With Dragin in his playground area, he needs to free up space on his right arm. He raises his elbow to knock Uke off balance – ending in a perfect position for him to sweep their leg.
As he steps, Dragin performs a shoulder roll.
To do this he moves the top half of his body away from uke. This starts to straighten his arm.
At the same time, Dragin rolls his shoulder inwards. Doing so brings his arm into contact with uke’s.
The Shoulder roll is especially important when Uke has managed to get a deep grip over the top. Because of that grip, Dragin really needs to create distance, so he can get the contact on the arm and continue to execute the De Ashi.
Once the contact is made, Dragin can look to perform the second most important part of the setup. The ‘Elbow rotation’.
In order for this to work he needs his right arm to be loose, but maintain a strong grip on the lapel.
Dragin wants to rotate his elbow up in a fast knocking action. Connecting on uke’s arm, lifting it up and sending it forward.
Often Dragin combines the shoulder roll and the rotation of the elbow in one swift movement. As he starts to shoulder roll, he rotates the arm through, raising up the elbow.
This results in Uke being knocked forward, off-balance. It’s this movement of them coming forward that Dragin uses to sweep the leg.
Notice the step uke has to take with their left leg as a result of being knocked forward.
Because of the position uke now finds themselves in, they want to re-position and re-balance themselves. To do so they step forward with their right leg, putting all their weight onto it, leaving the left leg in the perfect position to be attacked with De Ashi.
To further force uke to put their weight onto their right leg, Dragin continues to pull on the sleeve and drive the elbow up and forward.
To finish Dragin wants to make contact with the back of their leg. He sweeps, driving his leg right through uke’s.
At the same time as he sweeps the leg, Dragin starts to drive his opponent down to the mat with the use of the lapel hand.
He pulls down on the lapel, bringing his elbow inwards. It’s a fast whipping motion with the right hand.
This, coupled with the sweeping of the leg, takes Uke down to the mat.
Guiding them on their back, for the score..
The whip on the lapel and sweeping of the leg, is a lightning fast combination that takes uke right off their feet.
At full speed in a more competitive scenario the De Ashi Barai looks like this.
As soon as Dragin does the Elbow rotation everything happens rapidly, giving uke no chance to escape or avoid the attack.
It’s a great example of how effective Dragin was at Ashi waza, and how even when your op-ponent has a dominant grip, you can find a solution to be able to execute an attack.