Koshi Guruma: Extremely Effective Judo Throws for MMA, BJJ & Sambo


We all leave our neck exposed sometimes and the neck is generally the weakest part of human body.

Aim for that goal, Judo fighters invent a powerful technique: Koshi guruma – an ultimate way to punish the opponent who leaves his neck opened.

But that’s not all!

Koshi guruma is similar to harai goshi, but there is one significant difference – you need fewer clothes (judo gi) to perform a successful throw.

This leads you to the fact that the technique is more suitable for MMA, BJJ or Sambo fight.

In any grappling martial art, koshi guruma may lead to the successful control of the situation.

What makes the biggest difference, comparing to harai goshi, is the position of your front hand.

  • It enables tougher control since you wrap your hand around opponent’s neck like an anaconda.
  • The motion needs to be fluid and you have to simultaneously place your opponent on the hip as soon as you grab his neck.

This technique requires a lot of practice to master, but it is very effective against the opponent who constantly goes towards you.

The height difference isn’t crucial here because the position of the arm enables superb control.

What is Koshi Guruma?

Koshi guruma is also known as the hip wheel.

It is a very attractive throw because your opponent rotates in the air like a wheel and falls on the mat heavily.

BEWARE: No matter how strong your opponent is, this throw can also cause a heavy injury.

  • Your opponent falls from the height of at least 1.5 meters.
  • If he doesn’t know how to fall, you can win the fight due to injury.
  • As you see in the photo, the leg of the opponent can fly even 2 meters in the air!

Koshi guruma is one of Jigoro Kano’s throws.

It is also a part of Kodokan Judo.

The technique is known for its quickness, brutality, and an inability of the opponent to avoid rotation in the air and falling on his back.

You will not end up the fight only if your opponent is a world-class judoka.

In the competition, koshi guruma is a surprising technique for any opponent.

If you want to wake up the audience and earn the applause, you should attempt it.

Take a look how Ukranian judoka Zantaraia performed this throw.

So attractive and breathtaking!

Koshi Guruma In Action – Step By Step

When: Koshi guruma can be applied if you force your opponent to bend down a little bit, so your front hand can come in the level of his neck.

  • You should use your rear hand to pull his other hand down.

Who: You can perform this technique very easily if the opponent is smaller than you.

  • If he is bigger, you also have the chances – just force him to bend a little bit.

Here is a great demonstration video.

And here is the description of how you should perform it.



  • Both tori and uke stand in the guard.
  • Tori’s hand is placed under uke’s elbow, holding his kimono, while the other hand is in the level of uke’s chest.
  • Unlike in harai goshi, it is easier to apply it if both fighters are standing in the opposite stances.
  • But it is possible of the same stances too!
  • Make sure you grab uke’s left hand tight!
  • If uke places his right hand on your shoulder, it makes the throw easier.


Sweeps backward with his right leg & goes forward

  • Tori sweeps backward with his right leg and goes forward, decreasing the distance between himself and uke and maintaining the pressure with his left arm in the level of his elbow.
  • Tori turns the right hip towards uke and rotates his right leg around 110 degrees counterclockwise.
  • At the same time, he puts the right arm around uke’s trapezoid muscles.


  • Place your right leg between the legs of your opponent.
  • There is no need to slide towards uke in this phase.
  • He can easily defend by pushing you or moving sideways.


Close your right hip towards uke & continue rotating your right leg until it reaches 180-degrees

  • Your left leg also rotates 180-degrees counterclockwise, following the right leg.
  • Turn the back towards the opponent.
  • Wrap your right arm around his neck in the level of his right triceps muscle, pulling his right hand towards the ground at the same time.
  • Bend your knees.


  • When you perform an MMA version of koshi guruma, make sure you grab opponent’s neck with both of your hands.
  • Here is the demonstration video.
  • Perform some knees or uppercuts before you attempt it. Don’t worry if his hands are over your hands – he will not expect this throw!
  • You can perform a regular judo version too.


Lift your right leg on the tips of your toes. Takedown

  • Maintaining the contact with your opponent all the ti
    me, rotate your body to the left and continue pulling his right arm towards the ground.
  • Extend your knees as you throw the opponent over your hip.
  • Release your right arm of the opponent’s neck as soon as his head and your head is on the same level while he falls down.


  • Unlike in harai goshi, there is no need to keep squatting while throwing your opponent. Don’t make this error.
  • You use the rotation to throw your opponent on the ground.
  • Make sure the contact with his neck is tight all the time.


After The Throw

In MMA, you will fall directly into the side control position.

  • It is excellent for elbows, knees, and punches.
  • You can also attempt a submission, like a kimura, for example.
  • You can perform a transition to north south position or into a full mount.

When it comes to judo, you should have maintained the contact with opponent’s left arm.

  • If he accidentally falls on the side or stomach, you can attack his left arm and attempt a submission.

You can also perform a choke attempt.

You have similar options like when harai goshi is performed, no matter which martial art is

Judo Koshi Guruma – Step by Step

Countering Koshi Guruma

Basically, in Judo, you have 3 options when it comes to the koshi guruma attempt.

  • The most effective way to counter it is ushiro goshi. This video demonstrates this devastating and attractive counter.
  • There are 2 more very successful ways for counter – utsuri goshi and tai otoshi.


  • You need maximum speed to be able to perform these throws.
  • You need to catch the moment when your opponent tries to follow the movement of his right foot by his left foot.
  • So, if you hunt your opponent before he was able to place both legs on the ground, you will have great chances to finish the fight.

There is one more chance for a counter, yet not that much effective – hidari ogoshi.

In UFC, you can counter this judo throw via German suplex too. If you are a world-class wrestler like Kevin Randleman was, this is your chance.

Koshi Guruma As A Counter Throw

Koshi guruma can be a brutal counter against ouchi gari.

  • You should hunt the moment when your opponent tries to place his leg between your legs.
  • Rotate, grab his neck, and throw him over your hip.

It is an effective counter against osoto gari too.

  • In the moment your opponent tries to place his leg behind you, rotate quickly and prevent the leg from ending behind your heels.
  • Then rotate and perform a counter throw.

In Judo, one more throw can be countered via koshi guruma – kote gaeshi. Take a look at this video.

In UFC, you can use this wonderful technique to counter very dangerous Muay Thai neck clinch. Here is the video.

Note: To perform it, you have to be technically perfect – grab his arm, pull it down and use the opponent’s strength against him to maintain a dominant position.

If you have a clinch striker like Wanderlei Silva against you, this might be one of the best possible counters!

If you are fast enough to prevent opponent’s punches, this combination can come in handy!

You have many other ways to use this throw as a counter, but you should be creative.

If you are enough agile, any opponent who clinches up with you constantly risks to be countered via koshi guruma.

Remember: If a wrestler constantly works on your hips or chest, his neck is free.

You should attempt the technique, because attempting is always better than being taken down to the ground by a world-class wrestler.

Wrapping It Up

Koshi guruma is a great throw which can surprise the opponent and turn 100% defeat into a victory.

In UFC, no matter how good Muay Thai fighter you face, there is a solution for his clinching.

If his knees are good, and his hands are under yours, this is a chance to teach him a lesson.

Enjoy the way Ronda Rousey does this wonderful throw in the octagon!

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