Are there throws in Judo or other grappling styles that involve gripping (encircling) the neck to make the throw, and, if so, how dangerous are they?

(Alternately, are they impractical, unlikely, easy to counter, or inadvisable as lower percentage?)

  • Are there throwing techniques that utilize the opponent's neck?

I've never been thrown by the neck but I've been set up for it by expert grapplers.

  • Note: I've seen kubi nage, but practiced safely, and I'm thinking also of throws that cannot be practiced safely, or throws can be practiced either safely and unsafely, and how they differ.)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 0:28
  • 1
    My first thought is the wrestling snap-mare, but I don't know how realistic it is. Actually, come to think of it, the DDT kind of fits too and I've seen people use that in fights. Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 1:14
  • @MacacoBranco The neck grapples I'm most thinking of in my systems come from bagua, and the worst is when it's essentially a reverse headlock, back to back.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 1:17
  • 1
    I think more basic: In no-gi grappling and wrestling, one of the primary holds is the back of the neck. Wrestling in particular will pull that neck down with the entire body very aggressively. It's not a throw in and of itself, but it's a fundamental technique common to all grappling styles. Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 4:39
  • @SteveWeigand That's how I see certain bagua holds being used, but it should be possible to tuck and make the throw from that back to back position I described to Macaco. (My sense is this has a high probability of breaking the neck, which is why I suspect I've only been set up for it then pushed or dropped to the ground, as opposed to thrown.)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 4:48

3 Answers 3


Contact sports involve risk of injury. This is more true for people who are weak. This is more true for grappling combat sports, where the explicit goal is to move the other person in a way they don't want to be moved. Both thrower and throwee need to take care to avoid injury.

Neck-grip throws include snap-downs from the front headlock or tie-up, chest lock throws (which I've also seen executed in an MMA fight with a guillotine-choke grip, albeit with an extreme athletic advantage), kubi nage, koshi guruma, and the baseball-bat choke sacrifice throw. I would say that of those, the only one that is noticeably riskier than the rest of grappling would be the chest locks.

A powerful collar drag or drop-seoinage doesn't use a neck grip but may involve a bit of whiplash.


In Judo, the basic throw with the arm around the neck is normally called koshi guruma, which translates to hip wheel. This is basically equivalent to a headlock throw in wrestling.

In your kubi nage video, the instructor calls kubi nage a cross between tai otoshi and koshi guruma. The judo pedant in me would simply call the demonstrated throw a koshi guruma.

The hip wheel (headlock throw) is a very powerful throw, but it can be difficult to adapt to other techniques if it does not work. Beginners tend to like this throw because success comes early, but it's not easy to build fighting strategy around it.

Being thrown with this neck grip is not inherently more/less dangerous than being from other grips such as sleeve-lapel, over the back, around the waist, or under/over hooks. If the person thrown is spiked on their head, it's very dangerous. If the thrower lands on the person thrown, it's dangerous.

Judo and wrestling do not teach neck throws that manipulate the neck. The grip around the neck is simply used to transfer force, and the presence of the head makes it difficult to slip out. In contrast, there are neck throws where the thrower's palm turns the opponents head from the chin. This kind of neck manipulation increases danger substantially.

  • Thanks for this answer. I noticed that in the video I linked, they brace the arm against the uke's shoulder to avoid pressure directly to the neck. Let me know if there are any judo vids you find exemplary.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 5:12
  • @DukeZhou Exemplary in what way?
    – mattm
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 16:29
  • In this case, vids vetted by a Judo practitioner who has a deep understanding of what they're looking at. (I'm very careful about what Chinese martial arts videos from youtube I share, b/c there's much more crap than high-quality content.)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 23:11

A throw that encircles the neck would likely be koshi guruma, but for me, I've found it is more unsafe when performed in uchikomi, rather than nagekomi (throwing). I had whiplash from someone doing the uchikomi part of koshi Guruma, as they had no idea what they were going & whacked me hard around the neck & head, my neck made popping noises & I had nausea/headache. It is unsafe if tori doesn't understand the importance to utilise kuzushi, as the neck is vulnerable to aggressive headlocks. I've found when they use kuzushi with koshi guruma uchikomi, there is no pain or nausea. Conversely, in nagekomi, headlock throws (e.g koshi guruma) do no hurt for me. Koshi guruma in randori would be difficult,if you do not use kuzushi to pull uke off balance or rotate fully to commit to the throw, or you could headlock partner & muscle them over, using strength, but there is the risk of injury to the neck. For me, neck based throws are either safe or unsafe depending on whether tori uses kuzushi & rotates properly to throw.

If they rotate properly with the throw, you're more likely to land on your back so you can breakfall, or you may fall badly, if they don't use kuzushi & turn properly. If tori lands on uke completing the throw, it is more dangerous if there wasn't kuzushi (more likely to land on your head, as throw may not be completed fully). Additionally, I've never done kubi nage, although I probably should have learnt it, however my neck would likely get hurt being thrown in it, as it is still bad from being headlocked in koshi guruma, like my neck became hypermobile from the whiplash,& now headlocks can make it spasm & lock up.

Kubi nage sort of reminds me of either harai makikomi or soto makikomi, but with a neck grip as it seems like a heavyweight throw, done when someone can't get kuzushi or lift uke's weight, so they muscle them over instead, & they're more likely to fall on you. Overall, in my opinion, koshi guruma is unsafe in uchikomi (e.g whiplash if they whack you around neck & forget to use kuzushi).

In nagekomi or randori, kubi nage would be more dangerous as it seems to be a throw that uses both weight & momentum to pull uke over instead of throwing them over hip, e.g koshi guruma. It also depends on whether they are experienced enough to practice neck throws safely, neck throws in uchikomi can make me have pain in my neck & nausea, if they rush & I get whacked around my head instead of being pulled off balance.

  • Getting hit repeatedly in the head is unsafe, regardless of any throwing activity. If someone is hitting you in the head in judo, then stop and fix that problem.
    – mattm
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 10:36
  • They were whacking me around the back of the neck, in a headlock, popping my neck & making me nauseous, like seasick. I never said anything, because I was afraid they wouldn't take me seriously. That is why I don't do squad training for judo anymore, I felt they didn't supervise the training enough & deal with these types of judokas. I did try to complain to my coach at my normal training & someone said it's judo & toughen up, so I felt I had to tough it out. So I just refuse to train with anyone who whacks around the head, they can train by themselves. I did tell a black belt during randori t
    – user11269
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 4:41

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