Karo Parisyan is an Armenian born mixed martial artist who moved to America at the age of six and began training judo at the age of nine and was competing in freestyle fighting against fully grown adults when he was only fourteen years of age. In this study, we will list the Judo techniques that Karo utilized during his MMA career.

Karo Parisyan – Start In MMA

He was trained by the legendary Gokor Chivichyan and “Judo” Gene LeBell at the Hayastan academy where he also learned the Hayastan grappling system. He was a ferocious competitor and became a ten-time Junior national judo champion a four-time International judo champion and had faced the likes of Sean Sherk, Antonio McKee and Jason “Mayhem” Miller in MMA and was focusing on the 2004 Olympic Judo trials before he got the call-up from the UFC.

Ippon Seoi Nage

We will start with the Ippon Seoi Nage, the one-armed shoulder throw technique where both hands are used on one arm of the opponents as they are loaded onto the back lifted and thrown over the shoulder.

Seoi Otoshi

Seoi Otoshi or shoulder drop, it’s a hand technique where the opponents are loaded onto the back and pulled straight down over the shoulder and thrown while you drop both knees to the mat.

Harai goshi

The Harai Goshi or sweeping hip throw is a hip technique where the opponent’s balance is moved in a forward direction and your hip is turned and leg extended placing the back of your thigh against the front of the opponent’s and as you continue pulling them forward this is used to sweep their legs out from underneath them in a sudden motion.


Osotogari or major outer reaping is a leg throw performed by stepping outside the leg of your opponent and cutting down on the back of their leg taking it out from underneath them. Although in practice when used by Karo in the UFC it often ended up looking more like a Harai Goshi when finished due to the movements of the opponent when being thrown.

Ashi Guruma

The Ashi Guruma or leg wheel consists of placing your leg against the opponent’s leg between his knee and shin and then using the rotation of your arms and body to throw the opponent down with an instantaneous twisting motion.

Uchi Mata

The Uchi Mata or inner thigh reaping throw is a leg technique that consists of off-balancing the opponent diagonally towards you then rotating your body and placing the back of your thigh between the opponent’s legs and swinging upwards in a sudden motion to execute the throw, an excellent sense of timing is required to achieve this throw and it is one that Karo has often favoured using in competition. You can see Karo using this throw while simultaneously working towards an Ude Garami grip on his opponent.

Osoto Makikomi

The Ude Garami, Kimura or double wrist lock was an attack that was also often favoured by Karo. With the use of the Kimura grip, these throws turn into variations of Makikomis or wrap around throws like the Osoto maki komi or large outside wrap around throw which begins as an Osotogari with your leg cutting down on the opponent’s leg but then you wrap around your opponent’s body and fall down with them.

Harai Makikomi

The Harai Maki Komi, a hip sweep wrap around throw which begins as a Harai Goshi by bringing the opponent on to the hip and twisting at the waist to flip the opponent over while also using the Kimura grip to wrap them around your own body and fall to the mat with them. These throws are classed as side sacrifice techniques and often finish with the opponent on your back but as Karo would hold onto the Kimuragrip he could remain on the offensive.

Hikikomi Gaeshi

Another use of the Kimura is with the Hikikomi Gaeshi or pulling in sacrifice throw, which consists of destabilizing the opponent in the forward direction and then inserting the instep of your foot between the opponent’s leg in the crook of their knee while dropping onto your back and throwing them over your own head after which you can continue attacking with the Kimura from the top position.

Kouchi Gari & Kosoto gari

The Kouchi gari or small inner reaping that consists of off-balancing the opponent by pushing them and reaping their heel in a decisive scooping motion and the Kosoto Gari which is a small outer reap that also consists of scooping the opponent’s leg sending them to the mat.

Ōuchi Gari

The Ōuchi gari or large inner reap is executed by moving straight into the opponent’s chest and then performing a leg reap from the inner side swinging the reaping foot in a half-circle in order to spread the opponent’s legs destabilize their balance and throw them onto their back.

Kosoto Gake

The Kosoto Gake or small outer hook consists of driving towards the opponent and placing a foot behind them, then after hooking the leg you can either lift and scoop the leg out or trap the leg and lean on them until they fall to the mat.

Kibisu gaeshi & Kuchiki Taoshi

The Kuchiki Taoshi or one hand drop consists of grabbing one of the opponent’s legs and then pushing and running them down to the mat. This is often performed by Karo off of caught kicks. And the Kibisu Gaeshi or heel trip consists of grabbing the opponent’s heel with one hand and then pushing the opponent over onto their back where they land on the spot. This is in contrast to the Kuchiki Taoshi where they are pushed and run backwards.

Morote Gari

And the Morote gari or two hands reap which is performed by grabbing both of the opponent’s legs with both of your arms while driving forward and throwing them onto their back this technique is the Judo version of the wrestler’s double leg takedown.

Sukui Nage

A Sukui Nage or scooping throw is executed when during a Morote gari, Karo scoops or lifts the opponent fully off the ground and slams them onto the mat. In MMA this was often performed by him when pressed against the fence.

Karo Parisyan – the Pioneer fo Judo in MMA

While spending most of his career training at Hayastan Academy with Gokor Chivichyan He also spent time at Team Punishment, training with Neal Melanson and at Xtreme Couture and during his time competing in mixed martial arts Karo became the WEC welterweight champion, the UFC welterweight number one contender, a Bellator veteran and winner of the 2006 fight of the year with Diego Sanchez.

Although Judokas were fighting MMA in Japan at the time when Karo began fighting in the UFC Judo was severely underrepresented and somewhat dismissed by North American fans as a traditional martial art that may not hold any value for the future of freestyle fighting.

But when Karo began to literally throw opponents on their heads he certainly changed that opinion. He paved the way for countless other Judokas in the UFC, gaining respect for the art by successfully adapting it and showcasing its effectiveness under the mixed martial arts rule set.

That concludes our look at the use of judo in MMA through the lens of the career and legacy of Karo Parisyan.


  • Parisyan, K., Krauss, E. and Cordoza, G. (2008). Judo for Mixed Martial Arts. Calif.: Victory Belt.
  • Harai-goshi (Hip sweep: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/kosi/harai/
  • Ashi-guruma (Leg wheel: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/asiguruma/
  • Uchi-mata (Inner-thigh reaping throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/utimata/
  • Osoto-makikomi (Large outside wraparound throw): http://www.judo ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/yoko/oosotomaki/
  • Harai-makikomi (Hip sweep wraparound throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/yoko/haraimaki/
  • Sumi-gaeshi (Corner throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/masute/sumigaesi/
  • Kosoto-gari (Small outer reap: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/kosotogari/
  • Ouchi-gari (Large inner reap: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/ooutigari/
  • Kuchiki-taoshi (One-hand drop: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/kutikitaosi/
  • Kibisu-gaeshi (Heel trip): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/kibisugaesi/
  • Osotogari: https://judoinfo.com/quiz0297_3/
  • Harai Goshi: Sweeping Hip Throw: https://judoinfo.com/haraigo/
  • Ko Uchi Gari: https://judoinfo.com/kouchi/
  • Seoi-Otoshi (hand technique): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/waza/digest/03/
  • Ippon Seoinage (One Arm Shoulder Throw: https://judoinfo.com/ippon-seoinage/
  • Kibisu-gaeshi (Heel trip): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/kibisugaesi/
  • Morote-gari (Two-hands reap): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/morotegari/
  • Kosoto Gake (Small Outer Hook): https://judoinfo.com/kosoto-gake/
  • Hikikomi gaeshi: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/masute/hikikomi/
  • Beyond Grappling – The difference between kuchiki taoshi and kibisu gaeshi.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxTqi1NWPas
  • Grappling Central Podcast – Episode 030 – Karo Parisyan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVPqnbHh0eQ
  • SUMI GAESHI AND HIKKOMI GAESHI A COMPARISON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezjswwlXlBo
  • Combat Life: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKndpk8BdD0Isine6zHoDfw