In the days before leg grabbing was banned, one-handed soder specialists like Oren Smadga (ISR), Toshihiko Koga (JPN) and Yordanis Arencibia (CUB) would grab uke’s leg with their free hand and do some somersaults in order to finish throw.
This method largely disappeared after leg grabbing was banned. It’s impossible to do a somersault with uke on his back without grabbing uke’s legs. If the leg is not grabbed, the yoke may spin out.
But the one-handed Soder didn’t go away. Soichi Hashimoto (JPN), probably the best one-handed thrower in the world today, came up with a version that doesn’t require somersaults.
However, Spain’s Francisco Garrigos is breathing new life into the somersault method. His version is very similar to what the likes of Smadga, Koga and Arencibia do, except instead of grabbing the end of uke’s sleeve, he uses a different grip.
The only person to successfully defend the European title, Garrigos usually uses this technique when the uke is trying to grab a high left hand. Instead of defending it, he grabbed uke’s outstretched arm near the biceps area, then grabbed uke’s waist (above the belt) with his other hand.
With uke firmly on his back, Garrigos then does a firm somersault, throwing uke on him and laying him flat on his back.
At first glance, it looks dangerous, but if you look closely at the action, you’ll see that his head didn’t hit the mat and there wasn’t any danger of injury. In fact, the somersault was so complete that Galigos ended up on Yuk!
It was a very dynamic, pleasing pitch, which he used twice in the recent European Championships in Sofia.
The first was against Israel’s Matan Kokolayev. In Golden Score, when Kokolayev reaches for a high grip, Garrigos starts using a very low version of this technique. Originally it was scored with a waza-ari but was later cancelled (Garrigos went on to win with a kouchi-gake).
The second is more spectacular due to the height reached when thrown. His opponent was former world champion Lukhumi Chkhvimiani (GEO), who was always a tough opponent with his tenacious Georgian high grip. But it was perfect for Garrigos (1.63m), who took full advantage of it, attacking his Georgian opponent with a one-handed somersault not seen since the days of Smagda, Koga and Arencibia .
His grip is slightly different from theirs (all three prefer the sleeve grip), but the execution of the throw is the same.