Uchimata is one of the most popular throws in Judo. When you go to Japan and train nearly every single fighter can hit you with a nice uchimata at least once during randori. It is also the quintessential ‘Judo’ throw and it graces the cover of most Judo books.
Uchimata is a great technique for a number of reasons:
- First off. It feels incredible. When you hit a nice seoi nage, ouchi or tai otoshi it feels good. But when you pull off an Uchimata you feel like superman.
- Secondly with an uchimata you only have to get your leg between you opponent’s leg. So it is less risky opposed to a harai goshi
- Thirdly, every comes off and into an uchimata. Uchimata has endless entries and combos. Go for an uchimata and finish with an ouchi, kouchi, tai otoshi, harai, twitch, sasae, sumi gaeshi and tomoe nage OR you can attack with an osoto, kouchi, ouchi, kosoto, deashi, tai otoshi, sasae and finish with an uchimata. The options are truly endless.
Last week I was cruising the net (as I do) and came across some great videos on Uchimata from 3 X Olympian Maje Omagbaluwaje.
In these two uchimata videos he covers a number of fundamental critical to having a successful uchimata. throughout this video note the positioning and direction of his hands as well as his hip, feet and arm placement.
In this next video we see Neil Adams demonstrating the essential aspects of Uchimata. What I love about Neil’s stuff is the fact that he always talks about planes and angles, but thinking (and teaching) like this we can understand how and WHY Judo works. The only thing I hate about both of these uchimata videos (Neil’s and Maje’s) is that their uke is clearly 30-40kgs lighter than them.
Let’s break this down into more detail:
Foot placement is vital to a good Uchimata (or any Judo throw). Too close and you block the space resulting in your opponent being not off-balance or too far away and your throw is rendered useless.
In this video below the japanese video really goes over the foot placement really well. Notice the rotation on the first foot placement as well as the depth of the support leg.
Often your feet can be in the right place but your hands can be in the wrong place OR your hands are in the right place but your feet aren’t. This is the fun of Judo. Last year I spent a week with Neil Adams and he talked about the fact that many Judoka cannot get their hands and feet to work together rather than independently of one another. This is one reason why coordination drills should be a part of your weekly training schedules. In the video below Yamashita shares some interesting thoughts around uchimata. Take a look at his hands placement. First off it is right vs left, secondly his is controlling the inside lapel and lastly he is very low on the sleeve. From here he pulls the right sleeve far out to his right as he lifts the leg.
Also don’t forget to look at where his left elbow is, it is buried right into his opponents armpit.
Here is prob the best video on uchimata. I encourage you to watch this video over and over again. Look at katanishi’s placement of his feet, hands, elbows and head. Also take note of how off balance his opponent is.
This next video is absolute gold. In this video we get to watch both Katanishi and Patrick Roux pretty much personal train two athletes. In this video we see HOW to practice your uchimata. Notice is is all about getting into position and getting your opponent of balance (using hands) not just flying in as hard as you can to throw your opponent. This video shows us the importance of ‘feeling’ Judo.
In this next video Maje goes over some common combos with Uchimata.
To help your uchimata it is important that you get a few thousand reps in but often we don’t have a partner to practice on. If this is the case then I suggest you follow some of these solo uchimata drills I found on Gary Goltz’s YT channel:
Here is another quality solo drills you can do to devleop your coordination for Uchimata from Judo god Katanishi:
This video below has some great solid drills you can do to develop knee, ankle and hip stability for uchimata. She also covers a great drill you can do to make sure your lapel hand is in the right place for uchimata – to see it fast forward to the 10 min mark.
There are multiple entries:
All of the videos above cover a traditional 3 step entry but in actual fact you can do a Korean style entry to your uchimata as well. Now I know this is not actually a Korean style Uchimata Japans Inoue has been doing it forever but by calling it a Korean setup it helps me and my students know what I am talking about.
There are also different styles of grips you can have when doing uchimata. If you have watched any modern competitions you may notice that the Georgians do an ‘elbow up’ style Uchimata while the Japanese do a more classical version. Check out the video below to see what I am talking about.
How to stop it??
Well there are a number of nice counters to uchimata. Check these two really nice counters. these are the exact two I teach. the first one is great if you are taller than you opponent and the second one requires a huge drive with your arms to finish, but it is nice when you get it.
So now what? Easy…sit back and watch the best uchimata HL reel of all time. With over 600k views on YT it shows that uchimata really is the throw of kings:
If you want to learn some great uchimata setups then I encourage you to grab my Uchimata setups DVD below. It is only $4.95 and contains 62 minutes of uchimata including setups from a variety of grips and combos.