EDITOR’S NOTE: I have left the below description that accompanied the original video for posterity’s sake. The title of the video has changed from Ura Nage to Ushiro Goshi, as a fellow Judoka has pointed out that the moderation I made to the finish, i.e. throwing uke across my chest without sacrificing myself, actually changes this throw’s classification to Ushiro Goshi.
In the video, I correctly point out that a proper Ura Nage does involve throwing your opponent backwards overhead. My mistake was assuming that the classification stayed the same even without an overhead throw. This is incorrect, and I am happy to change the video description to accurately reflect the name of the throw.
With that said, the point of the demonstration was actually the knee lift, which can be used for Ura Nage or Ushiro Goshi. If you want to finish the Ura Nage, simply arch your back, continue bringing your opponent overhead, and turn as he lands, sacrificing yourself to the ground in the process. If you prefer the Ushiro Goshi finish, do as I did in the video and turn your head once the opponent is in the air. That will bring him to the ground, where you can follow with makikomi (landing on him). This might be preferable in a street situation, where arching and falling backwards on the pavement may result in some damage on your end (it should still be fine, but they call it “sacrifice” for a reason).
Both throws are excellent options in competition or self-defense. Again, the knee lift is how I prefer to execute either one. Overhead throw finish is Ura Nage, across the chest throw finish is Ushiro Goshi. The technique shown in the video, Ushiro Goshi, is excellent and workable. I hope that clears up any misunderstanding!
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Ura Nage (rear throw) is Judo’s version of the suplex. Just as with any other type of suplex, there are a number of ways that one can execute this throw.
The standard version of Ura Nage is usually an arching lift and turn over the upper thigh. Other times, it looks like a back bodydrop (for those of you familiar with the pro-wrestling term).
Any way you choose to perform this throw, you’ll find that the setup is largely the same, whether gi or no-gi.
The version that I prefer (and demonstrate in the video above), is one that maximizes the principle of efficiency by introducing a knee lift to aide with the throw. Not only does the knee lift reduce the amount of strength and pull required to execute, but it introduces a control mechanism that a simple waist-lock does not provide.
The key difference is that the knee-lift takes my opponent’s feet over the ground, eliminating virtually any chance he has to defend the throw. I also use one arm to lock the waist, while the other arm locks the upper body. This prevents my opponent from performing a victor roll to a knee bar or other leg lock, or applying a kimura lock to my arm and wrist. Finally, prior to the knee lift, I move to the side of my opponent, which allows me to take lifting pressure off my lower back when the knee-lift comes, and simultaneously prevents him from countering with a harai-goshi or sweeping hip throw.
Each sequence of this throw entry strips away more and more defense options from my opponent. That is why I consider this the best version of ura nage. More efficient lift, better control of my opponent, almost no options for him to defend. His best course of action to avoid this scenario completely.
Ura Nage works best as a counter to a hip throw, the sequence for which we can start by blocking his hip and immediately pivoting to the side of his body while locking the waist and chest. If you can get to the point where all of this can be done in one smooth movement, Ura Nage can become your most effective counter throw.