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Shoot Henry: A Basic Guide to Judo, The Art of Throwing People Really Cool-Like



Hi, marks and smarks! With Ronda Rousey's amazing performances during WrestleMania 34 and her title shot at Money in the Bank 2018, it's time to look at the moves that she's displayed so far.

It seems that every time the Rowdy One gets in the ring, she adds a little bit more to her arsenal. As a judo practitioner—or judoka—myself, there's a certain level of satisfaction in seeing the moves get showcased on the grandest stage of professional wrestling. GCP here once again back from the dead, and ready to give you a crash course on the basis for Ronda Rousey's moveset, the martial art known as judo.

What is judo?


Developed by Jigoro Kano back in 1882, it was a style derived from jūjutsu, a close combat system that lost popularity in Japan during the Meiji Restoration. The term "judo" translates into "ju" meaning gentle, and "do" which means way. It places great emphasis on taking the opponent's strength to throw them by redirecting their momentum, thereby destroying their balance.

Judo techniques fall under three categories: nage-waza or throwing techniques, katame-waza or grappling techniques, and atemi-waza or striking techniques. Although striking is prohibited in sport judo, atemi-waza is usually taught to students who have earned their black belts. The main objective of judo is to win either by throwing your opponent, pinning them for a set amount of time, or submission due to strangulation or joint locks.

Judo Techniques used by Ronda Rousey in the WWE


1. Armbar (and variations)



First Seen: WrestleMania 34, on Stephanie McMahon


The armbar is one of the staple joint-lock submissions in judo, and the move that made Ronda Rousey famous. It requires little actual force for the move to take effect, but goddamn, it's scary. The armbar works by applying a fulcrum concept to the elbow joint. Basically, you make the joint move in a way it shouldn't. With so many ways to get the armbar from virtually every position possible, the armbar is a very versatile tool.


2. O goshi (Major Hip Throw)


First Seen: WrestleMania 31, on Triple H


The o goshi is usually the first throw most judokas learn. The basic concept is to get the hips below your opponent's to be able to lift them up for the throw. When done correctly, it can be used to throw even much larger opponents. Though not often seen in high-level judo, it is still a must-learn for any beginner to the martial art.

3. Harai goshi (Sweeping Hip Throw)


First Seen: RAW episode 3/26/18, on Mandy Rose


The harai goshi is arguably the most commonly used throw in MMA. It's one of the moves that translates very well from a gi to a no-gi version. With just an underhook and a hand on the wrist, the opponent can easily be sent flying. The leg sweeping back helps prevent the opponent from stepping to the side to avoid the attack.

4. Sode tsurikomi goshi (Sleeve Lift Hip Pull Throw)


First Seen: Post-Money In The Bank RAW episode, on Kurt Angle


No doubt one of the flashier moves of Rousey's moveset, this particular technique is really effective against taller opponents. If they ever try to stiff-arm her to keep their distance or try to go for a collar-tie, she can take the outstretched arm and pivot in under her opponent. She then grabs the leg closest to her to block it from moving to her front as she bends down and rolls to throw her opponent.

5. Ura nage (Rear Throw)


First Seen: WrestleMania 34, on Stephanie McMahon


This right here is a powerful back sacrifice throw often used as a counter to hip and leg throws. Finding the right spot to block the throw by thrusting the hips forward and stopping the opponent's momentum is key before using the move. Then, the one performing the counter explodes up while keeping a firm and tight grip around the opponent and arching back. The sacrifice part of the throw is completed when both the doer and the receiver of the throw fall to the ground.

Guy in white: lightweight. Guy in blue: heavyweight. Imagine how much that throw sucks for the guy taking it. Credits to Joel Jayme.

As such, this is not to be confused with the ushiro goshi mislabeled as an ura nage performed by Bray Wyatt.

5.1. Ushiro goshi (Rear Hip Throw)


First Seen: Elimination Chamber 2018, WrestleMania 34 contract signing, on Triple H


In many ways, this move is similar to the ura nage, except that the opponent ends up thrown to the front of the doer, while the doer remains standing. This variation made sense when she planted Triple H through the table.

6. Utsuri goshi (Changing Hip Throw)


First Seen: Money In The Bank, Raw Women's Title Match, on Nia Jax


As another counter technique, the utsuri goshi reverses the opponent's hip throw by holding on to their waist and bumping the hip after neutralizing the entry. Then you lift your opponent up to make a gap for the hip closest to your opponent to shift to the front. You then continue the twisting motion with your entire upper body to complete the throw. The version that Rousey used on Jax was actually harder, since there was little momentum from Jax that Rousey could use to redirect into the throw.

7. Osoto gari (Major Outer Reap)


First Seen: WWE Live Vienna 2018, on Mickie James


The osoto gari is usually the very first throw a judoka learns that has a forward momentum. The objective is to make your opponent lean backward and put all their weight on the leg closest to you so that when you reap it backwards, they will be sent flying. This in turn, also introduces the concept of reaping the leg, and where it should make contact on the opponent's leg as well. Also, the leg does not stop swinging back when it reaches the end of the range of motion. The body bends forward so that the leg can go much farther back. Ronda Rousey uses the osoto gari in combination with a running lariat and finishes it with a roll through to accentuate the momentum.

Kenzo Suzuki used a variation of this move as his finisher, The Rising Sun. The technical term is osoto guruma, wherein both legs are swept back

8. Drop Kata Guruma (Drop Fireman's Carry)


First Seen: WWE Live Vienna 2018, on Mickie James (again)


Every pro wrestling fan is familiar with the Attitude Adjustment-version of the kata guruma. It's an incredibly flashy move with a lot of hang time for theatrics. The drop kata guruma, however, requires less strength and more of positioning to make the move work. The idea is to get as close to your opponent as possible while catching them in a movement of forward momentum. The sudden drop of your center of gravity forces them to lean forward, wherein the throw assists them to complete the rolling motion onto their back. This move is great when trying to transition into the ground game, as Rousey shows in the clip above.

9. Kosoto gake (Minor Outer Hook)


First Seen: RAW episode 4/16/18, on Sonya Deville


As one of the minor throws in judo, as the name suggests, the movements are not as flashy. However, it is still a very useful throw as it can surprise the opponent right after a big flashy attempt. By moving forward and hooking the leg closer to you with your outside leg as the weight shifts, you can bring down your opponent with little warning. This can actually be used in conjuncture with a spear as you hook the leg to prevent the opponent from stepping back.

*****

There you have it folks. Those are the judo techniques displayed by Ronda Rousey so far. There'll definitely be a follow up article on future moves that get debuted by Rousey as her career goes along. If you're ever interested in learning the art, there are a number of dojos spread out around the Philippines (Go, Ateneo Judo Association!). It's definitely a fun martial art to learn once your body gets used to the amount of bumps you'll have to take each session.

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