Sasae tsurikomi ashi is a foot throw (Ashi-waza), it is one of the first techniques that beginners learn in judo.
In this article, you will learn:
- How to do Sasae tsurikomi ashi (Step-by-step guide)
- Variations of Sasae tsurikomi ashi
- Combinations of Sasae tsurikomi ashi with other judo throws
Many judo novices confuse Sasae tsurikomi ashi with Hiza guruma and think that both names are for the same throw, which is completely false.
Step-by-step guide to Sasae tsurikomi ashi
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. Setting up your throw
Sasae tsurikomi ashi relies extremely on setting up the opponent like the majority of judo throws.
In high-level judo, you can’t just come and execute a throw out of nowhere, it could work in a low-level match, but once you get to face competitors in the higher brackets, you will have to work on setting up the throw.
One of the best setups is to fake an Ouchi gari:
- Let’s suppose you want to execute a Sasae tsurikomi ashi with your right foot.
- Fake an Ouchi gari with your left leg
- Your opponent will step backward with their right leg to avoid your Ouchi gari
- Your opponent’s left foot is now close to your right foot
- That’s when you execute your Sasae tsurikomi ashi
2. Which grip should you use?
Kumi kata or grip fighting is essential to every throw in judo, Sasae tsurikomi ashi is not an exception. You should get a dominant grip over your opponent.
One of the most used grips for Sasae tsurikomi ashi is this one:
- With one hand grip on the lapel
- With the other hand, grip on the sleeve of your opponent, either from under the elbow or the tricep.
3. Elevate your opponent
Before throwing your opponent you should put them slightly off balance by elevating them and putting them on their toes.
- Use both grips to pull your opponent towards you, this will put them slightly on their toes.
- With the grip that you have on the sleeve pull upwards
- With the grip that you have on the lapel, make a fist and push upward as if you want to throw an uppercut.
- With this pull and push motion, your opponent will be slightly out of balance.
4. Step in
Now it’s time to step in and close distance:
- Step with your non-sweeping foot towards your opponent. Assuming that you want to throw your opponent using your right leg, take a step with your left towards your opponent’s right side.
- Your step will help you generate more force and momentum for your upcoming sweep
5. Path of the throw: North-South
This is the main key to the throw, you shouldn’t trip your opponent and keep them in the same position they are standing at.
When executing the throw you should end up in your opponent’s place and your opponent should end up in your previous place.
In a north-south example, if you were standing north and your opponent was standing south before the throw, you should end up south and your opponent north after the throw.
Imagine this throw as if you want someone to walk into a tripwire, they can’t trip on the wire if they are standing in the same place, they need to be walking or moving. Your foot is the tripwire, make your opponent move forward.
Also, if you stay in the same place and try executing a Sasae tsurikomi ashi, you won’t be able to generate any power for the trip.
6. The sweep
Now that you have applied all the necessary setup moves, it’s time to put the final touches of the throw, the sweep.
Which part of your opponent’s leg should you sweep?
The lower you go the more effective is the sweep. Some judo players prefer to go for the ankle, others prefer to go for the lower shin. Either way, you shouldn’t go above the calf, or you will be doing another throw with completely different setups.
Which part of your foot should you use for the sweep?
You should use the sole of your foot and precisely the arch of the foot.
Don’t use the ball of the foot, it can be slippery, you should rather trap your opponent’s ankle in the curved arch of your foot.
Also, one important tip is to curl your toes as if you want to grip something with them, this will make your foot as a scooping tool.
7. Twist the upper body
Remember that north-south example we talked about in step number 5? Now is the time it comes in handy.
Notice how the blue corner judoka twisted his opponent’s upper body
If you want that “north-south exchange” to be successful, follow these steps:
- Students make the mistake of just pulling, that’s the first instinct they feel when they hear “south-north exchange”.
- You should do a steering wheel motion, a twist. One arm should pull, the other should push
- Use the grip you have on the sleeve to pull your opponent towards you and a little bit downward
- At the same time, use the grip you have on the lapel to push your opponent towards the sweeping foot.
- The idea is to do exactly as if you are handling a steering wheel
- All this should be done while executing step number 4: Step in.
This might look complicated to you, but if you drill these steps sufficiently you will be able to execute them all simultaneously without having to think.
The difference between Sasae tsurikomi ashi and Hiza guruma
As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, many students confuse both throws for the right reason, they are very similar to each other.
Sasae tsurikomi ashi
Here are the main differences between Sasae tsurikomi ashi and Hiza guruma:
A. Foot placement
Sasae tsurikomi ashi targets the ankle or the lower shin, while Hiza guruma targets the knee joint.
B. Wheeling motion (North-south as mentioned above)
Some judokas like to make that difference between the two throws, they see Hiza guruma as a wheeling technique where you have to pull your opponent into a wheel or semicircle, while Sasae tsurikomi ashi is a linear throw where you just have to sweep your opponent’s foot without having to move your opponent in a semicircle.
Personally, I don’t agree with this distinction, I believe that both throws can use that wheeling motion trick (as explained in step number 5). If you watch high-level judo matches you will notice veteran judokas apply the same trick on both throws