Tai-otoshi (“body drop”) is a simple throw with an easy setup, making it an excellent counterattack. For this reason, all jūdō players are required to learn this technique. Tall people, who may have trouble executing hip throws (e.g., ō-goshi, seoi-nage; harai-goshi) can perform tai-otoshi in its place will no issues.
Like all throws, tai-otoshi is simple if you do everything by the numbers.
- Kuzushi (Destroying balance): Tai-otoshi is a “towards throw;” which requires that the opponent’s energy to move towards you. As such, tai-otoshi 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 tai-otoshi 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 right arm towards you and to your right, as that is the direction they’ll be headed.
- Tsukuri (Positioning): Turn 180°, entering a left full-side-facing, so that you and the 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.
- Nage (Throw): Simultaneously turn at the waist towards your left, and pull your hands to your left hip. It helps to pretend that there is a log sitting 45° to your left, and you are splitting it with an axe or maul. Alternately, the motion is like turning into a left front stance and swinging a bō in a diagonal downward strike.
This will cause the opponent to roll over your leg, 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.
To prevent injury (e.g., knee dislocation), it is imperative that you keep your extended leg locked during the throw.
Please note that this technique can performed on the left side as well.
[video of Tai-otoshi fast and slow, from different angles.]