How to Improve Your Judo Ground Techniques

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Judo is a martial art that is well-known for its ground techniques, also known as Newaza. As a Judoka, having a solid understanding of ground techniques is crucial to your success on the mat. In this article, we will explore six sub-questions to help you improve your Judo ground techniques.


What are Judo ground techniques?

Judo techniques are divided into three categories – throws, pins, and joint locks/chokes. Ground techniques primarily focus on the third category, joint locks and chokes, and pins, designed to immobilize or subdue your opponent. When a Judoka takes his opponent down to the ground, they must maintain control over them by gaining a dominant position. This position allows them to apply various techniques to submit their opponent. These techniques usually involve a combination of joint locks, chokes, and pins.


How can I improve my Judo ground techniques?

Improving your Judo ground techniques takes time and practice. Here are some ways to enhance your Judo ground techniques:

● Practice Perfect the Basics – Before you attempt any advanced techniques, you need to have a solid foundation in the basics techniques. Some of the basic techniques such as kesa gatame, kami shiho gatame, and yoko shiho gatame are fundamental and form the basis for many other techniques.

● Train with Different Partners – Training with different partners improves your adaptability and helps you develop better spatial awareness skills. You will also learn to adapt to different body types, which is essential in achieving a hold-down.

● Use Drills to Focus on Specific Skills – Incorporate specific drills into your training routine to focus on specific skills such as transitions, sweeps, or combinations.

● Learn from Experienced Coaches – Seek feedback and advice from experienced coaches to improve your technical knowledge. They may spot flaws in your technique that you haven’t noticed before.

● Attend Competitions – Participating in tournaments and events exposes you to various opponents with different styles and techniques. This experience will help you develop better problem-solving skills, which is essential in ground fighting.


What are some common mistakes to avoid in Judo ground fighting?

Many athletes make common mistakes in Judo ground fighting that can cost them matches. Here are some of the most common mistakes Judoka make:

● Overcommitting – This mistake usually happens when an athlete thinks they can secure a hold-down and forget the importance of defending their position.

● Tunnel Vision – Tunnel vision occurs when a Judoka is too focused on one technique. Being too committed to a particular technique can leave you susceptible to counters.

● Fighting Off Your Back – Fighting off your back is a vulnerable position, and while some techniques can be executed from here, you should aim to regain your feet as soon as possible.

● Neglecting Defense – A good offense is essential in Judo, but neglecting your defense can lead to being caught in a vulnerability position.


What are some drills that can help me improve my transitions in Judo ground fighting?

Transitions are essential to Judo ground fighting and can make the difference between winning or losing a match. Here are some drills to help you improve your transitions:

● Partner switches – Set up with your partner on the ground and practice switching positions quickly and at random.

● Escape drills – Set up in a hold-down and practice escaping with different techniques.

● Combination drills – Practice combining techniques while transitioning from one position to another.

● Randori – Practice free sparring with a partner to develop your reactions and anticipation of various techniques.


How can I improve my balance in Judo ground fighting?

Good balance is crucial in Judo ground fighting. Here are some tips to improve your balance:

● Core stability – Work on core strength exercises to improve your balance and stability.

● Practice Common Positions – Practicing common positions such as Turtle or North and South positions is essential

● Footwork drills – Incorporate footwork drills that focus on direction changes and transitions.


Are there any key concepts I should know to improve my Judo ground techniques?

There are several key concepts you should familiarize yourself with to improve your Judo ground techniques. Here are a few:

● Awareness of your body positioning and spatial awareness: Understanding the positioning of your body and where you are in relation to your opponent will give you an advantage.

● Tempo – Focusing on the tempo and rhythm of a match can give you the upper hand and improve your timing in executing techniques.

● Transitioning – As we have discussed, transitions are critical in Judo ground fighting.



In conclusion, improving your Judo ground techniques requires dedication, practice, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Keep in mind the importance of perfecting basic techniques, training with different partners, and using drills to focus on specific skills. Remember to avoid common mistakes, improve your transitions and balance, and build a solid foundation in key concepts. With these tips, you’ll be able to improve your Judo ground techniques and take your Judo game to the next level.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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