City College of San Francisco Judo Club

The Basics

  • Judo Etiquette
  • How to tie your Obi (Belt) and folding your gi
  • Ukemi: Basic Falling Techniques


Categories of waza judo:

  • Nage-waza (throwing techniques)
  • Katame-waza (grappling techniques)
  • Atemi-waza (striking techniques).

Judo is most known for nage-waza and katame-waza.


Judo practitioners typically devote a portion of each practice session to ukemi (break-falls), in order that nage-waza can be practiced without significant risk of injury.


Several distinct types of ukemi exist;

  • Ushiro ukemi (rear breakfalls)
  • Yoko ukemi (side breakfalls)
  • Zenpo kaiten ukemi (rolling breakfalls).


The person who performs a Waza is known as tori (literally "taker") and the person to whom it is performed is known as uke ( literally "receiver").


Nage waza (throwing techniques)

Nage waza include all techniques in which tori attempts to throw or trip uke, usually with the aim of placing uke on his back. Each technique has three distinct stages:


  • Kuzushi - the initial balance break
  • Tsukuri - the act of turning in and fitting into the throw
  • Kake - the execution and completion of the throw.


Nage waza are typically drilled by the use of uchi komi, repeated turning-in, taking the throw up to the point of kake.


Traditionally, nage waza are further categorized

  • Tachi-waza (standing techniques), throws that are performed with tori maintaining an upright position
  • Sutemi-waza (sacrifice techniques), throws in which tori sacrifices his upright position in order to throw uke.


Tachi-waza are further subdivided

  • Te-waza (hand techniques), in which tori predominantly uses his arms to throw uke
  • Koshi-waza (hip techniques) throws that predominantly use a lifting motion from the hips
  • Ashi-waza (foot and leg techniques), throws in which tori predominantly utilizes their legs


Katame-waza (grappling techniques)

  • Katame-waza is further categorised into osaekomi-waza (holding techniques), in which tori traps and pins uke on their back on the floor
  • Shime-waza (strangulation techniques), in which tori attempts to force a submission by choking or strangling uke
  • Kansetsu-waza (joint techniques), in which tori attempts to submit uke by painful manipulation of their joints.


In competitive judo, Kansetsu-waza is currently limited to elbow joint manipulation.  Manipulation and locking of other joints can be found in various katas, such as Katame-no-kata and Kodokan goshin jutsu.


Randori (free practice)

Judo pedagogy emphasizes randori (literally "taking chaos", but meaning "free practice"). This term covers a variety of forms of practice, and the intensity at which it is carried out varies depending on intent and the level of expertise of the participants.

  • At one extreme, is a compliant style of randori, known as Yakusoku geiko (prearranged practice), in which neither participant offers resistance to their partner's attempts to throw.
  • Sute geiko (throw-away practice), in which an experienced judoka allows himself to be thrown by his less-experienced partner.


While hard randori is the cornerstone of judo, over-emphasis of the competitive aspect is seen as undesirable by traditionalists if the intent of the randori is to "win" rather than to learn.


Randori is usually limited to either tachi waza (standing techniques) or ne waza (ground work) and, when one partner is thrown in tachi waza randori, practice is resumed with both partners on their feet.


Kata (forms)

Kata (Forms) are pre-arranged patterns of techniques, they are all practiced with a partner.


Their purposes include illustrating the basic principles of judo, demonstrating the correct execution of a technique, teaching the philosophical tenets upon which judo is based, allowing for the practice of techniques that are not allowed in randori, and to preserve ancient techniques that are historically important but are no longer used in contemporary judo.