The shoulder throw, also known as "Ippon Seoinage" (one-point shoulder throw), is a key throw in judo, jujutsu and other martial arts. It is also beautiful if done properly.

It is important to realise, when you're learning it, that it does not consist of picking someone up and hoisting them onto your back, then throwing them off. That's how to seriously injure yourself.

I'll attempt to describe the basic throw.

  • Facing your opponent (uke), you (tori), slide your right foot in between their feet, allowing it to turn on the ball of your foot anti clockwise. Ideally, keep your heels away from the ground.
  • You begin to slid yourself towards your uke, and importantly, drop your hips so that they are about 6 inches below your uke’s hips.
  • As you do all this, your right arm should begin to go under the upper part of tori's right arm (which may be trying to punch, bludgeon or grab your clothes), as your left should begin to draw his lower right, maybe by gripping his gi sleeve. This action is exactly like you were putting his arm on like a seat belt. You only need to hold his arm close to you. If you keep your fingers from grabbing, you’ll avoid those nasty pinch marks you can get on your arms. They can easily be, and should be avoided.
  • Simultaneously, your left foot should slide to meet your right, directly in the middle of his feet, making a kind of diamond shape with your legs so you keep your hips below his.
  • Your shoulder and back should be tight against his, and you should not be leaning backwards. You can either hurt yourself or he'll easily counter the throw if you do.
  • Ideally, he's on tip toes at this point, and you continue your rotation, so you've moved 360 degrees around. Looking in the direction of the throw helps a great deal.
  • And tori should have been half wound around your shoulder and half thrown over it. This throw is kind of diagonally over the shoulder, not straight over as it initially appears. A slight bounce upwards once you've loaded him onto yourself will ease him over, the energy coming from your bent legs.
  • Keep hold of his right sleeve for any disarming or wrist locks you feel like doing.

This throw, that I learned when studying jujutsu is a great one for dealing with weapons such as a cosh. The downwards swiping motion of the attacker effectively means that he will throw himself over for you. You simply have to be a quickly moving fulcrum for him to throw himself over.

Being very tall, I found doing this throw in the kneeling version helps a great deal, since the throw doesn't seem initially to be ideal for us tall people, although I eventually had no problems with it after enough practice. This is done by dropping to your knees when you throw him. When kneeling DRIVE uke into the mat! (Of course you should be nice, since he'll get to throw you next. And if you break your uke, you don't get a new one.)

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