The latest Judo News offered by

Get your tsukuri right then the kuzushi will happen

12 Jun 2020 11:40

 by Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy    Paco Lozano / Judo y Otros

How important is your kuzushi in judo. Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy explains of Kuzushi is really one of the keys in current judo. Is kuzushi necessary in order to throw an opponent? You would think the answer would be an obvious yes, but this question requires a more nuanced answer.

First of all, let's define what kuzushi means in the context of judo. Usually, it's translated as "unbalancing" your opponent. But that's not all. It's not just the act of unbalancing uke. There's also a timing element tied to the act of kuzushi. According to classical (or traditional) judo teaching, kuzushi has to happen before tsukuri, which is when you enter into the technique.

While I obviously believe that you'll need to unbalance uke in order to throw him, I don't believe that it happens before tsukuri. Why do I say so? Because I've watched thousands (actually make that, tens of thousands) of hours of competition video and I've noticed that nobody does kuzushi the classical way (that is, kuzushi before tsukuri). That only happens in demonstrations, never in competitions.

So what happens in competition? Answer: Kuzushi and tsukuri happen at the same time.

Watch any clips of Toshihiko Koga doing his famous standing ippon-seoi-nage. He doesn't pull uke forward onto his tippy toes before entering into the technique. He pulls uke forwards and upwards (unbalancing him) as he enters into the technique. In other words, kuzushi and tsukuri happen at the same time.

If Koga's a bit too older-generation for you, let's look at some of today's players then. Check out Shohei Ono's osoto-gari. Does his unbalance uke before entering into the technique? No, he unbalances uke as he enters into the technique. Watch Joshiro Maruyama's uchimata or Hifumi Abe's sode-tsurikomi-goshi. Neither one of these guys unbalance their opponents before entering into the technique. The unbalancing happens as they enter.

Even the Japanese themselves don't attempt to do kuzushi the classical way (i.e. before tsukuri). Why not though?

There are two reasons. Firstly, even if it were possible to adequately unbalance uke before you enter into the attack, this is not something you would want to do because uke will react accordingly and defend against your throw. If you pull uke forward, for example, he would know that you are aiming for a forward attack. If you push him backward, he will know you're about to do a backward attack. Why notify uke what you're about to do?

In any event, it's impossible to achieve the kind of kuzushi that you see done in demonstrations, in a competition situation. Both players will be grip-fighting fiercely: pulling, pushing, moving, breaking grips, blocking and so on. Good luck trying to position uke onto his tippy toes before entering into a seoi-nage. It's just not going to happen.

Kuzushi happens during tsukuri because the very act of entering into the technique causes uke to be unbalanced. Again, watch Koga, Ono, Maruyama or Abe. Their entry into the throw is what causes uke to be unbalanced.

So, what's the implication of this? The main thing is to not worry about achieving kuzushi. Just focus on tsukuri. If you get your tsukuri right, the kuzushi will happen.

If you're going to do standing ippon-seoi-nage ala Koga, practice entering into the technique with split legs. Pull and lift uke (forward and upward) as you turn into the technique. By the time you've made the full turn, uke would have already become unbalanced and loaded onto your back.

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Hifumi Abe (JPN) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © Paco Lozano, Judo y Otros
  • Shohei Ono (JPN),  Ippon seoinage (JPN) - Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro (2016, BRA) - © Paco Lozano, Judo y Otros
  • Toshihiko Koga (JPN) - Olympic Games Atlanta (1996, USA) - © David Finch,

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News


Judo brand Fighting Films celebrates 30 Years

24 Jan 2018 10:25

2018 marks the 30th Anniversary of Fighting Films and it’s a proud milestone. Fighting Films is a renowned name throughout the world of Judo, it may surprise you to know that this leading producer and supplier of Judo videos are in fact a small family run company. Based in Bristol, UK, they were founded by Simon Hicks, a black belt and second-generation judoka and a legend in his work. Read more


Ne-Wazalyzed: Amandine Buchard uses her choke as a weapon to win

2 Sep 2020 10:45

Amandine Buchard (FRA) has two key newaza moves. One is a turnover into osaekomi and the other is a choke. She has a very unusual choke which is essentially a sankaku done with the arms. Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy gives the details on this choke. Read more


Te-Wazalyzed: Michael Korrel’s Sleeve Seoi Overshoot

27 Aug 2020 12:05

Just because a technique looks sloppy doesn’t mean it’s that way by accident. Sometimes, it’s intentional and serves a purpose. This seems to definitely apply in the case of Michael Korrel’s seoi-nage overshoot that’s done off uke’s sleeve. Get Te-Wazalyzed by Oon Yeoh. Read more


The mindset of avoiding injuries

9 Jun 2020 12:55

Judo is a full-contact sport so, for sure, there will be injuries. The usual ones are stubbed toes and jammed fingers. Shins usually get bruised too. Slightly worse would be sprains on the ankles and wrists. Then you have the more serious injuries like dislocated shoulders, broken collar bones and torn ligaments on the knees. Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy talks about his own experiences and concludes with an experiment. Read more


Judo in the time of Covid-19: Sugoi Uriarte

29 May 2020 10:30

Sugoi Uriarte has always been a world player. The Spaniard is now a coach. As a judoka Sugoi won silver U66kg at the World Championships in 2009 in Rotterdam and he was in the bronze final at the Olympics in London in 2012. He did take gold at the European Championships in 2010 in Vienna. Sugoi is well-known for his international contacts, his invitations to many athletes around the globe to come to Valencia. Clearly his life is judo and Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy asked him lots more. Read more

First description

Judo birthday

Result City Date
2Düsseldorf21 Feb
Result City Date
1Düsseldorf21 Feb


First description Second description Third description Four description