Morote-gari Used To Be A Fantastic Competition Throw
Perhaps I'm just being nostalgic after all life moves on but Morote-gari used to be a fantastic competition throw. Now that it is not able to be used in competition, however, I can't shake the feeling that the effectiveness of Morote-gari as a Judo throw was the real reason that you can't grab the legs now in competition.
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I remember, before that advent of Facebook, being on an email list where there were a number of competitors that used to complain about how stupid this throw was. I was never able to follow their reasoning except, as far as I could tell, they had no defence against it so they thought it should be banned.
Of course, I'll never know for sure but I do know that some of those people eventually got onto the International Judo federation board and it is suspicious that a few years later the no leg grab rule came about. The official reason was given, at least the only one that is defendable was that we were under threat of being removed from the Olympics because we looked too much like Greek-o-Roman wrestling so they removed the leg grabs. I'll leave it up to you to decide but I have never managed to get anyone to officially confirm this.
As for the lack of defence, if you are going to walk into (pun intended) someone grabbing your legs you deserve to be thrown.
I only managed to throw a few people with this throw when I was doing competitions. Only because I didn't know it was an option until I had almost stopped fighting. Up until then, all I had learned were the 40 throws of the original Gokyo and this is not one of them. It is from the extended version of 66. But it was very effective once I did.
I did, however, discovered the hard way that you don't make it obvious what you are going for the legs because the natural reaction of an opponent is to jerk their legs up in order to pull them away. Why is that the hard way? Well if ever you have had your nose take the brunt of the knee jerk you will know what I mean.
No Knee Jurk Defence
Despite its effectiveness, it is not the knee jerk that is the best defence against Morote-gari and it could end you up with a penalty as well as a bloody nose or worse. The most effective defence is O-uchi-gari or Ko-uchi-gari or even if you catch it early enough Uchi-mata or Tai-o-toshi.
You could use Sumi-gaeshi or even Tomo-nage but it is very difficult to convince the referee that you were the one initiating the throw, so you could lose anyway.
You should be able to tell that I am not convinced that there is no defence against Morote-gari so I was never persuaded by those who wanted it banned from competition. But it is a great throw to practice, although I do tend to use a crash mat these days as it is a had fall.
Phenomenal Self Defence
It is also a phenomenal self-defence throw so it is worth practising if self-defence is a consideration for you. But like I said, it is a hard fall so try to make sure you don't kill you attacker by mistake because they don't know how to fall.