Tomoe Nage – Awesome Way to Stop Aggressive Opponents

Tomoe nage full


n judo, nothing is as it seems. Especially when it comes to tomoe enage, one of the most surprising throws you can apply to your opponent.

Everybody can end on his back, even the best judoka in the world. The only thing you can do is learn to counter like a super pro. And not only that – build the arsenal of sprawling techniques which will make your opponent go insane.
And as the last line of defense, you should learn to rotate in the end. Try to stay off your back, because your opponent will win the fight.

Tomoe nage is one of the best countering techniques that may turn the defeat into a victory in a split of a second. If your opponent pressures you and goes forward constantly, it’s time to teach him a lesson!

What is it?

Tomoe Nage GifAlso known as the “circle throw”, it is an outstanding throw which is found in Sambo and Sanshou. This is a very risky throw since the opponent can end on the top of you, but victory is guaranteed if you succeed.

This is one of Jigoro Kano’s throws. It is one of the most applicable techniques in the fight where one opponent is a lot more aggressive. It is another sacrificing technique – there is no tripping. Tori falls on the back in front of uke while throwing him.

This is a kind of throw where tori (attacker) needs to perform a backward roll, holding uke (opponent) at the same time. In the end of the throw, both fighters should move through the backward roll and tori should finish on the top of uke, or behind him.

In a street fight, it is an outstanding way to get an advantage and mount your opponent. Unfortunately, the technique is not possible in the UFC, since fighters fight in shorts only.

This is maybe the best way to surprise the bully in the school, especially cause he will never expect you to sacrifice yourself going down with him. A bully mostly catches your clothes in the level of your chest. It is a perfect chance for tomoe nage. Especially since you need no power at all to execute the throw. The only thing you need is an aggressive bully going towards you and holding your clothes. If your technique is good, a bully will fall like a rock!

Enjoy some world-class examples of tomoe nage.

Executing the technique

You can use this technique as a counter attack. Especially in the situation when the opponent thinks his aggression will kick you out of the ring. Well, this is a great mistake!

You must remember one thing – create the momentum towards your back, in the direction your opponent is facing.

Here is a good video of how to perform tomoe nage.

The faster your opponent is going, the further he is going to fly!

Tomoe Nage Execution

Executing Tomoe Nage 

  • Step 1:

Both opponents are standing in the guard. The classical method means you need to step with one leg forward, lowering your center of gravity. If you are right footed, make a step with your left leg forward.


  • You can switch step forward to shorten the time.
  • Explode of your feet and make an explosive step forward.
  • Step 2:

Place the foot of your right leg on the left hip of your opponent. Holding the uke all the time, make sure to perform semi-squat on your left leg. Sway backward then pulling your opponent down towards the mat.

  • Step 3:

Fall on your back and continue rolling, fully extending your right leg. Release the hands off his kimono in the moment when he is found vertically above you. Throw the opponent over your head on his back, letting him slam off the ground.


  • You can hold opponent’s kimono all the time. This will enable you to get into a mount position, which will maintain better control of the situation.
  • After the throw:

Depends on how you threw the opponent, make sure to get the best out of the situation. If the opponent felt on his back, the fight will be over. But if he fell on his side, you perform yoko tomoe nage (side circle throw). This throw will not end up the fight, but it will force you to continue the fight and try to mount your opponent via kesa gatame, juji gatame or other control position.

Other things to mention

Tomoe nage has few variants which you can perform on the mat. It depends on the grip you use, the stance your opponent (uke) uses, and the direction you throw. There is one more variant which is very often used in competitions for scoring – yoko tomoe nage.

When performing yoko tomoe nage, the technique and holding are basically the same, with one significant difference. Your right leg goes more to the right or left since the opponent flips in the air and falls on his side.

The throw also has a few aliases – circular throw, stomach throw, and the monkey flip.

This technique can counter many types of attacks:

  • O uchi gari;
  • Ko uchi gari;
  • O soto gari;
  • Any type of the attack when the opponent moves towards you if you catch the moment his legs are in a parallel stance.

You can actually keep your opponent’s kimono all the time while rolling. This will enable better control. In a street fight, if you keep your hands on his clothes all the time, you will get on the top of him and be able to punch him from the mount position. Take a look at this world-class scene (2:17) from “The Way of the Dragon”. This was a world-class tomoe nage!

If your opponent performs a combo of hooks, you can also duck under him and perform a world-class tomoe nage.

One more thing – this is a throw which can easily be applied if you are smaller than your opponent. It is easy to place the foot on his hip and throw him over yourself since your center of gravity is lower.

If you want to create a situation for tomoe nage off the combination, try to perform ko uchi gari or o uchi gari before attempting it. It may confuse your opponent and leave him open.

Countering tomoe nage

This technique is a counter by itself, so it would be very hard to counter it. However, there are some things you can apply and escape this throw easily, turning it into your mount position.

Here is one good example.

Make sure to fall on your legs and quickly switch to side mount of north-south position. This will enable you to gain an amazing control of the situation.

You can counter him with o uchi gari (major reaping throw). When he tries to place his right leg on your hip, quickly place his left leg between his legs and teach him a lesson!

Another good option is to push your opponent and move your body backward. This will create the harder situation for him. Make sure to lower your center of gravity, this will make the job more difficult.

When your opponent tries tomoe nage, you can quickly turn your hip towards him. If he attacks with his right leg, turn left hip and vice versa for the left leg. This will decrease the surface required for his foot. There is a good chance he will miss and you will come in the dominant position.

And keep one thing in mind – your opponent wants to create forward force. Use the Third Newton Law and perform the opposite. He can easily end up on his back!

Wrapping it up

This is excellent, surprising technique. You can easily surprise your opponent if you catch him off guard. Or you can surprise someone who underestimates you.
Tomoe nage is an outstanding technique for your judo defense arsenal. Here are the tomoe nage competition highlights. Techniques are mostly performed by Japanese, which makes it more impressive.

Master this technique! And one more advice – if you are lower than a brown belt, your opponent will not even think of this brutal counter technique. This is your chance!

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Robert Sterling

Teaching, Friendly, Young, Passion. Always wanna go up & down. Hey, you gotta live, do you?  

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