Dictionary K


KAESU (To Reverse, To Counterattack)

To stop an opponent’s attack and then execute an attack or counterattack of your own.


KAGAMI BIRAKI (Spiritual renewal)

It is rooted in samurai tradition, and is a ritual by which Judo practitioners reflect on and appreciate past milestones, and renew their dedication to the principles of Judo in their lives. In Japan this ritual involves an offering of red and white rice cakes (mochi) to the Shinto and Buddhist deities in a martial arts ceremony, after which all present partake of the rice cakes.
The Kodokan ritual occurs on the second Sunday of every new year. Student representatives greet the Kodokan Head and various demonstrations are performed.





KAIKYU (Weight Classification)

The weight classification of a JUDO competitor. Current men’s weight classes include weights up to 60 kg, 66 kg, 73 kg, 81 kg, 90 kg, and 100 kg and over. Current women’s classes include weights up to 48 kg, 52 kg, 57 kg, 63 kg, 70 kg, and over 78 kg.



KAKARI-GEIKO (Repetition Training)

Continuous RANDORI used to test the endurance of JUDOKA.


KAKARI RENSHU (repetition training)

The repetitive application of a particular technique for the purpose of learning the specific balance breaking, body shifting, power application and other technical aspects associated with it


KAKE (application, execution)

The completed action in executing a throwing technique (NAGE-WAZA) following TSUKURI. KANO said “Tsukuri is when you break the opponent’s balance and move your body into position, and KAKE is when you do the technique.”


KAKEHIKI (Tactics, Strategy, Maneuvering)

The alteration of aggressive and defensive modes as part of one’s strategy in the development of a match.


KAKUTO (Hand-to-Hand Fighting)

General term for ways of unarmed hand-to-hand fighting such as grappling.



Stance, posture


KAMAKURA PERIOD (1192 - 1233)

Historical and cultural period from 1192-1333 corresponding to the government of the Kamakura bakufu.


KAMINAGA, AKIO (1936-1993)

Japanese JUDO champion. Kaminaga won the All Japan JUDO Championships three times, in 1960, 1961 and 1964 but lost the Olympics openweight finals in Tokyo to Anton Geesink. Altough extremely shortsighted, he was particulady proficient at the TAI OTOSHI (body drop) and UCHIMATA (inner-thigh trow) Kaminaga was an Olympics silver medalist in the open class at Tokyo in 1964.


KAMI SHIHO GATAME (upper four-corner hold)

A hold-down.Locking of the upper four `quarters`. TORI holds UKE largely by pressing his her body down on UKE`s.

STATISTICS: KAMI-SHIHO-GATAME is the most successful ground-work technique in all 797 fights (13/12) 92% of the 1999 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Men)


KAMIZA (Seat of Honor)

The performance of all Japanese martial arts and ways, whether for training or for demonstration, is always oriented to a seat or place of honor. It is made by turning in the direction of the Kaminada (Altar of the KAMI) where the master of the DOJO is sitting. The Kaminada is always placed at a specific point in the DOJO, and the bows are made whether the master of the DOJO is present or not. In Japan, the same place to locate the altar of the ancestors.


KANA (Japanese phonetic written characters)

It created in the early ninth century. This type of writing was very complicated because it required knowledge of a great number of characters; it was transformed by simplifying the signs and retaining only a few man’yo-gana strokes for each sound. These gave rise to two sets of “provisional characters” (Karina, whence KANA) called HIRAGANA and KATAKANA.


KAN GEIKO (midwinter training)

KANO Jigoro instituted in 1884 thirty days of special mid-winter practice. It is special winter training conducted early in the morning during the coldest days of winter





KANI BASAMI (crab scissors)

Illegal Competition Technique. A sacrifice. This throw has caused a few injuries to the legs over the years and as a consequence it has been banned recently. This technique is applied just as a crab fights by keeping its balance on one side of its body and catching its enemy with its legs in a scissors grip. It is an illegal competition technique. Also known as KUGI NUKI or HASAMI-GAESHI. In 1980 (in All-Japan weight category Championship) Sumio Endo (1950-) twice World Champion tried a new tactic – KANI BASAMI – in the course of which Yasuhiro Yamashita suffered a serious leg injury. The fight was settled as a draw, but it led to the eventual international ban of this technique.


KANO HAI (Kano Cup)

Jigoro KANO was a Judo practitioner and educator who lived and worked in the Meiji-to-Showa era (1860-1938), and is recognized as the "father of Judo". In addition to playing an instrumental role in the development of JUDO, sports, and education, Jigoro also founded KODOKAN JUDO, thereby opening the road to JUDO in Japan.
In honor of his distinguished service, and for the purpose of promoting JUDO around the world, "The Jigoro Kano Cup" International Judo Tournament (men's division only) was inaugurated in January of 1978.
However, this tournament was not held on a regular basis, and the 12th "Jigoro Kano Cup" was therefore held in 2006. Beginning from 2007, the Fukuoka International Women's Judo Championships was incorporated into "The Jigoro Kano Cup" tournament, with both men and women then competing. From 2009, "The Jigoro Kano Cup" became one of the "Grand Slam" events, with points being added in accordance with the newly adopted ranking system.


KANOKOGI, RENA (“Rusty”) /1935-2009/

She was a Jewish-American JUDOKA from Brooklyn, New York. Born as Rena Glickman, she became the first woman to practise judo in the Kodokan dojo in Tokyo, Japan. In 1959 Rena competed at the YMCA championship in Utica, N.Y. disguised as a man. To maintain her disguise she changed in a broom closet, cut her hair short, and taped down her breasts. She was an alternate on the team and had to step in when a male member was injured and unable to compete. She won the match against her male opponent and her team won the contest. She was then pulled aside and asked if she was a female. She told the truth and was stripped of her gold medal. 50 years later in August 2009 the New York State YMCA awarded Rena Kanokogi a gold medal to honor her lifetime's work. She sponsored the first women's judo competition and was the driving force behind the introduction of women's judo in the Olympics. Kanokogi met her husband, Ryohei Kanokogi, while in Japan in the 1960s. In 1988, Kanokogi was Coach of the first United States Olympic Women's Judo Team. In 2008, she was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan's highest civilian honors.[



A student who takes part in special courses at the KODOKAN. These bring together the best pupils, selected after special competition, and give them very advanced instruction.


KANJI (characters)

The ideograms with which the Japanese and Chinese write their languages. It were developed in China sometime before 1000 B.C. They grew out of the use of sign and pictograms.



“Joints, knuckles”


KANSETSU-WAZA (joint-lock techniques)

Joint-lock techniques of bending the joints of UKE’s limbs during groundwork (NEWAZA). These involve the application of pressure to the joint. Joint locks on the elbow are considered safe enough to perform at nearly full-force in competition to force submission from one’s opponent. Although the Martial Arts from which JUDO originally evolved included many different techniques against many different joints, contemporary KODOKAN JUDO limits these techniques to the elbow. JUDO has, in the past, allowed leglocks, wristlocks, spinal locks and various other techniques that have since been disallowed in competition to protect athletes safety. Many of these techniques are still actively used in other arts as SAMBO, BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU, and JU JUTSU. IPPON is awarded if a contestant applies an armlock or strangle and the opponent submits by tapping more than once.



Lubbert, Hal, “Insights on judo: Kansetsu Waza”, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA, Kodokan, Iowa Pub, 1985, LoC.


KANTOKU (Director; Manager; Supervisor)

Individual overseeing the activities of a JUDO club or depart5ment, with responsibilities ranging from general supervision to actual teaching.


KAPPO (resuscitation techniques)

Judo therapy is said to have its origins in the martial art of jujitsu. In jujitsu, there is "Sappo" in which an opponent is thrown down, and "Kappo" in which the pain inflicted on an opponent is treated. Many jujitsu masters cannot only defeat an opponent but also have mastered "Kappo," a technique to "bring life back into" an opponent who has been injured from grappling or throwing. It is said that "Kappo" evolved into today's judo therapy.

Judo therapy involves "hands-on treatments" in which hands are placed on an injury to comprehend the severity through sight and touch, and the patient's natural healing force is enhanced to guide the patient to a cure. However, the field of judo therapy did not develop smoothly.
In the Meiji Era, the society of samurai was dissolved, and the government promoted Western culture. A "Medical Law" was enacted, and bone setting techniques all but disappeared due to the abolishment of Oriental medicine.
At the end of the Meiji Era, the therapy was revived through the passion of the "Judo Bone-Setting Approval Committee" formed by jujitsu masters. In 1920, the therapy was approved by the government as "Judo Therapy" and the first qualification exam was held.





KARATE (“empty hands”)

A Japanese martial arts (BUDO) fighting method based on Chinese models that were practiced on the island Okinawa. This island had been in close contact with China for centuries. It is not surprising that “Chinese Hand” – the original meaning of “karate”. Karate (at the time written with KANJI characters meaning “Chinese hands”) was developed in Okinawa by the upper-classes. These native systems were referred to as Okinawa-te (“Okinawan Hand”). It was developed in the 15th century to fight Japanese troops, who had disarmed the population. The hand and foot (leg) techniques consist mainly of delivering violent strikes and kicks (ATEMI) to the adversary’s vital organs in order to neutralize him/her. Unlike JUDO, in KARATE there is never contact with the adversary. The creator of KARATE, Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) codified the movements of this martial art by unifying the various styles of Okinawa-te. Around 1924 Funakoshi adopted a ranking system similar to that of the KODOKAN, with practitioners of DAN rank wearing black belts. It then became a sport, divided into various schools, including Shotokan (Style of Funakoshi), Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu. National and international competitions take place throughout the world, competitors are divided into weight classes almost similar to those for JUDO.

Funakoshi had the greatest respect for KANO Jigoro, and never forgot his kind support of his initial efforts in Tokyo. KANO liked and supported Funakoshi, later he asked Funakoshi to teach a few suitable KATA at the KODOKAN. But several years earlier about the possibility of coming to teach at the KODOKAN, KANO had corresponded with Funakoshi.



Nardi, Thomas J., Seiden, Art: Boron, Mary Pat, “Karate and Judo: How to play the all-star way,” Austin, Texas, USA, Raintree Steck, 1996, 48p, ISBN 0811465977.



Technique of sweeping away the opponent’s legs


KARI-ASHI (foot sweep)

It is an Ashi waza (Foot / Leg techniques) in which the opponent is toppled by reaping his foot. The Kari-ashi (Foot sweep) is used effectively in the following Waza: Osoto-gari (Large outer reap), Ouchi-gari (Large inner reap, KOSOTO-GARI (Small outer reap), Kouchi-gari (Small inner reap).
The OSOTO-GARI (Large outer reap) consists of destabilizing the opponent in the backward direction, and then toppling him by reaping his leg with a large reaping motion from behind. This is effectively accomplished by applying a strong reaping motion to the back of the knee which supports his Center of gravity, followed by lifting that leg high so that the sole of the foot faces the ceiling.
The KOUCHI-GARI (Small inner reap) consists of using the arch of the reaping foot to scoop up the opponent's foot the moment he begins to shift his center of gravity to that leg.


KARU (to reap)

To sweep your partner’s feet, legs, or hips out from under him/her using reaping motions of your feet/legs.



“Head, “Column”, high


KASHIRA GATAME (head hold)






KATA (forms, formal exercises, pattern practices)

“Kata is an expression of the Japanese spirit intimately connected to the artistic achievements of the Japanese people; it is virtually their “form language”. Kata touches almost everything in the Japanese sphere of daily activities – writing, architecture, bearing and demeanor, etiquette, and art included. Art is the form language of humanity without exception, and therefore, on the Japanese scene, art traditionally includes the classical BUGEI (also called BUJUTSU), the martial arts or formalized martial disciplines; it also includes the classical BUDO, the martial ways or spiritual disciplines which stem from martial sources. Within the classical martial arts and ways are found the elements of simplicity, natural efficiency, harmony, intuition, economy of movement, and “softness” of principle that characterize all traditional Japanese art forms. It is important to grasp this significant relationship in order to comprehend the true meaning and fullness of the Japanese martial arts and ways, further, to understand their ancestral relationship to KODOKAN JUDO KATA.”

(Tadao Otaki –Donn F.Draeger JUDO Formal Techniques P. 15)


Nine different KATA have been established as traditional standards at the KODOKAN. The following list the nine standard KODOKAN KATA:

Free Exercise:

NAGE NO KATA (Forms of Throwing)

KATAME NO KATA (Forms of Grappling)



KIME NO KATA (Classical Forms of Self-Defense)

GOSHIN-JUTSU (no KATA) (Modern Forms of Self-Defense)

GOSHIN-HO (no KATA) (Modern Forms of Women`s Self-Defense)


Physical Education:

SEIRYOKU ZEN`YO KOKUMIN TAIIKU (no KATA) (Forms of National Physical Education)

JU NO KATA (Forms of Flexibility)



ITSUTSU NO KATA (Forms of Five)

KOSHIKI NO KATA (Forms of Antiquity)


The following RYUs (combative arts) influenced most directly the development of KODOKAN JUDO: Fukuno Ryu, JIKISHIN RYU, Kashin Ryu, KITO RYU, Kyushin Ryu, Miura ryu, SEKIGUCHI RYU, Shibukawa Ryu, SHIN-NO-SHINTO RYU, TENJIN-SHIN’YO RYU, and YOSHIN RYU.

KATA outside of Japan is generally not emphasized as a part of JUDO training. Most judoist tend to only study or perform KATA prior to a belt examination. KATA training after couple of years of RANDORI practice seems strange. Different practices and uses for KATA have been established by JUDOists outside of the KODOKAN. These KATA can be referred to as private variation patterns.( See NON-KODOKAN KATA)


For Reading

1. Fukuda Keiko “Born for the mat: a Kodokan kata textbook for woman”, San Francisco, US,   K. Fukuda, 1973, 139p

2. Kawaishi Mikonosuke: Harrison, E.J., “The Complete 7 Katas of Judo”, London, United Kingdom, W. Foulsham and Co., 203p, 1982, ISBN 0879511567.

3. Legett, Trevor P., “Kata judo”, London, United Kingdom, Foulsham, 1982, 179p, ISBN 057201175X.

4. Otaki Tadao: Draeger, Donn F., “Judo formal techniques: a complete guide to Kodokan Randori no Kata”, Tokyo, Japan, Tuttle, 1983, 451p, ISBN 080481676X.



Refers to “form only”. Applied in training which requiKres only basic movement without full effect.


KATA GATAME shoulder hold)

A hold down. From your opponent’s right side, put your right arm around both his/her neck and right arm and clasp your hands together. This hold is best effected when UKE gets his right arm free while being held in KESAGATAME. The KATA-GATAME is one of the good techniques a smaller man can use to pin a big one.


KATA GEIKO (Forms training, Formal exercises)

One of the two types of JUDO training identified by KANO Jigoro (the other being RANDORI, or free sparring match training). The practice of KATA is considered particularly useful for the study of technical principles.


KATA-GURUMA (Shoulder wheel throw)

A hand technique throw.3rd technique of NAGE NO KATA. The concept of this technique is to drop low, pulling the opponent across the back of your shoulder, and then to throw by standing up and pulling him/her over your shoulder. This is a very grand throw as it drops the opponent from the standing height of your shoulders.KATA-GURUMA has won enormous popularity again in the last few years. Together with the spread and increasing acceptance of this technique, KATA-GURUMA has captured a leading place aongst the most successful throws in men’s JUDO. In all male WEIGHT CATEGORIEes, and in an increasing number of women’s categories, you can find JUDOKAs at the top level who successfully perform these throws.

Combination Techniques:        KOUCHI GARI


                                                            OSOTO GARI

STATISTIC: KATA-GURUMA is the most successful technique in all 797 fights (76/49)               /65%/ of the 1999 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Men)


KATAHA JIME (single-wing strangle)

A strangle. A groundwork (NE-WAZA) technique. In this technique, you move in from behind your opponent, take one of his/her lapels in your hand, and control one of his/her arms as you strangle. The KATAHA-JIME is even more effective when you use it in connection with the OKURI-ERI-JIME. Diane Bell (1963-) British fighter Olympic -(Soul 1988) World -(1986, 1987) and European Champion (1984, 1986, 1988) took her last European medal with KATA HAJIME.


KATA JUJI JIME (half cross strangle)

A strangle. Facing your opponent, cross your arms to grip his/her left lapel with your left hand, fingers inside, and his right lapel with your right hand, thumb inside, then strangle him her using the actions of these two hands against his/her neck.


KATAKANA (Series of syllabic Japanese characters)

It derived from simplified Chinese characters, used mainly for phonetic notation of foreign words, for telegrams, for posters







KATAME NO KATA (Lit. Forms of Grappling)

It is the second part of the RANDORI NO KATA. It teaches ways and means of grappling (KATAME WAZA), including five representative techniques each from hold down (OSAEKOMI), strangulation (SHIME), and joint (KANSETSU) techniques. It was created by Professor Jigoro KANO.


Osaekomi Waza


  • Kuzure Kesa-gatame (Modified scarf hold)
  • Kata-gatame (Shoulder hold)
  • Kami-shiho-gatame (Top four-corner hold)
  • Yoko-shiho-gatame (Side four-corner hold)
  • Kuzure Kami-shiho-gatame (Modified top four-corner)

Shime Waza

  • Kata-juji-jime (Half cross strangle)
  • Hadaka-jime   (Naked strangle)
  • Okuri-eri-jime (Sliding collar strangle)
  • Kataha-jime     (Single-wing strangle)
  • Gyaku-juji-jime (Reverse cross strangle)


Kansetsu Waza

  • Ude-garami (Entangled arm lock)                  
  • Ude Hishigi Juji-gatame (Cross lock)
  • Ude Hishigi Ude-gatame ( Arm lock)
  • Ude Hishigi Hiza-gatame (Knee lock)
  • Ashi-garami       (Entangled leg lock)



Leggett, Trevor P. , “The Demonstration of Holds: Katame-no-kata (Renshuden judo library)” , London, United Kingdom, W. Foulsham and Co., 1964, 60p, UoB.


KATAMERU (To pin; to hold down)

To use a hold-down technique to pin your partner’s body, or a part of his/her body, in such a way that his/her freedom of movement is controlled and he/she is unable to move.


KATAME-WAZA (grappling techniques)

Katame-waza comprise OSAE-KOMI-WAZA (hold-down techniques), SHIME-WAZA (strangling techniques) and KANSETSU-WAZA (joint techniques. The term NE-WAZA (mat work) is sometimes used in place of KATAME-WAZA.


Harrison, Ernest John: Oda Tsunetani,” Judo on the groung: Katamewaza – the Oda method”, London, United kingdom, W. Foulsham and Co., 1954, 199p

Kudo Kazuzo, “Dynamic Judo: Grappling techniques”, Tokyo, Japan, Japan Publication Trading, 1967, 1970, 224p

Okano Isao, “Vital judo: Grappling techniques”, Tokyo, Japan, Japan Publication, 1976, 1982, 191p, ISBN 0870405179.


KATA-SODE-SEOI-NAGE (single sleeve shoulder throw)

This throw is a cross between IPPON SEOI-NAGE and MOROTE-SEOI-NAGE.



A single hand


KATATE-JIME (one-hand strangle)

A strangle. While holding UKE down on his/her back, grasp his/her left collar from the side with your left hand, thumb inside, and use the edge of your arm to strangle him/her by applying pressure to his/her throat.


KAWAZU GAKE (one-leg entanglement drop)

A sacrifice. (illegal competition and RANDORI technique) /See IJF CONTEST RULES, Article 27/ (b)/24 , Appendix)


KAWAISHI MIKONOSUKE (1899-1969) Non-Kodokan 10th Dan (FFDJA 10th Dan)

Japanese-born French JUDO pioneer. He studied JU-JUTSU in Kyoto. It is not known exactly what style of JU-JUTSU he learnt. In England he continues to teach this form refer to his teaching as Kawaishi Ryu JU-JUTSU. In the mid 1920’s he left Japan and toured the United States. In 1928, he arrived in the United Kingdom and established a JU-JUTSU club in Liverpool. In 1931, he moved to London, founding the Anglo-Japanese JUDO Club and teaching JUDO at Oxford University. Around this time he was awarded his third DAN by JIgoro KANO. It was common at this time for JU-JUTSU instructors to teach, or call what they taught, JUDO. In 1936, then a fourth DAN, Kawaishi moved to Paris where he taught JU-JUTSU and JUDO. During World War II, he returned to Japan. After the war he returned to Paris to continue teaching. He introduced various coloured belts in Europe. He developed an intuitive style of instruction and a numerical ordering of the techniques that he felt was more suitable for the occidental. This seemed to catch on in France and there was a rapid growth of interest in JUDO. He placed special emphasis on KATA training. He promulgated KYUZO MIFUNE’s Gonosen No KATA (The KATA of Counters) in Europe and possibly his own version of Go No KATA. He also wrote the book “Seven KATAs of JUDO”. (See Sec. BOOKS on JUDO and Sec.: DICTIONARY of JUDO, KAWAISHI-RYU JU JUTSU)



Teaching in France, Mikonosuke Kawaishi developed Kawaishi-ryū jujutsu as an alternative approach to instruction that continued to teach many techniques banned in modern Olympic/KodoBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Mitsuyo Maeda introduced judo to Brazil in 1914. Maeda taught judo to Carlos Gracie (1902–1994) and others in Brazil. Gracie named their development of judo 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu', as in Japan and Brazil at that time, judo was also known as 'Kano Jiu-Jitsu'. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, considering itself independent of judo, did not follow later changes in international judo rules that were added to emphasize the standing phase of the fight, nor those rules that were introduced to ban the more dangerous techniques.

kan judo competition.


KE-AGE (groin kick)

Kicking technique in KIME NO KATA. Kicking techniques are never used in competition or match. They are usually practiced in KATA form.






KEIKO (training, practice)

The word keiko is used in particular to refer to the study and practice of BUDO and certain other traditional Japanese arts.


KEIKOKU (serious warning)

It is awarded to any contestant who has committed a grave infringement, or having been penalized CHUI, commits further slight or serious infringement.(See Sec. Competition Rules of Judo, 23,24,29)



Seized by both hands


KENSUI-JIME (hanging strangle)

A strangulation by ‘hanging’ technique in groundwork


KERR, GEORGE (1937-)

Scottish JUDO champion. Kerr won three Europan silver and two bronze medals during the 1960s. A member of the British team, in the middleweight category and open events. His excellent range of ground work techniques, superb UCHI-MATA(innerthigh throw) and knowledge of amateur wrestling (he represented Britain in the 1965 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS) contributed to his succes. Kerr won the 1966 and 1968 British Open middleweight titles before retiring.

He was one of the first athletes to go to Japan, study there and brought the skills of physical training and the philosophy of judo to Britain and to Europe. He trained with Anton GEESINK, one of the seven 10th Dan graduates, and still a friend of KERR.

After his judo career where he won European individual medals and with the British Team in the late fifties and early sixties, Kerr developed himself as an international referee. He refereed at two Olympic Games (1972 and 1976) and at three World Championships between 1969 and 1975. He retired as international referee in 1976.

Later Kerr was a coach of many many fighters. At the Edinburgh Judo Club he had an exchange program with the Tokai University where champion came to Scotland to learn English and to train at Kerr’s club. Yoshi Nakamura, Hidetoshi Nakanishi, both world champions were trained by Kerr.

Later Kerr was a coach of many many fighters. At the Edinburgh Judo Club he had an exchange program with the Tokai University where champion came to Scotland to learn English and to train at Kerr’s club. Yoshi Nakamura, Hidetoshi Nakanishi, both world champions were trained by Kerr.

In 2010 he was awarded the grade 10th DAN for international services to JUDO He is one of only five non-Japanese out of 19 people ever to be awarded this honour. He is the second Briton after Charles PALMER and the youngest person ever to have gained the rank of 10th DAN in JUDO.


KERU (To kick)

To use of the ball or outside edge of your foot to strike your opponent.



‘Lapels’, Across’





Control and immobilization of UKE, across his or her body. Classified by the KODOKAN as UDE-HISHIGI HIZA-GATAME.


KESA GATAME (scarf hold)

The KESA-GATAME falls into two types the HON-KESA-GATAME, or true KESA-GATAME, and the KUZURE-KESA-GATAME, a variant version of the basic technique. The KUZURE-KESA-GATAME itself may take either the MAKURA-KESA-GATAME or   the USHIRO-KESA-GATAME forms.The KESA-GATAME is an easy technique to get into, it is generally considered difficult to master. A hold-down. From UKE’s right side and facing his/her head, grip his/her JUDOGI under his/her right armpit with your left hand and put your right arm around behind his neck to grip his/her JUDOGI behind the shoulder. It is the best hold for the beginner to tackle first. Not only is it easy to understand but it is used at all levels. Variations of this hold are KUZURE-KESA-GATAME, MAKURA-KESA-GATAME, USHIRO-KESA-GATAME.

                                             Favourite technique of Dave Starbrook, Olimpic silver medalist (1972), Olympic bronze medalist (1976), nine times British Open Champion.

STATISTICS: KESA-GATAME is the most successful ground-work technique in all 797 fights (39/33) 85 % of the 1999 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Men).



A shout or cry used in coordination with a severe exertion to execute a technique. May be used for psychological or physical purposes.


KIBISU GAESHI (heel trip)

This technique is very simple and relies on surprise.To make the throw TORI releases his/her right grip, drops down suddenly, catches hold round UKE’s ankle and pulls it forward. To reinforce the action the other hand holding the sleeve pulls down strongly at the same time.



Fundamental practice of basic elements necessary to establish technique.





KIIRO NO HATA (yellow flag)

Yellow flag used by the timekeeper to indicate that a match in progress is stopped. The yellow flag goes up when the referee calls “MATE!” (“Wait!”) and back down when he/she calls “HAJIME” (“Begin/Continue”).


KIKEN (withdrawl due to injury)

The act of giving up, submission, by UKE, to an immobilization, strangulation or locking technique. UKE signifies this by tapping several times with his/her hand or foot on the mat or on TORI’s body.


KIKEN CHITAI (danger zone)

The area bordering a JUDO competition area.



KIKEN GACHI (victory by opponent’s withdrawal)

Victory by submission, giving up. (See INTERNATIONAL JUDO FEDERATION CONTEST RULES, Article 28, 29)



Russian judo champion. Kiknadze won eight European gold medals, four individually and four as a member of the Soviet contingent that won consecutive team titles from 1963-67 .He won a gronze medal at both the 1964 OLYMPIC GAMES and the 1965 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, and a silver medal in the 1968 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS before retiring.


KIME (complete application)

This is the focusing of all one’s physical and psychological forces on one point. This is the ‘ultimate decision’ which mobilizes one’s entire being in a single instant and in a single movement. Otherwise expressed, it is a pure effectiveness.


KIME NO KATA (KATA of Self Defence)

The KIME NO KATA, KATA of Self-Defence, is also called SHINKEN-SHOBU NO KATA (It means the form of real fighting). This KATA teaches the fundamentals of attack and defense in an actual combat situation. These twenty techniques, which include strikes at vital spots (they are real situations). Eight of these techniques are performed seated or kneeling (IDORI) and twelve are performed standing (TACHI-AI).

The KIME NO KATA was constructed by Jigoro KANO (1860-1938) but it is designed to embody the TENSHINSHIN’YO RYU information, it is a bit of a conglomaration of KATA from TENSHIN SHIN’YO RYU. The form incorporates various weapons and what were real world attacks in Jigoro KANO’s time. It constitutes the physical and moral preparation for hand-to-hand combat.


IDORI (Defence seated)

8 Movements


Ryote-dori         Hold with both hands
Tsukkake           Blow with fist to the stomach
Suri-age             Glancing blow against the face
Yoko-uchi         Blow with fist from the side
Ushiro-dori       Hold on shoulders from behind
Tsukkomi         Thrust to the stomach
Kiri-komi           Cut with edge ont he head
Yoko-tsuki         Thrust with point from the side


TACHI-AI (Defence standing)

12 Movements

  • Ryote-dori         Hold with both hands
  • Sode-tori             Hold ont he sleeve
  • Tsukkake           Blow with fist to the face
  • Tsuki-age           Blow with fist from below upwards
  • Suri-age             Glancing blow against the face
  • Yoko-uchi           Blow with fist from the side
  • Ke-age               Kick to the lower abdomen
  • Ushiro-dori         Hold on shoulders from behind
  • Tsukkomi           Thrust to the stomach
  • Kiri-komi           Cut with edge ont he head
  • Nuki-kake           Blockage of sword int he sheath
  • Kiri-oroshi         To cleave with the sword


KIMETE (Deciding Point)

The final point that determines the winner of a match.



Forms of Decision


KIMONO (kimono, clothes, clothing)

General term for the Japanese national costume for both men and women. It is a long robe, open in front, which is crossed left over right and held closed with a fabric belt (OBI).

Until the 17th century, women held their KIMONO closed with a flexible fabric belt, but this was then replaced by a wide rigid belt with a knot on the back. However, courtesans continued to close their KIMONO with a flexible belt knotted in front. In general, men wear KIMONO in dark colors; ceremonial KIMONO are sometimes decorated with the family MON. They are worn over pants (HAKAMA) and a loose- fitting west (HAORI). In summer, wool or silk KIMONO are replaced by KIMONO made of light cotton, printed in indigo on a white background, called YUKATA. In the winter, a loose-fitting jacket in thick fabric (tanzen) is worn over the KIMONO at home. Women’s KIMONO are decorated, sometimes

Luxuriously, with motifs and colors corresponding to the seasons. The ceremonial KIMONO is black and bears the family’s MON. Girls wear long sleeved KIMONO (furisode) with long panels, brightly painted or embroidered with various motivs, with an OBI usually knotted in the back. (See JUDOGI)


Vicki Square, “Knit Kimono”, Interweave Press, ISBN 13: 9781931499897

Liza Dalby, “Kimono: Fashioning Culture,” 2001, 384p, ISBN 13: 9780295981550.


KIMURA MASHIKO (1917-1993)

He was the greatest JUDO champion of all time, he won his first DAN at 15. He was second DAN at 16 and third DAN a year later. At the age of 20, he won the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS for the first time. He was only 5’7”, but his favourite technique was OSOTO-GARI with combination of OUCHI-GARI, and strong NEWAZA. He also used IPPON-SEOI-NAGE and UCHIMATA. He won the ALL –JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1937, 1938 and 1939. His training methods were extreme. Before he went to sleep that night he did 500 press-ups, 1 km of bunny hops, and 500 makiwara strikes. He learned Shotokan and Goju-ryu karate. In 1949, he reached the final of the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS. He faced Takahiko Ishikawa and fought one of the hardest matches of his life. It was declared a draw after two periods of extra time. At the age of 40, he was still fighting professionally and remained outside the central JUDO environment, because professional JUDO was against KANO’s ethics. He won all his fights – but faded, and he started another professional fighting career abroad.



Chen, Jim. (1997). Mashahiko Kimura, the man who defeated Helio Gracie, http:// www.judoinfo.com/kimura.htm



KINSHI WAZA (prohibited techniques)

Techniques such as KAWAZU GAKE (single-leg entangle) and ASHI GARAMI (Leg entangle) that are prohibited in SHIAI (match).



Head Cut


KIMONO (lit. “clothing)

The word kimono (literally, “clothing”) is usually used in the narrow sense to refer to the traditional Japanese wrap-around garment with rectangular sleeves used by both men and women, which is made of vertical panels of cloth stitched together and is bound with a sash (OBI) /See OBI, JUDOGI/


KIRU (To cut)

Literally “to cut”, but in JUDO refers to freeing yourself from your partner’s pulling hand or cutting off the effectiveness of his/her technique.



KANO Jigoro studied the system of Kito Ryu under IIKUBO Tsunetoshi. NAGAOKA Hidekazu gained full entry into the KODOKAN after mastering Kito Ryu, and later became one of the only three men to gain JUDAN (10th DAN YAMASHITA Yoshiaki, ISOGAI H.) under KANO. This school developed in the 17th century and it was influenced by the teachings of the Yagyu School and those Buddhist priest Takuan (1573-1645), lending it a more philosophical cast than that of the pragmatic TENSHIN SHIN’YO RYU. In KANO’s time the Kito Ryu focused primarily on NAGE WAZA (throwing techniques). In 1883 IIKUBO bestowed a Kito Ryu teaching licence on KANO Jigoro.


KODANSHA (high-ranking judoist)

Grades of 5th DAN and above



(KOSHIKI NO KATA is also known Kito ryu no KATA. (See KOSHIKI NO KATA)


KODANSHA (high-ranking judoist)

A person who has attained high rank in JUDO (generally from 5th to 10th DAN).


KODOKAN („Institute for study of the way”)

JUDO training hall, Tokyo the Mecca of JUDO in Japan. The first KODOKAN was opened by KANO at Shitaya in 1882 and consisted of only 12 mats. At present housed in an eight storey building, at 16-31, I-Chome, Kasuga-cho, Bukyo-ku, Tokyo, it has facilities for eating sleeping as well as large training areas. The KODOKAN has kept a watchful eye on the development of the sport; most of the leading 1st DAN may have their grades registered there. The cream of Japan’s JUDOKA plus a number of selected foreigners make up kenshusei.

Presidents of KODOKAN

1st KANO Jigoro 1882-1938

2nd Nango Jiro 1938-1946

3rd Kano Risei 1946 -1980

4th Kano Yukimitsu 1980-2009

5th Uemura Haruki 2009 – till Present



1.Kano Jigoro,” Kodokan Judo”, Kodansha International, 1986, 264p, ISBN-13: 9784770017994

2.Masumoto David, “An introduction to Kodokan Judo: History and philosophy”, Tokyo, Japan, Hon-No-Tomosha, 1996, 316p, ISBN 4894390426.



KODOKAN GOSHIN JUTSU (Kodokan Self-Defense Forms)

A set of KODOKAN JUDO KATA (formal exercises). It teaches ways and means of self defense using throwing (NAGE), grappling (KATAME), and striking (ATEMI) techniques.



KODOKAN JUDO (lit. ‘School for the Study of the Way’)

A centre for the study of JUDO, created by Jigoro KANO (1860-1938) in 1882, in the grounds of EISHO-JI temple in Tokyo


Otaki Tadao, “Illustrated Kodokan judo”, Tokyo, Japan, Kodansha, 1955, 285p.


(See JUDO)


KOHAKU SHIAI (red and white matches)

A form of contest which brings together two teams, one designated “Red” and the other, “White”. Identified by a red or by a white ribbon, respectively, worn tied around the belt line of each teammate.( See SHIAI)



Rear Falling Method using shock dispersion to avoid injury.


KOIZUMI GUNJI (1885-1965)

Japanese JUDO master (8th DAN) who was the father of European JUDO, founding the BUDOKWAI in 1918. He was first proficient in JUJUTSU but switched to JUDO. A dedicated instructor, he founded clubs all over Europe, leading to the establishment of both the British JUDO Association and the EUROPEAN JUDO UNION. He was an Oriental art expert, practiced calligraphy, and helped to introduce Buddism into Britain. He taught at the BUDOKWAI until the day before he died. (See Sec. BOOKS on JUDO)



1.Koizumi Gunji. (1947, April), Judo and the Olympic games. Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin (pp.7-8).

2.Bowen, Richard. (2002b) Koizumi Gunji, 1885-1965: Judo master. In Hugh Cortazzi (Ed.),

Britain and Japan: Biographical portraits 4 (pp. 312-322). London: Japan Society.

3. Bowen, Richard. (in press). Gunji Koizumi. In Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


KOKA (Effect; minor score)

‘Small advantage’ In international JUDO contest rules only , a call made when a competitor in a match has l) used speed and force while controlling his/her opponent to throw him/her in such a way that his/her buttocks, thighs, or shoulders go to the TATAMI, or 2) when a competitor has pinned his/her opponent for between 10 and 15 seconds. (See INTERNATONAL JUDO FEDERATION CONTEST RULES, 25 and 8/5,)

New rules

Experimental new rules at the World Junior Championships 2008 in Bankok state that scores YUKO, WAZA-RI and IPPON are in use (No KOKA).



Attitude of mind in sincere understanding and appreciation of values.


KOKUGO (“National Language “of Japan)

The everyday language spoken by the Japanese, as opposed to the more formal NIHONGO,

“Japanese Language”. Kokugo includes popular and informal expressions. NIHONGO is rarely used except in formal discourse and highly literary texts; however, everyone understands it. The two terms are often confused.


KOSHI (the waist, the hips)

Which act as a support or pivot in certain throws such as UKI-GOSHI, HARAI-GOSHI, HANE GOSHI, O-GOSHI.



TORI pivots round with standard footwork, wraps his/her arm round UKE’s neck and pushes his/her hips completely through in front so that he has almost turned 270. From this position UKE is rolled (wheeled) over the lower back and hips.

Combination Techniques:    àHARAI GOSHI

                                                            àOSOTO GARI

                                                            àTRURI KOMI GOSHI


Counter Techniques:            àUSHIRO GOSHI

                                                            àUTSURI GOSHI

                                                            àTANI OTOSHI


Favorite Technique of Toshihiko Koga (1967-) Olympic Gold Medallist (Barcelona 1992) World Champion (1989, 1991, 1995)


KOSHI JIME (Hip-braced strangle hold)

A strangle. An informal name for a variation of OKURI ERI JIME (sliding collar strangle), in which the hip is used as a brace to generate power for the strangle. The KODOKAN classifies this strangle as a variation of OKURI ERI-JIME.


KOSHIKI NO KATA (Classical Forms)


The KOSHIKI NO KATA (Antique Form), originated from the KITO RYU School of JUJUTSU, one of the most celebrated and most ancient Schools of JUJUTSU of Japan. The KATA is separated into two parts, OMOTE (front) and URA (back). Also known as the KITO-RYU NO KATA, it consists of 21 techniques.


OMOTE (Front)


  1. Tai (Ready Posture)
  2. Yume-no-uchi (Dreaming)
  3. Ryokuhi (Strength Dodging)
  4. Mizu guruma (Water Wheel)
  5. Mizu-nagare (Water Flow)
  6. Hikiotoshi (Draw Drop)
  7. Ko-daore (Log Fall)
  8. Uchikudaki (Smashing)
  9. TANI OTOSHI (Valley Drop)

10.  Kuruma-daore (Wheel Throw)

11.  Shikoro-dori (Grabbing the Neckplates)

12.  Shikoro-gaeshi (Twisting the Neckplates)

13.  Yudachi (Shower)

14.  Taki-otoshi (Waterfall Drop)


URA (Back)

  1. Mi-kudaki (Body Smashing)
  2. Kuruma-gaeshi (Wheel Throw)
  3. Mizu-iri (Water Plunge)
  4. Ryusetsu (Willow Snow)
  5. Sakaotoshi (Headlong Fall)
  6. Yukiore (Snowbreak)
  7. Iwa-nami (Wave ont he Rocks)


KOSHI WAZA (hip techniques)

Classification for throwing techniques in which the use of the waist and hips plays a central role.Techniques of KOSHI WAZA:UKI-GOSHI, HARAI-GOSHI, TSURIKOMI-GOSHI, HANE-GOSHI, OGOSHI, USHIRO-GOSHI, UTSURI-GOSHI, TSURI-GOSHI, KOSHI- GURUMA, DAKI -AGE, SODE-TSURIKOMI -GOSHI.



As a sub-style of KODOKAN JUDO that became popularized in early 20th century Japanese inter-scholastic competition, Kosen style has the same range of techniques but greater latitude is permitted for ground technique. Like BRAZILIAN JU JUTSU, this style of JUDO is closer to the original early 1900s JUDO than current Olympic JUDO is.


KOSOTO –GAKE (Small outer hook)

A foot technique throw. Break UKE’s balance to his/her rear or right rear corner, then hook his/her right ankle from the rear with your left foot and throw him/her backward. This throw is very similar to KOSOTOGARI and could in fact be said to be just a variation. The difference is in the action of the working leg. In this case the working foot goes further around behind UKE’s lower right leg and hooks round it.


Combination Techniques:             KOSOTO GARI

                                                      TAI OTOSHI

Counter Techniques:                   UCHI MATA


KO-SOTO GARI (small outer reap)

A foot technique throw. Ko-soto gari uses your right foot to clip the outside of UKE’s left foot when he/She advances forward or retreats backward. It is very effective when UKE has you in a non-standard hold. Frank Wieneke (1962 -) German fighter Olympic (Los Angeles 1984) and European Champion (1986) won his European title with KOSOTO-GARI.


Favourite technique of Waldemar Legien (1963-) Twice Olympic Champion (Soul 1988, Barcelona 1992) European Champion (1990)

  • Combination Technique:       OSOTO-GARI




  • Counter Technique:               IPPON-SEOI-NAGE



STATISTICS: KOSOTO-GARI is the most successful technique in all 797 fights (57/14) /25%/ of the 1999 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Men). For Women (311 fights) 21/6 (29 %).


KOTANI, SUMIYUKI (1903-1991) Kodokan 10th Dan

He received the rank of 10th DAN in April 1984, the oldest person to be awarded this rank (until 2006 when Ichiro Abe was promoted at age 83). Graduated from Tokyo College of Education. He was one of Jigoro KANO's direct students, and only the 7th man to receive a 10th Degree Black Belt while he was still alive. He was very active in promoting JUDO all around the world and was the head instructor of the International Division of the KODOKAN for many years, and a professor of Tokai University. He was the KODOKAN's top ranked official and Vice President of the All Japan JUDO Federation. During his student days, he would practice with every powerful and skillful JUDOKA he could lay his hands on, rather than avoid the "beating" he knew would be coming. To be thrown, immobilized, or strangled, was nothing but delight for him. The thing that really counted was practice. He died on October 19, 1991.





KO-TSURI GOSHI (small lifting hip throw)

A hip technique throw. Grab UKE’s belt from under his/her armpit and throw him/her as in O-GOSHI.


KOUCHIGAKE (Minor inner hook)


KO-UCHI GARI (small inner reap)

A foot technique throw. When UKE moves forward, sideways, or backward, you move in to clip the inside of his/her right foot with your right foot to throw him/her. Kouchi gari can be combined with other techniques (See MOROTE SEOI NAGE, O-UCHI GARI). This throw is best achieved as the end result of a combination movement. The hand action differs from the other throws in that TORI hangs his weight on UKE’s left lapel and right sleeve at the elbow.

Combination Technique:           SEOI-NAGE
Counter Technique:                  HIZA-GURUMA

STATISTICS: KOUCHI-GARI is the most successful technique in all 797 fights                                     (87/28) /32%/ of the 1999 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Men) For Women 311 fights   (44/10) /23%/.


KOUCHI GAESHI (small inner reaping throw counter)

A hand technique throw. When UKE attacks with a KOUCHI GARI to your right leg, slip your right leg free to avoid the reap, then instantly twist your body to the left to throw him/her.


KOUCHI-GAKE (minor inner hook)

A foot technique throw. Gripping UKE’s sleeve with his/her left hand, TORI drives his/her right arm straight between UKE’s right arm and waist. At the same time, driving off his/her back foot, he/she hooks his/her right leg low through and between UKE’s legs to hook around UKE’s right leg. This throw is ideal for a small man confronting a long-legged opponent. This throw is also known as ko-uchi-otoshi (minor inner drop), ko-uchi-makikomi (minor inner winding) and sutemi ko-uchi (sacrifice ko-uchi).


KO-UCHI MAKIKOMI (small inner wraparound throw)

This is a form of KO-UCHI GARI in which you seem to roll into UKE.



KUBI-NAGE (neck throw)

A hip technique throw. Illegal competition technique. This throw is similar to KOSHI-GURUMA except the hips are not inserted so deeply and it is mostly done without falling over. Sometimes this throw is done with TORI’s feet in a TAI-OTOSHI-like wide position.






A holder of the ninth grade Black (or Red) Belt.



KUCHIKI-TAOSHI (One-hand drop)

This technique is done when UKE has taken a large step forward. As this happens TORI swings his/her right leg behind UKE’s right leg and places it on the ground. At the same time TORI releases his/her right hand grip on the lapel and drives his/her right hand over the shoulder and down, pushing UKE to the mat.

Favourite Technique of Ingrid Berghmans (1961-)Olympic Gold Medallist (Soul 1988) World Champion (1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1989) European Champion (1983, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989)




KUKI-NAGE (Air throw)



KUMI-KATA (Engagement positioning)

A way of seizing the JUDOGI by the lapel and by the sleeve.

The standard hold: one hand grips one side of the jacket above the belt and the other hand the other side of the jacket above the belt. For a right-handed person, the usual hold is: right hand holding the lapel about own shoulder-height and left hand holding the sleeve at the elbow. (See IJF CONTEST RULES Article 27 a/1-2)


KUMITE (Taking grips)




KURIHARA TAMIO (1896-1979) Kodokan 10th Dan

Kurihara was born in May, 1896. He became the 11th person to be promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death October 8, 1979. He graduated from the Kyoto Budo Senmon-Gako (Martial Art College) and became "shihan" (Master Instructor of JUDO) at Kyoto 3rd higher school. One of his impressive competitions was the May 1926 Emperor's Cup final facing one of the young upcoming strong players, Ushijima Tatsukuma, a 26 year old 5th DAN. He won a decision here after a hard competition to take the title.



Black, dark


KURO OBI (Black belt)

The Black belt generally worn by JUDO Practicioners bearing ranks between SHODAN (1st degree) and 5th DAN (5th degree).




KURUMA-DAORE (Wheel throw)

A sacrifice. A throwing technique in KOSHIKI NO KATA.


KURUMA-GAESHI (Wheel throw)

A sacrifice. A throwing technique in KOSHIKI NO KATA.



From ‘kuzureru’, to fall, break


KUZURE-KAMI-SHIHO-GATAME (modified upper four-corner hold)

A hold-down. This move is quite similar to the regular KAMI-SHIHO-GATAME except that you bring your right arm over the top of UKE’s arm and behind his/her neck.


KUZURE-KESA-GATAME (Modified scarf hold)

A hold-down.This technique is similar to KESA-GATAME, except for the use of your right hand, which is kept under UKE’s armpit against his/her side.



A groundwork (NE-WAZA) technique by which UKE’s four points are controlled from the side. (See also YOKO SHIHO-GATAME).


KUZUSHI (lit., breaking)

In JUDO means forcing the opponent (UKE) into an unbalanced position. This is an important element in executing effective NAGEWAZA (throwing technique), for when the opponent (UKE) is off balance he/she is unable to use his/her strength aggressively and is virtually under your control. Kuzushi can be performed in eight different directions (HAPPO NO KUZUSHI).


Lubbert, Hal, “Insights on judo: kuzushi”, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA, Kodokan Iowa Pub., 1985, 134p, ISBN 0933099231.


KYOSHI (High kneeling posture)

A ready posture with one knee down and the other leg opened to the side, used in the KATAME NO KATA (Grappling Forms). This action derives from the movement of swordsmen of ancient and medieval times, who achieved their powerful effect in cutting from that position by timing the action of the blade with their motion. Expert swordsmen can actually come out of SEIZA into KYOSHI (closed), simultaneously drawing their swords and making parries or cutting attacks. The founder KANO Jigoro utilized this posture and movement to strengthen the legs and hips and to impart flexibility to lower body.


KYOGI JUDO (lit. competitive JUDO)

A term first coined by KANO Jigoro, referring to those students who were mistakenly interested only in the sportive aspects of JUDO.


KYU (Level, class, rank)

. It is used to indicate ranks below Black belt. Kyu ranks go backwards as rank increases. Thus, 6th kyu is a lower rank than 1st kyu. People who have kyu grades are called MUDANSHA. While numerous variations exist today, the most popular belt (OBI) colors in kyu grades, In Japan white belts are generally worn through all KYU grades, although some individual schools also use the brown belt to indicate the higher KYU ranks. The other colored belts originated later when JUDO began being practiced outside of Japan. SENSEI Mikonosuke KAWAISHI introduced various colored belts in Europe in 1935. When he started to teach JUDO in Paris.


Belt Colours

6th kyu                 white

5th kyu                   yellow

4th kyu                   orange

3rd kyu                   green

2nd kyu                   blue

1st kyu                   purple (for juniors) brown (for seniors)

In Australia and Europe

For Australia and most of Europe, the belt colours in ascending order are white, yellow, orange, green, blue and brown. Some European countries use red belt to signify a complete beginner, other European countries such as the UK use a red belt as the belt one grade above a beginner to show that the person is a full member of a club.

In Canada

Belt ranking for Seniors are, white, yellow, orange, green, blue, and brown. Belt ranking for Juniors use white, white-yellow, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-green, green-blue, blue-brown, and brown.


In United States

The order of belt colours can vary from DOJO to DOJO. Advanced KYU levels can be earned by both seniors and juniors (children under the age of about 16) and are signified by wearing belts of various colours other than black. For senior players, both the United States Judo Federation (USJF) and the United States Judo Association (USJA) specify four belt colours for the six KYU. The USJA also specifies wearing a patch specifying the practitioner’s level. The USJF Juniors ranking system specifies ranks to 11th KYU (juichikyu). The USJA Juniors ranking system specifies twelve levels of KYU rank, beginning with “Junior 1st Degree”. As with the senior practitioners, the USJA specifies that juniors wear a patch specifying their rank.


For senior players, both the United States Judo Federation (USJF)[ and The United States Judo Association (USJA) specify six kyū, as listed in the table. The USJA requires "Beginners" (not a kyū) to wear a white belt until they test for yellow belt. The USJA also recommends wearing a patch specifying the practitioner's level. This is true for both kyū and dan levels.


The USJF Juniors ranking system specifies ranks to 11th kyū (jūichikyū). The USJA Juniors ranking system specifies twelve levels of kyū rank, beginning with "Junior 1st Degree" (equivalent to jūnikyū, or 12th kyū) and ending with "Junior 12th Degree" (equivalent to ikkyū). As with the senior practitioners, the USJA recommends that juniors wear a patch specifying their rank. When a USJA Junior reaches the age of 17, their conversion to Senior rank is:

  • Yellow belt converts to 6th kyu (rokyu)
  • Orange belt converts to 5th kyu (gokyu)
  • Green belt converts to 4th kyu (yonkyu)
  • Blue belt or higher converts to 3rd kyu (sankyu)


  1. Kobayashi Kiyoshi, “Illustrated Judo, Kyu and Dan”, Tokyo, Japan, Obun-Intereurope, 1975, 144p.
  2. “The Judo Rank System (http://www.judoinfo.com/obi.htm)”


KYUBA no MICHI (“The Way of archery and horsemanship”)

A group of unwritten rules to which warriors (BUSHI) and samurai were supposed to conform. They appeared around the 10th century and constituted a short of physical and moral training for warriors, with the ideals of courage, this regard for death, and impassiveness. Like knights of the medieval period, BUSHI were bound to protect women.In the EDO period, this practical ideal became more philosophical and was called bushido, “Way of the Warriors”.


KYUDO (“Way of the Bow”)



A theory of JUDO that dictates that body movements must be natural rather than forceful, and loose not stressed.



(Vital point)

Any physiologically weak point on the body that may be attacked using strikes (ATEMI).