Kosoto Gari – Real Trouble If Leaving Front Leg Exposed

April 10, 2018

Kosoto Gari - Serious Trouble If Leaving Front Leg Exposed

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ou will not face an aggressive opponent every single time. If you fight in competitions regularly, you will face various types of fighters. As you progress, you will see that most of the fighters are the masters of a counter striking. No matter how much you attack, they will use your slightest error and throw you on the back. Kosoto gari is the technique which prevents counter strikers from clinching up with you or attacking your front leg.

This technique cannot be seen easily, and you can use it in MMA. However, it is a bit more difficult unless your opponent is on the fence. In that case, you can modify your throw and catch him for his arms. However, if you have no kimono, your arms will slip, so this throw is very risky. If you are in the street or a bully attacks you, this is an outstanding way to teach him a lesson. Especially if he is bigger than you and holds your clothes on the level of your chest. However, you will need to catch the moment when he steps forward with the same leg as your front leg.

So, if you have to in the street or inside MMA cage, better not try kosoto gari so often. It is very hard to perform this technique while your opponent is on the fence, holding his arms. With the bully, the technique is possible. However, if he doesn’t step forward with his leg, it will become a different throw.

Here is a quick video tutorial which will show you how brutal and effective this throw is. Never mind how fast you are, you will need to surprise your opponent when his front leg is off guard.

What Exactly Is Kosoto Gari?

Also known as the small outer reap, it is a stunning technique which gives you an opportunity to surprise an opponent whose legs are a bit more apart then required. It is one of Jigoro Kano’s throws, which can be applied easily if your timing is good. The technique is also classified as a foot technique since your main goal is to crush the opponent by hitting him slightly above the level of his foot.

The technique is also a part of Kodokan Judo. It is an excellent technique for competitions, especially if the opponent goes away from you and looks for the opportunity of the counterattack.

There is one more type of this throw, called soto gama. The technique is a part of danzan-ryu jujutsu. It is invented by its founder, Henry Seishiro Okazaki. It is much more applicable in MMA since you can easily grab the opponent in the level of his neck. It is better if your opponent is on the fence, but you can perform this type of kosoto gari in MMA fight if there is no cage too! And the most important thing, you are falling down with your opponent in the side control position. You can continue to punch or elbow him!

However, this technique is much more dangerous in the street too. A bully can stand however he wants, when you rotate his arm and press his neck, he can be ten times stronger than you. He will simply go down!

Kosoto gari school technique

The exact definition of the technique means you use a very small movement to take uke down while holding his kimono. This video tutorial can be really helpful.

Here are the steps of how to perform it:

  • Step 1. Both tori and uke are standing in the guard. Just like with osoto gari, both fighters should assume the same stance (left to left or right to right). You need to wait for the moment when uke’s front foot is free for an attack. Press uke with your left arm rotating it counterclockwise, decreasing the distance between you and him.
  • Step 2. Place your left foot behind uke’s right leg (both in the right stance). Your foot is slight to the left of the opponent’s heel.
  • Step 3. Pull your left leg backward in the direction of your opponent’s heel towards the opponent’s toes. The movement should look like you are rubbing the mat with your left foot.
  • After the throw. You can continue to the side control position and rotate to the kesa gatame. Try to hold this position for as long as you can. You can also try kimura or armbar if you are on the top of your opponent. Kosoto gari is a good technique if you want to open the situation for an armbar attempt.
Ko soto gari steps
Ko soto gari animation
Ko soto gari animation 2

European style - an MMA or street style version of kosoto gari

You can easily use this technique to defend if somebody tries to slap you or take you down via putting his arm around your waist. It is an excellent way to surprise someone at the street. You can show a wrestler in the cage why he should stay away from your waist and hips.

Here are the simple steps of how to perform it and a video tutorial:

  • Step 1. Both you and your opponent are in the guard. You must wait for uke to put his right arm around your neck, rib or waist. When he does it, it’s your turn.
  • Step 2. Let’s assume he did it with the right hand. Wrap your left arm around his right arm and make a step to the left, placing your left foot behind his leg (described in kosoto gari step 2) and closing his right arm towards yourself. Place your right arm on his neck or on his ribs to defend his escape attempt.
  • Step 3. The movement is the same as kosoto gari step 2, with one modification. If you grab uke’s neck, move your right arm to the left and down. If you grabbed his rib, close the distance by decreasing the distance between his and your chest. Use your other hand to control uke’s movement.
  • After the throw. This is an upgraded version of kosoto gari since you are falling in side control position. You can mount your opponent, use knees to the head or body, elbows or fists to finish the fight. You can also attempt kimura or anaconda choke if you are fast enough. Arm triangle is one more option (MMA). In a judo fight, you have an opened situation for any top position where you can control opponent’s back.

Someone will ask which throw is better. In the street or in MMA ring, there is no doubt – European style and soto gama. When it comes to the judo fight, kosoto gari school technique definitively.

Countering kosoto gari

The technique can be countered with two throws – hiza guruma and o uchi gari.

O uchi gari requires an opponent to miss your front foot or unsuccessfully hits you. After that, you should just close the distance, place your front leg between his legs and take him down.

Hiza guruma is more effective if the opponent hits you too high. In that case, he will remain in off balance position. It will enable you to take him down, but there isn’t a big possibility he will fall on his back.

World-class counter abilities

Kosoto gari is known by the world-class counter abilities versus one of the highest scoring throws – uchi mata. No matter how fast your opponent is, the only thing you should do is move your rear leg by jumping to the side and avoid his attacking leg. After that, just perform kosoto gari with your front foot and you won the fight!

You can also counter kani basami via this great technique.

When you perform a counter strike, kosoto gari is usually excellent if you perform it with your front foot, catching your opponent off balance.

Zantaraya throwing choi for ippon with a Kosoto Gari in the 60kg final.

Zantaraya throwing choi for ippon with a Kosoto Gari in the 60kg final.

Wrap It Up

There is the reason why kosoto gari can defend you from the tacticians who win most of the fights by ippon. You have discovered the best counter versus dangerous Uchi Mata, but you will need time to master it. So simple, yet so effective technique!

When it comes to the European style, this is very brutal technique, designed to hurt your opponent. However, in the world of MMA, it can enable dominant position on the ground versus right-handed wrestler or grappler. The neck is the weakest part of human body, use the opportunity, take your opponent down and finish him from the side control position!

Soto gama is an outstanding defense for the street. A bully will never expect a movement like this, especially if he is 10 inches taller than you!

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