Kirill Denisov has one of the most complete Tachi waza repertoires in competitive judo.
His two big forward throws – Uchi mata and Tai otoshi – are complemented beautifully with his three highest scoring Ashi waza – Kosoto gari, De ashi barai and Kouchi gari.
His skipping Kouchi gari works from the same set-up as his skipping De ashi barai. However, the difference in this technique is that the skip is, infact, bait for the opponent to attack with De ashi.
Denisov initiates a skipping action with uke. And uke is tempted into sweeping with De ashi.
But this is a trap, as Denisov’s intention is not De ashi himself, but Kouchi gari.
The idea is to beat uke to the punch, and be in with the Kouchi before they’ve made contact with the De ashi.
He describes the trap as like ‘leaving cheese for a mouse’.
By deliberately setting up this skipping action, he gets his partner into a mind-set for De ashi, whether it’s attacking with De ashi or defending against it . The Kouchi, however, is a surprise.
For it to work Denisov has to be very quick on his entry, moving his feet faster than his opponents.
Here is the final step of the skip and the entry into the Kouchi.
You can see that Denisov has already moved his left foot out of range of uke’s De ashi.
As the opponent is committing to a foot-sweep with their right leg, they are vulnerable to an attack on the supporting leg.
Here, Denisov demonstrates the upper body movement as he attacks with Kouchi.
This is very much a classical upper body entry into Kouchi gari. There’s a big pull with the sleeve hand. And the lapel hand pushes against the head, with the forearm tight to the chest.
Here it is then, in a competitive situation.
Denisov says that for the trap to work the first skip should be light and relaxed, but then it’s critical to accelerate into the second skip, which moves directly into the Kouchi gari.
The change of speed and rhythm is crucial to the success of this technique.
And the commitment from the opponent to attack with De ashi is what helps make this such a big throw.