Ushiro goshi is a throwing technique in judo, it has been developed by Jigoro Kano especially to be a counter-attacking throw.
In this article, you will learn how to do Ushiro goshi in a step-by-step guide.
How to do Ushiro goshi (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. Use it as a counter-attack
Ushiro goshi is a counter-attacking throw by design, it’s rarely used offensively.
Ushiro goshi can be used against many categories of throws, but it specializes in countering Koshi waza, which means hip throws such as Harai goshi, O goshi, Hane goshi, etc.
Why does it work well against hip throws?
The center of gravity of the body is in the hips, so when the opponent attempts a hip throw, they automatically bring their hips close to your body, which creates an opportunity for you to take control of your opponent’s body by controlling its center of gravity.
You won’t be able to lift your opponent if they put their hips away from you and lean forward.
2. What grip to use? (Kumi kata)
Since this is a counter-attacking throw, I don’t recommend my students to pay much attention to the type of grip they should have.
In competition, you never know what throw your opponent will attack you with, so you can never know what grip you can end up with to counter.
Instead, I teach my students the mechanism of the throw so they can apply it from whatever grip they have.
Here is the most important mechanism you should be paying attention to; create a belt around your opponent’s waist. That is the most important thing.
At least, one arm should be wrapped around the waist of the opponent, this is how you are going to lift them.
The other hand can support the lift by gripping the lapel, shoulder or anywhere your fingers can grab the gi.
Just use whatever grip available, you have a very short window of time to counter-attack, your reaction has to be quick, don’t waste it by thinking about the ideal grip.
3. Time it perfectly
If you want to be successful at countering your opponent’s hip throw, you must become a wizard at seeing hip throws coming your way.
You have to be able to intercept the hip throw in the middle of its execution and time your counter perfectly. if you initiate your counter before your opponent’s hips make contact with your waist, you will be doing it too soon and your Ushiro goshi won’t work.
On the other hand, if you wait until your opponent starts wheeling you on their hips, it will be too late and you will be up in the air wondering what happened.
This is not something that you learn in a month or two, it is a skill that you develop by spending hundreds of hours on the mats sparring and drilling.
A good trick to use is to spar with partners who like to use hip throws in their judo game. Every judoka has a pattern of 3 to 5 favorite judo throws they go to without having to think. Choose partners who excel at hip throws.
By sparring with them, you will start feeling hip throws coming your way a mile way, it is a feeling that you acquire, it can’t be taught with words, it is something you develop a sense for.
4. Hips should make contact
Don’t try to lift your opponent until you feel that their hips have touched yours. Once they make contact, grab your opponent by the waist and bring them even closer to you, there should be no space in-between.
You should become one entity with your opponent, their body should become an extension of your own body in order to manipulate it as if it is part of your own weight.
If you try to manipulate their weight while they are away from you, you will have big difficulties and your chances of a successful Ushiro goshi will be reduced significantly.
5. What to do if your opponent counters your Ushiro goshi?
Sometimes you may face a skillful opponent who can anticipate your counter, and they may try to counter your counter.
Usually, when a high-level judoka realizes that they are in trouble and that they are going to be thrown with an Ushiro goshi, they try to save themselves by countering your Ushiro goshi with either an Uchi gari or a Ko ushi gari.
If you get countered by one of these two throws, just lift your leg up to dodge the leg hook your opponent wants to establish and finish your Ushiro goshi.
Ushiro goshi against Uchi gari
Ushiro goshi against Ko uchi gari
6. Squat and lift
A. Once you feel that you have a tight grip around your opponent’s waist, don’t waste any time. Bend your knees slightly as if you want to squat in order to activate your glutes and quadriceps for the lift.
B. Keep a straight back, a round back will risk getting you a herniated disc.
C. Don’t look down, if you look down your head will be down and your back will follow by going round. Look slightly up, this will help keep your head up and your back straight.
D. When initiating the lift off the ground, use your hips as a loading mechanism, hit your opponent’s hips with your own hips. This will take your opponent’s feet off the ground easily, even if they are heavier than you.
E. You can also use your leg to help you lift your opponent by pushing upward with your knee against their upper thigh.
7. Slam your opponent
Now that you have lifted your opponent, it is time to slam them to the ground.
A. You should slam your opponent in the same place you picked them at.
B. you should use a minimum amount of energy, don’t try to throw your opponent to the side or backward. Just take a step away, and slam them down. The lifting and the slamming should follow an up and down motion.
C. Sometimes you may execute the throw while going backward, in this case, it is okay to use momentum in your favor.