Judo Grappling Technique

Practice transitioning from your throws directly into grappling.
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Most judo training revolves around stand-up fighting, when you're aiming for an ippon -- a throw in which your opponent lands on her back. This wins you the match instantly. Sometimes, however, an opponent will land on her side, scoring you points but not a win. Don't be disheartened; keep on them. Apply one of the three judo grappling methods: chokes, joint locks and pins. If you can get your opponent to submit or pin her for 25 seconds, you'll win.

Chokes (Shimewaza)

    It seems there's a choke for every occasion in judo, whether you're on top, to the side or behind your opponent on the ground. Some chokes, such as Yoko Sankaku Jime, even use the leg as the attacking instrument. There are two target compression points for chokes in judo: the carotid arteries on the sides of the neck, compression of which cuts blood flow to the brain, and the windpipe, to stop the air flow to the lungs.

Joint Locks (Kansetsuwaza)

    The majority of joint locks in judo target the arms. For example, the cross arm-lock juji gatame puts pressure on the elbow joint, and the commonly used ude garami targets the shoulder and the elbow. Wrist locks are not permitted in competition judo. A suite of leg locks is taught; these are effective but difficult to apply. You can use them strategically, though, by pretending to go for a log lock and then exploiting your opponent's predicted defensive reaction.

Pinning Techniques (Osaewaza)

    If you pin the opponent for 25 seconds, you score ippon and win. A pin lasting between 20 and 25 seconds scores a waza-ari, and one lasting between 15 and 20 seconds scores a yuko. For this reason, it's good practice in training to work on following your throws directly into groundwork, and pins are very amenable to this. For example, the shoulder throws such as o goshi flow easily into lateral pins ksuch as esa gatame.


    Alas, sometimes you'll find yourself on the receiving end of a throw, and find your opponent powering a certain grappling move onto you. Each grappling technique in judo comes with countermeasures called escapes. There are also counter-countermeasures, which you should practice too. As you progress in judo you'll discover that many of the aerobic exercises you perform in the warmup employ the same movements as some escapes -- so you may know some already.

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