Contest Judo

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Author: Charles Yerkow
Pub: 1961 by The Stackpole Company
Pages: 193
Out of Print


Although quite dated, and better books are out for 'competition' Judo, this book is surprisingly good. It includes discussions on their favorite techniques from many well-known competitors (See Contents, Chapter Two, below). It's not quite good enough to be a good reference book, but it would be a nice gift to a teenage Judoka starting to compete.


Introduction .................................................... 1
Chapter One: Most Effective Contest Techniques .................. 7	
  In throwing:
    Uchimata, Tai-otoshi, Seoinage, Osoto-gari, Tsurikomi-goshi,
    Ouchi-gari, Kouchi-gari, Ogoshi, Tsurigoshi, Haraigoshi,
    Hane-goshi, Ashi-barai, Tomoenage, Sukuinage
  In holding:
    Kesagatame, Katagatame, Tateshihogatame,
  In choking:
    Okurieri-jime, Hadaka-jime, Gyaku-juji-jime
  In locking:
  Training for Contest Judo, by Captain Phil Porter

Chapter Two: Favorite Techniques ................................ 49
  Tai-otoshi, by S/Sgt George Harris, 4th Dan
  O-soto-gari, by Frank M. Hatashita, 4th Dan
  Counter to Ippon-Seoinage, by Prof. Takahiko Ishikawa, 7th Dan
  Employment of Armlock in Newaza, by Prof. T. Ishikawa, 7th Dan
  Hane-goshi, by Henk Janssen, 3rd Dan
  Hidari-Tsurikomi-goshi, by Dr. Eichi K. Koiwai, 4th Dan
  Right Uchimata, by Dr. Tsuguo Naruke, 4th Dan
  Harai-goshi, by Captain Phil Porter, 3rd Dan
  Hane-goshi, by A/3C Toshiyuki Seino, 3rd Dan
  Sukui-nage, by Prof. Masato Tamura, 6th Dan
  Uchimata, by Vince Tamura, 5th Dan
  Taiotoshi (Advancing and Retreating), by Walter Todd, 4th Dan
  Oguruma, by Ben Campbell, 3rd Dan

Chapter Three: The Beginning Of A Contest ........................ 75
  Discussion of good practices	

Chapter Four: Playing To Win ..................................... 85
  Conserving energy
  Killing opponent's throw
  Repeat attacks, combinations and counters

Chapter Five: Mat Techniques In Tournaments ..................... 123
  When to drag opponent to mat work
  Escaping holds
  Covering up in mat work
Chapter Six: Judges and Referees ................................ 137
  Problems and methods of judging and refereeing a tournament
  Calling points, half-points, decisions, and draws

Chapter Seven: Staging the Tournament ........................... 149
  Conduct of Tournament
  Duties of Officials
  Conduct of the Bout
  Illegal Actions
  Dual Meets
  News and Results Bulletins

Chapter Eight: Judo In The Strategic Air Command ............... 175
  SAC's Judo Program

Conclusion ..................................................... 185
Terminology .................................................... 187
Index .......................................................... 189


Author's Preface

This book is the first of its kind devoted entirely to the techniques and conduct of Judo in contests, treating the various aspects of shiai in the hope that the record of past tournaments, observations, and the advice and instruction of some of the top U. S. and Japanese Judo players will prove of value to everyone reading these pages.

There is a saying that the first hundred contests will be your hardest. After that things will be easier. Either way, what is needed the most is practice of a right kind, and that's what this book will cover in text and photographs.

A contest or shiai does not have to degenerate, as so many do, into bull-rushing and power tugging and pushing. Such playing shows improper teaching and training. When two good Judoka pair off for a bout you will witness a greater degree of caution, faster and harder attempts at throwing, but always the proper application of Judo principles and techniques. It will appear that you are watching a routine randori, since there will be a freedom of movement and relaxed postures. As you watch, however, you will notice that the attacks are quick and hard, that each player is intensely on guard and constantly aware of and utilizing every opportunity that presents itself.

As you know, there are three ways in which Judo is practiced and played:

l. Kata - or the prescribed forms.
2. Randori - or free-style playing.
3. Shiai - or playing in contests.

Surely you have seen good and poor kata and good and poor randori, and you have seen good and poor contesting, and may have even participated in one or the other. What you know, therefore, is that shiai is an extension of randori, and randori is an extension of kata. What this means is that every contest should be based on the application of correct Judo principles.

Although kata can be taught through a book in simple explanations and illustrations, randori and shiai pose a problem since both depend on free movement, timing, and the sensing of the moment at which to hit the opponent with a throw.

If you have had proper training and practice in Judo, you will have developed your imagination to the point where you will be able to visualize technique applications from the text and illustrations in this book.

Nothing can be more exasperating than to step onto the mat for a contest against another Judo player and then be taken - either through some oversight on your part or through some unexpected or clever move on your opponent's part. Either way, you lose. The contest goes on, players winning or losing to the degree of their ability, endurance, or luck, and the most that you can do is promise yourself to be more cautious in the future, and, of course, train harder.

The question is: Will hard training be enough? What must one really have in order to win in contests? How best to train toward this goals?

The most logical answer is: There is no substitute for experience. Nothing can alter this fact. As proof, one of our top U.S. National AAU Judo Champions has, since an early age, been entering every and any Judo tournament he could find, contesting against every conceivable type of opponent and style of playing. This results not only in developing a fine degree of skill but also creates a mental attitude which spells out a seasoned and contest-wise Judo player.

Reading about Judo contests is not going to produce champions. Reading about a player's pet way of executing a throw or using a mat technique is not going to give you the same ability. Reading about the many ways and means employed to out-play opponents in contests is not going to give you the edge over them when your turn comes. But all of this, as presented in this book for the first time, will give you advice and information which you may put to use, fitting it to your own particular needs, abilities, and nature.

This book, therefore, is an attempt to help -

1. Players who wish to improve their contesting skill and strategy.
2. Players who need information on how contests are judged and refereed, and how to stage and conduct tournaments.

The author extends his sincere thanks and appreciation to all who assisted and contributed to the preparation of this book.

National AAU Judo Committee



FOR MANY YEARS now the sport of Judo has been growing in the United States and in every country of the world. Since 1953 when the First National AAU Judo Tournament was held at San Jose State College and when the original Amateur Judo Association was formed, contesting has been increasing and is now an accepted activity in all clubs. The National Tournament is held once each year under the auspices of the U.S. Judo Black Belt Federation and is sanctioned by the AAU. Throughout the year local and regional contests are held and the winners of these are eligible for the Nationals; also, inter-club meets, invitational tournaments, and the regular promotional-contests serve the singular purpose to sharpen players' techniques and prepare them for the next shiai.

The major portion of this book is directed at the Judoka who is sufficiently advanced in both stand-up and mat work to play randori but who may have been exposed only to brief contesting sessions and therefore lacks experience. He may hold the rank of Brown Belt or lower, or he may even hold a Black Belt, but for any number of reasons he may have limited experience in Judo contests. Hard training and more contesting will eventually develop him, but it stands to reason that the path can be shortened considerably through the pointers and advice presented in the following pages.

Though any technique of Judo can be and is used during contesting, the records show that most experienced contestants employ pet techniques, and these pet throws are fairly limited in number. If you have been practicing the Gokyo (Forty Basic Throwing Techniques) and have been playing randori, then you have surely developed a few pet throws of your own.

One chapter of this book will present in general outline the most often used contest techniques. Another chapter will give you important pointers in the pet techniques of several top Judo players, contestants and teachers, the specialists in Taiotoshi (body drop), Uchimata (inside thighs), Osotogari (cross hook or major exterior reaping), and others, explaining to you how best to employ these throws.

As for judging and refereeing, the usual rule is for a Black Belt holder of high rank to act in this capacity during important contests, and the usual assumption is that any Black Belt knows his Judo and therefore knows how to call the points and decisions. Unfortunately, such is not always the case, again due to any number of reasons, so that a chapter on this aspect was deemed necessary and is included for those who need such information.

Our final consideration has to do with what in reality is the very first factor that determines the success or failure of a tournament - the planning, preparations, publicity, matters pertaining to weighing-in, pairing, scoring, etc. An entire chapter in this book covers the many problems of a tournament director and his assistants, and we trust that the comments and outlines will serve as a valuable guide.

But above all this, every shiai is illuminated by one prevailing principle - Sportsmanship. There is no shame in being thrown. And there is nothing to boast about if your throw succeeds. In the true spirit of Judo you play to win, of course, but you also pay attention to how you accomplish it. All that you are doing is testing your skill, and satisfying your ego. Do it so that neither spectator nor opponent has cause to reproach you.

The ways which the old-time Judo masters of Japan employed for these very same purposes are on record for anyone wishing to research the subject. There are humorous and serious stories about some master of old who traveled from town to town searching for a worthy opponent, challenging him, fighting him, and coming out winner or loser. Since the very early masters were those of the art of Jiujitsu, and since the techniques of this science were anything but gentle and sportsmanlike, the results in far too many instances were disastrous for somebody.

Later, after 1882 when Professor Jigoro Kano formulated Judo, the competitive spirit emerged and developed sharply to the present day specialties one witnesses in randori and shiai.

If we pause to think about it, a Judoka of today is not very different from the masters of old. It is quite normal for a young man, who is packing for school, a new job, or simply going on a vacation, to take along his training outfit (Judogi) in the hope that he will find somebody with whom he may have a work-out. And he usually finds someone somewhere, and they locate a gym or a dojo, and they have their work-outs, putting their pet throws and mat techniques to work, pitting skill against skill, practicing and playing Judo, and enjoying it. If there be a dojo in the new city or community you can be sure this is the first place a Judoka will visit and ask permission to practice.

Properly organized and sanctioned Judo contests afford mutual benefits and personal satisfactions to all participants. Yet, with due respect to all those who may object to the next statement, Judo as originally formulated and what is often seen on the mats today are nearly poles apart. Contest Judo, as it has been named by many, is a specialized way of conduct and play in which a contestant strives with all his power (but too often with insufficient skill) to score a winning point against his opponent, no matter how and at what cost, and strives at all costs and no matter how not to be thrown. Another term which has been applied to this kind of playing is Power Judo, usually a sign of beginners at work. We are all grateful that this kind of playing is not finding much favor. It is one thing when a seasoned player drives in hard for a throw, but quite another sorry state when a beginner does it.

It is the seasoned player who knows every trick and technique in the book. He steps on the mat, greets the referee and the judges, and then his opponent, and then he proceeds to employ good Judo, in the best style and traditions of the sport. This kind of contesting is a pleasure to see, and worthy of everyone's study.

The same question is always asked regarding the outcome of a tournament.

"Who won?"

When the answer is given, the winner faces the inevitable "How did he win?"

"A clean, hard throw" is the ultimate in tribute.

"What did he use?"

"Neatest Hanegoshi I'd seen in a long time."

And so this becomes the topic of conversation in Judo circles for as long as the particular tournament is mentioned and discussed. Had the verdict been that the player won by the sheer use of power, the incident is ignored and forgotten.

It is entirely up to you how you employ your Judo in a shiai. What will count in a contest, after all, is the scoring of a point. But bear in mind that every player will always view your success on the basis of how you got that deciding point, how you played Judo.

Bear in mind also the truth that nobody can give you advice about any particular throw that will be best for you. Every player has his own way of using his best throw. It took him a long time to develop it. It works for him. It may not work for you. No matter how much you admire Uchimata, if you haven't the feel for this throw you simply haven't the feel for it. You will often hear a top player remark, when asked to perform a certain throw during general practice, that he doesn't have that throw. That's exactly what he means - he does not have the knack for that throw.

The best way to develop any throw is through constant practice, both in uchikomi and randori - practicing over and over the position of correct fitting-in against a partner who is not resisting you, and then applying the same technique during free-style playing.

Of the forty throwing techniques as outlined in the Gokyo, only about ten are used consistently for contests. The next chapter will present these in a brief review.


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