it's more of a tactic to get the opponent to move a bit so I don't get a shido for defensiveness. Essentially, it becomes an exercise in shin-kicking.

    I still need to work on my timing, and when executed with great timing and precision, a foot sweep is just beautiful.

    Anyways, thanks for the clear explanation and good idea for a drill. Of course, foots sweeps don't get drilled often enough, as most of the drills in uchikomi are the big throw drills.


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