Hiza Guruma – Very attractive way to finish the fight

hiza guruma

Many throws are basic and every opponent has it in his repertoire. Hiza guruma is a throw which is performed by world-class Judokas. Only masters of this martial arthave the ability to create a perfectly timed knee wheel which will take your opponent down to his back.

Despite the throw cannot be performed in MMA, it is a very attractive technique which leaves the crowd breathless in World Championships or Olympic Games. Even if the quality of two fighters is equal, one moment of inattention can create an opportunity for hiza guruma. What makes this throw so attractive is the rotation of the opponent. If performed properly, your opponent will spin 270 degrees or more. And he spins in two directions – towards the ground and sideways. Isn’t this one of the most attractive ways to get an applause? You can impress the crowd and make the competition more interesting if you finish the fight with this technique.

Source: Youtube

What is Hiza Guruma?

Hiza guruma is also known as knee wheel. It is also one Jigoro Kano’s throws. The technique is a part of Kodokan Judo too.

Hiza guruma is a technical throw where you use opponent’s knee to force him to roll on the ground. This is one of the most attractive judo throws. Your opponent moves like a wheel while going down. This is the reason why this throw got its name. On the other side, the use of uke’s knee to your advantage requires excellent technique, reaction, and timing.

The technique is difficult and only masters can finish the fight with it. But once you learn it, you will see how powerful it is. This technique can be both – an excellent attack and a brutal counterattack. It depends on your fighting style, but it is definitively more attractive for spectators when you use it as a counterattack.

The nature of the throw makes it an outstanding choice as a counter measure for fighters who place their leading leg between your legs often.

Executing 

The technique can be attempted when both you and your opponent are in the guard. It is better if you go forward towards your opponent since it will be easier to reach his rear leg for the successful knee wheel. You can surprise your opponent, but you can impress everybody at the same time. Hiza guruma is very dangerous in competitions.

hiza guruma steps

Here are instructions how to perform the throw:

  • Step 1. Both tori and uke are in the guard. Let’s assume your right foot stands forward. Place your left hand on uke’s elbow, while your right hand is in the level of uke’s chest.
  • Step 2. Squat down and bend your knees. Step to the right with your right foot. You have to place it 20-30 centimeters right of the uke’s left leg. Rotate your right hand counterclockwise and strengthen the grip with uke’s kimono.
  • Step 3. Pull uke’s right hand with your left hand towards you. At the same time, place the inner part of your foot on the outer part of uke’s right knee. Lean your body backward and pivot with right foot in front of uke’s left foot.
  • Step 4. Rotate your left hand clockwise pulling uke down all the time and not letting his kimono. Maintain the pressure on his knee until he is in the air. Let uke rotate in the air and move your right hand to the top of uke’s right hand while he rotates to enable better control.

  • After the throw. There are so many options! If your opponent does not end up on his back, you can perform an armbar submission. It is very easy to attempt it – all you need to do is to wrap your legs around the opponent’s right hand, place your legs under his neck and on his chest and lift the hips up. If an armbar fails, you can try a choke technique of the back control or kesa gatame from side control. A choke attempt is an excellent option if your opponent ends up on his stomach.

Source: Youtube

Countering Hiza Guruma

There are some basic techniques which can be very effective against hiza guruma.

The most effective counter is kouchi gake. Here is a perfect example, this video tells more than 1000 words. All you have to do is trip the leg which is in the air, push your body forward and decrease the distance between you and your opponent.

Source: Youtube

You can counter it with kouchi gari too. The only moment you need to wait is when your opponent drops the leg which was in the air and on your knee to the ground.

When countering with ouchi gari, you should try to rotate and hit your opponent off the side. Try to decrease the distance as much as you can. Try to touch his chest with your chest. Make a step forward and crush his leg.

You could also counter earlier with kuchiki taoshi. Unfortunately, this type of takedown is forbidden in modern Judo. However, a single leg takedown is very popular in MMA, BJJ, and Sambo. You could just catch the leg which was going for hiza guruma and pull it up. At the same time, closing the distance between you and your opponent helps you take him down.

Hiza Guruma as an attractive counter

hiza guruma counterattackO soto gari can be countered heavily by hiza guruma. When an opponent tries to place the foot behind you, all you have to do is place your rear leg on his knee while he tries to place the leg behind you and let him roll over your knee.

You can counter kouchi gari if your opponent is too slow. When he tries to place his leg under your heel, you need to be explosive. Make a step back or switch your legs and use his force against him to take him down.

Kosoto gari is vulnerable to hiza guruma. But in this situation, you will have to behave otherwise. When your opponent tries to hit you above your feet, you need to be ready to receive that hit and stay on your feet. At the same time, you will have to place your foot on his knee and perform the technique. You need to be a master of Judo for that, but the counter will be very attractive.

Other things to mention

You can continue if you miss hiza guruma. This video shows it all.

The position of your feet leaves your opponent open for uchi mata or o soto gari. When you go for o soto gari after it, make sure to feint the knee wheel properly. It will make the opponent transfer his weight to the opposite side. There is also a possibility of taitoshi if you are a master of this martial art. And you can counter with harai goshi too – maybe this is the biggest surprise an opponent can get!

As you see in the video, the most important thing is creating a momentum. You always need to go to the opposite side of your leg. For example, if your left leg attempts a knee wheel, you have to go to the right to increase the chances of a successful throw.

Wrapping it up

There are many attractive ways to finish the fight in judo. But those where your opponent rotates like a wheel are not often. If you want to be the most attractive competitor, you should definitively learn hiza guruma.

The technique is dangerous for both opponent and you. You will risk to end up on your back, but at the same time, you can finish the fight. The risk this throw has made it more attractive.

If you have an opponent who is good in counters, maybe this is a great way to attack him. This throw is both defensive and attacking. Try to combine hiza guruma with other throws. No matter how your opponent experienced is, it will give him a hard time.

Robert Sterling
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