Judo, meaning "gentle way", was created as a physical, mental and moral pedagogy in Japan. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defenses are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice. A judo practitioner is called a judoka.
There are three basic categories of techniques in judo: nage-waza, katame-waza and atemi-waza.
Nage waza include all techniques in which tori attempts to throw or trip uke, usually with the aim of placing uke on his back. Each technique has three distinct stages:
- Kuzushi: the initial balance break.
- Tsukuri: the act of turning in and fitting into the throw.
- Kake: the execution and completion of the throw.
Nage waza are typically drilled by the use of uchi komi, repeated turning-in, taking the throw up to the point of kake.
Traditionally, nage waza are further categorised into tachi-waza, throws that are performed with tori maintaining an upright position, and sutemi-waza, throws in which tori sacrifices his upright position in order to throw uke.
Tachi-waza are further subdivided into te-waza, in which tori predominantly uses his arms to throw uke; koshi-waza throws that predominantly use a lifting motion from the hips; and ashi-waza, throws in which tori predominantly utilises his legs.
Katame-waza is further categorised into osaekomi-waza, in which tori traps and pins uke on his back on the floor; shime-waza, in which tori attempts to force a submission by choking or strangling uke; and kansetsu-waza, in which tori attempts to submit uke by painful manipulation of his joints.
A related concept is that of ne-waza, in which waza are applied from a non-standing position.
In competitive judo, Kansetsu-waza is currently limited to elbow joint manipulation. Manipulation and locking of other joints can be found in various kata, such as Katame-no-kata and Kodokan goshin jutsu.
Atemi-waza are techniques in which tori disables uke with a strike to a vital point. Atemi-waza are not permitted outside of kata.