‘Illegal’ Techniques in Judo


The words you use to characterize things will often give unintended meaning… a question that came up on the Judo Forum was asking if Judo clubs should teach “illegal” Judo techniques.

The reference was to techniques such as Daki Age, Kawazu Gake, and Kani Basami.  Which are notillegal” techniques.  They are not allowed in competition, tis true, but the term “illegal” tends to have a meaning in English that is certainly not applicable here.  We don’t want Judoka to think that Kani Basami, for example, is “illegal” in the same sense that murder is illegal.

When such techniques are taught, they should be taught to the same people who are learning armbars, for example - advanced students who are smart enough to know when and when not to practice them.  But they must be taught, for as black belts, we are tasked to carry forward a tradition just as we learned it.  What was Kano’s reason for Judo?  It was, in part, to preserve a tradition that was dying.

And who knows?  Perhaps techniques that are not allowed in competition now may be allowed in the future.  I personally don’t consider Kani Basami to be the dangerous technique that some Judoka do, and wouldn’t mind if it made a comeback.  It used to be a favorite counter of mine to those who took a strong sideways stance.  I don’t recall ever actually picking up an Ippon with it - but it was always another weapon in my repetoire, and I was sad to see it go.

Some techniques, such as Daki Age, have a very specific place - and if you’re in the particular situation where it could be used, there really aren't any other techniques that would suffice as well.  So by all means, be sure that your advanced Judoka know these techniques, and if you hold a brown belt or higher, and don’t recognize these techniques, might I suggest that you ask someone to show you?