by Lance Wicks

I have recently been re-reading Yamashita-Sensei’s “Fighting Spirit” book. In one of the appendix pages is a list of all the wins in his 203 fight winning streak in international contest. I was curious to know what techniques were on the list and what percentages they were used, so I punched the data into Excel and this is what I found.

Techniques Used by Yamashita
Technique Number Percentage
Yoko Shiho Gatame 45 27.95%
Uchi Mata 35 21.74%
Combination 23 14.29%
Okuri Eri Jime 19 11.80%
Kuzure Kesa Gatame 11 6.83%
Osoto Gari 9 5.59%
Ouchi Gari 6 3.73%
Ude Gatame 3 1.86%
Kami Shiho Gatame 2 1.24%
Tate Shiho Gatame 2 1.24%
Kesa Gatame 2 1.24%
Kosoto Gari 1 0.62%
Osoto Guruma 1 0.62%
OUK 1 0.62%
N-KJG 1 0.62%
Total 161 100%

The table above shows clearly that his highest scoring techniques is Yoko Shiho Gatame, followed by Uchi Mata and then combinations. The definition of combination is a pain as it covers so much, but the data was limited. The next two highest scoring techniques were Ne-Waza techniques and the famous O Soto Gari only comes in at position six on the table. We can probably assume that many of the combinations involved O Soto Gari and Uchi Mata.There are 161 recorded scores, from a winning streak of 203 matches. 42 were won without a deciding score. This would put refereeing decisions squarely at position number two on the list.

A brief inspection of these results can tell us that having a strong Ne-Waza and a strong Tachi-Waza technique is essential. As players we also need to be able to demonstrate to referees that we were the superior player when scores are tied.

As a coach or player, we could decide that we should focus on standing and groundwork. Ensuring that players are positive and are able to influence the referee is vital. To this end, players should practise influencing the referee’s decisions in just the same way as they would any other Judo skill.