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When I'm in randori, the technique that I mostly do that works nicely is Harai Goshi, but I'm starting to get countered since I do it often. When I try to do something like Seoi Nage, I can never seem to get it nicely. How can I improve this? I practice it a lot but it never comes out good. Either they stop me in the motion, or they don't let me get in.

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  • How do they counter your harai goshi? and is it that both left and right harai-goshi get's countered? May 1 '14 at 8:31
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Keep HaraiGoshi as your main attack, but try to develop a couple of other throws, to be less predictable. Develop your Kumikata to be able to launch from a different grip. Feint with HaraiGoshi to setup a new move. One I liked myself was to start with Harai Goshi, from a very close position, bend your leg and hook his exterior leg when he blocks, and use the fact he tries to force in the opposite direction to keep a good grip on him and to slide-jump-rotate in from of him into OSotoGari).

Everything is about putting your opponent off balance. Since you know they will counter your Harai Goshi, find a partner, instruct him to block your Harai Goshi, and to stop moving, keeping his feet at the same position etc. Now start your movement practice from there. Work to find a couple of techniques that will work in that situation, so you'll be able to use the reflex they have when you launch your Harai Goshi against them.

After that, practice the other way around, find a technique that will force your opponent to move into the position you want to launch your Harai goshi from, like oGhoshi, or Ashi Barai. But you must be able to actually throw people with that move before it's a solid combination, else people will just know right away what you are trying to pull off.

(sorry if I don't get the names right, I'm not used to spelling them down and I stopped teaching a few years ago)

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The simple answer, which applies to all training, is to practise more, and in a greater varierty of ways:

  • Practice the technique very slowly and very fast.
  • Practice with a partner and without.
  • Get others to check and critique your form.
  • Practice with partners who are willing to be dummies, and allow you to use the technique.
  • Practice with different partners (larger, smaller).
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You need to find or invent more setups for your haraigoshi. Develop footwork and feints that allow you to enter into that throw from moving backward, forward, circling to the left, and circling to the right. More versatility in how you set up that throw will make counters less likely.

At the same time, but with less priority, keep working on other throws like seoinage: uchikomi, nagekomi, and keep trying it in randori even if it gets stuffed.

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