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Judo/Making throws work at a longer distance


Hello Mr.Ohlenkamp

Thank you very much for your time, I am sorry if this question is a bit out of your league or it's a bit obscure. I have seen the following video of a Taiji throw:

As you can see the tori didn't really get extremely close before throwing the guy. It's more like he was in the wrist-elbow range instead of hip to hip range like a classic judo throw.

Some people say that the Taiji throw used here is also a version of Tai Otoshi, though it doesn't really look exactly like a standard demonstration version where 2 people take a clinch, break the balance, turn and throw. It's more like an incomplete turn at a distance that did all 3 steps in one. Or at least to my judgement, it's hard to see since the camera didn't shoot their footwork.

This raised the question, I want to ask. Is there any modification to normal throws that you can tweak so that they work outside a contact wrestling position and more in the arms range? I know at that distance things gets a bit low-percentage, aikido like. Though I am curious as to what the tweaks are?

Thank you.

As you noted, there is no way to tell from the video exactly what he is doing with his lower body, but it seems to me that he is turning with the throw so I like the idea of calling it tai otoshi. It is similar to the version Mike Swain uses when he throws tai otoshi with both hands on uke's arm.

Here is a link to a video compilation of tai otoshi in competition where you can see ippon achieved without close contact:

In your kung fu video, uke is unprepared for the throw and he starts out very close to tori, so when tori turns even a little it is quite easy to pull uke off balance and rotate him to the floor. In judo matches it is not as easy. But, as you can see in the competition video I linked to, there are opportunities for tai otoshi at a distance in a dynamic situation. The primary tweak is related to timing. The attack generally requires forward, or sideways, momentum from uke and a quick application of tai otoshi to take advantage of the movement.

Other throws can also be done from a greater distance when uke is moving, especially ashi waza. Naturally, throwing at a greater distance is easier when tori is more skilled than uke, when there is surprise, and when uke is moving quickly (not just defending strongly).

I hope this helps. It is my first comment on a kung fu video.


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Neil Ohlenkamp


Mr. Ohlenkamp can answer any questions about Judo having practiced it since 1968. Author of a best-selling book on Judo and a 7th degree black belt, he compiled a comprehensive web site ( to provide the information to everyone.


Mr. Ohlenkamp has been practicing judo continuously since 1968, as a student, athlete, competitor, teacher, coach, referee, leader, and author.

United States Judo Association, United States Judo Federation, Nanka Yudanshakai, United States Ju-Jitsu Federation, Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan, Encino Judo Club.

As a pioneer in promoting martial arts around the world through the internet, Mr. Ohlenkamp created one of the first web pages devoted to Judo. Since 1995 his Judo Information Site at has been the most highly acclaimed, most popular, and most comprehensive Judo web site on the internet. He runs several other Judo sites like,, and He has authored a best selling book on Judo, contributed to other martial arts books, and had articles published in most major Judo publications. The U.S. edition of his book is Judo Unleashed (2006, McGraw-Hill) but is also available under other titles in the UK, Germany, Russia, and The Netherlands.

Mr. Ohlenkamp is a 7th degree black belt and has been nationally certified as a Judo instructor, coach, and rank examiner. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development with a specialty in recreation from California State University, Northridge.

Awards and Honors
US Judo Coach of the Year-1999, U.S. Team Coach at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea, the 1989 World Championships for the Blind in Manchester, England, and the 1990 World Championships and Games for the Disabled in Assen, Netherlands, and member of the International Blind Sports Association Judo Technical Committee from 1988 to 1993. 6th degree black belt in USJJF jujitsu.

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