A survey of international Judo competition video tapes was conducted to find out which counter throwing skills are most effective in top level competition. I wanted to know if there are special counter throwing skills that are used by elite players. I also wanted to use this information to Coach my players in use of the strongest possible countering skills.

225 incidents of effective countering attacks were studied during a review of video tape records of Olympic, European, All Japan and World Championship competition. I defined an effective countering attack as any time a defender reacted to his opponent’s attack with a counter throwing attack for a score or a near score.

Throws that were observed being countered includes, at least one incident, or incidents of all of the most frequently seen competitive throws. That all types of competitive throws are countered should come as no surprise. Research into the “Tactics of Throwing Opportunity” has revealed that all counter throws happen because the attacker attempts to apply his skill when the defender is in a Mobile Posture. In other words when the defender is most ready to move into a countering attack.

The surprise of this study lay not in the vulnerability of any specific technique but in the skills being used to counter. In point of fact 42.67% of countering maneuvers are Twist Downs.

Twist Downs are a powerful, competitive version of the classic techniques of Uki Otoshi, the Forward Twist Down, and Sumi Otoshi, a Twist Down to the rear. When using a Twist Down the defender would simply get out of the way of an attack and Push his or her opponent down. The defender was able to get out of the way because he or she was in a Mobile Posture which the opponent failed to recognize or did not understand.

This research has shown that the majority of countering throws take place because the defender is able to get out the way and push the opponent down. This action requires that the defender be ready to move and know where to push, when the time comes.

Readiness and knowledge takes practice! Practice in the form of drills and training. Practice and training that is the Coach’s responsibility to provide.

The first step of providing your players with the proper practice is understanding what needs to be practiced. You have taken that step in reading this report. Your next step is to devise drills that will teach your players the skills they need to successfully counter.

Drilling counter throws is not difficult at all. Have your players move about and apply random attacks at half speed. All the defender needs to practice is getting out of the way and pushing. As the players gain skill, in their counters, they may increase the tempo.

Counter throwing skills are some of the most important skills that you can give your players but, like any other skill, they must be practiced to be used. Now that we know which countering skills are the most effective it is time for your players to learn these skills.

This page is provided by the author, George Weers, and published here by Neil Ohlenkamp, Encino Judo Club, California, USA.
Last modified July 20, 1997