How To Do Soto Makikomi: Step-by-Step Guide

Soto makikomi is a throwing technique classified as a sacrifice judo throw. The translation of Soto makikomi is “outer wrap around” which means that it is executed as if you want to wrap your opponent around your own body.

Many people confuse Soto makikomi with Osoto makikomi. They are very similar but have different usages and directions. If you want to learn how to do Osoto makikomi check this full guide.


In this article, you will learn:

  • How to do Soto makikoma (step-by-step guide)
  • Variations of soto makikomi

How to do soto makikomi (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. Understand the throw first

Before getting into the technical breakdown, I want you to understand the principle of how Soto makikomi works.

Soto makikomi relies primarily on taking the opponent’s arm and spin as if you want to wrap yourself in a sheet. When you spin and take the arm with you, the opponent’s body follows the arm. That is the main principle of the throw.

Important note: Soto makikomi can be a great counter-attack against many throws, here is an example of how Soto makikomi is used against Osoto gari


2. Get a good grip (Kumi kata)

A big part of executing a successful Soto makikomi revolves around the grip, especially the grip of the opponent’s arm you are going to use for the throw.

As explained in the first step, Soto makikomi is a throw where you have to turn and wrap your opponent around your body, the mechanism used for this wrapping is the opponent’s arm.

The best way to grip your opponent for Soto makikomi is by:

  • Gripping the lapel with one hand
  • Gripping the elbow or the tricep by the gi, some judokas use a wrist sleeve grip, but I always teach my students to go high on the arm (the elbow or the tricep).

All what this judoka needed was to grip his opponent’s arm


Why grip the elbow or the tricep instead of the wrist sleeve?

The reason I prefer going higher on the arm is because -as explained in step number 1- you will need to pull the opponent’s arm around your torso and wrap it around you, the more leverage you have the more successful the throw will be.

I often tell my students this: “be greedy with the arm, take it all with you”

3. Trap the arm

In this guide, we will assume that you will throw your opponent using their right arm, which means that your right hand is gripping the lapel and your left hand is gripping the sleeve or the elbow.

  • Release the lapel
  • Go with your right arm above your opponent’s right arm
  • Put your opponent’s shoulder under your armpit. If your opponent is taller than you and you can’t put their shoulder under your armpit then it is okay to go for the upper arm.
  • Now press your right elbow against your body to trap your opponent’s arm

Notice how the blue gi competitor traps the white gi competitor’s arm under her armpit


Here is another example of a good control of the arm 


It is worth mentioning that some judokas don’t trap the arm between their elbow and body and prefer to extend their arm in the air.
Soto makikomi can also work this way, but I always teach my students to gain every inch of control they can, because in high-level judo competitions, one inch can be decisive in the outcome.

Here is an example of not trapping the arm under the armpit


4. Step in and pivot

While doing step number 3:

  • Take a step with your right foot towards your opponent’s right foot
  • Pivot on your right foot to face the same direction your opponent is facing
  • Now take a step with your left foot
  • You should end up facing the same direction your opponent is facing

5. Initiate the spin

Now we get to the spinning phase where you do your spin as if you want to wrap your opponent around your body.

  • Roll with your right shoulder to your left
  • Now spin your whole body
  • While spinning, take your opponent’s arm with you and keep a tight grip on it. You don’t want it to slip while you are doing your spinning.
  • Your opponent’s body will follow their arm and they will be off-balance

6. Leg trip

If you have great control over your opponent’s arm, your Soto makikomi will be successful without even doing the trip.
But as always, we always look for the perfect throw that can work at the highest levels of judo competitions.


  • When you initiate your spin, extend your right leg in front of your opponent’s right leg.
  • Your right foot must be on the ball and the lower part of your leg must be crossing the lower part of your opponent’s leg.

7. Follow through

Many judo students make the mistake of releasing their opponent once they fall on the ground, don’t do that. You should maintain your control over the arm even after you hit the ground.

Usually, a successful Soto makikomi results in Kesa gatame, it doesn’t have to be necessarily Kesa gatame, but you have to maintain control so you can transition to whatever move that seems adequate at the moment.

This is a great example of full control  in the ground


Variations of Soto makikomi


Knee drop Soto makikomi

Sometimes, the competitor bends over in order to put their hips away and prevent you from throwing them, it happens in judo but it happens more in sambo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


One great way to counter that stance is by throwing a knee drop Soto makikomi, it is so easy from that stance, because your opponent is already bending over and giving you their arm.
Also, when your opponent is bending over, it is easier to go with your arm above their arm and trap it under your armpit.

For a knee drop soto makikomi, follow the same instructions above, only add this step: When you drop on your knees, make sure that the distance between your knees is shorter than the distance between your opponent’s feet. In other words, go between your opponent’s legs.

Soto makikomi with the Georgian grip

Another way to counter bent over opponent’s with low stances is to go for the Georgian grip.
The Georgian grip is when you grip the back of the belt of the opponent.

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  • Once you have your opponent by the back of the belt, step to the side with your left leg
  • Reap their right leg with your right leg
  • Use your Georgian grip to spin them in the air

Knee drop Soto makikomi and Georgian grip makikomi are very effective against BJJ and sambo players.