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Kosen Judo

Judo, a martial art renowned for its throws, grappling techniques, and emphasis on physical and mental discipline, has evolved over the years. While many are familiar with the popular Kodokan Judo, there exists a lesser-known branch called Kosen Judo. Rooted in the traditional teachings of Jigoro Kano, Kosen Judo offers a distinct approach that emphasizes groundwork and technical prowess. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating world of Kosen Judo and shed light on its unique techniques and historical significance.

The Origins of Kosen Judo

Kosen Judo emerged in Japan during the early 20th century when Jigoro Kano sought to adapt his teachings for university students. Kosen, meaning "high school," referred to specialized institutions in Japan that prioritized education for talented athletes. Recognizing the need for efficient techniques in the realm of groundwork, Kano allowed the students to focus on mastering those skills during competitions. This led to the birth of Kosen Judo, a style distinct from the mainstream Kodokan Judo.

The Essence of Kosen Judo

Kosen Judo places a strong emphasis on groundwork, commonly referred to as ne-waza. While Kodokan Judo practitioners spend a significant amount of time perfecting their standing techniques (tachi-waza), Kosen Judo flips the balance, dedicating more attention to honing skills on the ground. This focus allows Kosen Judo practitioners to become masters of submissions, escapes, pins, and transitions, providing them with a formidable advantage in close-quarters combat.

Unique Techniques of Kosen Judo

a. Kuzure Kesa Gatame (Modified Scarf Hold): This technique is an adaptation of the traditional Kesa Gatame, offering variations and adjustments to increase control and stability. It utilizes the lapel, arm, and leg positioning to secure an opponent, providing a strong foundation for further attacks or maintaining control until the match's end.

b. Sankaku Jime (Triangle Choke): The Sankaku Jime is a powerful submission hold that involves trapping an opponent's head and arm within a triangle formed by the practitioner's legs. With precise control and application of pressure, this technique can force the opponent to submit or render them unconscious if executed correctly.

c. Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame (Cross Armbar): The Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame is a classic armbar technique found in many grappling arts. In Kosen Judo, practitioners focus on perfecting the execution of this joint lock by effectively using their legs, hips, and upper body to immobilize and apply pressure on their opponent's arm, leading to a potential submission.

Competitive Aspect of Kosen Judo

While Kosen Judo has its roots in the university sports system, it also developed its own unique competitive format. Matches are often longer, allowing for more intricate groundwork and technical exchanges. This extended duration provides ample time for practitioners to showcase their skills and strategies, promoting a deep understanding of ne-waza.

Legacy and Influence

Although Kosen Judo is not as widespread as its Kodokan counterpart, its impact on the development of modern grappling arts cannot be ignored. Many prominent Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners have been influenced by Kosen Judo techniques, incorporating them into their training and competition strategies. Kosen Judo's focus on ground fighting has played a significant role in shaping the evolution of martial arts worldwide.


Kosen Judo, with its emphasis on groundwork and technical mastery, offers a distinct perspective within the broader realm of Judo.

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As always, professor DFM provides us with well written and clearly thought out material. As much as I appreciated the articles about technique, mindset, etc., I appreciated the martial arts history lesson.

The videos were fantastic aids to the article and I feel he gave the reader just enough information to teach while sparking enough interest to start the reader down a path to study the subject on their own.

As always, I’m looking forward to the next article!


D. R. T.

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