Are Judo Throws Allowed in Wrestling?

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Since you’re reading this, you are probably someone from a judo background or someone who is just wondering how judo techniques can be applied under wrestling rules. So without further ado, let’s get to the question.

Are Judo throws allowed in wrestling? Yes, judo throws are allowed in freestyle and folkstyle wrestling. You only need to be careful to follow the “slam” rules when executing judo throws.

In wrestling, a slam is lifting and returning an opponent to the mat with unnecessary force. To avoid getting in trouble for slamming when using your judo throws, make sure you control the opponent from the start of the throw to the finish and follow them to the ground.

The only wrestling style in which judo throws aren’t allowed is Greco-Roman wrestling. That’s because you can’t use your legs to trip, sweep or do any offensive maneuvers in this style of wrestling.

Examples of judo throws used in wrestling tournaments

Here’s some footage of judo techniques used in a freestyle wrestling competition:

The kid from a judo background in the videos (Anthony Igne – you can check him out on Youtube) had a major advantage in clinching exchanges. His strategy was simple – to get a collar tie and elbow tie (basic wrestling clinching position). From there he just pushes his opponents back. If they start to resists strongly, he uses their force against them by throwing them with One-Handed Shoulder Throw (Uchi Mata in Judo).

And if the opponents keep moving back as he pushes them he just makes a step forward with his lead leg and trips them with his rear leg. Depending on their reaction when he pushes them, he uses those 2 types of takedowns.

What throws are illegal in wrestling?

In judo throwing the opponent with a significant force is awarded. It can get you points or even a total victory.

But in wrestling doing that may be considered a slam which is forbidden:

“A slam is lifting and returning an opponent to the mat with unnecessary force. This infraction may be committed by a contestant in either the top or bottom position on the mat, as well as during a takedown. A slam shall be called without hesitation.”


Wrestling is about taking your opponent down ad controlling him/her, not trying to cause serious damage.

Also in wrestling, you aren’t allowed to use your opponent to break your fall as you throw him/her. For example when using high-amplitude bear hug/double under throw.

Another rule regarding throws is that you can’t lift the opponent and throw him to the mat if he is in a bridge position. The idea is to prevent spine/neck injuries.

Are Judo throws effective in wrestling?

Judo can definitely be effective in wrestling. Actually, in MMA there are a lot of people with experience in judo who use their judo skills to counter wrestlers. An example is Ben Askren vs Luis Santos fight in ONE Championship.

In that fight, Luis Santos used double overhooks to throw Ben Askren on his head every time Ben got a body lock or attempted to go for the legs. So yeah, judo can be effective against wrestling in both wrestling competition and MMA because judokas are very good at using the momentum of wrestlers going for a takedown to throw them.

Wrestlers (both freestyle and Greco-roman) also always try to get an underhook whenever it’s possible. That’s a habit wrestler (and even BJJ practitioners) develop because getting an underhook can help you control the opponent and start different types of takedowns – body lock and trip the legs; clear the arm and go for a double leg, etc.

But judo guys, on the other hand, wait for the wrestler to get an underhook so they can get an overhook (Whizzer) and use wrestler’s arm as a lever to throw them that’s what you can see in the Ben Askren vs Luis Santos fight.

How to make Judo Effective in Wrestling?

At first, it can be really strange to wrestle if you come from a judo background. Wrestling stance is much lower than Judo stance so it may be really hard for you to get in a good position to throw wrestlers because their head will be in your way.

So you need to make several adjustments. The first one is your stance. You need to learn to stay lower when wrestling to be able to stop wrestlers from going for your legs.

Another big difference between those two sports is that in wrestling there isn’t a judo gi. You can’t grab the collar or the sleeve when trying to off-balance and break the posture of the wrestler. You need to learn to tie-up differently when trying to throw the opponent in order to generate enough momentum.

Instead of a collar and sleeve tie, you’ll need to use over/under, two-on-one and other grips/positions.

But the main thing is that you always need to always react to wrestlers trying to get an underhook, attack your legs or just pushing you.

A good thing about judo in wrestling is that the footwork of the throws stays the same, but the grips/tie-ups, the stance and the reaction of wrestlers when you are trying to throw them are different.

Most effective Judo throws in wrestling

Now, Gi Judo throws are easier than their no-gi versions. The gi provides good grips and it’s not sweaty and slippery like a human skin can be after a hard practice.

No-gi Whizzer (or overhook) Uchi Mata is one of the most effective Judo throws that you can use in wrestling. For the gi version, of this throw, you need a collar and sleeve grip but for the no-gi Whizzer version you need an overhook on the near arm and an elbow tie on the far arm.

Here’s a video on that:

No-gi Whizzer Uchi Mata:

Classic Uchi Mata:

Another one is the No-Gi Ippon Seoi Nage. With gi to do this throw, you need a two-on-one and a sleeve grip. The no-gi version isn’t that different actually. You still need a two-on-one but instead of the sleeve, you grab your opponent’s wrist.

No-Gi Ippon Seoi Nage:

Gi Ippon Seoi Nage:

Leg techniques can be also really effective. More precisely leg hooking and reaping. Sweeps might not be so effective in wrestling because of the grit shoes provide.

Kosoto Gake (Outside Hook) can work well if instead of sleeve control you are in a double-under, collar and elbow tie or in a body lock position. The same goes for Ouchi Gari (inside hook).

Aside from those throws, you can also lear the no-gi version of o-goshi.


Judo throws are definitely legal in wrestling and can be used very effectively. You only need to make is to be careful with the slam rules and to make some adjustments in your overall judo game.

Dimitar Ivanov

Just a hardcore MMA fan and practitioner who wants to share some info with the world.