Judo Classification Types
Judo classification (unlike classification of some other Arts, most
and traditional jujutsu) has no pure nominative elements. However,
terminology is a meaningless sound for non-Japanese speakers without
translation, but such translation is more exception then a rule outside
Russia in 1914 by Vasili Oschepkov, he not just translated Japanese
but adapted them to Russian linguistic pattern. Indeed he created whole
terminology and, consequentially, classification of Judo technique in
classification became basis for SAMBO. As Judo was re-introduced in the
Union as Olympic
sport two years before its debut in 1964 Summer Olympic Games
Oschepkov’s Russian classification became standard classification in
Olympic Judo as well.
of my knowledge it’s the only full scope native
language Judo classification outside
English language Judo publications, as well as in Judo clubs, Japanese
terminology just transliterated
and, at best, complemented
more or less descriptive
historic irony as SAMBO became international sport discipline in 1972,
Oschepkov’s Russian classification suffered the same fate as original
Kano’s Japanese version – it wasn’t translated,
but just transliterated.
currently the same Judo classification can be nominative
or descriptive depends on the language environment!
leaving aside for a moment the role
classification in teaching Judo and effect of linguistic
disparity on it,
let’s look on the types of descriptive classification itself.
In a very
coarse breakdown any Judo classification contains two core parts: (1) names
technical elements and (2) grouping of technical elements.
Judo techniques (throws) tend to be of two distinct types:
instructional and allegorical.
names contain abbreviated description of the technique when allegorical
its emotional or visual appearance.
techniques may have both, instructional and allegorical, names at the
that may be used interchangeably. Good example of this is “Kata
a.k.a. “Shoulder Wheel” a.k.a. “Windmill” a.k.a. “Throw Over Shoulders”
last two names are both direct translation from standard Russian
used in both, Judo and SAMBO, as well as in wrestling). While, as
speaker, I can’t attest for visual and emotional impression that “Kata
makes for native speaker, I can say that “Windmill” is an allegorical
based on the visual
resemblances of tori’s body to windmill rolling sails during
execution of the
throw. On the other hand “Throw Over Shoulders” is a coarse description
the throw itself. Name “Shoulder Wheel” (witch probably is
translation of “Kata Guruma”) fails somewhere in the middle between
and “Throw Over Shoulders”.
example of allegorical name is “Yama
that translates as “Mountain Storm”. This name based on the dynamics of
throw, but saying nothing about leg-work, directions, or other
this technique. This doesn’t mean that such naming become just “fancy”
nominative. I trained “Yama Arashi” for many years and when I can’t
count it as
technique, I can attest that in order to be effective it must
be a quick powerful…
well, “Mountain Storm”.
of the name, based closely on throw description, is “Ippon
– “One Arm Shoulder Throw”.
both, instructional and allegorical, names has its own positives and
names help to introduce technique to new students, who not encounter it
need very basic instructions. In such cases name itself provides those
other hand, allegorical names more helpful in working with more
students as they put stress on dynamics of some key elements of the
(“Mountain Storm” – for dynamics; “Windmill” – for rotational motion).
be very beneficial in process of individual coaching.
rationalization of technique introduction order as you can select
from rotating groups and have more or less balanced technical set
your students in any given moment of there advancement.
names help to organize such group more easily; however as such groups
Does classification matter?