Throws and Takedowns – Balance displacement

An important concept of fighting is maintaining your balance while attempting to displace your opponents as all power is generated by weight being centred.

The first step of a successful throw/takedown is breaking the opponents balance. This can be done by “feeling” the opponents shift in weight, or by actively trying to displace their balance eg striking in a sensitive area and exploiting this opportunity.

The second step in executing a throw/takedown is efficient movement of action which typically involves using the opponent’s body weight against them.

Understanding mechanical concepts such as levers and wheels is beneficial in learning how to force an opponent to redistribute their weight in your favour.

“Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the whole world”



Throwing an opponent is actually easier for people who are shorter and have a lower centre of gravity.

Finally there is an advantage of being a little guy!!


Good balance is a fundamental requirement whether you are striking, being seized or fighting on the ground. Understanding and applying the above principles is equally important across all of these scenarios. All power is generated through weight distribution therefore any opportunity to impact an opponent’s balance while maintaining yours, will maximise your chances of gaining the ascendency.

Generally throws can be subdivided into body/hip, arm/wrist, foot/leg and sacrifice throws.

As much as we’d like to stay on our feet, there is always the chance that our balance will be taken away from us. When this occurs, it is important to be able to land effectively. Ukemi refers to break falling and rolling to the front, back or side, allowing you to minimise the impact of a fall and quickly recover.

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Kids seem to have the knack of being able to roll/break fall better than us oldies!!

Something to be conscious of in a real life scenario is what is actually on the ground- is it concrete? Is there glass? Metal? Is the surface uneven? The answers here may determine what action that you actually take in throwing someone or what evasive action you take if your balance is displaced.

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