City College of San Francisco Judo Club

The Basics


Categories of waza judo:

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;


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:



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 are further subdivided


Katame-waza (grappling techniques)


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.


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.