The Definition Of A Kodokan Throw… Silly?


What is the definition of a Judo throw?  Have you ever considered what it might be?  I’ve always held the (apparently) mistaken belief that a throw is what you do to an opponent to take him to the ground.

An unstated, but perfectly valid corollary to this idea is that you can generally ‘force’ the throw against an opponent.  For example, if I want to use Uchimata, I can always force my opponent to step wide enough for me to insert my attacking leg.  If an opponent wanted to deny me the ability to use Uchimata - he could only do so at the expense of allowing an easy attack for dozens of other throws.

However, take Osoto Gaeshi, for example - I defy you to attack me with this throw… it can’t be done.  Unlike Uchimata - which I cannot successfully prevent you from using, I can stop Yasuhiro Yamashita himself from throwing me with Osoto Gaeshi.  For all I have to do is not attempt an Osoto Gari against him.

Also, note that if I do Osoto Gari against my opponent - as long as he’s not attempting an Osoto Gari against me, I am doing Osoto Gari.  But should my opponent attack me with Osoto Gari, then my exact same movement is now titled a different throw!  It seems silly to me that my opponent can determine the name of the throw that I’m using.

Interestingly, all techniques that you cannot use against an opponent unless he makes a specified attack are in the Shinmeisho no Waza, the newly accepted techniques of the Kodokan.  There are some that have been newly accepted that I find no problems with whatsoever - such as the new separation between Morote Seoinage and Ippon Seoinage, or Tsurikomi Goshi and Sode Tsurikomi Goshi.  Kani Basami should have been included long ago…

But when the Kodokan defines a counterattack as a new throw, I have a problem with it.  It’s hard enough to accept Tsubame Gaeshi, as that seems to actually be a special case… But I suspect that the Kodokan could care less what I think - so all I can do is rant and rave here about my disdain for the way the Kodokan categorizes throws.