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Hand and Arm Techniques

Seoi nage (shoulder throw)
The shoulder throw is the most popular technique in judo. There are two types: the two-handed shoulder throw and the one-arm shoulder throw. The two-handed throw involves turning and lifting your opponent on your back while keeping both hands on their judogi and throwing them over your shoulder. In the one-arm technique, you throw the opponent over your shoulder with your hands on one of your opponent's arms. Toshihiko Koga, gold medalist in the men's 71-kilogram division at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and Ryoko Tamura, gold medalist in the women's 48-kg division at the 2000 Sydney Olympics are both very good at shoulder throws. If you drop one or both knees onto the mat before throwing your opponent, the move is called a seoi otoshi (shoulder drop).


Leg Techniques

Osoto gari (outer leg sweep)
This is a standard way of throwing your opponent using your legs. You push your opponent off balance and sweep the leg supporting their body weight out from under them with your leg. Shin'ichi Shinohara, silver medalist in the men's over-100-kg division at the Sydney Olympics, is renowned for his osoto gari. If you get this technique right, it can be a decisive move. There are many variations on the osoto-gari, too.


Uchimata (inner thigh throw)
In this throw, you pull your opponent toward you, slide your lead leg between their legs, and kick one of them up from inside as you turn their body. Hidehiko Yoshida, men's 78-kg gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and David Douillet, gold medalist in the men's over-95-kg division at the Atlanta Games and over-100-kg class at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, are both masters of this throw.


Sacrifice Techniques

Tomoe nage (stomach throw)
Sacrifice techniques involve deliberately taking a dive to pull your opponent down. In tomoe nage, you fall on your back, place your foot on their stomach, and throw them over your head. Russia's Tamerlan Tmenov scored points against Japan's Shin'ichi Shinohara with this technique in the men's over-100-kg semifinal at the Sydney Games but eventually lost the match.


Hip Techniques

Harai goshi (sweeping hip throw)
In this throw, you pull your opponent towards you as you turn your body, drawing them onto your hip and sweeping their legs away. If you hold your opponent's arm at your side when sweeping, it becomes harai makikomi (sweeping wraparound), in which you throw your opponent while wrapped around their body.



Pinning Techniques

Yokoshiho katame (four-direction hold)
This typical pinning technique involves holding down your opponent on their back by wrapping one arm around their shoulder and the other between their legs. By pinning your chest against your opponent's, they are hemmed in from four directions. Kyoko Narazaki, silver medalist in the women's 52-kg division at the Sydney Olympics, is very good at this technique.


Joint Locks

Ude hishigi juji gatame (arm-crushing cross hold)
This is the most frequently used armlock. With your opponent on their back, you sit beside them and hold one of their arms, pinning their upper body down with your thighs, and bending their elbow in the reverse direction. If they endure being held like this, it could result in a broken arm or damaged ligaments, so this technique forces them to submit. Other pinning techniques involves the use of your legs as well as neck and shoulders in holding the opponent's arm.


All illustrations are from ILLUSTRATED MARTIAL ARTS & SPORTS IN JAPAN, published by Japan Travel Bureau, Inc.; illustrator, Masaki Matsushita.