My understanding is that nage-waza is grouped by factors such as difficulty of break-falling and throwing difficulty. Is there a reason osoto guruma is in dai gokyo while osoto gari is in dai ikkyo?


The gokyo is organized around a number of pedagogical factors, including the difficulty of ukemi, the difficulty of the throw, the relevance of the throw, and so on. In my experience, few clubs teach according to the gokyo, and there are no clear answers on why a given throw is in its particular place. Mifune even had his own gokyo, with many throws moved to earlier or later in the sequence. Why? We don't know.

That said, osotogari is an easy throw to learn, or at least an easy throw to learn some version of. It's also easy to make the landing for osotogari to be quite pleasant. (It can also be made quite unpleasant.) Osotogari is also one of the most fundamental, common, high-percentage, applicable throws in judo. It is a common tokuiwaza among non-competitors, local competitors, and elite judoka, and one of the few common powerful tokuiwaza that does not require turning around like its competitors seoinage, uchimata, taiotoshi, or haraigoshi. (That list was taken from two spots in Ishikawa & Draeger's book, Judo Training Methods.)

In contrast, osotoguruma is an odd throw. It's not that well-suited to combination, nor is it common or applicable to a wide array of situations. It is virtually unheard of as a tokuiwaza. Taking the fall for it takes a bit of "judo sense", that is, understanding of how and when to take ukemi. It's easy to mistake for nidan osotogari, and the body mechanics necessary to differentiate it from that throw are fairly advanced.

All told, everything about both throws points towards putting osotogari at the start of any curriculum, and osotoguruma near the end.

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