Ippon Seoi Nage (One-Armed Shoulder Throw)

First recognised in 1997 by the Kodokan as a unique throw, the ippon seoi nage (一本 背負投) is a variation of the seoi nage that was made official in 1997. The ippon seoi nage conforms to the basic principles of the original seoi nage throw. That is to load your uke, or opponent onto your back and to throw them over your shoulder. The ippon seoi nage differs, however, because of the placement of the hands, which control only one side of the uke.

Defensively the ippon seoi nage is the first group of throws in the nage no kata, where the throw is used to defend a blow to a person’s head. It’s an incredibly effective throw for self-defence as it can be performed with or without a gi, with little variation. It is also very popular in competition.

Ippon Seoi Nage Opportunities

The ippon seoi nage is a forward shoulder throw, so it’s best executed when your opponent is moving forward, or when your uke has been off balanced by a strong pull towards the attacker.

This throw is extremely effective against aggressive opponent’s who like to use forward momentum a lot and push to off balance. If the opponent takes a high collar grip or is striking at the head, this is an extremely good throw. 

The ippon seoi nage can also be performed as an opportunistic move. As soon as you grip the opponent’s sleeve, you can enter into the throw. However since your lapel hand must come under the armpit of the throwing arm, a regrip by your opponent can make this throw slightly more difficult as they are able to disrupt the movement. However, it is possible to throw them even with the regrip, it just requires more force.

How To Perform The Ippon Seoi Nage

To perform the ippon seoi nage, start the throw with a strong pull on the controlling arm of your opponent. This off-balance will pull your opponent closer to you. Keep the arm firmly gripped to prevent any retreat.

This sleeve pull will raise your opponent’s arm, opening up space between the elbow and the bicep. Step in with your far foot and pivot into the body so your hips are connected.

With your free arm, overwrap the bicep on their controlled arm at the bicep and continue to pivot so you back is facing your opponent.

Once you are there, bend your knees, so you hips are lower than your opponent’s and then drive your hips back into your opponent while pulling them over your shoulder.

As you bend forward and drive with your legs rotate your shoulder and throw your opponent over your shoulder.

Key Points

  • Always start the throw with a good grip, and off-balance your opponent so they look to drive into you, not away
  • Place your attacking arm on the tricep and overwrap, so when you pivot away from your opponent, their arm is completely controlled.
  • Bend your knees as low as possible, so you can get your hips underneath your opponent as you enter the ippon seoi nage.