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Since BJJ primarily works on pins, escapes, takedowns, and submissions, and not much on throws, I thought that I could start learning throws to make my knowledge a little more "complete". Although I have learned many takedowns, I have only been taught one throw in BJJ, and it wasn't really effective. So now that I started learning some Judo techniques, I have been trying to apply them into my BJJ game. But one of three things usually happen:

  1. I go for the throw and I get taken down instead
  2. I go for the throw but I am forced to do a takedown/sweep instead because of their posture
  3. I am able to pull off the throw but they land in a strange way that further limits my ability to attack them

Even though BJJ is derived from Judo, it seems like they aren't very compatible, because BJJ is all about "closing the distance" and throwing creates distance. Is the problem most likely that I'm executing the throw wrong or that throws just don't work well against a BJJ practitioner?

  • What was the throw? – Dave Liepmann Mar 20 at 12:43
  • @DaveLiepmann I am not aware of the name of the throw, but it was just a pretty basic hip throw where the opponent throws a punch and you block it, reaching around their torso and tripping them over your leg. – LemmyX Mar 20 at 18:11
  • @mattm the ippon seoi nage was a different issue altogether. I never learned that one in BJJ class, I had to look it up. – LemmyX Mar 20 at 18:12
  • Hip throws don't involve "trips"...maybe this was haraigoshi? Either way a hip throw should work fine for BJJ, since you land in kesa-gatame. What's the problem when you/they land? – Dave Liepmann Mar 20 at 18:36
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Spend time wisely

First, a general note is important. The strategic problem with judo throws for BJJ is that they require a major time investment to learn, and the payoff in BJJ competition is low. According to the BJJ rules, you can drop right to the ground and avoid situations where throwing is practical.

With that in mind, we'll look at your three situations.


I go for the throw and I get taken down instead

Practice more

In order for throws to work, you need to practice them to competence. This is no different from shooting a single leg takedown but being sprawled on. Every attack (strike, throw, takedown, etc.) can be blocked/countered. Judo is built around being able to execute throws fast/efficiently enough that those counter movements create other openings, which brings us to your second point.


I go for the throw but I am forced to do a takedown/sweep instead because of their posture

Exploit openings

What's wrong with this? If the threat of a throw provides an opening to otherwise attain a superior position, then just take it. There is always some kind of opening; the difficulty is when the opening becomes illegal under whatever ruleset you are using.


I am able to pull off the throw but they land in a strange way that further limits my ability to attack them

Throw with real control

The ideal judo training throw looks something like this seoi nage (shoulder throw). There are four elements that are nominally considered for scoring in competition:

  1. speed
  2. force
  3. control
  4. uke falling largely on the back

A further element that is demonstrated in the video but not considered for judo competition scoring is the finishing position. In judo competition, you can roll through to roll uke across their back and score an ippon to end the match, but this is not useful in the BJJ setting because throws don't end the match, and you end up in an inferior position. In this demonstration, tori finishes in a standing position where

  1. Uke's fall is supported and they are not dropped on their spine
  2. Uke's legs are already passed
  3. Tori has structure to prevent uke from being able to pull them down to the ground after the throw
  4. Tori can continue to groundwork if desired, with the obvious continuation being a juji gatame (cross body armlock).
  5. In a self-defense situation, tori would be able to disengage at this point, or stomp on the grounded opponent.
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Judo throws are HARD to do! You cannot dabble in them. It takes a lot time and patience to develop functional throwing technique.

Wrestling is easier to pick up in a shorter amount of time. It's also not good for aging players.

Judo is a lifetime sport where your throws can get better with age. I've seen 60 year old folks with amazing throws.

If you want to get into it, find a Judo class and split your training time.

throws just don't work well against a BJJ practitioner?

They don't work against resistant opponents until you've gotten a LOT of practice.

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I have only been taught one throw in BJJ, and it wasn't really effective.

Let's be careful with our language. It's not that the throw was ineffective, but that you are ineffective at the technique so far.

Expect to take at least a year of regular clinch practice, more likely three, for your stand-up grappling to get good enough to execute throws reliably. They're harder than takedowns.

Finally, remember that wrestling is often a better complement to BJJ than judo. For instance, Marcelo Garcia, one of the all-time greats, has said many times that he prefers wrestling over judo for BJJ. Judo is still great and worthwhile, but it is harder to integrate.

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  • I guess I shouldn't say that it isn't effective, because now that I think about it, it works fine. What I meant to say, is that it is impractical for use in BJJ because of the position that you have to establish in order to do it. – LemmyX Mar 20 at 18:03
  • I bet you're talking about a seoinage or ogoshi, where you turn your back? I find that hip throws work fine if you use an underhook grip so you land in a BJJ-appropriate modified scarf hold. Shoulder throws require a bit more skill to make sure they can't take your back, but it can be done. – Dave Liepmann Mar 20 at 18:34

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