O Uchi Gari and Ko Uchi Gari

O Uchi Gari and Ko Uchi Gari

Today let’s study two leg techniques, basic for white belt, efficient in BJJ or even wrestling. O uchi gari and Ko uchi gari.

They are two of the 40 original throws from Jigoro Kano (founder of judo), classified among the ashi-waza (foot technique)


O Uchi Gari (Big Inner Reap) :


Tori reaps uke’s inner leg with a circular movement. It is necessary for Tori to do a Tai-sabaki:the knee of the non-attacking leg comes on the poplitea of the attacking-leg which will perform the circular reap. Here a video

This technique has two main elements :

  • To put your opponent on a strong off balance that creates an opening.
  • a mowing of the partner’s leg which recedes as a result of imbalance through the inside of both legs.


As well :

  • Tori off balance must be powerful enough to cause uke to rest on the leg to reap.
  • Tori’s arms action at the top of the body is important to provoke and follow the off balance until uke falls. It might be especially useful to grab Uke on his back, helping yourself performing the technique using his gi.
  • This technique can be adapted to become a sweep: Tori tries to reap the leg with a good timing.

Either the unbalance is very good and quick, so the reap looks like a sweep, or the unblance is weaker and tori needs a strong leg action to perform the technique.

Here you can see this technique on a freestyle wrestling context. 

O Uchi Gari can be linked with tomoe nage, seoi nage and ko uchi gari.

Teddy Riner (FRA) performing o uchi gari

Teddy Riner (FRA) performing o uchi gari

Ko Uchi Gari (Small Inner Reap)

With the same Tai sabaki for O uchi Gari, Tori blocks Uke on his frontal leg so that his foot is strong on the ground, then he reaps this leg with a small circular movement. A video showing the details. 


Two important elements :

  • Strong off-balance ;
  • The leg reap on your partner moving backward, thanks to the unbalance, passing between his legs.
  • kO-uchi-gari

As well :

  • The unbalance produced by Tori needs to be strong enough to force Uke to be on the target leg.
  • Tori’s arm action on the upper body is very important to give the direction of the fall, and to force on the unbalance. It can be great to grab Uke’s back on this technique too, before reaping : Uke’s reaction should help to use less strength.
  • On the contrary of O Uchi Gari which provokes an important leg opening of your partner, Ko Uchi Gari doesn’t need such a broad opening (that’s why it’s called Small inner reap, ko = small)
  • The reaping foot should have a spoon shape for a better efficiency.

Here the technique applied to no gi 

Those techniques are both very good to teach a good back fall. As well their use in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is pertinent, since you don’t give your back, you lower the risks of the opponent taking your back. But, because you are between the legs, your opponent might take an half-guard. My opinion to avoid this would be not to fall with him, let me explain: Usually when this technique is performed, it’s not rare that Tori falls forward over Uke. This will for sure give the opportunity to Uke to close the half guard. To avoid this, you must try no to fall, keeping a good balance on your only foot still on the floor. That’s why a good unbalance on Uke is essential, but also a perfect timing. It will give you the chance to use less strength and keep you straight on your legs.

From this, i would suggest to go in knee slide, to block straight away any possibility of half guard.

You can easily link those two throws together. With a regular right-handed grip, you will traditionally do O uchi gari with you right leg on uke’s left leg, and Ko uchi gari with your left leg on uke’s right. So you can easily trick your opponent pretending to perform one attack, waiting for his reaction and doing the other attack. This is the most common combination.

Those throws, from the leg technique is great for all weight categories, even the heaviest. There are plenty of ways to drill this technique, and work it for the best. As well, i found it interesting that both O uchi gari and Ko uchi gari were on the top 5 of the most used techniques in London Olympic, back in 2012.


Some big champions are specialist in those, like the world famous Teddy Riner for O uchi gari  and Daniel Fernandes for Ko uchi gari.

Of course, in Judo is now forbidden to touch the legs, but that can still be used in BJJ (both Gi and Nogi), but still, be careful not to fall in the opponent’s half guard.

I leave you here another good video about Ko uchi gari, good for no gi, but it is the same principle in gi 

And a video of no gi O uchi gari, , where it’s shown that the grip on the neck is used to provoke the back step of his partner.

As always, train safe and enjoy!



trying to perfom Ko Uchi Gari while unbalanced

trying to perfom Ko Uchi Gari while unbalanced



Article written by Around the JU

1 Comment

  1. Boxing equipment

    Very descriptive blog, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?


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