Judo Basics – Beginner’s Lessons
The ideal posture to freely apply judo throws is an upright natural posture, with knees slightly bent, head centered over the hips, feet directly below the hips and about shoulder width apart. Position your head so you look not down at your feet, but up around your opponent’s waist or above. Movement of the hips will usually signal your opponent’s real intentions better than his or her feet or hands, which often are used deceptively. The ideal judo posture allows for free movement, and is inherently stable and balanced. Shisei is classified in Shizen-tai and Jigo-tai . Dowload PDF file with postures or ► watch this video.
Shizen-tai (Natural Standing Posture) is composed of: a. Shizen-hontai (Basic Natural Standing Posture) the posture standing naturally and mildly, b. Migi-shizen-tai (Right Natural Standing Posture) the posture standing with right foot advanced a bit rightward and forward from basic natural standing posture, and c. Hidari-shizen-tai (Left Natural Standing Posture) the posture standing with left foot advanced a bit leftward and forward from basic natural standing posture.
Jigo-tai (Defensive Posture) is composed of: a. Jigo-hontai (Basic Defensive Posture) the posture lowering loins and opening both feet widely from Shizen-hontai, b. Migi-jigo-tai (Right Defensive Posture) the posture lowering loins and opening both feet widely from Migi-shizen-tai, and c. Hidari-jigo-tai (Left Defensive Posture) the posture lowering loins and opening both feet widely from Hidari-shizen-tai.
Footwork (Suri ashi)
Suri ashi (Footwork) used when moving during a contest or Randori (Free sparring, and its purpose is to move while maintaining one’s balance. Because an opponent can easily destabilize a contestant who places his body weight disproportionately on one leg, the contestant moves by using this Suri ashi (Footwork) stepping method in order to avoid lifting the leg too far from the floor. Other basic Judo stepping methods include the Ayumi-ashi (Walking step) and the Tsugi-ashi (Following step). There are more steps techniques, ► watch this video for details.
Body Movement (Tai sabaki)
Tai sabaki means changing the position and direction of your body while maintaining a stable posture. The basis of nage waza (throwing techniques) lies in keeping your opponent off balance by executing excellent tai sabaki. There are three major types of tai sabaki (► watch video):
Mae sabaki (front movement control): Shift your position by advancing one foot and withdrawing the other at a right angle to your opponent.
Ushiro sabaki (back movement control): Shift your position by retreating one foot and pivoting on the other at a right angle to your opponent.
Mae-mawari sabaki (front turn movement control): shift your position, advancing one foot diagonally in front of your opponent, pivot on that foot and withdraw the other until you have made a complete 180 degree turn.
Falling Techniques (Ukemi)
Ukemi is a series of techniques that enable you to fall or be thrown down in relative safety, avoiding shock or injury from a violent impact against the mat. The important points in ukemi are striking the mat strongly with your entire arm and curling up your body when you hit the mat to lessen the impact. Doing this will prevent injury to your head and neck and other vital parts of your body. For more information see The Study of Falling or Understanding Ukemi . Or watch these videos: ► Forward falling (Mae ukemi), ► Sideways falling (Yoko ukemi), ► Backward falling (Ushiro ukemi), and ► Forward rolling falling (Mae mawari ukemi).
Gripping Techniques (Kumi kate)
The basic grips (Kumi kate) in judo are taken from shizentai (natural posture) and jigotai (defensive posture) by grasping the lapel of the opponent’s jacket with one hand and the sleeve with the other. There are many variations of the basic holds, such as a double lapel grip or a double sleeve grip. When gripping the opponent, put strength in your ring and little fingers, and let your thumb rest lightly on the fabric of the jacket. Learn basics on gripping (PDF file), case study on grip domination, and how to develop grip strangth. Also ► watch this video.
Unbalancing an Opponent (Kuzushi), Making an Opening (Tsukuri), and Applying a Throw (Kake)
Kuzushi in Judo means forcing the opponent into an unbalanced position. This is an important factor in executing effective nage waza (throwing techniques), for when the opponent is off balance and unable to use their strength aggressively and is virtually under your control. Kuzushi can be performed in eight different directions (happo no kuzushi). Find more info about role and study of kuzushi.
Tsukuri is the entry and proper fitting of your body into the position taken just before the moment required for completion of your throwing technique. Necessarily, the off balancing (kuzushi) of your opponent takes place at the same time as tsukuri so that they are helpless and easily controlled.
Kake is the completing movement of your technique. Tsukuri and Kake can also be called technical principles of Judo.
Judo techniques work best when these three elements work together almost instantaneously to become a single entity. If any one of them is inadequate or late in coming, your attempt to throw the opponent will most likely fail (► Watch video).