If you take a close look at judo and wrestling, it soon becomes clear that the two disciplines have a lot in common. This often leads to people wondering whether they might be able to add a little judo to their wrestling routine or vice-versa?
But are judo throws allowed in wrestling? Judo throws are allowed in wrestling but they do require a little modification before you can use them successfully.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do and why you need to make these changes.
The Similarities And Differences Between Judo Throws And Wrestling Throws
Both sports have the idea of “action-reaction” at the heart of them. Judo differs from wrestling in the idea of “off-balance” (kuzushi) and also in “posture”.
Because judo is conducted while wearing a “gi” (short for judogi) much of the creation of “off-balance” comes from being able to grab on to your opponent’s gi. There is no such garment in wrestling. A judo throw is also backed with a straight form of posture. A wrestling throw tends to use a modified posture.
These are the two differences that mean you’re going to have to modify your judo throws before you put them into practice in wrestling.
Some Examples Of Judo Throws Being Modified For Wrestling
Most of the changes you make are going to be because your wrestling opponent isn’t wearing a gi. That means you won’t need to make many (if any) changes to the way your feet move during a throw but you’re going to have to adjust your grips.
You should also expect some variations in the outcome of the throw because a wrestler is using different posture to a judo practitioner, they’re going to fall and land differently.
So, let’s see how some simple judo throws can be modified in practice:
This is a commonly used hip throw. You drive your hips under your opponent and drop them on their back. When you’re performing this move in judo, you’re going to grab the other person’s gi and drag them forward on to your hips.
In wrestling, you need to move your arm so that you pin the opponent’s arm to their side and grip their back with your other hand. Then you pull the opponent to your body and execute the rest of your Ogoshi by driving your hips into your opponent to send them to the mat.
We’ve found a nice example of this in practice here where Nick of Upper Valley Judo pulls off an Ogoshi in a wrestling bout:
The Ippon Seonage
If you watch someone deliver an Ippon Seonage in judo, you’ll see it comes from a grip on the opponent’s gi to create “off-balance”. When the opponent’s balance is lost, the thrower’s arm ends up in a position below and pushed up into the opponent’s armpit. Once this is achieved, the opponent will be loaded onto the thrower’s back and thrown.
Wrestlers, on the other hand, can simply use a classic over/under move to create off-balance by pulling through the overhook. This ought to drive your opponent on to their toes. Then you can execute the throw.
If you’d like to see this in action, we’ve got a great YouTube clip to demonstrate the technique:
This is a simple move to translate from judo to wrestling. You execute a Harai-goshi by using either an around the head grip or an around the back grip. As this involves less contact with the gi than some of the other moves – a wrestler might be able to guess at how this can be transformed for their sport.
Yes, you use a “head and arm” play but instead of just pushing your hip through the opponent, you also reap the leg. You aim for the outer thigh with your dominant leg and this means this throw can be especially effective as you have the other guy’s leg trapped.
We’ve got a nice demonstration of the “no gi” Harai-goshi from YouTube here for you:
The no gi version of this is sometimes referred to as the “Dirty Uchi Mata” and there are many different ways that you can modify an Uchi Mata to use in wrestling.
Now, the Judo version requires an over the back hold on the gi before launching the throw and the easiest modification, from a wrestling perspective, is to launch it from an under-hook (though you must also reap the inner thigh and throw at the same time for it to deliver the results that you want).
Check out the Dirty Uchi Mata in this handy instructional video:
Executing foot sweeps can be a big challenge in wrestling. However, there is a big pay off for getting it right – it means that your opponent is going to be paying way too much attention to their feet and that gives you space to execute other moves on them.
The simplest way to do this is go in with an over/under grip, push and pull and then sweep the closest foot. There are other more advanced ways to execute foot sweeps, but you’ll want to work with a coach to get them right.
You can see some examples of how to set up foot sweeps in wrestling here:
How Difficult Is It To Use Judo Throws In Wrestling?
Judo throws are permitted in wrestling, so you’re not going to find yourself in a position of breaking wrestling rules by introducing your judo game in wrestling. However, you are going to find that, at least to start with, it’s not as easy as you might think to get your judo moves working.
Many judo participants who also wrestle say that they found it hard to get close to use some of the more effective techniques that they’d like to execute. Though many people report that they found it easy to incorporate the Uchi Mata into their wrestling style.
As with all things, practice is going to help make perfect. If you regularly try to incorporate judo into wrestling while you are practicing, there may be a time when you can add judo into your competitive wrestling bouts too.
Can Judo Help With Wrestling?
The short answer to “can judo help with wrestling?” is yes. Of course, it can. The more techniques that you learn and have available to you – the more you can catch an opponent off guard and the easier it is to bring them to the mat.
One thing that observers have noted is that judo throws are often faster for getting an opponent to the mat, but they may not have quite the same stopping power as a wrestling throw and thus, the opponent may be able to get up faster too. Sadly, we couldn’t find any statistical analysis on this, but our own observations indicate that this may be true.
Can Wrestling Help With Judo?
This answer to this question is not quite as obvious. If you’d have asked us in 2010 whether learning wrestling was going to help your judo game – we’d have given you a resounding “yes!” and that’s because up to that date most wrestling moves were legal in judo.
Then, in 2010 the International Judo Federation (the IJF) banned leg holds in judo and while it’s still not clear, entirely, why these holds were banned – it dramatically changed the utility of wrestling to judo participants.
This means that the only real overlap for wrestling with judo is in leg trip takedowns most of which are very, very similar in the first place.
You can see Khabib Nurmagomedov, the MMA fighter, executing these styles of takedown on YouTube here:
This is not to say that learning wrestling is “pointless” for judo participants it’s just that it has less practical utility than learning judo does for a wrestler. Both are still great sports, though.
Judo throws are allowed in wrestling but if you want to use judo throws successfully in wrestling, they need adapting to account for the lack of a gi in wrestling as well as the different postures used.
If you do that then judo throws can add plenty of extra utility to a wrestler’s armory. Sadly, because of a rule change in 2010 – wrestling moves are no longer as useful to judo practitioners as they would once have been.