Are Judo Throws Allowed in Wrestling?

You may be a wrestler who is looking to expand their techniques or a Judoka who is thinking of trying out wrestling. Now you want to know whether or not you can use Judo throws in wrestling. We will explore the crossovers between the two sports and to most effectively use Judo techniques and concepts in wrestling.

Are Judo throws allowed in wrestling? Yes, all Judo throws are allowed in wrestling. The grips just need to be modified to allow a wrestler to perform Judo techniques without relying on the Judogi. Judo throws are common in wrestling and are a great way to score points and pin your opponent. Uchi Mata, Ippon Seoi Nage and O Goshi are the most common.

Which Throws Are Illegal In Wrestling?

Which throws are illegal in wrestling? In folkstyle wrestling it is illegal to throw your opponent on their neck. It is also illegal to drop your opponent mid throw. In folkstyle wrestling all suplexes (back arching throws with high amplitude) are banned and will result in disqualification. 

Suplexes were banned in folkstyle wrestling as athletes were not trained competently in performing them and knowing how to fall correctly. This resulted in suplexes having a high injury rate. In folkstyle wrestling athletes are not encouraged to go for big throws as they are not scored differently to a standard takedown. As they are not rewarded they are not train extensively so athletes are not skilled in performing them. Suplexes which are not performed correctly can result in some nasty injuries.

Suplexes and back arching throws are legal in freestyle wrestling. These throws are heavily rewarded resulting in an athlete scoring 4 points rather than the standard 2 points. Due to this freestyle athletes train suplexes extensively and they are often performed in matches without injuries or complications. However as freestyle athletes stand in a low stance it can be difficult to perform a suplex. This is why suplexes are much more common in Greco Roman wrestling where athletes stand much more upright and are prohibited from grabbing the legs.

Does Judo Work In Wrestling?

Does Judo work in wrestling? Yes, Judo does work in wrestling. You just need to use headlocks, underhooks, overhooks and bodylocks to execute Judo throws instead of using the Judogi.

Many high level wrestlers use Judo effectively in wrestling.

Steve Mocco (2 time NCAA champion) was an expert at using a lead foot sweep to take his opponents down to the mat. Mocco would often catch his opponent’s off guard as foot sweeps are not common in wrestling. The surprise factor of Mocco’s attack would invariably result in his opponent face planting into the mat. Mocco’s trademark foot sweep is known as Deashi Harai in Judo.

Here Is Mocco Hitting That Nasty Foot Sweep

Saitiev who was a 3 time Olympic gold medalist and 6 time world championship also used Judo extensively throughout his career. As Saitiev standing at 6ft0 was much taller than his fellow 73kg competitors he was able to use his extra length to effectively throw his opponents using an O Soto Gari. Saitiev would set up the throw by establishing an underhook on the same side as the leg he would later reap.

Here Is Saitiev Hitting A Nice O Soto Gari On A Training Partner

Kendall Cross who won an Olympic gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 would often use trips and Judo throws in his offense. Cross trained Judo throughout his childhood and credits it with helping improve his wrestling. Cross famously used a Judo throw to takedown his Olympic final opponent Sissaouri, Guivi to win his gold medal. Cross said he learnt the throw in Judo and had never used it before the Olympic final in a wrestling match.

How To Make Judo Work In Wrestling?

To get your Judo to work in wrestling you need to work on your grips and setups. As there is no jacket to grab onto in wrestling you need to find other grips to make your Judo throws work. The most common grips which are used to successfully execute throws are headlocks, underhooks, overhooks, over under and bodylock. Nearly all Judo throws can be implemented use one or a combination of these grips. Uchi Mata is a particularly effective throw when a wrestler established an over hook and grabs the elbow of his opponent pulling their arm across their body.

For a Judo throw to work in wrestling you need to unbalance your opponent. If you try to throw an opponent who is well balanced you will not get them off the ground and will open yourself up to being counted. Being countered is major risk in attempting Judo throws in wrestling as for a moment you will expose your back and good wrestler will take advantage of this and throw you.

To ensure you can execute your Judo throws you need to develop setups which correctly unbalance your opponent. In Judo this concept is known as Kazushi. Before you start attempting throws in wrestling you should practice moving around with your opponent and focus on shifting their balance from one leg to another and moving them in different directions. Once you have learned to manipulate your opponent’s balance in combination with knowing how to establish strong grips you are now ready to use Judo throws in wrestling.

Which Judo Throws Are The Most Effective In Wrestling?

Which Judo throws are the most effective in wrestling? The most effective Judo throws in wrestling is an Uchi Mata where the thrower takes an overhook and uses the moment of the advancing wrestler against him. Ippon Seoi Nage is also a highly effective throw particularly when an opponent reaches with his arm.

Here Is A Highlight Of Judo Throws Being Used In Wrestling

Can You Win By Submission In Wrestling?

Can you win by submission in wrestling? No, you can not win by submission in wrestling. All submissions are banned in wrestling including joint locks and chokes. Using a submission in wrestling will cause you to lose as you will be disqualified.

Even though Judo throws are allowed in wrestling, submissions are not. Submissions are common in Judo and can be used by A Judoka to instantly win a match. The most common submission in Judo is the armbar. However all submissions found in Judo are banned in wrestling and will result in a wrestler being disqualified.

Freestyle and folkstyle wrestling are both derived from an earlier form of wrestling known as Catch As Catch Can wrestling which did have submissions. Submissions were used to defeat an opponent and used to force an opponent to turn to their back allowing for a pin to occur. The submissions were removed when organizers created freestyle and folkstyle as submissions were deemed to make matches less exciting and the risk of injury from submissions was too high.


All Judo throws are legal and can be used effectively in wrestling. It is common to see Judo throws used in wrestling. The most popular Judo throws used in wrestling are O Goshi, Uchi Mata, Ippon Seoi Nage and O Soto Gari. Saitiev (3 time Olympic gold medalist) was known for his nasty O Soto Gari. To ensure your Judo throws are effective and legal in wrestling make sure you modify the grips and don’t throw your opponent on their head.

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