Fighting Spirit Of Judo

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Author: Yasuhiro Yamashita
Pub: 1993 by Ippon
Pages: 208
Ranking:Four Stars
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This book might easily have gotten a five star rating, but I have a small problem with Yamashita's demonstration of Osotogari. With pages of photos and descriptions of how to do Osotogari, not a single one of them have anything in common with his actual competition Osotogari. Yamashita has the same failing as many others, unable to differentiate between what he was taught, and what he actually does. Even Yamashita has never (at least in all the photos and videos I've seen) thrown a single person with the same Osotogari he teaches.

In the books favor, is one of the rare examples of an Integrated Attack System that I've ever seen in a book. Many books will discuss a single combination... Yamashita shows how he started with Osotogari, and all the combinations that resulted from that single starting point. This book is one that will be worth reading again and again, as there's alot of material in here. I also like Yamashita's emphasis on separating the descriptions based on whether the grips are the same (ai-yotsu), or whether they are opposite (kenka-yotsu). This is something not well taught in the U.S. - in my opinion.

This book has much in common with Anton Geesink's book, and Dave Starbrook's book; as it discusses only the author's favorite winning techniques, and has a great deal of autobiographical information. As such, it is a more interesting 'read' than many Judo books, but with a more limited set of techniques, you may not find information about a particular technique... although what you do find, will have more depth. Altogether, worth purchasing.


 Chapter 1. How to achieve maximum power

Introduction                                                       14
Reasons for sustained success                                      16
Basic principles                                                   18
Thinking for oneself                                               21
Turn your weaknesses into weapons                                  24
Learn from others - everyone has a chance                          27
Learn from your defeats - do not be afraid of failure              29
Positive thinking                                                  32
How to relax                                                       34
When the going gets tough                                          37
Assume the worst                                                   40
Overcoming the pressure of expectations                            42
Knowing your opponents                                             45
Don't count your chickens - the Moscow Olympic Games               47
Enthusiasm on the wane - the battle with apathy                    49
A desperate situation at the Los Angeles Olympics                  51
My last All-Japan championship - judo does not belong to me alone  54
An analysis of my favourite techniques                             58

Chapter 2. Nage-waza                                               60
Recollections of osoto-gari                                        63
Osoto-gari 1. Basics                                               64
                Developing Osoto-gari                              66
Osoto-gari 2. Against a taller person                              68
Osoto-gari 3. If you cannot get your opponent's forward leg.       70

Contest Tips 1 Tsurite and Hikite                                  70
Osoto-gari   4. Against an opposing grip                           72
0soto-gari   5. Gripping the belt against an opponent
                with a defensive posture                           74
0soto-gari   6. Combination: ouchi-gari to osoto-gari              76
Osoto-gari   7. Combination: osoto-gari to sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi   78
Osoto-gari in competition                                          80
Ideas that have sustained me                                       83
Recollections of ouchi-gari                                        85
Ouchi-gari 1.                                                      86
Ouchi-gari Main points                                             88

Contest Tips 2 The importance of uchikomi                          88
Ouchi-gari 2. Against a taller person                              90
Ouchi-gari 3. Pulling your opponent in a circle                    92
Ouchi-gari 4. Against an opposing grip                             94
Ouchi-gari 5. Pulling up with outside grip against opposing grip   96

Contest Tips 3 Grip fighting                                       97
Ouchi-gari 6. Combination: osoto-gari to ouchi-gari                98
Ouchi-gari in competition                                         100
Recollections of uchimata                                         103
Uchimata 1.                                                       104
Key points                                                        106
Uchimata 2. While drawing your opponent forward                   108

Contest Tips 4 Movement                                           109
Uchimata 3. Combination: ouchi-gari to uchimata                   110
Uchimata 4. Combination: osoto-gari to uchimata                   112
Uchimata in competition                                           114
Kosoto-gari against an opponent with a kenka-yotsu grip           116
Kosoto-gari in competition                                        118
Recollections of kosoto-gari                                      119
Tai-otoshi                                                        120
Recollections of tai-otoshi                                       122
Tai-otoshi in competition                                         123
Sukui-nage against an ai-yotsu grip                               124
Tani-otoshi against a kenka-yotsu grip                            126
Uki-waza (floating technique) 1 against an ai-yotsu grip          128
Uki-waza (floating technique) 2 against a kenka-yotsu grip        130
Recollections of sutemi-waza (sacrifice throws)                   132
Sutemi-waza in competition                                        133
Chapter 3 Katame-waza                                             135
Opening my eyes to groundwork techniques                          137
Kesa-gatame Attacking an opponent on all fours                    138
Yoko-shiho-gatame Attacking someone defending with his legs       140
Okuri-eri-jime Attacking an opponent on his knees                 142

Contest Tips 6 How to finish it quickly                           143
Important points of shimewaza (strangles)                         144
Adaptations from okuri-eri-jime to osaekomi - to osaekomi
      from shimewaza                                              146
Attacking an opponent who is flat on his stomach                  148
Ashi-gatame (armlock using your legs)                             150
Attacking with armlocks                                           152
How to put it on the arm (use of the legs) Basic practice         155
Combinations from Ashi-gatame --
  ashi-gatame to kami-shiho-gatame                                154
Combining Ashi-gatame and okuri-eri-jime                          156
Ryote-jime (strangle with both hands)                             158
Attacking a defensive opponent                                    159
Ude-gatame - putting it on while your opponent is standing        160
Combinations from nage-waza to katame-waza
Ouchi-gari to osaekomi (yoko-shiho-gatame, kesa-gatame etc.)      162

Contest Tips 7 Combinations                                       162
Tai-otoshi to osaekomi                                            164
(yoko-shiho-gatame, kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame)                     165
Katame-waza in competition                        
Kuzure-kesa-gatame                                                166
Kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame                                          167
Yoko-shiho-gatame                                                 168
Sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi to yoko-shiho-gatame                        169
Ashi-gatame to kuzure-yoko-shiho-gatame                           170
Okuri-eri-jime                                                    171

Chapter 4. Training                                               173
My training                                                       174
Practice schedules and their application                          182
Appendix -- Basic knowledge and movements                         186

Chapter 5 -- A coach's view
Relationships between coach and players                           190
Chapter 6 -- Path of Victory
Yasuhiro Yamashita -- The complete record                         202


One of the many pleasures of life is to be emotionally moved by another person. Although it was almost seventeen years ago, I remember being moved when a young man with a boyish face caught my attention in my home town of Kumamoto. I knew instantly that this particular young man had world class potential.

Two years later, he was defeated in the semi-final of the National High School tournament. I was deeply moved by the way in which, despite his loss, he competed in a dignified and sportsman-like manner. That young man was Yasuhiro Yamashita. His achievements since then are already well-known.

The reason why Yamashita appeals to so many people is of course, because of his brilliant technique, but also, in my view, because his techniques express his personality. There are many people who can do traditional or brilliant techniques but those who manage to attain a feeling of oneness in their spirit and technique are rare. From an early age, Yamashita was such a player.

I expected great things of Yamashita and he more than lived up to my expectations. However, these were not confined by the red tatami. I wanted him to study his chosen skill ever more diligently and in addition, apply the main principles in everyday life.

"When before us there is no road, we, should make a road behind us."

I hoped that Yamashita would walk the path of a pioneer as embodied by the above saying. It is my great pleasure to say a few words on the occasion of this new technical publication and extend this hope to all his future endeavours. March 1991

Matsumae Shigeyoshi
Tokai University President
International Judo Federation Chairman



I was very big when I was a child. I'd get into fights and make my opponents cry and on the way home from school, I'd discard my bag and run around the hills and fields. My misdemeanours and obesity naturally worried my mother, so she took me along to the local dojo. This was in the spring of my fourth year at primary school. In retrospect it was, for me, a fateful encounter.

Since then I have grown up with judo. What I am today has been shaped entirely by judo. I would like to thank my parents, all the sensei who have guided me in my career; Shiraishi sensei and Sato sensei and all my sempai. Especially I gratefully acknowledge the immense support given by Matsumae Shigeyoshi sensei, president of Tokai University. The realisation of my childhood dream, of seeing the Japanese "Hi no Maru" flag being raised at the Olympics was realised in Los Angeles through the support and encouragement of friends and colleagues.

It may be presumptuous of me, but I am basing this book of techniques on my own favourite techniques. Not that I didn't think twice about exposing my limited knowledge to the public but I am following the publisher's wishes in strictly confining the subject matter to consideration of my favourite techniques and my approach to contests. I can only indulge in the hope that my personal experience might perhaps be of some use to my kohai.

Nowadays, I spend every day teaching. From this standpoint I am only too aware that when it comes to contests, we in Japan face very tough international competition. Of course, winning isn't everything in judo as in any other sport but, for me, in contest, winning is indeed everything. This is because, if this is our ultimate aim, and we put all our strength into it, everything else will come to us.

With this in mind, I have not gone beyond my own techniques in this book, though it was my intention to recollect the spirit, techniques and physical training of the days when I was a player, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than if this were to be of some use to the coaches and players of today. Furthermore, as I am still practising myself, I would welcome any reader's comments on this book.

Also I would like to thank Mr. Ikuo Ikeda of Baseball Magazine for all his trouble on my behalf.

Yasuhiro Yamashita


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