Home > Techniques > Kodokan Judo / Nage-Waza Digest > Yama-Arashi (hand technique)

Yama-Arashi (hand technique)

Yamaarashi: Tori uses both hands to grip Uke's right (or left) collar and right (or left) sleeve to push up Uke's body off balance to right (or left) front forward. Then, sweep up Uke's right (or left) leg to throw down or apply techniques similar to this technique.

(Type 1) Tori puts right hand against Uke's right chest (Yamaarashi)

Tori and Uke hold each in right natural posture. Tori pushes Uke's body backward, then stops in left defensive posture. Uke steps back from Tori's push to stop and tries to go back to the secured position. At this moment, Tori reduces his push and changes his right hand grip on the left collar to the right collar by inserting his thumb under the collar. At the same time, Tori steps back his left foot and steps his right foot in between Uke's legs and turns his body to his left. While bending his body lower, Tori pulls Uke's body tightly toward Uke's extended right foot. Uke takes a right defensive posture for defense, then, tries to raise his body to regain his normal posture. When Tori reduces his pulling downward motion, Uke raises his upper body. At which,Tori pulls Uke forward again as he backs his left foot, right foot one after another in a right handed position. Then, again, Tori reduces his pulling motion and Uke reacts by raising his body. At which moment Tori changes the direction of his pull by pulling upward causing Uke's weight to move onto his right foot and, thereby, losing his balance toward his right front corner. At this moment, Tori steps his right foot in front of Uke's right foot and turns his body to the left by placing his left foot in front of Uke's left foot. The outside of Tori's right forearm is placed on Uke's right chest and together with his left arm pulls upward to further put Uke off balance. While sustaining his weight on his left foot, Tori places his right foot in front of Uke's right foot, similar to haraigoshi, with his toes at Uke's ankle to grip Uke's right foot and places his body flush to Uke's body back to front. As Tori continues to push up with his right hand and pull out with his left hand simultaneously, he sweeps his right leg against Uke's right leg to throw with a lifting motion.

The key points of this technique are as follows: Normally, Tori grips Uke's right collar by inserting his thumb under the collar with the four fingers outside facing upward (little finger on top). Sometimes, Tori grips Uke's right collar by inserting the four fingers under the collar with the thumb outside. As Tori steps back to pull Uke forward, he jerks Uke's body up and down. When Uke tries to raise his body half way, Tori changes the direction of his pulling to Uke's right front forward to pull him off balance. It is important that Tori must use Uke's rising reactions to make him off balance. At this moment, Tori drops his hip, then, by spinning his body in front of Uke in a big motion, pushes his right hand up and attaches his right hip against Uke's lower abdomen. Tori attaches his right calf to Uke's right shin and wraps his right toe around Uke's right ankle and sweep up for a throw. This sweep is different from Haraigoshi. Tori pulls up both hands while stretching his left knee and hip to throw Uke down forward. When Tori grips Uke behind the neck deeply to pull Uke down to bend his body forward, sometime, Uke tries to keep his balance by putting his head through Uke's right arm to gain his correct posture. At this point, Tori already has his grip of Uke's right collar and right sleeve, which enables him to make (Tsukuri and Kake) like Type 1.

(Type 2) Stick Tori's right elbow under Uke's right arm pit to execute Yamaarashi.

Like Type 1, Tori grips Uke's right collar by inserting his right thumb (or four fingers) under Uke's collar. Then, puts his right elbow under Uke's right arm pit like a Seoinage, to pick up Uke. Then, sweep Uke's right leg to sweep him down. This technique is different from Type 1 in the usage of the right arm. This technique is a mixture of Seoinage and Haraigoshi. Therefore, use hands as Seoinage by picking up and sweep right leg as a Haraigoshi to throw down. Sometimes, Tori's right leg sweep does not necessarily have to attach like Type 1. This technique's concept is a little different from Yamaarashi but after the study and discussion of this technique, Kodokan Waza Development Group Department agreed to categorize it as Yamaarashi (confirmed on May 13, 1991). Next technique is not Yamaarashi. Tori, like Type 1, puts his right arm against Uke's right chest to pick him up and steps his right foot in front of Uke's right foot by pulling both hands to throw Uke down. It is called Taiotoshi. Tori, like Type 2, puts his right arm under Uke's right arm pit. Then, step in his right foot deeply beside Uke's leg with his foot touching the floor to throw him down. It is called Seoinage.

(Type 3) Shiro Saigo's (6th dan) Yamaarashi

The technique of Yamaarashi can be found as Yamaotoshi in Sekiguchi-ryu (which is the old style of Jujitsu). Shiro Saigo studied and developed this old technique to use in Judo practice by himself and became very famous in the Judo world. The people said: "There is no Yamaarashi before Saigo and after Saigo." To understand the technique of Yamaarashi, it is important to know the technique of Saigo. In the book, Sugata Sanshiro, written by Tsuneo Tomita, published by Shunpo-do in 1950, the author describes Saigo's Yamaarashi. As you know, the author's father (Tsunejiro Tomita, 8th dan) was the first Judo student of Jigoro Kano and was known as one of the famous four. He left many articles about development of Judo techniques. The author of this book uses his fathers articles as follows: "When Kodokan Judo fought against many other old Jujitsu schools, Shiro Saigo successfully used his unique Yamaarashi to defeat others and left many outstanding winning records. But, nowadays, nobody tries this unique technique and many black belts do not know the technique of Yamaarashi. Therefore, I explain the technique of Yamaarashi on behalf of the late Saigo. Before I explain this technique, I would like to tell you about Saigo's personality. He was born in Aizu, Japan. When he was a lad, he wanted to be an army general. He was a very small man. But, he had a giant heart and was a brave man.

The technique of Yamaarashi is not depended upon powerful arms or body. It depends upon a strong mind, such as, the spirit of go for broke. According to the dynamics, the logic of Yamaarashi is based on the breaking of the opponent's balance within a short distance and attacking with full speed. It is the most dynamic and skillful of all other techniques. If we hold each other in right handed position (Saigo was left handed), Tori grabs Uke's right collar deeply with the right hand and grip Uke's right sleeve with the left hand to take an extremely right handed position. Tori moves his body up and down to pressure Uke backward. In response to Tori's controlling movement, Uke tries to push forward to regain his position. When Uke tries to come forward, Tori picks up Uke's body on his shoulder in full speed and sweeps Uke's right ankle like a Haraigoshi (a gust of wind). It can be considered a combination technique of Haraigoshi and Seoinage (the thumb of the hand grabbing the collar can be inside or outside of the collar).

According to my memory, Saigo used both ways. This technique seems easy enough for anyone. However, in reality, it is a very difficult technique. Why did Saigo use this technique as his favorite technique? Saigo had two distinctive physical characteristics. First of all, he was a very short person. Therefore, he did not need to lower his hip to pick up an opponent who was pushing back. He saved time because he did not need to lower his body and did not need to worry about being squashed down. Another characteristic was that his toes were different from others. All the toes were pointed downward like a rake. Therefore, when he sweeps his legs like Haraigoshi against the opponent's ankle, he never missed the aimed spot. His toes always stuck to his opponent's leg like an octopus. Furthermore, when he executes his throwing techniques, he always aimed for only one shot and he never failed to throw the opponent. This technique is more effective for a short person rather than a tall person." According to the record, the height of Saigo was 153 cm and weight was 53 kg.

Shiro Saigo vs Taro Terushima

In the exhibition matches between Kodokan Judo and all other Jujitsu School, sponsored by Tokyo Police Academy, Shiro Saigo's outstanding performance with Yamaarashi was spot lighted and greatly helped Kodokan Judo development. In the book (Yamaarashi and Saigo, published by Kodokan Bunka Kaikan, June 1931), author Tsunejiro Tomita described Saigo's match as follows: "I would like to tell you and describe Saigo's Yamaarashi through out the matches which were fought against other schools. I think this is the best way to explainYamaarashi.

On May 5, 1885, a match was held at Marunouchi Police Academy. Shiro fought against Taro Terushima, professor of Yoshinryu School (Hikokuro Totsuka's most favorite student). At this time, Terushima was well known in the Jujitsu world and, also, a famous fighter. On the other hand, Saigo was a young but unknown fighter from Kano Dojo. At that time, Kano Dojo, itself, was not recognized by the Jujitsu world. Saigo, usually fought in the left natural posture. After taking a bow to each other, Saigo posed in the left natural posture. Terushima was over confidence because Saigo was so small. Terushima raised and waved both hands in weird angles. Then, tried to grab Saigo in one snatch. But, Saigo had a strategy. Therefore, he did not give Terushima a chance to grab him. Terushima was too eager to grab Saigo's left sleeve. He tried one step forward in full speed. At this moment, Saigo turned his body to the right and pulled the middle of Terushima's left sleeve strongly. At the same time, Saigo's left hand grabbed Terushima's high left collar deeply like lightning (thumb under the collar).

This was Saigo's most favorite and strategic grabbing technique. By picking up his left hand, Saigo tried to pull and push the opponent all around the contest area. Terushima was a good fighter, also. When Saigo tried to pick up Terushima, he went behind Saigo to hold his body to execute Uranage and Ogoshi. But, both failed. Saigo stood straight and pushed his left arm up very hard while still grabbing Terushima's left sleeve. When Terushima pushed back, Saigo picked up Terushima's body deeply by attaching his hip close underneath Terushima's abdomen like a torpedo. Then, he swept opponent's left leg as though trying to break it. Terushima flew over Saigo's head and lay on the mat like an honorable dead soldier. In this way, mountain storm (Yamaarashi) swept through this match." Shiro Saigo, 6th Dan, is in the Kodokan Hall of Fame for his great achievement.