Forms of Counters

fan3 Go-no-sen-no-kata

Go no sen is a strategy, one of the three basic strategies, which can be loosely translated as ‘counter technique’. Kano recognized three levels of combative initiative (sen): 1) go no sen, the ‘late’ form of attack initiative, usually characterized as a defensive move or counteraction; 2) sen, the attack initiative that is also defensive but launched simultaneously with the aggressor’s attack; 3) sen-sen no sen, a supraliminal attack initiative, also defensive but appearing to be offensive, through which the aggressor’s attack is anticipated and “beaten to the punch” by an appropriate action. This kata was created by Mikonosuke Kawaishi at Waseda University. It is not a recognized Kodokan kata. Here is a Video Demonstration of the Gonosen no Kata and Further Discussion.


  • Osoto-gari countered by Osoto-gari

Simultaneously Tori and Uke hold each other in the fundamental natural posture. Tori advances his right foot a half pace and thus places himself in the right natural posture, Uke as the assailant advances his left foot to the axis of Tori right foot and the attempts to throw him with Osoto Gari to the right. Tori blocks the attack with his abdomen and bends his legs in the right self-defence posture then supports himself on his left foot on which he pivots slightly and in turn applies the Osoto Gari to Uke. Uke is too far to resist his attack and is therefore thrown.

Hiza-guruma countered by Hiza-guruma

Tori takes a left natural posture. Uke attacks with Hiza Gruma to the right i.e. his left leg on Tori’s right. Tori withdraws his right leg a half pace to ward off the attack and unbalances Uke to his right front, then in his turn attacks Uke with Hiza Guruma to the right.

Ouchi-gari countered by Deashi-barai/Okuri-ashi-barai

Tori places himself in the left natural posture his legs separated. Uke attacks with Ouchi-gari, his right leg against Tori’s left leg. Tori blocks with his abdomen; flexes his right leg and carries the weight of his body and balance backwards on his right foot. Tori pivots slightly to the left to accentuate the right front disequilibrium of Uke, lifts him with the combined effort of forearms and wrists and sweeps both Uke’s legs with his left leg towards his own front. The sole of Tori’s foot is turned upwards in the course of this movement chiefly sweeping Uke’s left ankle. Uke executes a Kata lateral fall from the Okuri-Ashi-Barai.

De-ashi-barai countered by De-ashi-barai

Uke rises to his feet deliberately and at once takes hold of Tori’s Judogi. Tori takes a similar hold of Uke. Tori advances his right leg a half step to the right natural posture. Uke attacks with De-Ashi-Barai with his left leg against Tori’s right leg. Tori dodges by stepping over Uke’s left foot with his right foot and immediately, without replacing his foot on the ground, sweeps Uke’s left ankle with the sole of his right foot. Uke executes a kata left side fall.

Kosoto-gake countered by Tai-otoshi

Tori is in the right natural position. Uke attacks with Kosoto-Gake with his left leg against Tori’s right. Tori then pivots a half turn to his left and takes support on his left foot. At the same time he amplifies and deflects Uke’s frontal movement and ends by throwing Uke with Tai-Otoshi to the right.

Kouchi-gari countered by Sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi

Tori is in the right natual posture. Uke attacks with Koushi-Gari with his right foot against Tori’s right ankle. Tori puts his entire balance on his left foot and takes advantage of Ukes advance towards his left to apply the Sasae-Tsuri-Komi-Ashi to Uke’s left leg.


  • Kubi-nage countered by Ushiro-goshi

Tori is in the right natural posture. Uke attacks with Kubi-Nage to the right. But Tori does not let himself be unbalanced forward; he resists with his abdomen, then bends his legs in the jigo-hotai or fundamental self–defensive posture, with his balance on his heels. At the same time with his right hand he seizes Uke’s belt in front of Uke’s stomach. Tori’s left hand and forearm encircle Uke from behind and rest against his waist and back. Tori then bends still more on his legs and taking advantage of Uke’s left lateral rear disequilibrium lifts him high on his protruded stomach and his left hip with an unconventional Ushiro–Goshi since his head remains in front of Uke’s right shoulder. Tori lifts Uke as high as possible above his shoulders; Uke stretchers his legs so that his fall may be more effective. Tori pivoting to his left and throws Uke in front of himself and a little to his left.

Koshi-guruma countered by Uki-goshi

Tori places himself in left natural posture, his left foot a little in front . Uke attacks with Koshi Guruma to the right and gets as far as the end of his entry. Tori blocks with his abdomen bending his knees and pushing Uke back with his arms. Tori then passes in front of Uke, stepping past Uke’s right foot first with his right and then his left foot. His left arm encircles Uke’s waist and he makes the rotative body movement (Tai-sabaki) from the stomach and hips. Uke is at that moment unbalanced laterally to the left front and Tori avails himself of the opportunity to apply the Uki Goshi to the left and throw him.

Hane-goshi countered by Sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi

Tori is in the right natural posture his right foot a little forward. Uke attacks with Hane Goshi to the right. Tori blocks and dodges with tai-sabaki to the right, very quickly advances his right foot then his left and displaces his hips with a small turning movement towards his right front. Then Tori takes support on his left foot and left bent leg and utilizing Uke’s left front disequilibrium applies the Sasae-Tsuri-Komi-Ashi to the left and throws him.

Harai-goshi countered by Utsuri-goshi

Tori is in natural posture. Uke attacks him with the Harai-Goshi to the right and is going to the end of his entry, i.e. Tori does not dodge the attack. Tori blocks with his abdomen and flexes his legs. Uke butts against him, is repulsed and rebounds against Tori stomach. Tori takes advantage of this opportunity to pull and lift Uke very strongly towards his left back. The pivot of the effort is Tori’s stomach and left hip. Uke is thus lifted with Tori’s left hip and shoulder as high as possible backwards. Tori at this precise moment advances his left foot so as to place his hips under the stomach of Uke who begins his descending movements, and Tori throws him with the Utsuri-Goshi to the left.

Uchi-mata countered by Sukui-Nage (Te-guruma)

Tori is in the natural posture legs separated. Uke applies the Uchi Mata to the right which Tori blocks by flexing his legs and carrying his balance principally on his left foot. When Uke straightens his back to resume the right natural posture Tori continues to bend his legs and unbalance Uke towards his right back, i.e. Tori’s left back. Tori does not change the hold with his left hand on Uke’s right shoulder. The only difference for the throw to follow is Tori slides his right forearm far between Uke’s legs so that his right hand can seize Uke’s belt from behind or press strongly against his loins. Tori finishes by swinging Uke with the Sukui Nage and throws him to the ground.


  • Kata-seoi countered by Sumi-gaeshi

Tori is in the right natural posture, his right foot a little in front, legs separated. Uke attacks with Kata-Seoinage (or Ippon Seoinage) to the right. Tori very quickly makes a large rotative evading movement with a half turn forward from right to left around Uke’s right hip. His right heel is first placed on the ground far between Uke’s feet and Tori lets himself fall to the ground on his back and left side. Tori continues his turning movement and throws Uke in Sumi Gaeshi.

fan1 Go-no-sen-no-kata “Opportunity remains a moment and flies away. You think that the moment has come to apply your tricks, but you often find it too late. If you would therefore seize a good opportunity, you must be ready to seize it practically before it appears, and apply your tricks, anticipating the chance. In order to do so, your eyes alone are not enough. You must rely on the sense of your muscles. For instance, acting by go-no-sen, it is the work of a moment to change failure into success.” Sakujiro Yokoyama and Eisuke Oshima