Manukian’s throw off the ground

Perfectly legal throw

By now, judokas and judo fans alike are used to the image of a tori standing over an uke who is on his knees, and tori trying to throw him with sumi-gaeshi for a score.

The current rules allow for such throws. Even though uke is on the ground, provided his elbows are not on the ground, it’s considered a tachi-waza situation. As such, if he is thrown, it’s a score. It doesn’t matter that he’s on his knees.

What is less common is for a player who is on his knees but with his elbows off the ground being the tori. That is, the player with his knees on the ground throwing a player who is standing upright.

Well, this rare situation happened in the match between Sami Chouchi of Belgium and Hievorh Manukian of Ukraine at the 2022 Sofia European Championships.

Watch Manukian throw Chouchi.

Chouchi had forced Manukian to the ground and was clearly trying to throw him off the ground. For his part, Manukian tried to do a few defensive attacks off his knees. First he tried ouchi-gari. That didn’t work. Then he tried tai-otoshi. That also didn’t work.

Then, just as Chouchi was about to launch into what looked like it would be a sumi-gaeshi, Manukian did a drop seoi-nage that landed the Belgian on his side for waza-ari.

Chouchi looked stunned and confused. Clearly he thought that couldn’t have been a throw because Manukian had both his knees on the ground. But obviously if Chouchi could have throw him for a score, it was a tachi-waza situation. And if it was a tachi-waza situation, obviously Manukian could throw from that situation. Which is what he did.

See the sequence below for a step-by-step breakdown: