Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On April - 11 - 2014

judo-throwRecently, I saw a video on a Facebook group of one of our regional dojos. I watched the video, entitled, Funakoshi’s Nine Throws and was shocked. We usually associate throws with judo or ju-jitsu but not so much with karate. I have been practising and teaching shotokan karate for almost two decades and do not recall seeing these throws before.

I did some further research, I found out that these particular throws are documented in Gichin Funakoshi’s book; Karate-Do Kyohan. I have read Kyohan several times but did not remember seeing the throws in the book. So I pulled out the book and took a look and was astonished to find them. It is funny how sometimes things that you read do not register until they are pointed out many years later. I am glad that I have found these throws. I know what I want to practice when I get the opportunity.

Surprising to some, these throws are similar to techniques used by wrestlers. Funakoshi was a fan of professional wrestling and may have adapted some of these techniques from what he saw at the events that he attended.

There are also similarities with Judo, Aikido and Ju-Jitsu. All of which Funakoshi had a strong connection with.

1. Byobu Daoshi: ‘Topple a Folding Screen’


Byobu literally means a traditional folding screen. These screens are very common in Japanese society. They are used for dividing rooms and private spaces. Daoshi (taoshi) means to knock over or topple. 

The opponent delivers a high punch (jodan-zuki) towards the face. The defender slides back and blocks it with an open front hand. He then proceeds to quickly grab the attackers wrist with the blocking hand. The defender then forcefully grabs the chin or throat of the opponent with the free hand.

The defender then swiftly steps forward and trips the opponent backwards over his leg (similar to a Judo osotogari throw).

Click here for animation


2. Koma Nage: ‘Spinning Top Throw’


Funakoshi’s second throw combines a popular bunkai move from Tekki kata with the ju-no-ri principle commonly found in Aikido, Ju-jutsu and Judo.

As the opponent steps in with a middle level punch (chudan-zuki), the defender slides back and blocks the strike with a dropping block (otoshi-uke) from the outside. Quickly grab the opponent’s wrist with the blocking hand, pulling it strongly down to your hip. Step forward with your leg slightly behind your opponent and place your free hand on his elbow as leverage. This will effortlessly spin him around and down to the ground.

The key is to utilize the opponent’s incoming force. Execute the whole take-down in one smooth motion.

Click here for animation


3. Kubi Wa: ‘Neck Ring’


The third throw starts out in a similar fashion to those above.

As the opponent steps forward with a high punch (jodan-zuki), the defender slides to the outside as in the second throw but instead blocks high with the front hand like the first throw.

Now quickly slide forward (yori-ashi) past the outside of the opponent’s attacking arm. Strike him on the chin with an open hand (shotei-uchi). Promptly step in behind his front leg (fumi-komi) and circle the outstretched arm behind the opponent’s neck, hugging it tight bringing him down, simultaneously pushing with the free hand at the small of his back to increase the effectiveness.

Click here for animation


4. Katawa Guruma: ‘Cripple Wheel’


The fourth throw is called katawa guruma, or cripple wheel. It is similar to a wrestling move known as the Fireman’s Carry.

The beginning of this throw is exactly like in thrown #2 (Koma Nage: ‘Spinning Top Throw’), slide back to the outside and block (ura-te) as the opponent attempts a chudan-zuki to the solar plexus. Move straight towards the opponent and wedge the attacking arm between each other. Slide the blocking arm up and grab behind the opponent’s neck.

With the free hand, reach down between the opponent’s legs and seize his peaches (or just grab a hold of his pants). Now lift up as high as possible while pulling his neck down to the right backside.

You may recognize this technique from some of the kata. It appears in Kanku Dai, Bassai Dai and Unsu.

Click here for animation


5. Tsubame Gaeshi: ‘Swallow Reversal’


To perform this throw, step back and use a rising cross block (juji-uke/hasami-uke) to defend against the opponent’s high punch (jodan-zuki). Grab the attacking arm from the inside while striking the opponent in the jaw with a backfist (ura-ken).

Now move towards the opponent in a circular fashion, spinning around while dropping down to one knee. Now propel the opponent to the ground by twisting his arm as the defender pulls his hands to his hip.

Click here for animation


6. Yari Dama: ‘Spearing Through’


Here like in several of the shotokan kata. The opponent’s testicles are targeted. Many people believe that going to the groin is a dirty tactic but if you are fighting for your life, you use what is available to you.

In this throw, once again the opponent attempts to throw a punch to the defender’s face. Slide back and block the punch with a shuto-uke from the inside. This is similar to the first throw above.

Now grab the opponent’s attacking wrist with the blocking hand and take a big step forward into shiko-dachi (a deep sumo style stance). Now is the point where the defender drives his free hand into the opponent’s groin. Complete the throw by sliding forward and pulling down to the left with the opponent’s arm while lifting up from between his legs.

Click here for animation


7. Tani Otoshi: ‘Valley Drop’


The valley drop (tani otoshi), is common in judo, ju-jitsu and wrestling.

As the attacker steps forward with a punch to the midsection, step back with the right leg and parry the blow with the front hand. As always, grab the attacking arm, now pull it to the side (hikite) while executing a swift counter strike. Now step forward and swing the attacking arm under the opponent’s outstretched arm, spin around and throw him over the shoulder to the ground.

The key to these throws are the strikes that the defender delivers just prior to performing the throwing technique. Without that distraction, the attacker will still be able to counter. Be sure to react to the distraction quickly.

Click here for animation


8. Ude Wa: ‘Arm Ring’


All of the throws have been demonstrated with punches to the face or the abdomen. This will not always be the case so you will have to work with different attacks and see how you can adapt the throws. Here the attacker is going to grab the defender by the neck or shirt with both hands.

As the opponent steps in with both arms reaching for the defender, quickly deflect them upwards and follow up with double horizontal hammer fist strikes against the midsection (brown belts will recognize this as a move from Bassai Dai).

Now lean down and hug his legs while pushing against his hip bone with the shoulder, swinging his legs past and dumping him on the ground.

While practising this throw be sure that the your partner knows how to fall correctly. If not this could lead to a serious neck injury or a concussion.

Click here for animation


9. Gyaku Tsuchi: ‘Reverse Sledgehammer’


This throw is another that was inspired by professional wrestling. It is similar to the move known as the piledriver. It should be attempted with great care as it can cause extreme trauma to the head, neck and spine.

The opponent attacks with a jodan-zuki. Defend by stepping back with a rising block (age-uke). Now, quickly slide forward on the outside of the opponent’s attack. Reach around his upper back with the blocking hand as the free hand slides in front of his belly. Now flip him over and finish off by dumping him on his head (either by simply releasing the grip or sitting down).

For practice sake, perhaps stop at the flip and set your partner back down to avoid serious injury.

Click here for animation


Here is a video that shows the throws and then demonstrates how to perform Byobu Daoshi (the first throw).

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