From a beginner’s perspective, O goshi and Uki goshi are the same throw. Although they both belong to the same family of hip throws, there are big differences between these two throws.
In this article, you will learn the main differences between O goshi and Uki goshi, when and where to use each throw.
The differences between O goshi and Uki goshi
1. Full hip Vs. Half hip
If you want to understand the difference between these two throws, you must know the translation first, O goshi is often translated to “full-hip throw” while “Uki goshi” is often translated to “half-hip throw”.
This is the first and biggest difference, when you execute O goshi, you have to pivot 180° and lower your level until your back is fully glued to your opponent’s belly. Obviously the entry has to be with the side of the hip, but once the toss is initiated, you have to be looking at the same direction your opponent is facing.
On the other hand, when you execute Uki goshi, you don’t have to make a 180° turn, it is executed with only half the hip, so you pivot only 130° maximum. I’ve seen high-level judokas executing successful Uki goshi with only a 90°-100° turn, but this requires extreme mastery of the technique.
Notice the full 180° turn in O goshi
Notice how he doesn’t make a full 180° turn in Uki goshi
Far hip or near hip for Uki goshi?
Now that you understand that Uki goshi is executed with only the half hip, there is a question that pops up: Which hip? Is Uki goshi executed against the far hip of the opponent as in Harai goshi, or is it executed against the near hip as in Uchi mata?
The answer is both, that is the beauty of Uki goshi.
Uki goshi against the far hip as in Harai goshi
Note that in this situation of the far hip, you have to throw your opponent to the side. So you have to take a short step to the side, then turn and execute.
Far hip Uki goshi
Uki goshi against the near hip as in Uchi mata
Note that in this situation of the near hip, you have to throw your opponent to the front, they have to fall in front of you.
Near hip Uki goshi
2. Lifting Vs. Wheeling
Another difference between both throws is that in O goshi you have to bend the knees, squat a little bit, then lift your opponent and load them on your back.
It is not the case for Uki goshi, it doesn’t require the lifting part, all you have to do is to wheel your opponent over your hip and toss them on the ground. Your hip is the fulcrum of the throw.
Notice how he bends his knees, squat then lift the opponent for O goshi
Notice how the knees are not bended with the squat as in O goshi. For Uki goshi he doesn’t lift the opponent, all he does is that he wheels the opponent over one hip.
3. The Wheeling/lifting test
A good way to know if you are lifting or wheeling is by executing the throw in slow motion, if you can do it in slow motion then it means that you have lifted your opponent, so you will be more able to go slow because your opponent is already loaded on your back, that is the O goshi mechanism.
If you are doing the wheeling and you are using the hip as a fulcrum, it will be very hard to do it slow motion, which means you are using the Uki goshi’s wheeling mechanism.
Since Uki goshi doesn’t require any lifting, it is better used against heavier opponents. Its wheeling mechanism doesn’t require much strength like in O goshi where you have to lift and load all your opponent’s weight on your back.
Also, If you are facing a shorter opponent, it is better to use Uki goshi instead of O goshi.
In order to do the lifting for O goshi, your hips have to get lower than your opponent’s hips, which is very difficult against a shorter opponent. That is why it is better to use the wheeling mechanism of Uki goshi where your hips don’t have to get lower than your opponent’s.