Judo O-Goshi throw

Step Up Your Judo with the Strong and Easy to Learn Harai Goshi

Judo is a dynamic martial art that has gained worldwide popularity for its unique approach to combat. Judo practitioners don’t rely on brute force but instead use their opponent’s strength. They use throws, joint locks, and chokeholds to subdue opponents. And among these techniques, Harai Goshi stands out as a versatile and practical throw that can be used by any Judo practitioner.

Harai Goshi is considered a fundamental technique in Judo, and it’s typically one of the first ten techniques taught to beginners. What makes Harai Goshi so unique is its adaptability. It can be executed from various grips and positions, allowing it to be used in multiple situations. It’s an essential technique that every Judo practitioner should have in their toolbox.

Harai Goshi has a long history in Judo and can be traced back to the 19th century when Judo was developed by Jigoro Kano. The throw was developed based on the traditional Japanese martial arts of Sumo and Jujitsu, which involve various throws and grappling techniques.

Judoka throw


The origins of Harai Goshi can be traced back to Sumo, where it was known as “Ashi Guruma,” meaning “leg wheel.” In Sumo, the throw involves using the foot to sweep an opponent’s leg and then lifting them onto the hip before throwing them.

Jigoro Kano adapted the throw into Judo, where it became known as Harai Goshi. Kano modified the technique to make it more efficient and effective in Judo competitions, where practitioners wear a jacket (gi) that can be used to gain a grip on their opponent.


Over time, it has undergone several modifications and variations to make it more versatile and practical. Different schools of Judo have developed their own variations of the throw, which can be executed from different positions and grips.

Techniques and Mechanics of Harai Goshi

Harai Goshi is a complex and dynamic technique that requires precise footwork, gripping, and execution to be effective. Here, we will discuss the critical elements and the different variations of the throw.

Footwork and Positioning

Footwork and positioning are critical elements in executing. The throw is initiated by stepping behind them and positioning yourself at an angle to their body. This position lets you control their balance and effectively set up the throw.

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your weight should be distributed evenly between both feet. As you step behind the opponent, you should pivot your feet so your hips are perpendicular to theirs. This position allows you to generate maximum power and control in the throw.

Gripping Strategies

Gripping is another critical element. There are different gripping strategies that you can use to set up the throw, depending on your opponent’s posture and positioning. The most common grips used are the sleeve and lapel grips.

The sleeve grip involves gripping your opponent’s sleeve with your dominant hand. In contrast, the lapel grip involves engaging the collar with your non-dominant hand. These grips allow you to control your opponent’s upper body and set up the throw.

Harai Goshi Throw

Execution of Harai Goshi

The execution of Harai Goshi involves sweeping your opponent’s leg with your foot and then lifting them onto your hip before throwing them. You must pull your opponent towards you while sweeping their leg with your foot to execute the throw.

As you sweep their leg, you should lift them onto your hip, using your other hand to support their upper body. Once you have raised them onto your hip, you can throw them using your hip as the fulcrum.

Variations of Harai Goshi

There are different variations of Harai Goshi that you can use, depending on your opponent’s positioning and your own preferences. Some of the most common interpretations include:


  • Uki Goshi: A variation that involves lifting your opponent onto your hip with a lifting motion rather than a sweeping motion.
  • Koshi Guruma: A variation that involves using your hip to throw your opponent in a circular motion.
  • Harai Tsurikomi Ashi: A variation that involves sweeping your opponent’s leg while simultaneously pulling them towards you.

How Do I Counter Harai Goshi?

Harai Goshi can also be used as a counterattack against your opponent’s attacks. For example, if your opponent attacks with a forward throw, such as Seoi Nage, you can use Harai Goshi to counter their attack by sweeping their leg and throwing them backward.

Another effective counterattack is to use against your opponent’s failed Uchi Mata attempt. As your opponent lifts their leg for Uchi Mata, you can use to sweep their standing leg and throw them to the side.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Common MistakesHow to Avoid
Improper footwork and positioningPractice the footwork and positioning repeatedly and under the guidance of an experienced coach
Ineffective gripping strategiesDevelop effective gripping strategies and practice them regularly in training
Over-reliance on Harai GoshiDevelop a range of Judo techniques and strategies and use judiciously and strategically

Similar Judo Articles


Harai Goshi is a versatile and effective Judo technique that can be used by Judokas of all levels. It requires proper execution, attention to detail, and consistent training to be successful. 

By understanding the history, techniques, and applications, Judokas can incorporate them into their Judo arsenal and become more well-rounded practitioners. 

Additionally, training offers benefits such as improving overall technique, enhancing balance and coordination, and developing effective gripping strategies. However, avoiding common mistakes such as improper footwork and positioning, ineffective gripping strategies, and over-reliance is essential.

By incorporating Harai Goshi into your Judo training and avoiding these mistakes, you can improve your technique, increase your chances of success in competition, and become a more skilled and well-rounded Judoka.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does “Harai Goshi” mean in Judo?

A: “Harai Goshi” translates to “sweeping hip throw” in English. It is a technique in Judo that involves sweeping the opponent’s leg while rotating the hip and throwing them over the hip.

Q: Is Harai Goshi difficult to learn?

A: It requires proper execution and attention to detail. However, with consistent training and guidance from an experienced coach, it can be learned effectively by Judokas of all levels.

Q: Can Harai Goshi be used in combination with other throws?

A: Yes, it can be combined with other throws, such as Ouchi Gari or Kouchi Gari, to create effective and unpredictable combinations.

Q: Is Harai Goshi suitable for self-defense situations?

A: It can be effective in self-defense situations, but it should only be used as a last resort and with caution, as it involves throwing the opponent over the hip, which can cause serious injury.

Q: Can Harai Goshi be used against larger opponents?

A: It can be effective against larger opponents. It utilizes leverage and momentum to throw the opponent over the hip rather than relying solely on strength. However, proper technique and positioning are crucial for success.

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