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Ne Waza Thought.

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Wrestling, Grappling, Ne Waza, through the centuries it has taken many names, the first documented form of wrestling goes back nearly 4,500 years to ancient Egypt, however the origins of this type of fighting can be traced back as far as 15,000 years with illustrations depicted in ancient caves around France, Babylonia, and Mesopotamia.

In ancient Greece wrestling was the number one sport prominent at the first Olympic Games in 706 BC, though the games are in Mythology said to go back much farther.

The first modern summer Olympic Games, reinstated nearly 1,600 years, after being banned by the Emperor of Rome Theodosius 1st in 393 AD, in his attempt to destroy paganism and install Christianity to the Rome, these games held in Athens Greece in 1896. Commonly known as the 1st Olympiad.

Modern Olympiad installed wrestling as a sport in 1904, Saint Louis Missouri, USA and today is still going strong.

With regards to judo, grappling was introduced into kodokan syllabus in 1900, this being after one of Kano teams suffered a huge defeat from a team who predominately practiced jui jitsu, it was said that Kano was so impressed with certain skills, he then decided to add some these skills to form Ne Waza.

Kosen Judo, refers to a set of competition rules of Kodokan Judo, with a particular emphasis on ground grappling techniques, such as pinning holds ( Osaekomi Waza ), joint
locks ( Kansetsu Waza ), and choke holds ( Shime Waza ), referred to as Ne Waza in Japanese martial arts.

In 1925 Kano introduced new rules governing Ne Waza, it was no longer allowed for you to deliberately drag your opponent to the mat, it was stipulated Ne Waza had to start from Tachi Waza with transition.

Other rules as limitations on time spent in Ne Waza were also enforced, however rules such as Sonomama ( do not move ), allowed for the contest to be halted at any given time and restarted from the same position of advantage by calling Yoshi, ( begin ).

Ne Waza

Judo has developed over the past decades without a doubt to new highs, innovative training programmes for the judoka with the input of all the back up support of sports science and professional coaching.

The methodology to teaching has changed from my early years of learning judo, however I question if by modernisation have we lost out on this transition from past to present.

This post is based solely to Ne Waza ( groundwork judo ) as such I will try to illuminate of methods, my experience to learning the skills of Ne Waza.

When I first started judo in Glasgow, training involved Tachi Waza and Ne Waza, we all take preference to where we like to be, comfort zone I call it, my comfort zone was Tachi Waza, did not like Ne Waza one bit.

For the most part my training was primarily focus on Tachi Waza, not much effort was placed towards Ne Waza. Moving to Edinburgh to train with George Kerr, during this episode of my judo learning I would say was different, scary, and yet fantastic, Kerr was at that time God, his training and coaching was innovative to that time.

Kerr was a contest player, he taught contest judo, it was during this era I started to understand the vast difference between the sport of judo and contest judo, realising then to achieve my dreams I would have to reprogram all I thought judo was.

My ambitions at that time were directed to performance, contest judo, Kerr noticed quickly my weakness to Ne Waza, the problem was not that I did not like Ne Waza, it was evident I was scared, I could not cope with claustrophobia, being held down I would panic and submit.

To overcome this fear, my training was moved predominately to Ne Waza training, I can remember many times training with Kerr, so many times he held me down, when I submitted he routinely changed position and held me down again, hard way to overcome fear, however it did work.

It was indoctrinated into my mind to avoid fear of claustrophobia again, I would need to get very good at Ne Waza, take control and manage the fight, I think after two years my fear disappeared, I was formidable on the ground, at least as I thought, my Tokui Waza became Ne Waza.

It also helped as most of his players who were aspiring contest judoka were encouraged, rather made to train in the local wrestling club once or twice a week for complimentary training towards developing our judo skills in Ne Waza.

Championship Judo Ne Waza.

Ne Waza demands a quick reaction time, not only in the transition from Tachi Waza, also your thinking should always be ahead of the skill being performed, what if attitude should be adopted, always aware of linkage from one skill to another, knowledge of when to close down and secure the win.

Peak Performance, the highest level of performance that the judoka is aiming for on the day of the fight, It is their highest point they can achieve. Talent is not the main criteria in achieving peak performance – spirit to find there highest potential is the main driver.

At peak levels of judo it is tough, it is therefore important to continue to review your training programme, significant attention given to your acquisition and application of skills, in order that you keep developing you must continue to self reflect, questions you should ask yourself are, am I getting the maximum out of my training, is my input sufficient to get results.

Progression on power, strength and technique does not come without hard work, however we must also train the brain to be efficient to learning, we must place importance on many factions, pace of the fight, management of the fight, direction, when to attack and with what technique to attack with, linkage and patterns of technique, change of power, speed and position at the correct time.


Today you would find it difficult to become a champion at judo without skills in Ne Waza, over the past years Ne Waza has evolved into a science of it's own, the peak performer judoka have moved the boundaries of what once seemed impossible to possible.

Knowledge of what to do in any given situation, transition from Tachi Waza to Ne Waza fluently with speed, having the ability to control your opponent at all times is what you must strive for.

I believe at present our judoka have very little progressive Ne Waza skills, we must teach innovative methods to finalise the skill being performed, to be successful in Ne Waza, training will have to be purposeful and realistic, today the champion judoka have a huge technical knowledge and perform linkage of techniques automatically in competition.

Qualities required to survive in Ne Waza discipline, dexterity, power and most of all skill of knowledge. The ability to apply pressure on your opponent and close down quickly on movement, quick reaction time in linkage and direction to secure the win is what is aimed for.

Training time with deliberate practice is essential for success in Ne Waza, without this time, you will never be fully confident in the contest arena.

Most judoka who specialise In Ne Waza understand the need to fight, you will find they are aggressive and ferocious towards application of the skills.

Strength in body and mental approach will be evident in the Ne Waza player, a hardness and psych to intimidate the opponent without regard of pain, whether it be there own or there opponents is clearly visible, a combination of skills with fighting spirit and a body toughened for grappling would be what to aim for.

Mental approach.

Without a doubt to be successful as a contest player in Ne Waza you will need the ability to absorb pain, and more important be able to inflict pain on your opponent without impunity.

Come against an opponent with this kind of mindset, unless you are prepared you may get hurt, training time is an important factor for gathering skills, deliberate time on situation judo is required, repetition of skills and application of skills in real time is required.

At present I feel many judoka give a lower percentage of there time to Ne Waza the skills they gather in this time are very basic and limited to basic judo, and certainly not sufficient to survive at tournament judo.

Concentration is placed on specific techniques, whereas I feel concentration should be placed on movement, grips, leverage and power to close down and secure wins.

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