By Joshua Hagen
The Korean grip o-uchi has long been a staple of the Korean National team, hence the name. It can be a very effective tool for controlling your opponent, and the space between you. With a hand on either side of the collar, there is a natural weight on your opponent’s neck, which reduces their mobility if used properly.
I find the Korean grip especially effective on an opponent who’s stance is the oposite of your own, and who favours counter attacks like uchi mata gaeshi. This grip will limit your ability to attempt forward techniques, as well as the effectiveness of same, since you do not have any control of your partner’s sleeve. I don’t feel the same limitations on backwards techniques, however. I would in fact say that the majority of the attacks done from this grip should be in the backwards direction, unless a great opportunity arises. This is a reasonable sacrifice to make, in my opinion, if my opponent is sitting on a fastball (waiting to counter attack forward techniques), it makes no sense to give them what they want.
Since my article on the effectiveness of the most used throws in judo, I’ve put more of an emphasis on developing o-uchi-gari in my own dojo. I believe the sample size was large enough that to not do it would be an act of stubbornness on my part. My research has set me on a journey of using o-uchi-gari from different grips, different positions, and different styles. The Korean grip o-uchi-gari has quickly become a favourite with both my students and myself. I hope you enjoy the video.