Every now and then, new techniques come into vogue and everybody seems to be using them. One example is the “Laats Takedown”, which was very popular amongst European players (it’s now banned because it involves a leg grab). Another is the “One-Handed Sode”, which was popular throughout the world. Now, the latest trend seems to be the “Reverse Seoi”, which practically every Korean and Japanese player has in their repertoire.
This technique was first popularized by Korea’s World and Olympic Champion Choi Min-Ho, who could be seen using this as early as 2003. However, this technique really came into fashion only in 2010 when it was used with great frequency amongst Korean and Japanese players. Interestingly, the Europeans have not really picked it up yet, although Italy’s Elio Verde can be seen using it from time to time.
The Japanese player who specializes in this is Hiroaki Hiraoka. Takashi Ono and Yuya Yoshida have also had some success with this. World Champions Masashi Ebinum and Hiroyuki Akimoto have also been seen trying this technique.
Korean players who use this include double World Champions Kim Jae-Bum and Wang Ki-Chun. However, the one who has really made this his tokui-waza is World Champion Lee Kyu-Won, who uses this technique more than anything else.
In this posting and the next few after it, I will be examining Lee’s unique approach to the “Reverse Seoi”. It’s worth mentioning that the Japanese refer to this as “Reverse Seoi-Otoshi” while Neil Adams has referred to it as the “Reverse Seoi-Nage”. Which is more accurate?
Actually, it depends. Most of the time, it is done as a drop technique where you literally roll your opponent onto his back, so in such a case, “Seoi-Otoshi” is more apt. However, occasionally, it is done as a throw, where you spring up and hurl your opponent onto his back. In such a case, “Seoi-Nage” would be a more appropriate term to use.
Lee mainly does it as a drop (“Otoshi”) but occasionally does it as a throw (“Nage”).
The first example I want to show you comes from his gold medal match in the finals of the -90kg class at the 2009 World Championships. His opponent was Kirill Denisov of Russia who dominated most of the fight with his heavy gripping. However, in an opportunistic moment, when Lee managed to get the grip he wanted, he dropped underneath a surprised Denisov and rolled him over for ippon.
The sequences below, which offers views from different angles, illustrate how Lee did it.