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#148699 - 05/25/05 02:35 AM Ashi barai (foot sweep)
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
One of my least proficient techniques, I must admit. I'd like some feed-back...

(Assume a L-side forward stance for ease of description)

1) I initially learned this technique: R-leg comes forward & catches opponents forward leg in a "fig. 9" movement. The sole of the foot contacts just behind the outer ankle & pulls opponent foot forward.

2) I was taught this technique in Austria: R-leg comes forward similar to a mawashi-geri (round kick) but connects just above opponents Achilles tendon w/ your instep. Very powerful.

3) Brits like this one: R-leg comes forward skimming the floor w/ the outside (knife) edge of the foot in an angular attack (R to L) to opponents lead ankle connecting w/ the sole of the foot.

I know written descriptions lack a great deal but are there any suggestions to improve foot sweeps?


BTW: I'm aware of lead hand feint to obscure or disorient opponent.

#148700 - 05/25/05 03:05 AM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: hedkikr]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA

Number 1, I have not dealt with.

I was taught something similar to your #2 as a basic of our style of karate. The number 3 is from judo, in my experience, but we also use this in our style of karate but less so that your # 2.

For number 2, any kick of your opponent that you can block to the side, you can kick out in this way (noting that video of Ashihara as an example). Or, if you can take an angle to any gross body movement of your opponent where you are slightly behind him. In these two cases you can cut the leg from behihd to floor your opponent. In both cases, however, you need to practice grabbing your opponent's shoulder on the side that you are going to kick out. You have to feel the timing for his balance shift and pull downward just after the dislogding kick you give him.

You can also do a front disloding kick, but in every situation that I have done this in and had it work, the body weight of your oppoenent has to be on the leg that you are taking out. Otherwise, he shifts is balance back and recovers. Thus, in my opinion, it is necessary for you to maintain contact with, and pull down on, the side of the opponent that you are seeking to unbalance with these techniques; or make sure that he is punching you and his weight is on the leg you are trying to take out.

For number 3, basic training in kuzushi might help. An example, while opponents are facing each other and parallel while skipping in one direction sort of a heel to heel (similar to musubadachi) movement. You are moving the same way and in the same time as your opponent and then pulling on the arm that is on the same side that you are going to sweep. Pulling on the underside of your opponent's elbow and sweeping the same side foot. When pulling on the elbow, you have to pull down and in.

Actual application for karate that I have seen is to block and grab the striking arm of your opponent and pull so that the his forward momentum is forced on a balancing lead leg. Now sweep the leg. Usually, you will be at a slight angle to your opponent when you do this.

I don't know if this helps at all. I think you have more experience than myself, but thought I would offer.


#148701 - 05/25/05 03:20 AM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: butterfly]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
I do the foot sweep from Sanseru kata with two handed grab using the fig. 9. It can be used when in close or moving forward much like butterfly described in his last paragraph.

p.s. It sure does taake alot of words to describe a little movement.
Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

#148702 - 05/25/05 07:15 AM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: hedkikr]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
The most effective foot sweep is in the timing. attempting to sweep when they have all/most of their weight on that foot ain't gonna work. just as someone is stepping in (in a SD attack it would probably be their first attack, right?) and their weight has not settled into the leg...thats when you sweep. I guess I've been taught the 'English' way (never knew it was thought of as that) hit low, your foot shaped like in a side kick and 'save' your hip for a followup.
For close-in fighting, the figure nine as decribed.

The sweep's goal is to knock off balance, not bring to the ground.

Since it's aim is not neccessarily to do damage... for competitions that allow it, Ashi barai is one of those fairly safe and very effective techniques that are transferable directly to SD without modification.

hedkikr & all ... I might have 'old' ways of thinking about this, any hints for bringing me uptodate?

#148703 - 05/25/05 07:59 AM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: hedkikr]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
What you describe are 3 distinct techniques...but I think generally what is missing if you are finding difficulty applying it, is a combo of timing and off-balancing.

#1 is deashi harai/ashi barai (forward foot sweep), as in like a broom. How Kintama describes it is correct. You must sweep the foot *just* as the foot is being planted. If uke has already put his weight on the foot then you have to change the technique to something else. In any case, drawing the person to the rear corner away from you will force uke to transfer weight to his rear foot, thereby allowing you to take the technique.

#2 is actually kouchi gari (small inner reap). Your foot forms a sickle shape and reaps the foot (much like cutting grass or wheat). Again, the off-balance is the key. But this time, you need to draw uke's balance such that his weight is planted on the foot you are reaping.

#3 is actually kosoto gake (small outer hook). Your foot acts like a hook and hooks uke's foot with the knife edge. Again, you must draw uke's weight onto the foot and off-balance him like steering a semi.

The technical differences are minor, but big enough to warrant each technique being called differently. Ed Glasheen does judo. Perhaps he can confirm/refute my descriptions.

Applying this in a karate context, I believe that where your hands "chamber" is generally the direction you would be moving uke to.

Edited by eyrie (05/25/05 08:00 AM)

#148704 - 05/25/05 08:25 AM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: hedkikr]
shukokaichap Offline

Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 269
Loc: Back in th UK!

3) Brits like this one: R-leg comes forward skimming the floor w/ the outside (knife) edge of the foot in an angular attack (R to L) to opponents lead ankle connecting w/ the sole of the foot.

This is very true> Nothing more us Brits enjoy more than a good old fashioned ashi barai!

As far as improving it goes try using #2 directly after feinting a Right (skip) mawashi geri. Some times works for me!

#148705 - 05/25/05 11:57 AM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: Kintama]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA

You are right. I missstated the judo type sweep when the foot should just be coming into contact with the ground.

The other type of take down (when cutting the leg near the achilles) is somehting basic to the style of karate I practice. However, you are right in this wouldn't necessarily be called a sweep. We call this a cutting technique and ultimatley the best time to do it is when you are just putting the weight on it, but if the opponent has planted his weight, fine it will work just the same. It works very well and will knock the opponent down....if you have the angle and the timing.

I stand corrected.


#148706 - 05/25/05 01:17 PM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: butterfly]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
AK has a technique similar to the 'cutting' kick that Butterfly refers to, but it is done with the back part of your leg (called a 'buckle' in AK).

It is a similar motion to a step-behind (rear leg crosses behind the front leg, then the front leg shoots out) hook kick, only you are aiming to hit the front of the opponent's knee with the top of your calf/back of your knee.
Your foot is on the ground when doing this, however. It is not a kick per se, but the motion is similar.

As your foot goes past the opponent's leg (at a 45 degree angle), you straighten your leg into the opponent's knee, pushing his leg out. At this point it is fairly easy to turn towards the opponent, and use some hand techniques to finish the unbalance (if he hasn't already fallen over).
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#148707 - 05/25/05 01:41 PM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: MattJ]
Bushi_no_ki Offline

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1669
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
Matt, I'm rather fond of AKK buckles. I use them against the back of the knee as well, turning it into a throw. One of the most obvious places to use a buckle is in techniques like five swords or triggered salute, where your front leg is often up against the attackers front leg, and the primary major counter hit is the heel palm to the face.

#148708 - 05/25/05 02:34 PM Re: Ashi barai (foot sweep) [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I have been working those into my sparring lately. I find the buckles somewhat safer than conventional front sweeps, since I can stay sideways throughout the movement. I can even lean back away from the retaliatory strikes from the opponent, though I try not to, as that compromises the follow through.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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