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Uchi Mata: The Trick To A Good Judo Throw

Uchi Mata My Nemesis

Uchi Mata has for most of my career been my nemesis. The few occasion I actually achieved it was in competition and because I never really knew why it worked they were essentially serious luck. As hard as I tried I could never do a satisfactory Uchi Mata in a normal Uchi komi practice session in class. Until that is, I learn this trick.

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The video below from Neal Adams was the start of me figuring out Uchi Mata but it only helped. It was when I took the information from the video and applied it differently that suddenly the throw works almost every time. Even realising that it's the simple things that make a judo throw work, I was still blown away by the simplicity of the change.

Don't misunderstand me, the positioning is not easy, at least not in Uchi Komi and it is completely counter-intuitive but it does work. The positioning does become a whole lot easier in competition, which probably explains why I could do it on occasion, in competition and not in Uchi Komi practice.

The reason it becomes easier in competition becomes clear in the video. If you look, you will see how the line is set up by Uke (your opponent), you just have to capitalise on it. Whereas in Uchikomi you have to put in the effort to set Uke up.

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In both cases, the throw still won't work unless you generate Kushi (breaking of the balance) before you set it up or Uke sets it up for you.

Hopefully, my image below shows what the video can't show, the placement of the feet in relation to Uke.

The black feet are in the Tskuri (set up) position and the white feet show the movement of Tories (the thrower) left foot as it sweeps through and between Uke's legs.

My hope is that if you combine the video and the image I have provided below, you will have a lot less trouble mastering Uchi Mata than I did.

Image of Uchi Mata Foot Movement Pattern
Uchi Mata Foot Movement Pattern

Uchi Mata truly is a beautiful and powerful throw. It has won many a competition and will continue to do so. But it is one of those throws that has to be done correctly. I used to watch a video of Mufuni performing it over and over again in order to try to get a grip on it. But all I could do was marvel at his proficiency. I still marvel at his proficiency but at least now I can do an acceptable version of this throw in practice for myself.

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