What is the main difference between Osoto-Otoshi and Osoto-Gari?

I am beginner, and I know that the movement of the right leg is different. But what is the difference of the arms movement and body movement and direction?


3 Answers 3


I do not have the Daigo at hand, so I will answer from my experience as a licensed instructor:


As an otoshi technique, the force applied does almost solely go towards the ground; all your body works to break the balance towards one or both heels and your body works from the top down. In my opinion, this includes the arm being pushed down in front of you rather than being pulled across your chest, but this is rather a thing of personal preference. In any case, the lapel grip is used to push with your forearm into the chest, elbow close and in front of your body, driving uke's upper body directly downwards onto the mat. Accordingly, you do not do much of a twisting movement around the side of your body. The direction of the throw is mainly front- and downwards. The leg is mainly to prevent evasion and block a backwards step, even though there are variants where there is an active step backwards into the partner's back of the leg. In any case, you end up with standing on both feet, the weight roughly evenly distributed.


Kuzushi is clearly to the side and heels of your partner's foot, putting all weight on the attacked leg. This involves the force being applied horizontally much more than it is the case in O-soto-otoshi. The arm is pulled across your chest, the grip at the lapel is used to push up- and sideways over uke's shoulder/into uke's neck. The direction of the throw is decisively sideways, at least diagonal, with a pronounced tilt and twist, standing on only one leg (the body mechanics are exactly the same as in Harai-goshi, only the contact points and directions are different). The other leg is actively reaping the weighed foot of the partner, leaving him lifting off the ground with both feet (which is not necessarily the case in O-soto-otoshi) and you standing on one leg. Indeed, it is the student's task to show their proceedings by being able to throw standing on one leg, thus being able to demonstrate the difference O-soto-otoshi/O-Soto-gari and O-goshi/Harai-goshi respectively.


There are countless variations out there and the more competitive O-soto-otoshi is thrown, the more the boundaries become blurry. The proposed versions are basically standard forms which are there to pronounce the differences most clearly.


The Kodokan Judo Nage-waza video illustrates the differences in its section on Osoto-otoshi:

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Let's look at the differences between osoto-gari and osoto-otoshi. If your opponent's foot goes up in the air, it's osoto-gari. If your opponent's foot remains on the matting as you sweep and he goes down, it's an osoto-otoshi.

The Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques book goes into further depth on these differences in its section on Osoto-otoshi, Key Points to the Technique, (p.168-169):

The tsukuri in this technique is similar to that in osoto-gari, but the kake is very different. The concept of kake in this technique has been explained in many books, their key points expressed with expertise and insight:

"I raise my right leg, and when I step in behind his right leg, I put it on the back of his thigh and slide it down to the mat. When I step down with my right foot, I lower my body slightly, and throw my opponent straight down."

  • (Tsuzoku Judo Zukai).

"I step my left leg forward to the right side of his right leg, and lean on him, bending back slightly. I raise the right leg while bending the knee and stick it out in front of me from his right side, (see diagram). I straighten the knee and with the feeling of bringing my knee back, I slide the back of my thigh down back of his right thigh, and at the same time push him down with both hands"

  • (Judo Kyohan).

"I raise the right leg, and step it down to the mat to the area behind the middle of his feet, by stepping it down the outside of his right thigh. I pull down with the left hand, and when I push with the right hand, which is holding his collar. The opponent is pulled in one direction and pushed in the other, and he falls backwards because he has no other option"

  • (Judo Tebiki Gusa).

"Step both feet further than the center line of uke's feet"

  • (Judo).

"Straighten your knee using the strength in your hips, slide your leg down, and, at the moment it touches the mat, quickly pull him down with your left hand towards his right rear side, and push him away with the right hand. He will fall down onto his back"


The Kodokan now publishes short videos explaining the differences between techniques. Here is the difference between O-soto-gari and O-soto-otoshi and O-soto-guruma. (For some techniques, earlier videos exist, but the video linked here is from 2022.)

  • You should summarize what this difference is in your answer.
    – mattm
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 12:00

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