Creating Judo Specific Skills for Ne Waza

June 4, 2018

Moving from Fundamental Movement Skills into Sport Specific Skills


Judo is a dynamic sport and Judoka are expected to perform dynamic throws and transition quickly into submissions and hold downs.


Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) should be viewed as building blocks for sport specific movement patterns by coaches as it helps children in early childhood develop gross motor skills. From the onset of puberty adolescents can then benefit from more Sport Specific Skills (SSS), this can be due to the increased physical, co-ordination, muscle activation and motor demand of the activity. 


The issue now is fully understanding what this means in a Judo coaching scenario? 


In a Judo context FMS could be looked at as the following: 

  • Basic Judo techniques (Tachi Waza and Ne Waza) - learning the fundamental techniques

  • Pulling and pushing games - replicating randori stressors

  • Balancing games - helping children perform some of the harder techniques later on

  • Shrimping - improving movability in Ne Waza

  • Hopping games - helping children perform some of the harder techniques later on (such as O Uchi Gari and Uchi Mata)

  • Carrying partners - preparing them to lift and throw their partners

  • Catching and throwing - improving hand eye co-ordination

  • Ukemi’s (Break falls) - building confidence in falling

On my Thursday night Judo class at Camberley I teach children aged from 11 up to 17, grades and experience ranging from yellow belt up to black belts. Creating an engaging and challenging class for a mixed ability group can be quite difficult, the video below was how I took it on. The session started with Fundamental Movement Skills and moved into Sport Specific Skills (within Ne Waza). 


Stage 1: Initially the group started with one for one in Ne Waza (co-operative partner) practicing techniques of their level. This allowed the lower grades to practice techniques and not lose concentration through the techniques being too difficult and the higher grades practice techniques that they were working on without getting bored through not being pushed. This part of the drill is key to remember as we progress the SSS drill as we always finish with this stage. 


Stage 2 :This drill was then progressed by one person (Tori) standing up and the other on their knees (Uke) replicating a drop technique. Tori had to push them to all fours and then continue with stage 1.


Stage 3: Uke performed a drop technique, Tori stopped the technique and then moved into stage 1. 


Stage 4: Tori over throws Uke and they roll onto all four’s position and Tori moves into stage 1. 


All of these first four stages are set to slowly increase difficulty for Tori (and Uke) and move them towards a more competition based exercise. One of the things which is difficult to replicate is a competition atmosphere and the psychological pressures such as anxiety, fear of failure, winning and losing. At this point I turned the drill into a game, obviously this does not completely address the competition scenario but it does create an environment where the children start to think about how quickly they can carry out their technique, will their team win or lose, will they mess up? All of these stressors adds to the difficulty of the drill and moves it toward a sport specific skill. 


I hope the video clip is easy to follow (with the explanation) and I hope it helps you with your classes. This is just one example of moving a FMS class towards an SSS class. Have you found this useful? Do you have any questions? Please let me know and feel free to like and share. 



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