Ouchi Gari

Step Up Your Judo with Ouchi Gari: The Ultimate Technique

Judo is more than just a physical fight, it’s a mindset and way of life. This martial art emphasizes using technique, leverage, and timing over brute strength to overcome an opponent. With Judo, numerous techniques are available to take down, control, or submit your adversary. One of these techniques is the Ouchi Gari, a foot sweep that catches your opponent off guard and throws them off balance.

The Ouchi Gari is a classic technique that translates to “large inner reap” in Japanese. To perform the Ouchi Gari, one must sweep their opponent’s leg with their own, causing them to lose balance and hit the ground. The beauty of this technique is its versatility, making it useful against various opponents of different sizes and body types.

This technique is among the most effective and commonly used in Judo competitions. Many high-level Judokas have mastered and incorporated it into their matches. 

Positioning and GripEstablish a solid grip on opponent’s gi
 Position yourself close to opponent with hips squared
 Weight evenly distributed on both feet
Break Opponent’s BalanceBreak opponent’s balance by pulling with grip and pushing with hips
 Goal: get opponent to step forward with one leg, other leg stationary
Placing Leg Between Opponent’s LegPlace your foot in between opponent’s legs close to their ankle
 Toes pointing towards their other leg
Sweep LegSweep opponent’s leg by pivoting on support foot and using sweeping foot
Finish TechniqueFollow through by throwing opponent onto their back with force
 Pull opponent towards you with grip
 Use wide leg to drive them backward

Ouchi Gari Common Mistakes

While Ouchi Gari is an effective technique, there are common mistakes to avoid. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:


Not breaking the opponent’s balance


One of the most common mistakes when executing Ouchi Gari is failing to break your opponent’s balance before attempting the sweep. Executing the sweep will be challenging if your opponent has a strong base and you don’t break their balance.


How to avoid: Focus on pulling your opponent towards you with your grip while pushing them backward with your hips. This will force your opponent to take a step forward with one leg and keep the other leg stationary, setting them up for the sweep.


Incorrect leg placement


Another common mistake when executing is placing your wide leg in a different position. The sweep will only be effective if your foot is too far from your opponent’s leg.


How to avoid: Ensure that your wide leg is placed close to your opponent’s ankle, with your toes pointing towards their other leg. 


Not committing to the sweep


A common mistake made by beginners is not committing to the sweep. If you hesitate or don’t put enough force behind the sweep, your opponent may be able to recover their balance and avoid the throw.



How to avoid: Focus on committing fully to the sweep and using your entire body to generate power. Pivot on your support foot and forcefully drive your wide leg through your opponent’s leg.

How Do I Avoid These Common Mistakes?

  • Practice breaking your opponent’s balance before attempting the sweep
  • Focus on proper foot placement
  • Commit fully to the sweep and use your entire body to generate power
  • Practice with a partner and ask for feedback on your technique


By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing Ouchi Gari with a partner, you can improve your overall Judo skills and become more proficient at executing the technique.

Ouchi Gari Female Martial Arts

Variations of Ouchi Gari

Ouchi Gari is a versatile technique that can be modified and combined with other techniques to create a variety of throws. Here are some of the most common variations of Ouchi Gari:


Different grip variations


While a standard lapel and sleeve grip is for Ouchi Gari, several other grip variations are used to execute the technique. These include collar grips, belt grips, and cross grips. Each grip variation provides a different level of control over your opponent’s movement and can be used to set up the sweep.


Combination techniques with Ouchi Gari


Ouchi Gari can also be combined with other techniques to create effective combination throws. For example, Ouchi Gari can be combined with Osoto Gari to create a powerful combination throw that is difficult for your opponent to defend against.


How to modify the technique for different situations


Depending on your opponent’s stance and movement, you may need to modify the technique to execute it effectively. For example, if your opponent stands with a wide posture, you may need to alter the foot placement to ensure that your sweeping foot can reach their leg. Additionally, if your opponent moves forward aggressively, you may need to modify the technique to ensure you can effectively break their balance.

Ouchi Gari

Similar Judo Articles


Ouchi Gari is a fundamental Judo technique that has been used for centuries. By breaking your opponent’s balance and sweeping their leg, you can effectively throw them to the ground and gain a significant advantage in a match.

However, executing Ouchi Gari requires proper positioning, foot placement, and commitment to the technique. By avoiding common mistakes and practicing with a partner, you can improve your process and become a more skilled Judo practitioner.

Additionally, there are several variations of Ouchi Gari, including grip variations and combination techniques. You can become a more versatile and practical Judo practitioner by experimenting with these variations and modifying the method for different situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Ouchi Gari suitable for beginners in Judo? 

A: Yes, Ouchi Gari is one of the most basic techniques in Judo and is often one of the first throws that beginners learn.

Q: Can Ouchi Gari be used against taller opponents? 

A: Yes, it is effective against opponents of any height. However, the foot placement and timing may need to be adjusted depending on the size and stance of the opponent.

Q: Can Ouchi Gari be used in self-defense situations? 

A: If executed correctly, it can be an effective self-defense technique. However, it should only be used as a last resort in self-defense.

Scroll to Top