The IJF recently banned "reverse" seoi-nage in competition, due to the difficulty of breakfalling safely. But how exactly is a reverse seoi-nage defined? What variants are/aren't legal?

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"Reverse" seoi-nage

The IJF define it as a seoi-nage like technique where you grab the same side lapel with both hands, and rotate away from uke i.e. similar to

  • a morote-eri-seoi-nage rotating in the opposite direction, or equivalently
  • a morote-eri-seoi-nage gripping the opposite lapel
  1. No score and shido for reverse seoi-nage. The application of seoi-nage techniques when uke can perform ukemi and tori can control is allowed. In the variation of seoi-nage techniques when tori turns away from uke, twisting their tsurite and hikite using the sake [sic] lapel of uke’s judogi, without controlling uke, standing or dropping down in an unknown direction, without giving the possibility to the opponent to perform ukemi and sometimes with uke falling with the neck on the mat, is forbidden.

Lascau: In the moment you grip on the same side with both arms we start to talk about Reverse Seoi Nage...

They explain this is an unambiguous definition based on the actions of tori (easily reviewable by referees), whereas the actual direction uke falls in is unpredictable and shouldn't be considered.

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Similar techniques

There are similar competition throws which involve turning from the outside with a seoi-like grip:

Since they typically involve holding both the lapel and sleeve of the same side (and not a two handed grip on the lapel) ending up in an ippon style grip, they would appear to be legal given the discussion above.


  • 1
    Another bogus decision, really. A viable throw gets banned because people tried to turn out of throws instead accepting defeat... Nov 11, 2022 at 6:55
  • 2
    For those trying to visualize this, there's a nice example at: youtu.be/S-1tBxD3D6c Nov 11, 2022 at 18:59
  • I spoke with an olympic judoka recently about this technique. He said he was surprised it wasn't banned before now, as it's basically a standing kimura. I thought that was an interesting answer. I was expecting that he'd say it could land your opponent on his neck or dislocate his shoulder too easily. Nov 11, 2022 at 19:03
  • 1
    @SteveWeigand Just stumbled across this older comment...I think if it is used to break (or ignoring) an existing grip on the elbow/shoulder from the outside or the lapel, trapping the arm somehow, it can easily become a standing kimura. It does not have to be that way though. Apr 6, 2023 at 21:28

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