Renraku waza: Osoto gari to kosoto gari

For the next little while (who knows, a month or so?) we're going to start incorporating a few renraku waza (combination techniques) into the morning class. I thought I'd keep a little record of some of my favorites and also include anything cool other folks come up with. And of course, if anyone has any ideas that they like and want to share, toss 'em out there!

Osoto gari to kosoto gari

We're going to start all of these combination practices by working on the first throw by itself. In this case, we took good ol' osoto gari, and did a number of uchi komi (basically, to practice the set-up of a throw without throwing) for several minutes. We want people to get plenty of practice getting the throw as close to correct as possible.

Then, we work off the premise that uke, whose weight in mostly loaded into his right foot, takes a step back with his left. This may because he's trying to step out of it, or simply trying to keep his balance and not fall. Regardless, tori will put his right reaping foot down with a forward step, too, then use his left foot to catch kosoto gari off uke's right (just as uke is trying to walk back with it).


The important thing for tori to remember is to keep shoulder-to-shoulder contact with uke, and keep leaning forward slightly. The most common mistake I'll see is having nice contact for the osoto to start with, then as uke steps back, tori lets him drift away, creating space. But you never want to let uke off the hook! Just because your osoto didn't quite work, you still have his posture broken, so don't give that up. By keeping the shoulder-to-shoulder contact with uke, and leaning forward slightly, you'll keep him off balance, bent backwards, giving your kosoto the best chance of working.

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Two is usually enough for beginners to play with, but for brown belts and above, you might try introducing a third throw to the mix.

In this case, we've tried twice to throw uke backwards over his heels, right? If he's fighting being thrown back, where is his main energy now going? Right, forward. Let's take him there.

Remember how I talked about keep that close contact and not let any space in? Well, now you need to do the exact opposite. Step back and create a lot of space, putting your left foot three feet on a line. Your arms should straighten, like taught ropes. Your right foot will then reach up and catch either hiza guruma at his knee or sasae tsurikomi ashi at his foot. If the first two throws didn't put uke down, this will turn his world upside down.