Nage no Kata - The Overview

My next several posts are going to be about Nage no Kata, so I figured I would give a brief primer on it first...

Nage no Kata - "Forms of Throwing"
This Kata has 5 sets (one for each class of throw) containing 3 throws each, aimed at demonstrating the breadth of throwing techniques found in Judo.  In my opinion, there are 3 main aims of this Kata:

  1. To promote practice, investigation, and eventually mastery of the breadth of standing techniques
  2. To instill "automatic" responses to broadly different types of attack movements (e.g., pushes, head bops, etc); this is hard
  3. Building on #2, to instill a natural sensitivity in Tori to discern subtle differences between otherwise similar attacks (e.g., a "reckless" push vs. a "halting" push), and to "automate" an appropriate response to these different attacks; this one is really hard
As mentioned, the each 5 sets corresponds to a class of throws.  It begins with the three classes of standing throws (Tachi Waza), followed by the two classes of Sacrifice Techniques (Sutemi Waza) to complete the Kata:
  1. Te Waza (Hand Techniques)
    • Uki Otoshi
    • Ippon Seoi Nage
    • Kata Guruma
  2. Koshi Waza (Hip Techniques)
    • Uki Goshi
    • Harai Goshi
    • Tsurikomi Goshi
  3. Ashi Waza (Foot/Leg Techniques)
    • Okuriashi Barai
    • Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
    • Uchi Mata
  4. Ma Sutemi Waza (Back Sacrifice Techniques)
    • Tomoe Nage
    • Ura Nage
    • Sumi Gaeshi
  5. Yoko Sutemi Waza (Side Sacrifice Techniques)
    • Yoko Gake
    • Yoko Guruma
    • Uki Waza
There are broadly 4 types of attack that Uke will initiate, with generally slight differences between each manifestation of the attack which then triggers Tori to react with a different throw.  You can think of these differences in attack as Uke's response to his previous attack of that sort. He learns.  E.g. the first time he attempted the head smash, he got thrown with Seoi Nage, so the second time he tries it, he's going to post the non-smashing hand to foil the Seoi and better distribute his weight... unwittingly setting up an Uki Goshi for Tori. (note - the names for the attacks are just what I call them... if they have proper names, I don't know them)
  • Push to the rear, a.k.a., the "Three Push" - 8 (ish) versions... 6 for sure, resulting in:  Uki Otoshi, Kata Guruma, Harai Goshi, Tsurkomi Goshi, Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi, Yoko Gake
    • The "ish" part is because in Uchi Mata and Tomoe Nage, I believe Uke is intending to initiate a 3 push, but never really gets started; Tori steals the initiative.
  • Head smash, a.k.a, the "Bunny Foofoo" - 4 versions, resulting in: Ippon Seoi Nage, Uki Goshi, Ura Nage, Yoko Guruma
  • Sideways drag - 1 version, resulting in: Okuriashi Barai
  • Jigotai grab, a.k.a, the "Sumo Shuffle" - 2 versions, resulting in: Sumi Gaeshi, Uki Waza
    • This one kind of stretches the concept of Uke "attacking" but you can think of this one as another instance of Tori "stealing the initiative"
Uke's first attack will always be "right-sided," but Tori's response will not (e.g., Tori responds to a right-handed head smash with a left-sided Uki Goshi)
There is one good (book) reference for Nage no Kata that I know of that is still in print, and that is "Judo Formal Techniques" by Otaki and Draeger (use the link below to buy the book from Amazon, and I get a kickback!).  "Kodokan Judo" has a good quick overview, but it's really only useful in case you forget the order... it doesn't give much guidance.  And I'm sure that there are some good videos out there, but I don't have any of them.  Any recommendations?
Judo Formal Techniques: A Complete Guide to Kodokan Randori no Kata

Nage no Kata Fun Facts:
  • This is one of the two "Randori no Kata;" the other is Katame no Kata (Forms of Grappling)
  • Kano included Kata Guruma as the final piece of Nage no Kata in it's present form; it displaced Sukui Nage from a previous version
    • As a result, Uke never does a back breakfall in this Kata
  • *I believe* this is the only Kata that demonstrates each technique both right- and left-sided



kodokanjudo said...

Other fun facts:
The earliest form of nage-no-kata only had 10 techniques, five tachi-waza and five sutemi-waza.

kodokanjudo said...

BTW, It is true that there are no rear throws in NNK, but if you take a good look at the ukemi for yoko-gake, it is a back fall (just from a different direction) that uke is forced to do because of tori's control of the sleeve.