The 'Cross-Buttocks' Throw: A forgotten throw of Karate, Boxing & Taekwondo

The 'Cross-Buttocks' Throw: A forgotten throw of Karate, Boxing & Taekwondo

Throwing techniques are not something that one immediately associates with arts like boxing, karate or taekwondo. However, basic grappling and throwing methods were once a part of these systems (or their forerunners) and it is only in comparatively recent times that these aspects have been neglected. The primary reason for the neglect of these methods is the martial arts changing their focus from the defeat of a violent and untrained attacker in a civilian environment (self-protection) to the defeat of practitioners of the same discipline in a sporting environment. This has seen many techniques not associated with sporting success - often the most brutal and potent ones - fall by the wayside.

Whilst striking the opponent and then fleeing is the most effective way to deal with a self-protection situation (see Geoff Thompson's book 'The Fence'), it is important that strikers have a basic understanding of grappling methods in case their assailant should secure a grip upon them. In recent times, the realisation that you need skills at every range has lead to strikers learning to grapple, and grapplers learning to strike. But one question that needs to be asked is 'Why doesn't the art you already practise have those missing skills on its curriculum?' If the original arts were designed for use in real combat, then why are there such glaring omissions? The 'strikers' of the past obviously did realise the need for basic grappling skills, and as we have already said, it is only within the last century that these methods have been overlooked.

It's worth mentioning at this point that there's grappling, and there's GRAPPLING! Mention the word today and most martial artists immediately think of the high-level grappling skills of BJJ practitioners, Judoka, Shoot-Fighters and mixed martial arts competitors. Please understand that I am in no way saying (nor have I ever said) that the grappling methods employed in the older versions of the 'striking arts' are in anyway the equal of those of dedicated grappling systems. Obviously they are not.

In a self-protection situation - which is what boxers, karateka and practitioners of other civilian arts originally trained for - you are facing a different kind of opponent, in a different environment, than you would be if you entered a mixed martial arts tournament or similar competitive event. The grappling methods of the old civilian systems are inappropriate for use in the modern competitive environment (too brutal and too basic). However, they are well-suited for use against violent untrained attackers in a civilian environment, which is, after all, what they were designed for.

If you want to take your grappling skills to a high level, or you want the skills needed to outwrestle a trained grappler, then you obviously need to study a dedicated grappling art. If, however, you want a knowledge of basic grappling methods that can be used to back up your striking in self-protection situations, you'll probably find everything you need in the older version of your art. That said, looking at dedicated grappling arts and adapting appropriate methods (those based on similar principles) into your core art is still a good idea.

One basic throw that is common to karate, boxing and taekwondo is the 'cross-buttocks' throw. This throw is actually common to most martial styles (grappling and striking), however, the term 'cross-buttocks' is most widely used in the various forms of wrestling. It was also referred to as the 'cross-buttocks' throw in boxing (the original bare-knuckle variety) and was even a much used technique in the ring until the introduction of modern rules resulted in the demise of the grappling side of the art.

The first set of rules were introduced to boxing in 1743 by Jack Broughton - champion for two decades - after one of his opponents (George Stevenson) died after their bout. Among other things, Broughton's rules outlawed the hitting and kicking of a man when he was down, and the seizing of the opponent below the waist. However, it was still perfectly legitimate to seize the opponent above the waist in order to secure them for a blow, or to throw them. One possible match tactic (not to be confused with the strategy employed when boxing was being used for self-defence) was to throw the opponent in such a way that the thrower would land on top of the recipient. This was done in the hope of injuring them so that they would not be able to continue in the allotted time. The cross-buttocks throw was a major part of a boxer's arsenal at that time.

Jack Broughton was the inventor of the first pair of boxing gloves, or 'mufflers' as they were called. These gloves were not worn in bouts, but they were worn in training. It was hoped that the use of mufflers would make boxing more accessible to society gentlemen. Facial injuries were not befitting their social status! In February 1747, Jack Broughton placed an advertisement in 'The Daily Advertiser', which read ' Mr Broughton proposes to open an academy at his house in the Haymarket, for the instruction of those who are willing to be initiated in the mystery of boxing, where the whole theory and practise of that truly British art, with all the various stops, blows, cross-buttocks etc will be fully taught and explained; and that persons of quality and distinction may not be debarred from entering into a course of those lectures, they will be given the utmost tenderness and regard to the delicacy of their frame and constitution of the pupil; for which reason mufflers are provided, that will effectively secure them from the inconvenience of black eyes, broken jaws, and bloody noses. ' From the preceding advert, we can see that Broughton lists the cross-buttocks throw as a key part of boxing skills.

As previously mentioned, the cross-buttocks throw is found in most styles of wrestling, and is popular in Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. As a native of that district - 'Cumberland' being the old name for what is now 'Cumbria' - there is a brewery not far from my home that makes a beer called 'Cross-Buttocks'. The beer is named after one of the main throws of our local fighting art, and the label on the bottle features a picture of a wrestler executing the throw.

Cumberland wrestling is not as popular in the region as it once was; however, it was a part of the physical education curriculum when my father was at school and as such was practised by most Cumbrian children. Although it wasn't part of school life for myself, when I was a child any trip to the beach would invariably involve a few 'bouts' between my farther, my brother and me.

The cross-buttocks throw is also found within judo and jujitsu, although it tends to be referred to as 'Koshiguruma' (hip wheel). However, the judo and jujitsu version of the throw is performed in a slightly different way (the hips are in line rather than pushed past).

The cross-buttocks throw is also very common within taekwondo and karate forms. However, it is often mistaken as a 'turning lower-block' or similar, and as a result the cross-buttocks throw is now rarely practised in taekwondo and karate circles, despite the number of times it appears in the forms.

The cross-buttocks throw is very effective and that is why it is so common throughout the martial arts. There are a few variations of this technique depending upon how the opponent has been seized and the specifics of the style being practised. My personal favourite is when the opponent's head has been seized. I feel this version gives greater control over the opponent. You also remain in a strong position should the throw fail, and should you be taken to the floor with the opponent, you will automatically land in the scarf-hold, which will give you the advantage in any ensuing floor fight.

The first variation we will look at is where the head is seized. This technique is found in the karate form Pinan / Heian Sandan (Pyung Ann 3) and is often mislabelled as a 'forearm block' performed with both fists on the hip (see my video: Bunkai-Jutsu Volume 1). From the clinch shown, secure the back of the opponent's head and push your body forwards in order to head-butt the opponent. It is very important to ensure that the opponent is dazed and confused before attempting any throw. On the head-butt, you should ensure that you hit the opponent below their eyebrows, with the area above your eyebrows (Figure 1). Keep a tight hold of the opponent's triceps as you turn your body and feed your right arm around the back of the opponent's neck. Pull on the opponent's arm and pull their head in towards your body so that you secure a strong headlock. As you apply the headlock, bring your rear foot towards the opponent (Figure 2).

Step forwards with your right foot as you push your hips backward so that the left side of your hip is touching the opponent's body. Pull the opponent in the direction of the step so that their upper-body is bent over your hip and their feet are lifted off the ground (Figure 3) . It is vital that you push your hips far enough back so that they block the path of the opponent's legs. Continue to pull with the arms and push with the legs so that the opponent is taken over the back of your hips and onto the floor (Figure 4).

As mentioned earlier, if the opponent should manage to take you over with them, you will automatically land in the scarf-hold. The nature of the throw also means that you will land directly on top of the opponent (Figure 5). Landing on your opponent's ribcage(although never a preferred strategy) can often take away their ability to breathe, and hence their desire to continue the fight. As previously mentioned, landing on the opponent in this way was a technique used in the ring during the days of bare-knuckle boxing.

Another variation of the cross-buttocks throw is to feed your free arm under the armpit of the opponent's seized arm. This version is found in many karate and taekwondo forms (e.g. Pinan / Heian Godan, Pyung Ann 5, Chinto, Bassai-Dai, Bal Sae, Gankaku etc) but is often mistaken for a turning block or hammer-fist strike. An elbow strike is delivered to the opponent's jaw (Figure 6) . The arm is then fed under the opponent's armpit as the back foot is brought towards the opponent. Be sure to keep a tight grip on the opponent's arm and keep it close to you (Figure 7). Step forwards and position the hips as before in order to take the opponent over the back of your hips and onto the floor (Figure 8).

The cross-buttocks throw is relatively easy to learn, when compared to other throws; it was a much used technique in the original art of boxing and it repeatedly appears in the forms of karate and taekwondo, however, it is rarely practised in the modern versions of those arts. If you'd like to know more about other throws that were employed by karate, boxing and taekwondo; please see my book on the subject: Throws for Strikers: The forgotten throws of Karate, Boxing and Taekwondo. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I sincerely hope that you found it useful.