Ultimate Introduction to Judo Techniques

Judo techniques are known as ‘wazas,’ and they can be broken down into the following groups:

1) Judo Throwing Techniques – Nage-waza

These are the Judo techniques most commonly associated with the art. They generally involve a pulling and rotating motion, and when executed correctly give an opponent little opportunity of avoiding being thrown.

Throwing techniques are further broken down:

Judo Standing Techniques (Tachi-waza)

Performed from a standing position, Tachi-waza are some of the core techniques of Judo. New students must learn these as a foundation before moving on to grappling techniques and other moves.

Standing techniques are further broken down:

Judo Hand Techniques (Te-waza)

These involve using the hands or arms to throw an opponent. They include Ippon Seoinage, considered to be one of the most effective Judo techniques of all. Ippon Seoinage is a powerful technique for throwing an opponent by grasping his shoulder and turning on the spot.

Judo Foot Techniques (Ashi-Waza)

These include sweeping and hooking an opponent’s legs. Timing, coordination and balance are key to executing these moves effectively.

Judo Hip Techniques (Koshi-Waza)

These are some of the more advanced moves in Judo. Students must be proficient at breakfalls to experiment with hip throws as they will land from a greater height than other Judo moves. Hip throws are effective in self-defense situations when an attacker is hugging and restraining you.

Judo Sacrifice Techniques (Sutemi-Waza)

Sacrifice techniques involve dropping to the floor to take an opponent down. These techniques are broken down into the following categories:

Back Sacrifice (Ma-Sutemi-Waza)

This throw involves dropping yourself onto your back in order to perform the throw.

Side Sacrifice (Yoko-Sutemi-Waza)

This throw involves dropping yourself onto your side in order to perform the throw.

2) Judo Grappling Techniques – Katame-Waza

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the martial art commonly associated with grappling nowadays, but many of the techniques have their roots in Judo. Katame-waza are used when both opponents are on the ground, and they can be a follow up to a Judo throwing technique.

There are three types of Judo grappling techniques – joint locks, pins and chokes.

Judo Pinning Techniques (Osaekomi-Waza)

These involve holding an opponent on his back to restrain him. They play an important part in Judo competitions, and also have practical applications in self-defense. Judo pinning techniques are used by security forces to restrain violent attackers.

Judo Choking Techniques (Shime-Waza)

These are some of the most effective for practical self-defense. Shime-Waza are applied to restrict either the flow of blood or oxygen, and they must be used carefully. Compression of veins in the neck, the trachea or chest can be extremely painful, and can quickly cause an opponent to lose consciousness.

Judo Joint Locking Techniques (Kansetsu-Waza)

appear in a number of martial arts including Aikido and Ninjitsu. Locks to wrists, elbows, knees and ankles are highly effective for restraining an attacker, and must be applied carefully to minimise the risk of breaking bones. Judo joint locking techniques are usually restricted to the elbows.

Students interested in taking part in Judo competitions often ask which are the most effective techniques. It’s interesting to look at statistics from Olympic and other major competitions to see the throws used by medal winners, but a student needs to know the full range of techniques to be an effective competitor.

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