What is a “throw” in martial arts terms?
The “throws” area grappling techniques that, more or less violently, allow a fighter to hurl on the ground his opponent. They are widely used in a lot of martial arts (Kung Fu, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Ninjutsu, MMA, etc.) and there are various kinds:
- Related to a particular part of the body (hips, shoulders, legs, etc.)
- With a sacrifice, with pick-ups (etc.)
A good throw is not a matter of strength but instead of a good physics calculation.
A note by Master Kongling – A lot of people think that Kung Fu has not ground fighting, throws techniques (etc.): this is purely ridiculous. When we talk about “Kung Fu” we talk about 500+ official styles recognized in China to which must be added: customizations of each family, lost styles, personal styles (etc.). To talk about Kung Fu is like talking about MMA (mixed martial arts).
How to throw an opponent: the 3 phases of a throw
At the base of any serious throwing technique, to reach our goal, we simply have to follow this basilar sequence (typical of Jiu-Jitsu):
- Remove the opponent’s rooting (imbalance, kuzushi) – We have to broke the equilibrium (read for example Kung Fu rooting: the pyramid concept) of the opponent; as it is obvious, any fighter always tries to maintain a balanced stance, our first objective is then to put him in the condition to do not resist our direction of action; the idea is to become able to maneuver his body with a minimum of strength and make him fall
- Assume the best position to make the opponent fall (adaptation, tsukuri) – One we have created an imbalance, we have to immediately occupy the best position to act and assume the most favorable stance to be prepared to the throw action; in a few words, we have to reach a condition where we are, as much as possible, able to exert the throw move and in which we are more rooted / safe
- Hurl the opponent (throw, kake) – Once we have broken the opponent’s natural balance and we have reached the most favorable position, he is completely without equilibrium so we hurl him and he cannot resist our action (a push, a footboard, etc.); the fact is that no one can exert his strength without being in a balanced position
Everything happens in a matter of instants. If we follow these 3 “easy” steps, even an adversary that is twice as big and strong as we, will not be able to resist.
A few important considerations:
- Throw techniques can be very dangerous, they can cause big damages and should not be trained outside a proper environment (soft mattresses, etc.) and without the correct preparation
- The breakfalls techniques are exactly studied to resist and preserve the integrity of our body that is landing after a throw (read The fundamental concepts of the fallings)
- If our timing, spatial intelligence and our controlled falling technique is perfect we can suffer a throw almost without any damage and continue the fight without difficulty
- Each technique requires its specific imbalance and adaptation to be executed but the core concepts remain the same
- Without following the correct sequence the options to execute a throw are highly limited by our (good or bad) muscular strength
- When the technique is executed correctly (and if the opponent does not know how to contrast it) even the smallest boy / girl can put on the ground any size of people
In the next articles of this series, we will see the first throwing technique.
- How to avoid contacts that lead to ground fighting – A few ideas to try to avoid ground fighting
- What are breakfalls and how to learn them – The most effective techniques to avoid damages after a throw (and not only)
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- In your opinion, what is the most important phase of a throw?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.