?s/Thoughts on uchi komi

I learned Judo the traditional way in the sense that uchi komi or realistic and dynamic movement + grips repeated hundreds (thousands?) of times gave me a very good understanding of set-ups, mechanics, speed, etc.

As a supplement to my newbie 11-yr old son's Judo classes (2 months now), he does a lot of uchi komi with me on his off days. His partners in randori and future competitions will present a variety of

1. grips: cross, belt, right- or left-handed, elbow, end-of-sleeves, unconventional, etc.;

2. postures: crunched arms, stiff arms, stiff legs, square, extreme left, right, etc.; and,

3. resistance: strong, flexible, light, etc.

Because of all these variables, I always incorporate them in his uchi komi, which makes his training with me a little more interesting (realistic?).

In his randori last night, against a fellow Judo newbie but skilled wrestler (2 years and lots of tourneys), he was able to pull off a decent O soto gari. However, instead of the traditional (?) left foot forward and reaping right foot, it was a left leg BACK while the right leg hooks then the reap comes later in the throw. It looked like O soto gari but the timing, entry, and position were different, definitely modified. (As a dad, this made me puff up though! Kind of validated in my mind the unconvential stuff I included in uchi komi)

I haven't trained Judo in ages but when I did train, all of the uchi komi was the same ... over and over with the thought that the actual competition would be similar/ideal. This is the same in my son's class.

Is this typical? How much importance do you place on uchi komi? Does your school/club/dojo incorporate non-ideal grips, positions, resistance in uchi komi? If so, is it still uchi komi?

I understand that randori will present the opportunities to learn about adjustments, I'm interested on the forum's thoughts about uchi komi.


In my morning practices I do moving uchi komi, and then standing for say four and on the fifth one I will throw. I want to make sure the fifth one I did was the same as the four uchi komi. I always use my ideal grip, and was told that I should develop the throw that if I can get that grip I can throw anyone. Also when doing every moving uchi komi, I do everyone perfect and if not done right, I will then back up and do it again.

"moving uchi komi" That is very important. Once you start doing throws on the move you will hit your slef for not doing it sooner. ::hits him self::


Calmdog, sounds like you are on the right track to me.

A lot of uchikomi are done statically and with no resistance from uke. Adding the stuff you did (different grips, posture, etc.) is great !

Ben Reinhardt

Oh, you might get a crash pad for home, even an old mattress or two and let him throw you at home. That would be a good supplement to his uchikomi work.

Ben R.

"If so, is it still uchi komi?"

Uchi komi translates into "fitting in" or "entering". That leaves a LOT of room for variety. If you are practicing entries in ANY way, without throwing, that is uchi komi.

Hats off to the Judo coaches and practitioners!

Thanks gents!

Yukko nailed it. In our club its tons of MOVING uchi komi! I hate the static kind... very unrealistic.

there is nothing at all with static uchi komi...many people dont do them correct anyways. how many people do you see doing static uchi komi say for 9 and then on the tenth when they have to throw, they totally change the way they are doing the throw. then what was the point of doing the previous 9. you have to be able to throw on each one you are doing.

For my newbie Judoka, uchi komi is indeed very imporatnt. It teaches the mechanics (short) of throws in an ideal environment; he's still a long way from body/position awareness, proper entry, etc. so the drills are appropriate.

The slight changes I've injected, and am not quite sure whether they're good or bad this early, are different grips, different resistance, different postures, etc. that I use while he does uchi komi.

Like I mentioned above, he was able to pull a modified o soto in randori, probably because of the slight tweak to our uchi komi ... or he's more aware than I thought.


perhaps I should say that kuzushi is unrealistic in static uchikomi..

"The slight changes I've injected, and am not quite sure whether they're good or bad this early, are different grips, different resistance, different postures, etc. that I use while he does uchi komi."

I think the changes you have injected are good. I am judging from my experience as a judo teacher/coach for many years. I did/do the same thing with adult beginners (I don't teach kids). It all depends on what they are capable of doing. First is the basic technique with simple movement patterns, then more complicated scenarious.

You can move toward simple situational drills as well for gripping, moving, gripping and moving, and gripping/moving/posture/flexibility, etc. combined with throwing.

You can always break down problem areas into smaller pieces/drills, static or moving as needed.

It is best to throw if you can, as it is closest to the real skill your son will be doing. Besides, I bet your son will enjoy throwing more, which insures he will enjoy practice-THAT is really important for kids !

Ben Reinhardt

Thanks for the feedback gents!

I have to ask the question though. What does JoshuaResnick think? :-)


Anytime I've been injured an unable to do randori, I simply did uchi komis once a week for one hour. That little bit improved my judo 300 % when I came back. I couldn't believe it.

Uchi komios are the number one important thing that I have done to improve my Randori.

As far as realistic is concerned, think of it this way. Before you can pull it off on a moving, resisting opponent, you have to at least be able to perfect it on a static opponent. If you cant even do that, you'll NEVER throw a real opponent. Uchi komis train the "muscle memory" system so that you can explode into a move without thinking. Its a mind body thing. Its like shadow boxing is to a fighter. Extremely important.

"As far as realistic is concerned, think of it this way. Before you can pull it off on a moving, resisting opponent, you have to at least be able to perfect it on a static opponent. If you cant even do that, you'll NEVER throw a real opponent. "

You are leaving out doing drills/nage komi on uke who are giving different levels of resistance. For example, if you start out with a compliant uke in any sort of moving throwing drill, you get it right there, and get uke to resist a bit more, until the drill is at full resistance by uke. There is a whole realm of training methods that are beyond static uchikomi that are far superior to doing static uchikomi.

So I have to disagree with you on this one.

Ben Reinhardt


I agree about the variable resistance as being effective.

By leaving those things out, my intent was not to dismiss their effectiveness, but rather I was responding to the effectiveness of only one particular aspect which was the static uchi komis being effective as a learning tool.

The static uchi komis are for perfecting your form. There are no distractions caused by resistance, movement, etc. But simply, you are there to get the muscle memory working. To perfect the mechanics. It is not meant to represent real fighting, but rather a tool to develop the techniques which would be used during fighting. Without this baseline, there would be no repetroire to draw from during an actual match.

It does little good to do uchi komis with resistance if one is sloppy all over the place because they never perfected the correct movement to begin with. Once you have the proper form, then certainly resistance should allow you to enhance it. Thats why static uchikomis are very important. You certainly wouldn't teach a newbie his first throw by resisting him or moving would you? Of course not. Hes got to learn the throw staticaly first.

Thats my only point. I only made it because it seemed that some were incorrectly dismissing static uchi komis as useless because they aren't realistic.

I certainly agree that the other methods you mentioned are very effective in promoting realism and should also be used. Especially since it is rare that a judo throw is done under the perfect ideal circumstances.

Here is a good comparison:

Think of uchi komis like shadowboxing. A time to perfect your technique with no active resistance or distractions.

Think of moving uchi komis as hitting the focus mits. There is movement to ad realism but it is still choegraphed to a certain degree. Its purpose is to perfect your throws while actively moving but still there is a level of predictability that allows you to work purely on technique without the distractions of a real fight. Once again, its muscle memory except a MOVING muscle memory.

Think of uchi komis with resistance as hitting the heavy bag. There is a certain amount of unpredictability in its movement and you get more of a feel of what its like for real. Here it is less about perfecting the technique you already have, but rather about building up some toughness as far as stamina, and movement that is not always predictable. This causes you to frequently have to adjust to that unpredictability.

And of course, the Randori is the actual live sparring.

After all of that, the shadowboxing is still very important. Thats all.

Geez, that was a long post. I hope I didn't bore you guys to death.

So getting back to Calmdog's question, yes, uchi komis are very important. ALL uchi komis are very important.

And your son did a good job modifying his osoto gari! That is actually a pretty commonly taught variation of it that he did that night.

static uchikomi are intended to make the motions an automatic thing in your "muscle memory" and nerveous system. without tons and tons of static repitions there is no real way for something to become so embedded that you can do it without any thought of focus. static uchikomi also develops the vcery important ability for somebody to go from a dead stop to a full-blast in an instant.

moving uchikomi are intended to teach people how to move, change directions, and develop timing. could you imagine learning to do deashi-barai without moving?

power uchikomi (3man) are designed to develop the mentality that is needed to throw somebody who doesnt want to be thrown. if you can lift a fella off the mat who is being held-down by a 3rd guy then you can certainly lift the fella all by himself.

speed uchikomi are designed to build your endurance, focus and total bobdy speed.

if you want to change the grips and what not thats fine. but the truth be told that if you cant pull the throw off to a very reasonable level with the normal grips you wont be able to do it with more complex (or even simpler) grips when people are trying to stop you.