Due to how often Dimitri Dragin drilled the Front Leg variation of his Sasae, it became second nature to him. Now let’s see how he put it to work on the IJF World Judo Tour.
Dragin used his foot variation to great effect in the 3rd round of the 2009 Paris Grand Slam against Britain’s Miller.
He used it to constantly disrupt, chop down, and follow Miller into Ne Waza, and use it as a set up for his Yoko Tomoe Nage attack.
In the Final at the same tournament against Papinashvili of Georgia, Dragin used the attack twice when being put under pressure on the edge of the mat area. The first is the thigh variation off the Georgian’s cross grip
The second is Dragin’s standard thigh variation.
You can see both are in an extreme right vs right position,
Dragin moves to the side, fires the leg through getting the thigh contact, and then drives the sleeve up, rotating Papinashvili
He comes close to scoring with the attack but a lack of pull down on the lapel gave the Georgian a chance to escape.
This wasn’t the case in the Final of the 2009 German Open, when up against Papinashvili again, Dragin made sure he got the score
He combines both of his front leg sasae variation in this example, he makes thigh contact and then following through with the foot contact.
The pull down on the lapel really helps rotate the Georgian around and then a big push and drive gets Dragin the Ippon score.
Up against Great Britain’s James Miller at the 2010 Paris Grand Slam. Dragin uses his foot variation to knock Miller to the floor. As Miller goes to stand Dragin attacks with Yoko Tomoe Nage.
A great example of using the Sasae attack as part of a combination if scoring with it directly isn’t possible.
Later on in the same contest Dragin struck again with his foot variation. This time he was able to score with it
Once the contact has been made with the foot, Dragin gets brilliant rotation, a little bit of drive and he gets the score.
Round 1 at the 2012 Dusseldorf Grand Prix and Liu of China was looking to get a deep cross grip over the top of Dragin on two occassions. As soon as Liu takes the grip, Dragin strikes, taking his opponent to the mat and following straight into Ne waza.
At the 2013 Tokyo Grand Slam against Mongolia’s Davaadorj, Dragin does his thigh variation off a cross grip.
In this instance Dragin isn’t looking to score but instead chop Davaadorj down. The Mongolian catches Dragin’s sleeve and is just about to attack. But Dragin beats him to it, getting him out of the risky situation.
The Semi Final at the same tournament saw Dragin use the Sasae again - this time making his opponent look passive by chopping them down. It was Japan’s Takajo who was on the receiving end.
Starting on the sleeve and lapel and then attacking with a Kouchi, Takajo switches his grip, ending up with both hands on the sleeve.
Dragin capitalises on the opportunity, stepping to the side and sending the leg through, making contact with the foot.
A Little pull down on the lapel and Takajo is sent to the floor.
One of Dragin’s most spectacular examples of his front leg sasae, came at the 2013 European Club Championships in Paris when he was up against Sandal of Turkey.
After a gripping exchange, Dragin finds himself in the extreme right v right position. From here Sandal taps with a Kouchi Gari, Dragin steps off of it and then uses this opportunity to attack with his foot variation.
This is a perfect example of how important it is to combine the lapel pull down and sleeve push with the contact on the leg, to rotate the opponent over onto their back.
Down on the scoreboard against Italy’s Elio Verde in the 2nd round of the 2014 Baku Grand Slam, Dragin comes agonizingly close to getting the Shimewaza off the Front Leg Sasae attack.
The attack all stems off Verde taking a cross grip. Dragin gets his hand on the hip giving him some distance and then sends the leg through. He maintains his grip on the lapel allowing him to whip the lapel under the Italians head and look to sit his hips through for the Shime Waza.