Tani-Otoshi is a basic Judo counter throw. (It recently became my favorite throw when I used it to beat someone from Eton in a match.)

It is generally used to counter rotational throwing techniques and is fairly ineffective against most leg sweeps.

To do Tani-Otoshi you should take a standard grip (your right hand on your opponent’s left lapel and your left hand on his/her right sleeve. {If you are of a sinister persuasion then this throw will only really work if you are fight another left-hander in which case swap the above around.}) Your Opponent will turn in for an attack thereby attempting top line his/her hips up with yours. This will cause his/her torso to end up in the crook of your right arm. When this happens you need to move fast: don’t lose your grip but step to your right but keep your left heel roughly where it is. Then sit down and pull your opponent down over your outstretched left leg.

This throw uses your opponent’s momentum to move him/her over your leg but you should uses your arms to make sure he/she doesn’t land on your knee.

This is an excellent throw especially if it is done unexpectedly but one problem is that it doesn’t allow you to follow down into a hold as naturally as some throws do. So if you do it but don’t score ten points (thus ending the contest) your opponent has more time to get off his/her back.

Just to add from the perspective of a jitsuka rather than a judoka, tani-otoshi (valley drop) is a particularly nasty throw to fall from because you invariably end up landing on your shoulder blades and the back of your head hits the mat the first few times you try.

Essentially, what happens is a step behind both of the attacker's legs, followed by pushing the attacker over.

From a right handed punch by uke (attacker), uke should have stepped forward with their right foot, leaving them in a line facing tori (defender).

Tori blocks the oncoming punch (usually with the right hand) as they step forward with the left leg, placing it behind uke.

Tori then drops their weight and bends their knees, bringing their thigh to (ideally) just below the level of uke's knees.

Tori then brings their left arm up, places it in uke's chest / neck and pushes back, causing uke to fall backwards over tori's leg. If uke is a big person or is being difficult then tori's right arm can be used to pick up uke's leg as well (making the fall even harder).


In situations where tori knows how uke will be punching eg. the sensei has shouted out 'Punch right then left', the initial block can be forgotten to speed up the throw. Trying this is not a good idea unless you are DEFINITELY sure which side uke will punch with, otherwise you will eventually get punched in the face. There are also variations where the initial block is done with the left arm which allows a smoother and quicker transition to the actul throw.

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