Ko Soto Gari

Ko Soto Gari

We have seen O Soto Gari, Ko Uchi Gari and O Uchi Gari, for today, I would like to finish on what I believe is the last of the four fundamental standing techniques: Ko Soto Gari (small outer reap).

This technique doesn’t have a huge amplitude. Meaning: you don’t need to move that much to do it. It is often confused with and de ashi barai and ko soto gake. All of them attack uke’s right leg but have a progressive use of strength.

The Three Techniques

The first one, de ashi barai, teaches to the beginner how to use the flexibility, the perfect timing and the perfect speed, you will not use the strength of your arms. You just need to wait the exact time when the barycenter passes from left to right foot. At this time, you need to reap the heel, on the direction of the walk.

De ashi barai

De ashi barai

The second one, ko soto gari, consists in reaping the heel when the barycenter is already passed from the left to the right foot, thus the bodyweight has been transferred on this foot. At this time, Tori needs to unbalance uke backward, on both his heels.

For the third technique, ko soto gake, there are some differences, Ukes right foot is on the floor and he starts to lift his left foot. At this point, all his weight is only maintained on his right leg. It’s at this transition time that Tori needs to unbalance Uke backward and hook his right heel. The throw is completely backwards, on ko soto gari case,  uke falls on the same place he’s standing on.

ko soto gake

Ko soto gake

Ko soto gari is a technique that works for every size and weight category, very polyvalent.


The Technique:

For ko soto gari, you need to break your opponent’s balance on his back and right side, so that all his weight is on both his heels. Then reap his right heel towards his front left part., to throw him horizontally in front of you. The leg that reaps is the one in front of the target one. Tori pushes uke, fixes ukes feet on the ground and on the meantime brings his left leg between ukes ones. Then Tori reaps ukes leg on a short movement.

ko soto gari


This throw can be made when uke is on the right defensive position. Tori then needs to pull his opponent towards himself to provoke a backward defense reaction. As soon as this happens, he breaks the balance and brings his left foot first, to have strong support, then the right to reap the leg.

Another opportunity is when tori is fast enough to move his left feet first, then the right one before uke has the time to bring his own foot down.



  • Tori’s right foot will always be perpendicular to uke’s right feet.
  • The unbalance needs to be in the right direction. Torleft-handhand doesn’t push towards uke’s armpit, but really in diagonal. As well, this unbalance needs to be directional, not using strength to lift the opponent.
  • The reap is made with the sole and at ground level.
  • The support leg (left) needs to be slightly bended, to increase the strength and impact of the technique.


ko soto gari

Credit : IJF


Linking techniques :

If your partner lifts his leg to defend and escapes your throw, just do another ko-soto-gari on the other side. It is one of the most simple attack, but having the right timing and speed to make it efficient is really difficult. So work on it until you find your way to do it well.

You can also link an hane-goshi, or even harai-goshi or uchi-mata. Those techniques are made when your opponent is defending, tori turns then completely his hips and lifts the opponent, still the left leg on the ground. Then tori lifts the right leg, and one of those three technique will be applied. I am saying one of those three, because on the fall, the right feet can be in different places.

O soto gari and Ko soto gari are two combinations very used, here is a video of one of the greatest judoka, the japanese Shohei Ono, combination details.



To counter a ko soto gari, you need to lift the attacked leg or to slip it on the external part of your opponent’s foot, to be again strong on your legs. If your opponent is really sideways, you can defend with a tai otoshi. If your opponent is close to you, you can pivot and do an uchi mata.


Advanced tip:

  • Try to do variations of this movement, when you move your opponent, you can try a ko soto gari, he will defend, you can try then one of the very similar techniques (ko soto gake, de ashi barai)


Written by Around The JU

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