There’s a huge overlap between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Both sports involve taking your opponent to the ground and controlling or submitting them. In a very real sense, the only difference between the two is their competition rules! If you want to improve your BJJ takedown game then keep reading to see some of the best judo throws for BJJ!
The Lowdown On Judo For BJJ
Lat’s start off with an important distinction between learning Judo for BJJ and learning the sport of Judo. Judo has its own rules and nuances that take a lifetime to master. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn elements of Judo as a supplement to your Jiu Jitsu!
It might take you a while to understand how judo works and perhaps even longer for your body to get it. But, it’s worth it. It’ll impress upon you the idea of off-balancing and recognizing your opportunities for throws. Perhaps most importantly, it will give you the ability to take people to the ground in ways they probably won’t expect!
Given that Judo is traditionally practiced with a gi which is similar to (although not identical) to a Jiu Jitsu gi, it makes it the perfect source of techniques and concepts for standing exchanges. However, there’s quite a difference in rules and goals, which means not all Judo throws are equally good for BJJ. Some Judo throws bring the fight to the ground but expose your back in the process. This is an acceptable risk in Judo but not a great idea of BJJ!
With that in mind, let’s explore several Judo for BJJ throws that won’t require you to learn the entire art of Judo, won’t take decades to master, and will work for anyone in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Inside Judo Throws For BJJ
The term ‘inside throw’ refer to throws where one of your legs goes in between the opponent’s legs. Despite the leg being the visual cue, it is actually all about the angle and height of your hips in relation to the hips of your opponent. Let me try and systematize Judo throws roughly so that you have an idea of what we’ll be looking at today.
Judo offers different ways of throwing people – going to the outside, going with one leg in between, or going all the way to the opposite side while winding them up on your hips. There are also techniques that work by way of trips, knee blocks, hip elevation, and upper body manipulation/clinch work. While all of these methods have viable options, inside throws are some of the most reliable additions to any BJJ takedown game.
The power of inside throws lies in the fact that you have a leg in between the opponent’s legs. This provides you with trips, hip throws, and even re-counters, while limiting your exposure to danger. With the correct grips and body position you will be able to set up inside throws while preventing your opponent from counter attacking with wrestling takedowns like single and double-legs.
1. Ko-Uchi Gari
The Ko-uchi gari, or minor inside trip, is often called the jab of judo and for good reason. It’s a low-risk high-reward move that you can use to set other things up. In essence, it’s a backwards throw. Whenever your opponent is off-balanced towards one of his back corners you’ve got the ko-uchi available.
To execute it, you trip either with a straight leg, making contact with the bottom of your foot while turning your shoulder in, or you go low, pushing off your back foot while making calf to calf contact. Look to bring their back leg close to you so they can’t step out. This is one of the key Judo for BJJ techniques you need to master.
2. O-Uchi Gari
Notice the similarity between the name of first throw and this one? Judo nomenclature is pretty easy to learn once you pick up a few key terms. This throw is an inside trip as well. The difference is in the prefix, “O” for major or large and “Ko” for minor or small.
For the O-Uchi gari, you still attack one of your opponent’s back corners but the mechanics are different. Instead of attacking with a straight leg you are attacking with a bent one. You move your shoulders to the outside instead of inside. You could either make light contact with your Achilles tendon or fully commit and drop to a knee.
This is where Judo for BJJ gets interesting. If you learn both the major and minor reap, you can then combine them in order to double your chances of taking the match to the ground.
3. Uchi Mata
Another inside attack, the Uchi Mata is oftentimes called the throw of the kings in Judo. You use your thigh to lift the inside of your opponent’s thigh or crotch. Perhaps the best variant for BJJ is the amusingly named ‘hopping pissing-dog’ or ken-ken Uchi Mata. This variation does not a lifetime to master, unlike the “regular” version which is often touted as being Judo’s most difficult technique.
In terms of Judo for BJJ, the ken-ken Uchi Mata will not only allow you to powerfully throw someone, but also lands you in either side control, or in a favorable guard passing position, rather than in someone’s guard.
4. Kawazu-Gake or Grapevine Throw
This technique is currently forbidden in Judo but is still really popular in Russian Sambo. We’re listing it here as another part of your Judo for BJJ arsenal as it is inherently a Judo technique by origin. So far we’ve listed throws in three different directions: the two back corners and the front corner towards your sleeve hand. This throw covers the final corner, directing your opponent with your collar-grip.
If your opponent leans away from your Uchi Mata or attacks with a Ko-Soto Gari (Minor outside trip towards your back corner) you can respond with the Kawazu-Gake. Kawazu-Gake, also called the Grapevine throw, is also perfect for when your opponent leans forward to prevent your O-uchi Gari.
While not everyone Jiujitsero needs to become a master Judoka, a little bit of Judo can go a long way! Learning Judo for BJJ teaches you a new world of takedowns,while simultaneously helping you developing grips of steel and unstoppable footwork. Some Judo techniques are better suited to BJJ than others – give these four inside throws a try and see how much they can improve your BJJ standup!