View Full Version : Should we teach Atemiwaza

30th July 2000, 22:46
Inspired by Marks eloquent attempt to enlighten other Martial Artists as to the validity of Judo as a genuine MA, in the thread "transcendent spirit" (members lounge)
I got to thinking back to when I was first taught Atemiwaza and realised how little this aspect of Judo is taught today. Most modern Judoka I know and all non-Judoka do not even realise that striking the Kyusho with hand, foot, elbow, knee or head, are, or ever have been, part of Judo.
If it was brought back into the syllabus, would Judo get back some of the interest that has been lost to Tae Kwon Do, Kick boxing etc?
I still teach it on occasion to some of my class, who express an interest, but I must admit very rarely.
Do you like me, believe we are in danger of loosing an important aspect of our art if we allow Atemiwaza to die out? Do you still teach or are taught, Atemiwaza as an intrinsic aspect of your Judo?
Come to think about it what about Kappo? I'll never forget one of My Senseiís stopping my nosebleed with a blow to the bottom of my foot??
Are we, by striving to please TV and the Olympic committee loosing the "Art" from our art?

31st July 2000, 01:10

good post. do you know of any books or videos that show and explain atemiwaza? i have seen some but only a small portion of the book covers it. i do teach some kappo in class but most aren't interested. i do shiatsu massage as a part time job and just love the way it can help the body.


gary d Rudenick

31st July 2000, 07:50
Hi, Ray,
Thank you very much for the kind words of encouragement. Actually, I do not have a problem with judoka not centering on atemi, but, as you say, the average judoka doesn't know that atemi was never meant to be relagated to the back pages, as it is one of the three main systems of judo, and to eliminate it is to deny its existence. This was not the founder's intent, or indeed, most who came after him. Simply, it was to be practiced during kata only, but that does not mean it was eliminated. It only means it is to be practiced. Atemi was the amoung the first techniques I learned as a child, and it was continued througout. I was as competitive as anyone, but there is more then the "push-pull" method of kuzushi and atemi can play a role. It really isn't that complicated, and for every strike I teach, there is a defense. Same with nagewaza and newaza. I wish I had practiced this more than I did, but shiai was what held my interest. This is fine, as long as one realizes it is not the end of learning. Usually, the three waza you use in shiai don't hold up in the long run, so if you are in it for the long haul, there is enough to keep you busy for a couple of lifetimes.

BTW: There are a few kata coaches and kata tournaments out there, particularly in Great Britain. The Kano society may be of particular help in this area, as they are attempting to center on traditional judo which includes atemiwaza no kata. http://www.kanosociety.org . This website is still under construction but kata, with emphasis on the Gokyo and atemi no kata are especially important. There is a discussion group as well getting started and there have been all ready some heavyweights mentioned or who has posted there. Try http://www.kanosociety.org/the_kano_society.htm as your start page(s). Be patient and visit regularly. I think you will like it.

William F. Kincaid
31st July 2000, 17:49
Wow now this is a topic. Ever since the Almost Heaven Judo dojo was left to me I have been wondering how to teach the atemi waza aspect of judo. I trained in Karate for a number of years but I feel that the atemiwaza techniques in Karate are alittle to static for Judo to be totally useful. I found a book however that really does a great job of Teaching Atemi Waza for grappling and Jujutsu based arts it is Miyama Ryu Jujutsu. This book had really helped me and I recomend it. and i do agree with all of you it is very important in order to make Judo a well rounded martial art.

Sorry for the quick post just read it before heading out to work and felt a need to shoot off at the mouth.lol
Take care and Behave.
William "Kamikazesan" Kincaid.

P.S. and yeah if anyone knows where to find Video tape or DVD on Judo Striking Techniques LET ME KNOW!!!lol

Aaron Fields
31st July 2000, 19:25
As a ju-jutsu guy who gets involved with judo, atemi-waza... yes. I think for those who have passed the point of tournament play it will only add another aspect to judo.
Just a side note, when I am in Mongolia I train with their national judo team. It seems to me that kuzushi often involves hiting the other guy while gripping the dogi. The key it seems, is making it look like something else (the ear is a great target)while setting up the throw.

1st August 2000, 02:09
"Come to think about it what about Kappo? I'll never forget one of My Senseiís stopping my nosebleed with a blow to the bottom of my foot??"

As someone whose knowledge of judo can almost fill a thimble, I defer to the experts on all of this post. The above comment, though, really got my attention. Where on the foot did he strike and how does it work? This is too fascinating to me to just slough on by it.

Frank Mosca

1st August 2000, 17:36
Hi Ray,

( I should note that I'm not a Judoka...but I have many friends who are and I enjoy training with them ).

Like a lot of us I enjoy history alot. You're question for Judoka "Are we endanger of losing our art," sadly is a resounding yes.

When Kano set up his organization, it was for an explicit reason. The Japanese mindset at the time was that the age of bujutsu had passed. Most doubted that wars would be prevelant again, and styles began to remove techniques from their systems, and re-cataloging themselves as budo.

When Kano set up he wanted a training hall where all of the various bujutsu styles could train under and maintain their original structure. Several instructors agreed and taught their systems within his halls. Kano named his system Judo instead of Jujutsu because at the time many of the locals who practised the art had become abusive to the public and as a result the former high regard and high standing normally associated with Jujutsu was in decline.

Kano won many converts through challenges ( not himself fighting mind you...but several of the other Bujutsu masters in his stead ). It used to be that in a challenge, you or your opponent could wind up dead or crippled...it was a possibility, Judo began mitigating this through introducing rules as to restricting techniques and strikes.

In the end the various bujutsu schools that had aligned with Kano left, as his system evolved into the vary thing he had sought to avoid.

Needless to say this is a condensed version...I can provide longer....

But when I train with my friends...or they tell me of occasions where they've had to use their skills to defend themselves...the most common problem they have is that, unless they consciously think about it they can't reflexively punch or kick their attackers...for the simple reason that tournaments have trained them not to do these things! They also suffer a rain of blows because since in tournaments their opponents can't strike them, they're not versed in blocking. Once they get a hold of them however, things change dramatically as their opponent receives a Seio Nage onto the asphalt.

My friends who study Judo or wrestling for that matter no very little about atemi waza, and even less about kappo.

My Judo friends have helped me immeasurably with my understanding of throws and for that I'm eternally grateful.

The only way you can avoid Atemi Waza & Kappo from disappearing from Judo is to teach them...if you're students don't learn it...then they'll never be able to pass it on.

Eric Bookin

1st August 2000, 23:36
Hi Gary,
I must admit to being fairly ignorant as to good books etc,
and all the Atemi waza I now know can be found within the Shinkin Shobu no Kata and the Kodokan Goshin Jutsu. So if you see any films or books of these titles, they would give you some idea. You do however need someone with first hand knowledge to teach you, as it is very easy to get it wrong from books.
If you find someone keep hold of them as they will be very rare people.

3rd August 2000, 06:47
I don't doubt at all that this side of judo is in need of a kick start, but both my teachers included goshin jutsu and atemi kata, not to mention kyusho (from my first teacher). But some of what I learned doing shotokan (very briefly) and shodokan (Tomiki) style aikido wrist locks are included. I don't think anyone believes that the syllabus has to remain pure, and indeed even the Kodokan, no doubt with much prodding, has now included seventeen new waza in the gokyo. There are kata tournaments utilizing most of the "forbidden" kata (not a statement, mind you, from Kano) and there are still kata only coaches around, although the only ones I know of are in England. Mongolia may be a good place to find it also:)

If a dojo is not at least teaching self defense with goshin and/or atemi, the program is lacking. Coaches of Olympic judo, on the other hand, have a different goal to meet so it is understandable. Also, blows used on entering, are far from uncommon, and the heavy judogi comes in handy for striking even in a tournament. What judoka hasn't whipped the lappel of the dogi across another's face while entereing for a throw? Think about what you are doing and then think even more how you would do it when there is no dogi. It's funny, but when given this simple, yet unexplained, way of doing nagewaza, all sorts of things just naturally enter into it. How does one enter and do seoi nage, morote style, when the opponent is not wearing a dogi? This is included in the complete syllabus, at least, that was the way I was taught. Possibly I'm a dinosaur when it comed to this but I have never been to a dojo without the rudimentary elements of go no sen, and sen no sen. If you are experienced, trial and error are good buddies.

BTW: Those of you who have been lucky enough to take Mitch Saret up on his offer of his tape, will no doubt notice this kata included. Remember, too, that there are five basic directions of throwing: Forward, backward, side to side, and where you are. If you are experienced with karatedo people, practicing your parrying and blocking skills come in handy. Yes, a judoka must enter, and a
"bootist" must fight from as much reach as possible. If you do get inside, there is not much doubt. For those who like these neat-looking high kicks, remember what is exposed in that moment, and judoka should "lunch" on that.:eek:

Another BTW: Who said that the only way to achieve Kuzushi is by the push-pull method? You have never thought of using a punch or strike to off-balance an opponent?:idea:

Also, remember that atemi was never considered for truly hurting an opponent, but was only another way to kuzushi.

3rd August 2000, 06:54
There is one person out there who used to post here and on budoseek who taught judo as an MA strictly. His name is Barry Southam. Anyone reading this who knows him and has his Email/surface mail addresses (Tolson, Jeff C., etc.), please email or post it here. I think he is from Texas, and his dojo is called Southam Judo.

Bob Steinkraus
4th August 2000, 19:13
Mark -

How were you taught to do morote-seoinage without a jacket? The only method I ever saw (and never brought off - I am no seoinage specialist) was to insert the forearm under the armpit in much the same way as if he were wearing a jacket. Do you have any insight on this or other throws on a gi-less uke?

I have especially enjoyed 'Tai-Otoshi' by Neal Adams in the Ippon Masterclass series because it offers three or four ways of bringing off tai-otoshi without relying on jacket gripping. I am also interested in judo as a true martial art, and I would add gi-less fighting to atemi as things a true martial art needs to address.

I am aware of the osoto-gari with the heel of the hand under the chin (as well as o-uchi-gari done the same way) as a gi-less attack. General rule of thumb was always grab the throat or push the face for backwards throws, and headlock or under the armpit for forward throws. Any other insights than this out there?

I even met a guy who used to do chin-ups with towels wrapped around the bar to develop the ability to grab arms instead of gi sleeves for when he was fighting a person in a t-shirt or topless.

Any other thoughts would be welcomed.

William F. Kincaid
5th August 2000, 06:51
I Was wondering how do the teachers here go about teaching Atemi-Waza in their respected Dojo? do you just teach the punches and kicks as punches and kicks? And/or do you actually teach it in the context of linking them to Nage-Waza, Shime-Waza, Osakomi-Waza, and Kensetsu-waza? The reason I am asking is that I am a newcomer to the teaching thing, and lets not forget very overwhelmed to boot. Atemi-waza was something my Sensei didn't do much on, and I am now being faced with a group of judoka with the primary focus on the art of Judo not the sport. Plus do you ladies and Gentlemen incorperate Atemi-Waza on your belt exams? Thank you for your input on this manner.

5th August 2000, 09:08
Hi, Bob,
Actually, you are not too far off on the dogi-less seoi nage if you jam the arm in hard. That was they way I was taught, and I did go to a school which taught, what may be called kokusen judo, although he called it jiu-jitsu and was a student of Kano at the Kodokan (Jack Seki).

A simple description is difficult, but basically, it comes off a block or strike with the intent of blocking, then grabbing the wrist/forearm, and pulling to off-balance, then jamming the arm, a la morote seoinage. Ippon seoi nage is easier to put on, but you don't have the advantage of jamming him up which creates the lift you need. Even in shiai, I have seen judoka who hit the thigh (of uke) to create the reflex you need after entering, or as you enter. This can be done, but only do far. Tai otoshi is a very good throw to do without a dogi. There are as many variations on it, since the original throw did not have the leg back to facilitate the throw. The thing to remember that most throws come after the defense and is meant to finish the opponent. If you have knowledge of goshin jutsu, it can be practiced, and if you don't, common sense plays a role, a big one. For example, when blocking a downward punch, you have the choice of blocking, then putting on an armlock, or blocking and entering for a throw, either hip or shoulder throws. As in everything, there are small variations which guide your reflex.

Most of what is taught of atemi, is in the form of kata, but practicing nage waza without the uwagi can be done in randori. Your descripton of O soto gari is ideal. It is common sense and one doesn't need to be reminded of it once you can accomplish it. Also, you do not need to remove the uwagi to practice without it. Play randori with a rule that there is no grabbing of the dogi. This, in itself, is a challenge, in my opinion anyway.

If you are just starting to teach atemiwaza, stick with kata. This is not randori. It comes from repetitive practice.

It is still judo, no matter what the reason, so teach what you know, and use what you are learning. This is a loaded questions with many answers, but it is difficult to write. How? Wow! Stick to what you know. Make sure it is a good workout, enough so you feel it.

I hope this helps a little.

6th August 2000, 20:55
Originally posted by William F. Kincaid
I Was wondering how do the teachers here go about teaching Atemi-Waza in their respected Dojo? do you just teach the punches and kicks as punches and kicks? And/or do you actually teach it in the context of linking them to Nage-Waza, Shime-Waza, Osakomi-Waza, and Kensetsu-waza?
Hi William,
I believe it is vital to teach Atemi Waza linked to all other Waza. I am sure you would not dream of teaching Tachi waza or Ne waza as isolated techniques, but as a continuation of each other.
One of my great frustrations at competition is; because Junior Judoka tend to have been taught Tachi Waza and then Osae Komi Waza as two seperate things, they stop once they have achieved some kind of throw or knockdown.Also when coming back to a standing position they almost "help" their opponant to their feet, instead of taking advantage to attack as they rise. Providing Matte has not been called this moment can provide great oppotunities. It is only later in their Judo career, when they have learnt "the basics" that they are taught to "follow through" and link different Waza.
So my advise to you; is to teach all techniques right from the start as one continuous fluid movement. As soon as your students come under pressure they will forget all the fancy stuff and will revert back to the basics you have taught them. If the basics are continuous attack from standing to ground, from holding to locking, from locking to strangling and back again through the cycle in what ever order presents itself.They will be a far better Judoka.
So when teaching Atemi Waza it should be continuous and should be looked at as a way of achieving Kuzushi. Not many people in a real situation will be perminantly stopped with one punch, or what happens if that one punch misses or is blocked??

7th August 2000, 06:42
There is a reason why nagewaza comes first, then newaza, and atemiwaza. This is the order of importance, as described by J. Kano. However, "wrap around" throws (makikomi) are also taught traditionally before katamewaza is taught. This is the traditional way but it isn't necessarily the correct way. If you start the students with a little of the kata of Kodokan goshin, including some atemi, which naturally accompanies it, then the beginner will get a taste of it. If impatience in a student affects the way you teach, well, just do not promise anyone a "rose garden." If one sticks with you for six months, well, they will probably be there for a while more. Teaching methods are personal, but the very basics are the same whether you concentrate on self-defense or shiai, or both. Remember the age of the student, as well. The youngsters will be quite content learning nagewaza and newaza (no shime or kansetsu) and shiai will hold their interest, but this is in general. But sometimes nothing works. I have had students come in and six weeks later, they take home a trophy from the first tournament. Then, they quit. Don't allow the student to dictate what you will teach. You are the instructor. It is your class.

8th August 2000, 11:00
Hi, All!

I think one problem with finding concentrated atemi waza information in texts is the tendency of modern publishers to shy away from liability concerns. That coupled with the tendency of most teachers throughout martial history to reserve "the good stuff" as kuden (oral transmission) to keep it out of the hands of those who might abuse it or give away "school secrets" has made the finding tough these days.

Great thread!