Judo For Self Defense – How To Apply + 9 Most Useful Techniques


Judo & Jiu Jitsu, with its spectacular throws, is one of the rare martial arts which can be used very effectively in a self-defense situation.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an elite level competitor, you will always have a chance if a bully clinches up with you.

Today, many people in the street fight neglect the power of their opponent and use trash talk and challenging to intimidate and confuse.

Women with Judo for Self DefenseWomen with Judo for Self Defense

By nature, as Kyuzo Mifune wrote in The Canon of Judo, Judo practitioners should be calm and relaxed, waiting for the perfect moment to equalize the throw.

Judo is not dangerous from long-range, except some techniques of Kōdōkan Goshin Jutsu but if the distance between you and your opponent is less than your arm-length, you will have excellent chances of defending yourself.

A good Judoka never anticipates his action in a match, but his mind is as clever as a polished mirror which enables him to foresee precisely anything to happen and he displays freedom of his physique to cope with any change.

Such mental state and physical action are called sei or tranquility and do or action, sometimes they are called ju and go or tenderness and sturdiness, in and yo or negative and positive, etc.

The Canon of Judo“. Book by Kyuzo Mifune, 1956.

Pros & cons of Judo in self defense


#1 – The biggest pro of Judo is the look of their practitioners.

  • Judokas are mostly shorter, wider, and they don’t look dangerous.
  • You needn’t have big muscles to be successful Judoka but you need power, reaction time, and quickness.
  • Even the fat fighter can be quick and powerful!

#2 – 2nd pro is the way bully attacks.

  • Bullies rarely go for a punch, punch, and low kick combo.
  • In many cases, they will push you, grab your arms, legs, try to take you down, or wrestle up with you.
  • When you are lucky, they will try to punch you or kick you once and continue using offensive words.

#3 – The next pro is about fighting on concrete, slippery, or hard surface.

  • Judo fighters know to go down and work on the ground and pound and submissions, while a slam to the concrete means a KO and a serious injury to 90% of bullies.

#4 – The last is the center of gravity.

  • Judo fighters usually flex their knees, lowering their center of gravity.
  • This provides them more balance in the fight against an opponent who tries to perform a takedown attempt.

Judo powerful throws - Judo for self defense

Judo powerful throws - Judo for self defense

Judo powerful throws


#1 – The biggest con of Judo in the street fight is a hard time when you need to face multiple opponents.

  • Judo is designed for one on one fight, and one opponent can always come behind your back.

#2 – Another con is a vulnerability of Judo to low kicks, jabs, and straight punches.

  • Just take a look the fight between Mirko Cro Cop and Hidehiko Yoshida.
  • Judo fighter needs to be close to creating some damage to your opponent. You will at least have to clinch up to be able to win the fight.

#3 – The last con of Judo for self defense is when you try to fight against an armed bully.

  • If someone has a knife or a club, you might have a hard time blocking or evading his attacks.
  • Of course, if you see a gun, it’d better to run for your life :).

Kodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro KanoKodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro Kano

Kodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro Kano

Check on Amazon Jiu-Jitsu UniversityJiu-Jitsu University

Jiu-Jitsu University

Check on Amazon Judo Unleashed: Essential Throwing & Grappling Techniques for Intermediate to Advanced Martial ArtistsJudo Unleashed: Essential Throwing & Grappling Techniques for Intermediate to Advanced Martial Artists

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Check on Amazon Best Judo (Illustrated Japanese Classics)Best Judo (Illustrated Japanese Classics)

Best Judo (Illustrated Japanese Classics)

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9 Judo techniques suitable in street fight

This video shows few examples of Judo techniques suitable for street fights. You will be surprised by our list of throws!

1. Uki Goshi

This technique is extremely effective against the opponent who pushes you or puts his arms on your
chest and threatens you

Since bullies mostly push you, go face to face with you, or try to grab your t-shirt or jacket and threaten you, this technique is used very often.

When the opponent goes down, you can perform a foot stomp or continue to punch or elbow to the head to finish the fight.

2. Harai Goshi

Harai Goshi is mostly used in MMA by famous Judo starts like Ronda Rousey, Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama.

And it can be very effective in the street fight since you will fall into side control position.

You can continue to punch and elbow from here, or you can try kesa gatame or an arm triangle choke.

See more:

3. Ippon Seoi Nage

You definitively don’t need an arm on Judoka’s shoulder, this is a recipe for disaster, as the video below!

If the bully does this movement, he will have at least a solid spine injury when your self-defense attempt is finished.

This is the most brutal way to defeat a bully, and you don’t need to continue punching after that!

4. Kubi Nage

In most cases, a bully will wrap his hands around your waist.

At that moment, you face a very dangerous situation, cause bullies are usually very strong.

He can lift you up and slam you, or torture you in many various ways.

But when his neck is free, you have a perfect chance for kubi nage!

NOTE: Just try to make a bit of distance, because it is almost impossible when there is a contact between bodies.

You will fall into side control position, which leaves an opportunity for elbows and fists.

5. Tomoe Nage (Circular Throw)

Tomoe Nage is an excellent way to stop the opponent who is a full of self-confidence, and who constantly goes towards you and threatens you.

The best thing you can do is grab his t-shirt or jacket and explosively perform the throw.

NOTE: Make sure not to try it on a too hard surface, cause you might hurt yourself and I highly doubt you will have to continue fighting, cause the fall on the back or side might seriously hurt the bully!

See more:

6. Uchi Mata

Uchi Mata is one of the most difficult throws, but it is very effective against an opponent who grabbed your arm and put his other arm around your waist if you know to react quickly.

See more:

7. Osoto Gari

Osoto Gari is the most effective way to humiliate the bully without hurting him.

All you need to do is grab his arm and put your leg between his legs, controlling his chest and neck.

It looks so easy in the video below, right? You will not hurt the attacker that much, but you can continue with punches or foot stomps on the ground.

See more:

8. Ouchi Gari

MMA style of ouchi gari can be used effectively in the street fight.

You need to be strong enough to lift the bully’s leg off the ground and hit his other leg.

In any case, when he goes on the back, you can continue delivering punches and finish the fight very quickly.

9. Hiza Guruma

Are you a master of Judo? You can try hiza guruma out in the street.

However, you need to be aware this throw is effective by itself, but very dangerous for both you and bully.

If you miss, you will get slammed or knocked out.

But successful throw leads to serious injuries, and you can continue with punches, knees, or foot stomps.

A class of judo for self defenseA class of judo for self defense

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Wrap it up

Judo is very effective in the street, but you must stay cold-blooded at all costs.

Even the biggest master can be defeated when he lets fear control your brain.

You will need years of training, both physical and mental, to control your behavior.

A true Judo master knows to control his mind and react, and confidence comes with experience and training sessions.

Good defense is based on quick reaction and counter.

You needn’t be super strong to defeat bullies, technique and the element of surprise are the key.

Stay calm, be quicker than your opponent, and make bullies think twice next time before attacking you!

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