Ko uchi makikomi or Ko uchi gake is an excellent throw for judo players who don’t like to use force and prefer subtle technique over brute strength.
Note that many judo schools use the name Ko uchi gake for Ko uchi makikomi or Kouchi makikomi. In this guide, we will be referring to this throw by the name Kouchi makikomi
In modern judo, there are two versions of Kouchi makikomi, the legal version, and the illegal version.
The illegal version is the one where the leg is grabbed, which is totally banned by the International Judo Federation (IJF).
Legal Ko uchi makikomi
Illegal Ko uchi makikomi
In this article, you will learn:
- How to do the legal version of Kouchi makikomi/Ko uchi gake
- Combinations of Kouchi makikomi with other throws
Step-by-step guide to Kouchi makikomi/Ko uchi gake
For educational purposes, we have broken down this move into several steps, but this doesn’t mean you should execute one step at a time, sometimes you have to execute two steps simultaneously.
1. Fake an Ippon seoi nage
Kouchi makikomi is a very tricky throw, it doesn’t rely on brute force at all, it relies solely on tricking your opponent on which direction you want to throw them.
The trick is to fake an Ippon seoi nage and then execute a kouchi makikomi.
When you fake an Ippon seoi nage, your opponent’s instant reflex is to pull back, by pulling back they create backward momentum, now all you have to do is to capitalize on that momentum and throw them on their backside.
2. Which grip should you use for Kouchi makikomi
If you want your fake Ippon seoi nage to be believable, you have to do everything as if you want to throw a real Ippon seoi nage, and that includes the gripping.
A high-level judo player will see from miles away that you are just faking if you don’t apply the necessary grips properly.
- Grab the lapel with one hand
- With the other hand, grab the wrist sleeve, elbow or behind the tricep
3. Direction of the throw
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is throwing the opponent directly backward. This will put you at a great risk of getting countered. Your opponent could easily flip you while you are both in the air and land on top of you.
How to prevent that?
A. Diagonal line
You have to throw your opponent in a diagonal line, 45° to the side of the leg you are reaping.
When your throw is in a diagonal line, your opponent gets forced to turn towards their trapped arm, which puts them in almost a sideways position.
When the opponent is almost sideways, it gets difficult for them to make a 180° turn to flip you in the air and land on top of you.
B. Turn and lean forward
In order to force your opponent to turn sideways, you have to turn to the side you want to throw them to and lean forward.
When leaning forward, make sure to bring down your opponent’s arm with you, this will force them to turn sideways.
4. Step in
Let’s assume you want to throw your opponent using their right arm and leg.
- Take a step with your right foot to the center of your opponent’s stance. Almost between your opponent’s feet
- With your left foot, take a step towards your right foot, now, your feet are almost heel to heel. Your right foot’s toes are facing the opponent and your left foot’s toes are facing sideways.
5. Wrap your arm around your opponent’s shoulder
- Bend your knees slightly
- With your right hand, release the lapel grip, slip your arm under your opponent’s armpit
- Wrap your arm around your opponent’s right shoulder
- Tighten your control by gripping the gi above the shoulder
6. Look away
Turn your head and look away exactly as if you want to initiate an Ippon seoi nage. This will enforce your bluff and make your opponent believe that your Ippon seoi nage is not a fake one. Even the best judo veterans fall into that trap.
7. Bluff and pull
Now is the time to bluff and pull as if you want to finish your Ippon seoi nage. Your opponent will react and resist, they will pull backward.
8. Change levels
Now is the time to initiate the real attack, no more bluffing and faking. Drop your level and get under your opponent to control their weight.
Your hips should always be below your opponent’s hips. Your opponent’s hips are the center of their gravity, you need to go below it with your own center of gravity.
This is a basic rule of thumb in judo: whoever controls the hips is the winner.
9. Trip the leg
- Push forward with your supporting leg which is your left leg
- Drive your tripping leg between your opponent’s legs. You should be deep under your opponent
- Your torso should be at the level of the hips of your opponent
- Now wrap that right leg around your opponent’s right leg
- Push with your supporting leg in a diagonal line 45°
10. Use your body weight
When tripping your opponent you should put all your body weight behind. Sometimes the opponent may show a little bit of resistance by hopping on the supporting leg for a few times.
That’s when you have to be persistent and use gravity to your advantage, push with all your body weight until your opponent falls down.
11. Don’t touch the legs
There is a version where you grab the opponent’s leg for the takedown. Do not do that, it will get you a warning or a disqualification depending on the rules you are playing under.
Touching the legs or even blocking them is a foul according to the International Judo Federation (IJF).
12. Stay in control on the ground
Many judo novices make the mistake of relaxing and going limp once they have completed the throw.
This will expose you to many things, your opponent may do a quick sweep and flip you to the ground, or they may take your back and choke you if you are playing under Brazilian Jiu Jitsu rules. Stay in control!
- Try to face your opponent as possible as you can. Obviously in this throw, you won’t be able to be belly on belly with your opponent, stay on your side looking at your opponent.
- Your shoulder should be on the sternum of your opponent
- Keep supporting your position with your left leg. Posture up with it.
- Drop all your weight on the sternum of your opponent, this will prevent them from countering or moving freely. Don’t drop your weight on your hips, push with your legs to drop all your weight on your shoulder.
- Gain leverage by staying on your toes