June 26, 2011

Judo Terminology: What did he say?

Hajime! Let’s begin! Skill in judo may only be obtained on the mat, working with dedicated partners in an organized training session under the supervision of an expert judoka, or sensei. As simple as that statement sounds people are often remiss to remember the sentiment and avoid the judo mat in favor of other activity. One of the reasons people often avoid the judo mat is they are intimidated by the terminology used everyday in class. The key to overcoming this verbal intimidation is to not avoid the terminology! Face it head on, by being imersed daily in the language of judo you will ultimately learn the language of judo and in the process learn judo! What a novel concept. However, in the interest of expediating your learning curve at Scranton MMA let’s examine the most widely used judo terminology and it’s plain english meaning.

Above all else judo is about technique, or WAZA. Waza refers to the methods used to overcome an opponent, in other words techniques. It is important to learn a variety of waza so that you will be prepared to face any opponent. There are three main classifications of waza; throwing technique or NAGE WAZA, grappling technique or KATAME WAZA, and striking technique or ATEMI WAZA. Let’s take a brief look at each of these classifications of waza.

Nage Waza (throwing technique)

There are 67 basic throwing techniques currently recognized in judo, and nearly an infinite number of variation on these naga waza. Standard throwing techiques are divided into waza executed while remaining standing and sending the opponent to the ground, TACHI WAZA, and waza executed while sacrafice falling to the ground with the opponent, SUTEMI WAZA. There are then three types of standing techniques or tachi waza and are classified by the part of your body that you use to execute the throw: KOSHI WAZA (hip throws), TE WAZA (hand or arm throws), and ASHI WAZA (leg or foot throws). Two types of sacrafice throws then exist and are classified by the direction your body lands relative to the opponent: MA SUSTEMI WAZA (to the rear) and YOKO SUSTEMI WAZA (to the side).

Katame Waza (grappling technique)

Grappling techniques or katame waza or methods of controlling your opponent so they are forced to submit due to threat of injury or being rendered unconscious. Most grappling techniques are performed on the ground and are refered to as NE WAZA. Ne Waza is then broken down in to three further catagories: OSAEKOMI WAZA (pinning techniques), SHIME WAZA (choke and strangle techniques), and KANSETU WAZA (joint lock techniques).

Atemi Waza (striking technique)

Striking techniques or atemi waza are used to distract, disable, or unbalance an attacker so that the judoka may employ naga waza or katame waza. Modern competitive judo has banned the use of atemi waza in competition but in “true” judo atemi waza can be the difference between victory and defeat. Striking skill is divided into two categories UDE WAZA (hand and arm technique) and ASHI ATE (foot and knee techniques).

There you have a broad overview of the language of Judo that you will encounter while on the mats at Scranton MMA. Just have fun training judo and the lingo will soak in as you go. Now get on the mats and remember, NO MATTE!