A lot of great Judo athletes have the height advantage but shorter guys can still get by with the right throws.
The best Judo throws for short guys are the Harai Goshi, Seoi Nage, Kata Guruma, Sumi Otoshi, Morote Gari, and Kibisu Gaeshi. These throws mainly need speed to be successfully performed, making them best for smaller and automatically faster Judokas.
Are you short? Don’t let that hinder you from learning, Judoka. Below are some of the throws that fit your body type.
Table of Contents
6. Harai Goshi (Hip throw)
To do a successful Judo hip throw, you must first have a good collar and tricep grip on your opponent. When you have that grip locked, it’s up to you to find the right timing to explode.
With the right timing; all you need to do is pivot your lead foot, turn around and align your lower back on the side of your opponent’s hip.
While in this position, be sure to maintain the collar and tricep grip because you need this to finish the throw.
The last thing to do is to bend your upper body forward and do a slight jerk with your lower back to throw your opponent forward.
This is great for small Judokas because Judo’s hip throw needs speed and explosiveness to be effective. Fortunately, these two characteristics can be found in small guys.
5. Seoi Nage (Shoulder throw)
Seoi Nage has the same first steps as the Harai Goshi. In this throw, you must secure a good collar and arm grip before anything else.
After that, pivot your lead foot and turn around like in the hip throw. The only difference is that you align your back directly in front of your opponent’s body.
Right after that, bend your upper body forward and jerk your lower back to throw your enemy in front.
You must pull the arm that you’re holding. This will help you throw the person easier, no matter how tall they are.
This throw is widely used by all Judokas, regardless of their height and weight, even in Judo Olympic events.
4. Kata Guruma (Shoulder wheel)
Kata Guruma or shoulder wheel can be used by small guys when fighting taller opponents as long as they’re in the same weight class. So, think carefully if you plan to do this in a street fight.
To perform this throw properly, you need good timing and speed. When it comes to speed, smaller guys have the advantage.
The first thing to do is to have a good collar grip. Proceed to grab the tricep area and push it upwards. After that, put your head under the armpit of the arm you pushed upward.
Right after that, let go of the collar grab and put that arm on the middle of your opponent’s thigh. Doing that will allow you to control your enemy’s lower body.
After these steps, you can now proceed to lift your opponent with your shoulders by standing up straight.
To perform the throw, slightly tilt your body to where your opponent’s head is facing. This will allow them to fall back first.
Fun fact, Kata Gurama is used by WWE superstar John Cena. He did this to a 7-foot Wrestler, The Great Khali; Cena is only 6-foot tall.
3. Sumi Otoshi (Corner drop)
Corner drop, traditionally known as the Sumi Otoshi, is excellent for small Judokas because it only needs good timing and proper hand placement.
You don’t need extra-long limbs for leg trips or a good reach. If you have the strength and you know the basics of this move, there’s nothing to worry about.
Hold your opponent’s Gi collar and tricep section at the same time. After that, press forward; you must make your opponent step back at an excellent speed to gain enough momentum for the throw.
After gaining enough momentum, you must pull your enemy’s collar towards your shoulder and lift it slightly. When lifting the collar area, perform an abrupt push on that same part.
This push will cause your opponent to fall down, no matter how tall they are.
During all this process, be sure to keep your other hand nicely gripped on your opponent’s triceps.
The tricep grip will immobilize your opponent’s arm, preventing any reversals and counterattacks.
2. Morote Gari (Two-hand reap)
Morote Gari is more popularly known as a double-leg take-down. This throw/takedown is widely used in Judo and BJJ, Wrestling, and MMA.
Many small fighters, such as Demetrious Johnson in MMA, succeeded with this throw against taller opponents. As long as you have the timing and the correct hand placement, you’re good.
To do a Morote Gari, you must first eliminate both of your opponent’s hands by pushing them upwards or pulling them to one side. This is to prevent any counter-throw attempts.
It’s crucial to prevent counters before anything else because you’ll commit all of your body to the throw. Judo submissions such as the guillotine choke are usually effective in preventing a double leg.
After getting your opponent’s hands out of the way, it’s time for you to change levels and put both of your hands on your enemy’s popliteal fossa.
The final step is to pull your opponent’s legs towards your armpit and use your shoulders to push their chest to help destroy their balance.
Be sure not to follow your opponent to the ground. The final position must be them laying on their back and you’re standing in front of them with their ankle clipped under your armpit.
1. Kibisu Gaeshi (Heel trip reversal)
Kibisu Gaeshi is a heel trip throw. This throw is suitable for short guys because it only needs good timing to pull off. All in all, it’s one of the easiest and most effective in real-life and tournament situations.
To perform this throw, you must grab your opponent’s Gi collar and tricep section with both hands. After that, step one of your legs to simulate a pushing motion.
Right after pushing your opponent, proceed to pull them backward. Let go of the collar and kneel with one leg at the end of the pulling motion.
After changing levels, keep your hand on your opponent’s tricep and use your remaining hand to pull their foot. If you’re holding the left bicep, you must aim to pull the left foot on the opposite side.
Choosing to perform this throw on a street brawl is a good choice. A heel trip is almost a guaranteed take down to an unexpecting opponent.
This is also a great move to perform during a Judo tournament if you’re facing a taller guy because height won’t matter if you have a good grip on their foot.
What makes this throw even better is its level of difficulty. Not only Judo red belts can do it, but it can also be performed by low-level white belts as well.