Namijujijime, Gyakujujijime, or Katajujijime? That Is The Question!


I must admit to being quite confused in my younger days when the topic of Nami Juji Jime, Gyaku Juji Jime, and Kata Juji Jime came up... I always got confused by the hand position, and which one was which.  Anyone here have that problem?

I finally solved it with a little association... but first, hold both your hands out at shoulder level...

If you're like 99.9% of normal people (and you must be, you're a Judoka, right?), you'll note that your palms are DOWN!  Okay... so I call this normal.  It's normal to have your palms down.  And in English, "Normal" isn't all that far off from "Nami".. well, at least they share a couple of letters... that's good enough for me.

So looking to the right here - we have Nami Juji Jime... and as you can see, the palms are down, as normal.



Now, it's going to be a little bit tougher on the next two, but Gyaku means reverse, and if you haven't learned any Japanese in your study of Judo, you're quite unique indeed.  So the next choke to memorize the name of is simply the reverse of normal.  (If you've already forgotten what's "normal", just hold your hands out again.)


So the reverse of palms down is clearly 'palms up' - which you can view to the left here.  Now, since the graphic is large, and I have to fill up some space here before the next graphic, now's a good time to give you my 2 cents worth on the difference between Nami and Gyaku...

I think that it's really no contest at all - Nami Juji Jime is a far more powerful choke, because the outside edge of your hand is a sharper instrument than the thumb side.  Your mileage may vary - but I've always had a much more powerful and fast acting choke if I sunk it normally, than if I ended up with reversed hands.  The thumb tends to add some surface area to the hand, so your pressure on the carotid artery is just a tad blunted.  Of course, you don't always have the pleasure of having your hands precisely the way you want them - sometimes you just have to take what Uke offers you.  But I tend to stay away from Gyaku, and generally prefer either Nami Juji Jime, or ... well, let's not get ahead of myself...




Okay, now that you've got two of the three chokes figured out - the only one left is Kata Juji Jime, so anything that isn't both palms down, or both palms up, must be Kata Juji Jime.  So if you have one palm normal, and one palm reverse, you must have Kata Juji Jime - which means Single Cross Choke.  Now in keeping with my idea that Nami is a more effective choke than Gyaku - simply due to the smaller cross-section of the hand pressing against the artery - I tend to do Kata Juji Jime by utilizing my palm down hand as the 'choker', and my palm up hand as the one that simply tightens the lapel so my 'choker' hand can put firm pressure on the side of the neck.  This generally means that I get a little lazy and don't tend to put my palm up hand as deep as I should.  By the way, I vastly prefer my palm down hand to be on top of my palm up hand.  Obviously you can do it either way, but for the obvious reason that you cannot tightly pull the lapel with your palm up hand if your other arm is in the way - I simply automatically seek to do Kata Juji Jime in a very specific way.  In my case, I prefer my right hand to cross to Uke's right side lapel, and my left hand to go underneath my right hand, and grab Uke's left lapel - the diagram to the right shows exactly this position.

So there you have it - a way to memorize the correct name of these three chokes.