Osoto Gari – Major Outer Reaping – Ultimate Guide

Osoto Gari is one of the most powerful techniques in Judo and is often one of the first taught to any Judoka. And, we see Osoto Gari used at almost all levels of Judo. From our children and adult beginners all the way up to the elite level Judoka. This technique is also known as O – Soto Gari and Osotogari. This technique is classified as an Ashi Waza or Judo foot technique.

Osoto Gari is one of the original 40 throws of Judo as developed by Jigoro Kano. It belongs to the first group, Dai Ikkyo, of the traditional throwing list, Gokyo (no waza), of Kodokan Judo. It is also included in the current 67 Throws of Kodokan Judo. It is classified as a foot technique, Ashi – Waza.

According to the International Judo Federation statistics, Osoto Gari is the second most used throw in judo competitions in the last decade. Osoto Gari, or major outer reaping, is basically a leg throw. If you cannot find a human, use elastic bands. As you step close to the outside of your opponent’s foot you push your opponent off balance to the rear corner while holding him/her close. Your other leg then sweeps the opponent’s leg out from under him/her using your body as a single lever motivated by pelvic action.

However, in this article, I am going to give you details about Osoto Gari, how to do this throw, its Pros, and Cons, etc.

Judo Throws:

The best judo throw is the one that works! For this reason, it is a good idea to learn as many different judo throws as you can.

Some of the best judo throws (most popular) are:

Morote seoi nage, Ouchi-gari, o-goshi, osoto-gari, uke-goshi, deshi-barai, kosoto-gari, okuri-ashi and tai-otoshi.

Here we are discussing Osoto Gari.


Also Check: The [11] Best Judo Throws to Get You Started

Description of Osoto Gari:

This throw is achieved by stepping to the opponent’s side while pulling the sleeve of the same side outwards and downwards and the other side of his gi backward and outwards thus shifting his balance to only one leg.

At this stage, all that is needed is a swift sweep of the leg (at the lower calf/heel) while continuing the motion of the hands. Note that the first step should take the initiator of the throw behind the line of his opponent’s legs – otherwise he would be as likely to be thrown as his opponent – strength and weight will become heavier factors.

  • Classification: Nage-waza.
  • Sub Classification: Ashi-Waza.
  • Targets:
  • Counter: Osoto games.
  • Kodokan:
  • Japanese name: 大外刈
  • English name: Major or large outer reap.

How to Perform the Osoto Gari – Step By Step:

1. Establish Your Grip:

First, start by establishing a dominant grip over your opponent. There are several grips you can use for Osoto gari, the most used grip amongst judo players is like this:

  • One hand gripping the lapel of the opponent.
  • The other hand gripping the sleeve from under the elbow.

2. Direction of the Throw:

Although Osoto gari is a rear throw where you have to throw the opponent on their backside, the throw must be diagonal.

The direction of the throw must be in a line between the back and the side of the opponent.

3. Step Outside:

Now that you know which direction the throw is going to be, take a step in this diagonal line outside of your opponent’s stance.


  • Do not step too far away from your opponent’s foot, this will leave you exposed.
  • Do not step too close to your opponent’s foot, this will leave no space for your sweeping leg to enter between you and your opponent.
  • As a general rule of thumb keep a distance of about a foot between your supporting foot and your opponent’s foot.

4. Break the Balance ( Kuzushi):

Breaking the opponent’s balance for Osoto gari is a little bit tricky. Each throw has its own way of breaking balance.
For example, for an Uchi Mata, you have to break the opponent’s balance by lifting them up and pulling them towards you.

But for Osoto gari, it’s different, you have to:

  • Push your opponent in a diagonal line, the same line of the throw.
  • Shift all their weight to the leg you want to reap.

Note: Do not make the mistake of pushing the opponent backward, this will complicate your throw and will give them more power to resist the push with both legs.

5. Use your lapel grip for the push:

The main mechanism of the push in that diagonal line is the grip you have on your opponent from the lapel. Push your forearm against your opponent’s chest as if you want to throw an uppercut.

Now use your forearm and elbow to push in a diagonal line.

6. Leave no space:

Make sure to lock your opponent’s body to your body, leave no space in-between. In order to manipulate your opponent’s weight as if it’s your own weight, you should make one entity with both your bodies.

7. Do not touch the ground with your reaping foot:

Many judo players make the mistake of kicking with the reaping foot, then they put it on the ground to regain balance, after that they reap the opponent’s leg. This is a big mistake!

If you put down your foot to regain balance it means that your throw is not going in the right direction.

5. Stiff leg, pointed toes, and heel out:

Your sweeping leg must be stiff like a stick and your toes must be pointed, this will help flex all your leg muscles for a strong throw.

6. Don’t bend over:

When executing the sweep do not bend over, this will reduce your momentum and leverage. Keep a straight back.

7. Kick Forward:

In order for the throw to be effective, you should have a strong reap. You should kick forward with your reaping leg to gain leverage and build momentum.

8. Hit the upper calf:

Some judokas like to hit the upper calf, others like to hit the back of the knee. Both methods are correct, try them both and see for yourself which one suits you the best.

9. Twist the upper body:

When hitting the upper half of your opponent you should simultaneously twist their body and push it against your reaping leg.

10.  Leg up, head down:

To finish the throw, kick with your reaping leg backward and go as high as possible.
At the same time, your head should go down.

11. Follow Through:

Once your opponent is down, do not make the mistake of letting them go. Maintain your sleeve grip and keep control of their arm. If you have them by the arm, you will have many options to go for like submissions.

                                     Check more: How to Setup the Toe Hold in BJJ?

Risks of Throwing an Osoto Gari:

The most common problem when it comes to Osoto Gari is that it also leaves you vulnerable to counters. One of the reasons is that you have not done enough to off-balance the Uke. This means that the Uke is still standing on his or her feet. This leaves you vulnerable to an Osoto Gari counter.

A counter Osoto Gari is usually performed when the Tori tends to hop to the side to find the angle for the reap.

  • It is a very flexible technique.
  • Beginners can safely and comfortably learn this throw.
  • This technique helps you to fight against your enemy.
  • Some steps are very violent.


Check more: How You Can Learn the Tai Otoshi Throw?

To Sum Up:

Osoto Gari is a good move especially for someone who tends to move forward against the opponent. But just like any throw, Osoto Gari needs to be properly executed using the right entry and off-balancing.

Proper practice is needed to learn this technique.


How to Perform Osoto Gari?
I have mentioned all the steps to perform Osoto Gari above.
Why isn't osoto gari used more often?
The reason why Osoto Gari is not used often is that people are not much aware about this technique. That’s why its use is limited.
What are the specific muscles you need for Osoto gari?
Muscles used for Osoto Gari are • Erector spine muscles. • Hamstrings. • Calves.

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