At all levels of grappling, from international Judo to the professional BJJ scene, seoi nage is experiencing somewhat of a rebirth. It is one of the earliest throws we learn as Judoka – for me, it was the first technique I learned outside of the ashi waza technique category.
Belonging to the set of techniques known as te waza (hand techniques), seoi nage has many different applications. Classic ippon seoi nage is a simple standing shoulder throw. Seoi Otoshi (popularly but mistakenly referred to as Drop Seoi Nage as I explain in my previous post on the subject), involves dropping to one or both knees as you spin through your opponent’s stance to complete the shoulder throw. Proper Drop Seoi Nage is when you drop down to a low squat, or onto both knees while remaining on the balls of your feet in order to push off/rise up as you pull an opponent over your shoulder.
Drop seoi nage (popular term usage) has found its way into BJJ both in competition (Garry Tonon, BJJ black belt and elite competitor who trains Judo under Judo silver medalist Travis Stevens, has used this move on in BJJ competition, and had it used on him by Ralek Gracie at Metamoris. Many others have used it as well), and in BJJ instructional videos (including this one featuring famed BJJ instructor Kurt Osiander).
But seoi nage has seen its biggest innovations in the international Judo competition circuit, where athletes are constantly finding new ways to gain an upper hand on each other.
One such variation of seoi nage is what I like to call Sliding Leg Seoi Nage.
Think of it as a mid-point between ippon seoi nage and drop seoi nage. All it requires is that you lower your body a little further below the waist line than normal, to about the thigh line, and shoot or slide your leg on the throwing side straight through your opponent’s stance. Continue your pull, and you’ll notice the finish comes by whipping uke over your hip as oppose to your shoulder. It’s like a combination between a shoulder and hip throw.
The mechanics of the throw work because uke feels the weight of your hip drop on one side, while simultaneously behind pull to that side. It involves all the surprise of drop seoi nage without requiring you to drop to one or both knees.
For that reason, this is a great technique for older grapplers/civilians or people with bad knees to attempt. They need not spin and drop onto their knees, just slide the leg straight back and continue to pull the arm.
For further explanation and demonstration, see the video I embedded above. If you enjoy the technique, comment or share on your social media pages. These no-gi throws are extremely useful, and I want as many people to benefit as possible.