Judo On The Ground - Katamewaza - The Oda Method

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Author: Tsunetani Oda
Translated by: E.J. Harrison
Pub: 1959 by W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd.
Pages: 199
Ranking:Three Star Rating
Out of Print


This book could easily have rated Four, perhaps Five stars, if it had photos. It only has line drawings, and not enough of them. The text must be read carefully, and several times, to understand. As an example of what you may face, I opened the book at random, and quote here what I found:

You have fallen on your back. Your opponent using his left leg to bestride your right thigh mounts your torso. With his right hand he clasps your left hip and assumes a posture intimating that he contemplates immobilization tactics. Using both legs you have recourse to the B-style and C-style of defence already explained in detail, so as to foil your opponent's efforts to extricate his right leg. You grip his wrist (which one not stated) with your right hand, and your left hand is applied to his front shoulder from his left side neck. Your opponent tries to defend himself against your approach in the direction of his head and gradually advances from your left shoulder when with your right hand passed from his lower arm over his left shoulder you grip your own right front collar so that his left elbow is controlled triangular-wise. Your left hand grips his back belt midway. You now relinquish your leg entanglement of your opponent's legs and bring both your legs to the right side. Pulling and lifting with your left hand you stretch your body and twisting and turning your opponent from the direction of your head capsize him. In this case, too, you may be able to help the process of capsizing your opponent by "spring lifting" him with the instep of your left foot applied to his right leg from underneath. The foregoing somewhat abbreviated selection of Hairikata or methods of entry completes the exposition of Osaekomiwaza based on Oda's system and I leave it to be gradually assimilated by the patient reader!

You may have noticed, if you read the above snippet from Oda's book, that it is sometimes unclear whether Oda the author is talking, or E.J. Harrison, the translator, is talking. This book is worth owning, if you don't end up paying too much for it, since it does contain a wealth of techniques. But most people will probably far prefer Vital Judo or a combination of the Masterclass books, Osaekomi, Shimewaza, and Armlocks.

 Foreword                                                  IX
                               CHAPTER I    
 Introductory Remarks                                      II
                               CHAPTER II
 General Survey of Osaekomiwaza                            16
                               CHAPTER III
 Exposition  of  Osaekomiwaza:  Hongesagatame.  Kuzure-      
 Kesagatame  and  variants.  Makura-Kesagatame. Ushiro-      
 Kesagatame  and  variants.  Katagatame  and  variants.      
 Kamishihogatame  and  variants.  Yokoshihogatame  and      
 variants. Kuzure- Yokoshihogatame and  variants. Tate-      
 Shihogatame and variants.  Kuzure-Tate-Shihogatame and      
 variants. Ukigatame.  Sankaku-Osaekomi. Gyaku-Sankaku-      
 Osaekomi                                                  24
                               CHAPTER IV    
 Principle of Variants (Henka) and Methods of Entry or       
 Hairikata in Osaekomiwaza. Sixty odd Methods described    57
                               CHAPTER V       
 Introduction to Shimewaza. Basic Principles               92

                               CHAPTER VI
 Exposition of Shimewaza. Hadakajime. Okurierijme.  A.     
 and B. Katajujijime. Narabijujijime. Kubijime. Erijime.     
 Tsukkomijime. Katahajime. Gyakujujijime. Sodeguruma.     
 Fourteen other unclassified drastic methods described    101
                              CHAPTER VII
 Exposition of Triangular Chokelocks or Sankakujime. Mae-     
 Sankakujime. Ura-Sankakujime. Ushiro-Sankakujime,     
 Gyaku-Sankakujime                                        135
                              CHAPTER VIII
 Introduction to Kansetsuwaza                             142
                              CHAPTER IX
 Exposition of Kansetsuwaza. Udegarami. Hantai-Ude-     
 garami. Udehishigi-jujigatame. Udehishigi-Udegatame.     
 Udehishigi-Hizagatame. Ashigirama. Udekujiki and     
 Hantai-Udekujiki. Meshi-Toru-Gyaku.  Forty other     
 unclassified drastic methods described                   145
 GLOSSARY of words recurrent in Katamewaza Terminology    192     
 INDEX                                                    197


Judo on the Ground

"This important work comprises not only dislocation locks, but the other two branches of Groundwork-immobilizations and necklocks. Illustrated from photographs, and with exclusive and specially prepared line drawings, this valuable work is an interpretation of the Oda system of Judo groundwork. Tsunetani Oda (9th Dan) here reveals the latest drastic and even ruthless methods in the art of Judo on the ground. These effective immobilizations, necklocks and dislocation methods, many hitherto unknown in the West, will prove of intense interest to all students of Judo." It is with the deepest regret that I have to record the untimely death on February 11, 1955, of Tsunetani Oda, 9th Dan, of whose method JUDO ON THE GROUND is designed to be an interpretation. Although of small stature and slight physique he succeeded, by dint of unremitting practice and theoretical study, in achieving unrivalled mastery of this branch of the art. He was sixty-three years of age. Requiescat in pace!




It affords me much pleasure to place on record my gratitude to "Jak" for his excellent line-drawings which greatly facilitate the task of understanding the printed explanations of the corresponding techniques. As intimated on the title-page the information contained in these pages is based on the original text of Tsunetani Oda's work dealing with Judo on the Ground, otherwise Katamewaza. Thanks alike to "Jak's" artistic talent and personal knowledge of Judo he has been able to impart to these drawings a clarity too often lacking in the photographs and line-drawings which are generally used to elucidate the latest locks and holds in the art of Judo.

The special photographs of certain selected methods of Katamewaza have been taken at The Budokwai by I. Morris 2nd Dan. These methods are ably demonstrated by leading Yudansha of The Budokwai in the persons of D. Bloss 4th Dan, G. Whyman 3rd Dan, R. Bowen 3rd Dan and A. Bain 1st Dan. I tender my thanks to one and all for their valuable co-operation.

When engaged in the congenial task of applying the Oda system of Katamewaza on the mat I feel sure that all Judoka will derive satisfaction from the exercise of individual ingenuity and resourcefulness in devising effective Kaeshiwaza pertinent to the more unorthodox "te" taken from the Oda repertoire. And I further venture to express the hope that my rendering of Oda's skilled exposition of this particular branch, now published for the first time in this country, will add considerably to the knowledge of those that study and practise the art of Judo.

Lastly, I do not presume so far as to say that this book is wholly free from errors. Indeed it is safe to assert that no such work on this difficult and complicated subject has yet appeared in any language. However, I trust that these are not likely to detract from the value of the book as a whole in this particular domain.

E. J. H.
19 Mornington Avenue,
London, W.14.



THE present volume is in no sense designed as a manual for beginners. On the contrary, it presupposes on the part of the reader some prior practical and theoretical knowledge of the art of Judo and reasonable familiarity with its Japanese and English terminology. The scope of the book is confined to an exposition and a clarification of the second overall division of Judo known as Katamewaza which in turn comprises three sub-divisions styled respectively (i) Osaekomiwaza or Immobilization Holds, more briefly "hold-downs"; (2) Shimewaza or Shiboriwaza otherwise Necklocks, and (3) Kansetsuwaza or Dislocation Locks or Holds. A popular synonym for all three sub-divisions of Katamewaza is Newaza for which the current English equivalent is "Ground-work".

Although perhaps, in view of what I have already said, the caution is superfluous, I must emphasize that unless the reader is already fairly proficient in Nagewaza or throwing methods, he should not lightly undertake the task of specializing in Newaza, because while admittedly Newaza as such differ appreciably from Nagewaza in the demands they impose upon the Judoka's muscular system, yet since in some instances the initial attack to create an opening for recourse to Newaza is made from the standing position, an assailant comparatively ignorant of Tachiwaza or standing techniques and bent upon applying Newaza would at the very outset be at a grave disadvantage if opposed to an adversary well versed in that branch of the art. He might indeed be thrown before he could reach the stage of Kuzushi let alone Tsukuri and Kake!

For the information contained in these pages I disclaim all credit in advance, apart from the labour involved in my arduous but voluntary role of interpreter of sage counsel emanating from a famous Japanese Shihan or instructor named Tsunetani Oda, 9th Dan of the Tokyo Kodokan, admittedly the greatest living authority on Newaza. This information has been culled from his popular work in Japanese entitled Judo wa ko shita susume ("Progress by doing Judo this way"). However, the present volume is in no sense a literal translation of Oda's book which covers Judo as a whole; my special concern has been to do justice to the section in the original dealing with Newaza and this not by slavishly adhering to the Japanese author's handling of the theme but rather by the eclectic method which justifies the exercise of discretion and the rejection of material which, in my opinion, is of minor value or extraneous to the general purpose I have in view. Nor is it any reflection upon the distinguished author to say that some of his methods impress me as far fetched and as such likely to fail when attempted against a normally alert opponent of one's own Judo grading. Nevertheless the ample residue should suffice to afford a rich mine of Newaza knowledge upon which the aspirant can usefully draw to help him in his training under this particular head.

As the reader will notice, in my attempted interpretation of what may be called the Oda system of Newaza I have adhered to the orthodox sequence observed in all reliable books on Judo, viz. Osaekomiwaza, Shimewaza and Kansetsuwaza in that order.

I do not think that a laboured disquisition on the respective and comparative merits of Newaza and Nagewaza would serve any useful purpose. It may well be said that the two branches of the art are inter-complementary, and that for the fashioning of the complete Judoka mastery of both is indispensable. Doubtless we have here a counsel of perfection by no means easy of practical assimilation. What is sometimes loosely called the personal equation cannot be wholly excluded, and I must admit that during my own long association with Japanese Yudansha at the Tokyo Kodokan and elsewhere I rarely met anybody immune from individual preference not only for one or other of the several branches and sub-divisions of the art but even for some particular "te" or trick in which he was everywhere known to excel. How otherwise could it happen that we have in Judo parlance the word "Tokuiwaza" meaning in the vernacular "pet throw"?

It may be adduced in criticism of Osaekomiwaza more especially that as compared with Nagewaza they are not so spectacular and that as an expedient for "knocking out" an opponent for the count their repertoire is much less effective than that of Nagewaza. Superficially considered this criticism seems plausible. But if we take the trouble to examine the issues more closely we shall see that Osaekomiwaza cannot logically be divorced from the other two sub-divisions of Katamewaza, viz. Shimewaza or Necklocks and Kansetsuwaza or Dislocation Locks, and that as applied by a skilled Yudansha of the Oda calibre an Osaekomiwaza or Immobilization Hold may as often as not be converted into a more drastic and painful lock from the other two sub-divisions with such lightning speed as to entitle the transition to be regarded as almost a reflex action executed in quasi-intuitive or involuntary response to hostile stimulus. And although the Osaekomi methods are fraught with less danger to the victim's body and for that reason may be safely practised by Judoka until a much more advanced age than Nagewaza, all three branches of Katamewaza afford an ideal means for the cultivation not only of great physical endurance, bodily and mental alertness in swift adaptation to an ever-changing situation, but also the moral qualities of per-severance, steadfastness of purpose, concentration, cool judgment and presence of mind to cope with an emergency. Nor is the criticism sometimes voice of Osaekomi methods that they are less efficacious than Nagewaza for the annihilation of an opponent in a real life and death struggle applicable to Shimewaza and Kansetsuwaza. Indeed, without in any way seeking to underrate a good Judo throw as a means of discouraging a too importunate thug or cosh boy, yet in a fight a outrance and should you deem it necessary to administer the quietus to your assailant not "with a bare bodkin" but with your bare hands, then we must surely concede that a necklock or dislocation hold from the prolific and protean Katamewaza otherwise Newaza repertoire would prove more decisive.

Another point in favour of Newaza is that to a greater extent perhaps than Nagewaza they tend to encourage the offensive spirit among their votaries for the attainment of victory. That is not to question the validity of the same principle in Nagewaza, but in the latter branch there is sometimes discernible among Judoka an inclination to act more upon the defensive to avoid being thrown, so that the human phenomenon of the Judoka classified in Japanese as tori-nikui (literally, "difficult to take") is by no means uncommon in every Judo Dojo. Owing maybe to the less disconcerting effect of a hold-down than a heavy throw, young and old Judoka can more successfully withstand this temptation and be brought to realize that persistence in attack will be the shortest cut to victory. And irrespective of these considerations it cannot be gainsaid that for the development of the finest type of Judo Physique Newaza are an indispensable corollary to Nagewaza.

Elsewhere in the following pages I have pointed out that most of the relevant methods are described as applied from your opponent's right side in conformity with the general rule observed in such cases and on the justifiable assumption that any intelligent Judoka, having mastered the right side or right hand approach, should experience no difficulty in making the essential readjustments for a left side or left hand approach. It must indeed be emphasized that the complete Judoka ought properly to be ambidextrous and able to use either arm, as also either leg, with equal facility.

I may hardly dare to hope that this little book is free from mistakes. Indeed my "will hath in it a more modest working", to paraphrase a successful exponent of another cruder style of mat-work. In mitigation of such inevitable laches I would plead that I err in good company because I feel sure that the vast sports bibliography generally and the Judo branch thereof particularly have not yet given birth to a magnum opus justified in repudiating "the soft impeachment".



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