Harai-goshi (“sweeping hip throw”) is a more brutal version of ō-goshi, where you reap and throw the opponent simultaneously, for additional speed and power. Harai-goshi is one of the hallmarks of jūdō. Within Goshin-Jutsu, harai-goshi is reserved for advanced students, since it builds off of earlier material, and because this technique has the greatest injury risk, so the students involved must have flawless breakfalls. Throwing is technically complex, and will take some practice -- but not effort -- as long as you remember to do everything by the numbers: 1) Kuzushi (Destroying balance): Harai-goshi is a “towards throw;” which requires that the opponent’s energy to move towards you. As such, harai-goshi is appropriate when the opponent is charging at you, pushing you, or is stunned and doubled-over following a strike to the abdomen or groin. Do not use harai-goshi if the opponent is pulling you, or if they are leaning back. Fighting against the opponent’s momentum and balance is counter-productive. Grab the opponent with a standard jūdō grip -- grab their left lapel with your right hand, and grab their right arm with your left hand, ideally, by the sleeve, just under the elbow. Push your right hand up, in an uppercut-like motion next to the opponent’s head, much like a bully would when slamming someone into a locker. This helps to force the opponent onto his tip-toes, compromising their balance and simplifying your life. Simultaneously, pull their Then, 7-3 to the inside. (Harai-goshi only works from the inside.) Pull the opponent’s right arm towards you. The opponent will shift their weight off of their right foot, as they try to take a right step forward to help retain their balance. 2) Tsukuri (Positioning): Turn, so that you and your opponent face the same direction. You must have a solid, secure connection before you can transfer kinetic energy and momentum to your opponent. Your opponent must be snug against you so that no light can pass through the space between you and the opponent, causing middle school dance chaperones to yell at you. For optimum efficiency and leverage, there are two little posture quirks that you must have just right. For a perfect harai-goshi: • Your center-of-mass must sink below the level of your opponent’s center-of-mass. Shorter people have a natural advantage over taller people with this technique. Taller or equally-sized people can still perform this technique, if they squat lower than their opponent’s belt knot. There is a natural tendency to lean forward when squatting, but this is a bad habit that will compromise your balance. While leaning may look like getting low, you cannot lie to physics. Exceptionally tall people will struggle with harai-goshi, and all other hip throws. Hip throws were not designed with tall individuals in mind, so they should substitute tai-otoshi in place of harai-goshi. • Your feet must be inside of your opponent’s feet. That is, harai-goshi works best when your stance is narrower than your opponent’s. 3) Nage (Throw): Simultaneously perform these motions:
- Straighten your legs to lift the opponent slightly.
- Pull the hand grabbing the opponent’s wrist your grabbing hand to its hip,
- Scoop the opponent’s right leg up with an exercise kick-like motion to the rear and to your right. This will reap the opponent as they fall. This applies additional torque on the opponent, causing them to rotate faster than gravity alone would have.
When combined, these motions will cause the opponent to roll over your hip, and land directly in front you in a side breakfall. Maintain your grip on the opponent’s arm, as this is a setup for a shovel pin, arm bar, or stomp kick, depending on what the situation calls for.
[video of Harai-goshi fast and slow, from different angles.]
In training, do not latch onto your partner’s left arm. If your training partner is unable to slap the mat, they will dislocate their left shoulder. Likewise, you must pull your training partner straight forward, and not forward and to your left side, as in o-goshi. This will pull them into your knee, dislocating their right shoulder.