Developing Power In Your Judo Techniques

Developing powerful Judo is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you are not compensating for poor technique, then using your body in ways which produce powerful throws is good. Here's a few ideas to start the thread:

(All examples are right-handed throws)

First, your attack should in general start with a 45 degree 'angle of attack'. Many times, throws fail because your 'driving leg' (the leg furthest back, that you are pushing off of) is not in the right position. As an example, on a good Taiotoshi, your left driving leg should be outside, and not too far in front of uke's left foot. Unfortunately, that's a very poor position to switch to an Ouchigari. And yet, this is a very popular combination. Next time you try it, take a look where your left foot is at, to 'make' the combination, you will generally have to 'hop' to the right, and forward (of uke), with your left foot.

Your head... is it turning in the direction of the throw? You lose a tremendous amount of power by not using your head in your throws. A throw can succeed or fail on the turning of the head, so make it count. (Do I have to tell you where to turn the head? Hope not!)


Not related to developing power, but just thinking of it: study how to move your opponents head as well as your own. One of my often repeated 'proverbs' is 'Where the head goes, the body will follow'. So, move uke's head, and see what happens!

Left-hand Pull: On forward throws such as Taiotoshi, instead of driving 'outward' with your left hand, tuck it into your stomach at the beginning of your turn (or as you turn - and before the end of the turn). See if this works for you.

Hips: Beginners trying seoinage will most often try bringing their shoulders in first... but try this, if your shoulders move forward, your hips move back! Try leading with your hips, 'straight-arm's' will no longer stop you! In general, lead with your hips on almost all techniques.

Rotation: If you must rotate, do it sharply... and preferably after you've made contact with your opponent. As an example, try doing a Taiotoshi, as soon as you've got contact and correct position, drive your right shoulder down to your left knee. Solid, sharp, rotation is the key. The most commonly overlooked method for generating powerful throws, is the power generated by rotating hips!

Power is the combination of speed times mass. Something often overlooked here is that the more speed you can get, the more power you can get. And how can you get more speed? How about starting your throw further away from your opponent? Gives you more time to develop your acceleration into faster speed. Give it a try!

Footwork: We often use way too many steps to create an attack. As an example, I learned Taiotoshi as a 3 step process:

1. Step diagonally forward with right foot. (to the left)
2. As you turn, step back (towards uke) with left foot.
3. Pick up right foot again, and drive it across uke's right foot.

This footwork is fine for demonstration, but in randori or shiai, do it this way, starting from 'Migi Shizentai' (Fancy Japanese for putting your right foot forward!)

1. Turning, drive your left foot back (towards uke's left foot)
2. Pick up right foot, drive it across uke's right foot.

Hmmm... managed to reduce it by one... now, to reduce it yet again, try this:

1. Jump up, spin 180, land in a split, now rotate and lunge down and to the left.

You've now tripled your power in Taiotoshi...

There's a good drill to work this version of Taiotoshi: without a partner: Jump up, twist 180, land in a split. (legs wide apart). At that moment, take your right elbow, and try to touch your left knee with it. You will land doing a roll over your right shoulder and side. And your roll will not be the picture perfect 'over the shoulder' roll, but more across the back, sideways type of roll... you'll land on the top of your right thigh, and right side... Does this description give you the idea?

I hope these tips will give you a few ideas for developing more power for your throws.

Warning: A general knowledge of these throws is assumed in this message, I'm not trying to *teach* any technique. These are just a few ideas to develop more power to try out.