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Osoto Gari With Dan McCormick
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Osoto Gari With Dan McCormick

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When it comes to takedowns, we tend to gravitate toward the ones with big movements and lots of spectacle.  The Osoto Gari isn’t one of those. But you should learn it anyway.

And really, the fact that it’s a simple move without a lot of moving parts means it’s probably the ideal type of takedown for a BJJ player with no Judo experience.

Daniel McCormick, an Olympic Level Judo black belt and BJJ player, takes us through the steps in the Osoto Gari—one of his favorite moves.

One note: McCormick is a southpaw, so when you practice this throw, you may want to make the appropriate adjustments.

McCormick begins with his body almost perpendicular to that of his opponent as he grips both of his opponent’s sleeves.  McCormick’s left leg is closer to his opponent.  In case you're southpaw, too, you might be interested in Southpaw Striking Fundamentals by Chris Camozzi.

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The first step in setting up the Osoto Gari is to close the distance between himself and his opponent, and McCormick does that by pulling Michael toward him while he brings his back (right) foot right behind his left foot (1:39). 

As McCormick pulls Michael toward him, Michael’s instinctive reaction is to pull back.  This means that his momentum is already moving him in the direction McCormick wants him to go.

McCormick takes advantage of that momentum by quickly throwing his lead leg (his left) behind his opponent’s outer leg (1:41).  Quickly, McCormick puts his foot down. The combination of McCormick’s sweeping leg and his own backward momentum brings Michael down easily as McCormick steps around his falling opponent to maintain proximity (1:45).

McCormick stresses the importance of pulling your opponent toward you so that they pull backward.  Also, once he’s closed the distance, he suggests keeping our arms in tight and pushing our opponent down using our chest.  This allows us to use our full weight instead of just that of our arms.

For BJJ players, McCormick also explains how he would use the Osoto Gari against a crouching opponent who is keeping you at arm’s length.  

McCormick points out that, as an opponent pushes straight against you, they are strong in that one direction but their arms are weak against pressure from the sides.  Therefore, McCormick closes the distance by circling his arms around those of his opponent and pushing their arms to the inside or outside.  

Just as before, McCormick’s advance toward his opponent forces an instinctive pull backward in his opponent.  And just as before, McCormick throws his lead leg to the outside of his opponent’s leg and pushes them down with his chest as he circles around.

It’s not a move that’s high on pyrotechnics, but it’s a good meat-and-potatoes takedown that is worth having in your bag of tricks.

 

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