Glossary of Judo waza (techniques) terms

Seoi-nage (Shoulder throw)

Seoi-nage (Shoulder throw)


This one of the most dynamic and best known Judo Waza, and is a good example of the Judo maxim, "softness subdues hardness".

Features of this Waza

This technique consists of bringing your opponent against your back, and then throwing him over your shoulder.

Waza details

From the natural posture, Tori (Player executing technique) rolls the wrist of his Hiki-te (Pulling hand) over while pulling Uke (Player receiving opponent's attack) forward until the Hiki-te (Pulling hand) is at eye height.
This pulling action destabilizes Uke (Player receiving opponent's attack) balance and shifts his Center of gravity to his toes, thus making this Waza easier to perform.
Tori (Player executing technique) Tsurite (Lifting hand) grasps Uke (Player receiving opponent's attack) lapel area in a twisting motion to secure a stronger grip. Using both hands, Tori (Player executing technique) spins, steps back, and pulls Uke (Player receiving opponent's attack) against his back, all in a sudden motion.
Although the Kumi-kata (Fighting grips), the use of hands and feet, and the motions of this Waza are identical in both men's and women's Judo, women have weaker lower body muscles, often causing their knees to buckle when attempting this Waza. Therefore, women must give more attention to the proper timing of this Waza than men.
The Seoi-nage (Shoulder throw) is one of Judo's most colorful Waza, and a perfect example of Judo's "softness subdues hardness" philosophy in that it allows even a small combatant to throw a larger opponent. Moreover, it is a Waza that is well suited to the Japanese physical stature in which short legs and arms are the norm.
Although this Waza is often performed in competitions by both men and women, regardless of rank, it is particularly common in lightweight division competitions, and in primary and junior high school student competitions. Furthermore, in international competitions, this Waza is seen by the Japanese combatants as an effective weapon against relatively larger-statured foreigners.

Waza usage tip

  • This Waza receives depends on the powerful spring force generated by flexing the knees.