Judo Shoulder Throw Seoi Nage
Seoi-nage (shoulder throw)
This throw is traditionally the favourite of the little man. However, in these days of
weight divisions men of any size can use it. The advantage of this throw for a smaller man is
that once he is in position even though outweighed by two or three stone it is still possible to
carry it through against resistance. Many throws fail if the initial impetus is halted but not the
shoulder throw. There are two ways to do it, both of which are equally effective. I’ll describe the
double arm should throw (morote-seoi-nage).
The literal translation of the Japanese name for this throw is not shoulder throw. Seoi
comes from a verb meaning to carry on the back and this can help us in picturing how the
technique should be done. Imagine a man wanting to unload a heavy sack of coal from the low
back of a truck. He grasps the top corners of the sack turns round and sinking down hoists the
sack on to his back. This is the action of seoi-nage.
Stand in the right natural posture with the normal grips. Move the right foot across and
slightly in front of the left foot. Pivoting on this swing the left foot round so that you have made
an about turn. At the same time as you start the foot movements pull strongly with the left hand
so that your partner starts to fall forward on to your back and still holding tight with your right
hand swing your elbow across and under your opponent’s arm pit. You should now have wedged
your partner tight to your upper back. To finish off the throw, bend at the waist and unload your
partner on to the mat. If your partner is slightly shorter than yourself, it will be necessary to bend
the knees more so as to swing your right arm comfortably under his armpit. When you do this
throw, imagine the analogy of the sack of coal. Of course, your opponent is not just a dead
weight so it is necessary to do it at top speed.
Your opponent will try to stop you by pulling his right arm free when you swing under
so make sure that you have a strong grip with your left hand. It is not necessary to pivot close
into the opponent’s legs. Aim to move slightly forward in the pivot and by pulling strongly with
the arm cause your man to fall or step forward into the throw. Remember this is a hand throw
and most of the power is employed in the arms and shoulders. This is one of the most strenuous
throws and it also requires a lot of speed. The older Judo students would do well to specialise
in one of the other throws which do not require so much energy – for example, o-uchi-gari.