Defence Hasami by Moe Sameshima

Hasami is the Japanese word for “scissors”, and this perfectly describes the principles of this innovative defence. Hasami is a method of sharing responsibility between multiple defenders.

Since Hasami is designed to keep the other team on the field, it prioritises preventing the quick score. Therefore, deeps set up deeper than any offensive players, and are tasked with preventing the huck; bear in mind that Japanese teams have traditionally suffered deep vs taller nations. Other defenders sit underneath their cutters, spreading a net around the offence and reducing throwing opportunities seen in traditional offences.

Team Japan employing the 'Hasami' defence in the 2012 WUGC Final vs Team USA

Narrowing the cutting lanes makes hucking more difficult, and makes the swing more appealing, and Hasami is designed to allow the swings, so when the disc moves laterally, the handler markers move across the field to narrow down the new attacking angles in a simple arrowhead formation. Hasami also makes extensive use of the Buzz Switch to contain handler movement, which is particularly effective against open side give and go moves.


  • Keep the offence on the field for as long as possible
  • Do not get beaten by the long throw
  • Use team synergy to overcome an imbalance where the defence is overpowered by strong offence
  • Stop the offence from running their set plays


  • Fundamentally, Hasami is a person-to-person defence, not a zone. It is therefore vital that each defender has one offensive player to guard
  • Relies on switches, poaches, and communication
  • Allow swings
  • Allow backwards throws
  • Deny deep throw by ensuring that no offensive cutters are allowed to be deeper than the deep defenders
  • Trap when appropriate; usually when the disc is in the corner
  • Best deployed from a static situation, such as a bricked pull
  • Expect to transition to another defensive set

Fig. 1: Basic Hasami layout

The most important part of Hasami is communication; use voice & gestures to communicate which threats to take, and how players will keep changing responsibilities. Point to cutters that need to be guarded, and talk to your team mates about where cutters are. The better you communicate, the easier it will be to play defence and the more effective Hasami will be.


  • Victor Maielo says:

    Are there different patterns when playing other offensive looks?

    • Brummie says:

      Hi Victor.

      The same principles apply regardless of the offensive formation. Horizontal stack happens to be the offence which shows off Hasami best.

      Vertical stack: collapse closer in to the stack, forming a “box”

      Split stack: put defenders in front and behind of each stack.

      Side stack: defenders in front and behind the side stack, with two others in the lane to contain cuts to space

      Do let me know if you have any further questions.



  • Victor Maielo says:

    Thank you Brummie. I’ll try to implement it with my team here in Brazil. I love the idea of playing help defense. It requires a lot of communication and I really want people to get used to it.
    I understand that it can be diffucult to orchestrate some switches or positions since my team plays mixed division but we’ll give it our best

  • Victor Maielo says:

    Just as a follow-up, our team practiced and tested this defense during a tournament in Argentina in April. It was awesome. Yes, we did have bad moments but mostly because of people not following the plan and overdoing their position. When we had players that participated in more practices and were more team oriented, wow, it was beautiful.

    I strongly recommend this defense for teams that have trouble with communication skills because it forces people to communicate A LOT. And I also recommend it to teams that struggle with following team plan and strategy, with what I personally call hero mode (where one player thinks he or she needs to be the hero and solve all the problems alone). Last but not least, I recommend it because it works!

    Thank you for sharing!

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