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Kihon and uchikomi

Now that I've spilt my guts about kihon in judo over the course of the last post or two, it's time for specifiics. What do I consider to be kihon in judo?
On the ground:
  • All ukemi (particularly rolling forward from kneeling and backward from side-lying)
  • Shirai 2-hands on a point drill (shrimping and bridging - more on this in a later post)
  • Groundwork cycle #1 (transitions between mune, kesa, ushiro kesa, tate, and kami with uke supine, prone, and turtled - more on this in a later post)


  • Taisabaki (tsugiashi displacements to the diagonals, sides, and turning – particularly the backstep in)
  • Happo no kuzushi (but not the senseless version seen in the judo textbooks - more on this in a later post)
  • Footsweep to control drill (a nonspecific ashiwaza exercise that builds understanding of timing and kuzushi - more on this in a later post)

Some die-hard old school folks might ask why I didn't list uchikomi as kihon. Uchikomi is (to my way of thinking) more technique-specific than kihon. When you practice uchikomi you are practicing osotogari uchikomi or seoinage uchikomi or etc... If you look back over the short lists above these kihon are very general. The motions and skills learnt here apply to many situations throughout judo. If you do 25 or 50 reps of osotogari then you pretty much only become better at osotogari. On the other hand, if you practice 25 or 50 reps of some particular taisabaki then you stand to improve your performance of every technique in which that taisabaki appears. That is why kihon is deliberately non-specific and why class time is devoted to it in every class.

This does not mean that I think that uchikomi is necessarily a bad exercise. It can be quite useful as well as good physical exercise - but I wouldn't spend class time doing uchikomi of specific techniques during every class (though it might be good to do 10-25 uchikomi of your tokuiwaza after each class.

You can see from this that I am developing in this series of posts a sort of hierarchy of techniques in judo - some techniques or exercises you will want to practice every class, some others you will want to practice regularly but not neccessarily every class, and some other techniques might be only visited occasionally for spice or to make a point.

Stay tuned for my ideas on which techniques form a core that should be practiced regularly.

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