How To Do Osoto Otoshi: Step-by-Step Guide

Osoto otoshi is a throwing technique in judo, it belongs to Ashi waza, which is the foot throws category.


In this article, you will learn:

  1. How to do Osoto otoshi in a step-by-step guide
  2. Variations of Osoto otoshi

Osoto otoshi Vs. Osoto gari

Many beginners make the mistake of confusing Osoto otoshi with Osoto gari. Although they look the same to the untrained eye, there are many features that differentiate them from each other. In our step-by-step guide, we will break down all the differences in detail.


Before learning Osoto otoshi, we recommend you starting with Osoto gari. If you don’t know how to do Osoto gari there is a full step-by-step guide that we dedicated to it. Check it here.

How to do Osoto otoshi (step-by-step guide)

Important note: In this guide, we have broken down this throw into several steps. This does not mean that you have to execute each step separately, sometimes you have to execute several steps simultaneously.

1. What grip to use? (Kumi kata)

Osoto otoshi can be done with several grips as we will see in the variation section. Here is the standard grip to use:

1. With your right hand, grip the lapel of your opponent
2. With your left hand, grip the sleeve of your opponent


2. Step in diagonally

1. Take a big step with your left leg and go behind your opponent, the further you go behind your opponent the more successful the throw will be.

2. Don’t go with your step in a straight line behind your opponent, instead, go slightly in a diagonal line towards your left side.


This is one of the differences between Osoto gari and Osoto otoshi, in Osoto gari you have to step in a straight line in order to drop your opponent in the same straight line. While in Osoto otoshi you have to step in a diagonal line, slightly outward to drop the opponent diagonally.

3. Plant your leg on the mat

This is one of the biggest differences between Osoto otoshi and Osoto gari.

Here is what to do for Osoto otoshi:

1. Place your right leg behind your opponent’s right leg, precisely behind their right knee, and plant your foot on the ground. Your foot should stay planted on the ground all the way and shouldn’t lose contact with it.


2. With your right leg, go deep between your opponent’s legs, if you have long legs and you can extend your leg until your foot gets out from the front of your opponent, do it. The deeper you go the better it is.

3. Your foot has to be on its toes for more flexibility. Planting your foot flat on the ground may expose you to ligament injuries at the knee level.


I often explain it to my judo students this way, do it as if you want to execute a Tai otoshi, except that Osoto otoshi is executed from the rear, as simple as that.

A beautifully executed Tai otoshi


This is the biggest difference between Osoto otoshi and Osoto gari. In Osoto gari, you have to do a leg reap, which means you have to hook your leg behind your opponent’s leg and kick it back in the air.

When you kick back the opponent’s leg in the air, they remain standing on only one leg, all you have to do at this point is to push their upper body to their rear, which causes them to lose balance and fall.

Osoto otoshi uses a different mechanism, you have to place your leg across the opponent’s leg and keep it planted on the ground, then force the opponent to trip over it.

Notice how Osoto gari is different from Osoto otoshi with its distinctive leg reap


4. Force your opponent to trip over your leg

This is where the lapel grip comes in handy.

1. Go with your whole body in a diagonal line, use the lapel grip, or adjust to a shoulder grip if you want, then push your opponent with all your strength forward and slightly outward in a diagonal line.

When you use the lapel grip, remember to press your forearm against your opponent’s chest in order to be able to push the whole torso.


2. Imagine that your tripping leg is a tripwire and you have to make your opponent trip over that wire. Your opponent can’t trip if they remain static, they have to move towards the direction of the tripwire.

It is worth mentioning that Osoto otoshi is not a throw to use against bigger and stronger opponents, the pushing requires a tremendous amount of force.

For smaller judokas, I recommend using other throws that rely more on technique and don’t require much strength. Osoto gari would be a better choice for smaller judokas.

5. Rotate your upper body

Since Osoto otoshi is a diagonal throw, don’t just push your opponent to the rear and expect them to fall. Yes, it might work in local tournaments, but once you get to high-level competition, you will have to do the move perfectly.



When pushing your opponent, rotate slightly to your left. Just turn your head as if you want to make a 180° rotation, then your body will follow the head automatically. The rotation is key to give more power to the throw.

Variations of Osoto otoshi

Osoto otoshi with an Ippon seoi nage grip


This is a very powerful grip to use, it is also very tricky. Once you establish the Ippon seoi nage grip, you will have two options, you can either go for a real Ippon seoi nage, or you can switch to Osoto otoshi.

The beauty of this combination is that each throw has a different direction, Ippon seoi nage goes forward, while Osoto otoshi goes backward.

You can fake one of the two throws, then once you feel your opponent resisting it, apply the other throw and go in the opposite direction.

Osoto otoshi with the Georgian grip

Sometimes you may face opponents who like to bend over and get their hips away from you. BJJ players and wrestlers do that a lot.

A great antidote for this situation is the Georgian grip where you reach for the lower back of the opponent and grab the belt or the jacket.


Note that you shouldn’t reach for the belt when you are standing in a square position with your opponent, you should always come from an angle. So step to your left side, then reach for the belt with your right hand.

Also, you should go across your opponent’s back and grab the belt from the opposite side. So if you are right-handed, go across your opponent’s back and grab the belt from your opponent’s left side.

Once you grab the belt, follow all the instructions above for Osoto otoshi.