Saturday, February 27, 2010

Helpful handful; 3 most common hip throw mistakes

Photo courtesy of Mundoo

One of the distinctive features of judo is its many varied forms of hipthrows.  Judo has named hip throws from every conceivable grip with the thrower standing on two legs or one.  But despite teh amazing variety of hip throw techniques in judo, they are all doing about the same thing - planting a fulcrum (tori's hip) against uke's body, taking a grip somewhere on uke's upper body, and using that grip to spin uke around the fulcrum.
When you are learning to do hip throws it seems like there are an impossible number of things to remember - where to put each hand, where to put each foot, what part of your hip to place against uke and where to put your hip, etc...  But it turns out that there are only about 3 things that you can possibly mess up with a hip throw.

  • slippage in the grip - If you do not have a good, tight connection to uke's upper body then he can slip around in your arms and escape or your fulcrum might slip upward on his body, reducing your leverage and making the throw harder.  Whatever type of grip you are taking on uke, make sure to take all the slack out from between him and you.
  • misplaced hip - your hip is the fulcrum that you will spin uke around.  Generally you want your hips lower than uke's, and you want to place the correct part of the hip depending on the type of throw (side of hip or back of hip) so that uke doesn't slip to either side.
  • misplaced feet - you have to set your feet so that your weight and his is borne through your legs into the ground efficiently.  This generally means getting your feet closer than hip-width apart and making sure that your feet and knees and hips are all pointing in the same direction.
  • I think you'll find, as I did, that the first of these three common mistakes is the easiest to fix - just take a tighter grip with less slack.  The second two mistakes take a lot of repetition and experience to correct such that you can step into uke and get the correct hip and foot placement on the fly.
  • This is where uchikomi becomes most valuable - uke does not have to take a pounding for tori to learn to set his feet and hip properly.  In fact, only doing nagekomi when learning hip throws slows you down and punishes uke unnecessarily.  You can learn proper hip and foot placement much, much faster doing uchikomi and picking uke up to the edge of falling then setting him back on his feet.  Also, when tori is inexperienced at setting feet and hips properly, he has to apply much more force to uke to make the hip throw work, and this leads to more awkward, punishing falls.  Learn hipthrows using uchikomi and when you do start throwing nagekomi the ukemi will not be as bad.

Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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