Judo techniques are known as ‘wazas,’ and they can be broken down into the following groups.
1) Nage-waza – throwing techniques
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. The Judo practitioner stays on his feet for most Nage-waza, but techniques like the Judo sacrifice throw involve dropping to the floor to take an opponent down.
2) Katame-waza – grappling techniques
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.
Osaekomi-waza, or pinning techniques, 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-defence. Judo pinning techniques are used by security forces to restrain violent attackers.
Judo choking techniques are some of the most effective for practical self-defence. 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.
Kansetsu-Waza, or joint locking techniques, 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.
3) Tachi-waza – standing techniques
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. Judo standing techniques can be broken down into hand, foot and hip techniques.
Te-waza, or hand techniques, 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 include sweeping and hooking an opponent’s legs. Timing, coordination and balance are key to executing these moves effectively.
Koshi-Waza, or hip techniques, 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-defence situations when an attacker is hugging and restraining you.
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.