If in judo we execute a pin that different from a "standard" Osaekomi-waza, but still pins the opponent on their back or puts enough pressure for them to tap out, does it still fully count for ippon?

Specifically, in this example: enter image description here

The move pictured is essentially kesa gatame, except the arm is let free and the tori's hands interlock as he leans back and lifts hips to apply pressure to uke's chest.

If applied in judo, would this pin still count?

In general, do modifications such as this to official kodokan grappling techniques work?

  • Have you ever trained or competed in judo? Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 7:57
  • I'm taking a beginner judo class at my college, and we have gone over most of the standard pins and turnovers, and have done a decent amount of randori. However many of the rules of competition judo were never explained, so I have mostly been reading through the IJF referee manual, which very thoroughly defines the rules. However I was a little unsure about this question, hence why I asked it. Thanks!
    – ahaas
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 22:55
  • Aha! That makes a lot of sense. Don't stress the exactness of a pin, just hold that squirming jerk down. :) Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 7:56

3 Answers 3


That's barely a modification of kesagatame. There's no gi, so he uses a slightly different grip. It totally counts.

Just about all techniques, including pins, are modified in actual application. This is so true that the examples of throws that don't look obviously modified are shared as highlights and widely touted as beautiful paragons of the art. But a lot of uchimata involve hopping and an extra 90 degrees of turning, a lot of kesagatame don't fully control the near arm, and plenty of koshijime are finished with muscle instead of precise hip positioning. It's totally normal.

It's not about mimicking the textbook example—-though that can be helpful as a learning exercise--but about throwing, choking, armlocking, and pinning your opponent. The throws, chokes, armlocks, and pins that aren't allowed (or that don't score) are generally specifically delineated as dangerous or banned techniques.

  • 3
    Yeah in our Judo club in high school (an offshoot of the British Judo Association), so long as you could hold your opponent in more or less the same position for 30 seconds (we had 30 seconds, but official rules are 25 seconds I think), it counted as a full point. It didn't even matter if you were in an official hold, so long as it was a hold. So there was a good deal of slack given to what a "pin hold" should actually look like. But that was our school. Not sure if it's the same in official olympic rules judo. Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 19:37
  • 1
    @SteveWeigand I've never heard of any method except the kind you describe. Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 19:42

Yes, the above technique would be a pin in competition judo. A pin in competition judo does not need to be a standard pin; it needs to meet the definition of a pin under the referee rules. This is good especially because judo people can get very nitpicky about what exactly constitutes a particular pin [more on that later]. If your opponent taps at any time and you have not applied an illegal technique, then you win.

The spirit of the judo pin is control of your opponent with at least one of their shoulders on the mat and the ability to disengage and get up at any time.

This is the section of the current (2015) judo referee rules relevant to pins (osaekomi):

ARTICLE 24 - Osaekomi-waza The Referee shall announce Osaekomi when in his opinion the applied technique corresponds with the following criteria:

a) The contestant being held must be controlled by his opponent and must have his back, both shoulders and one shoulder in contact with the Tatami.

I think there is an error in the wording here. It should probably be "must have his back, and one or both shoulders". I have never seen a requirement for both shoulders needing to be on the mat, as would be necessary in wrestling.

b) The control can be made from the side, from the rear or from on top.

c) The contestant applying the hold must not have his leg(s) or body controlled by his opponent’s legs.

If you are in someone's guard, it's not a pin. If the opponent captures your leg while you are pinning them in kesa gatame, the pin is broken.

d) At least one contestant must have one part of his body touching the contest area.

If you have a single toe in, the pin still counts. This is to avoid competitors trying to escape out of bounds.

e) The contestant applying Osaekomi must have his body in either the Kesa, the Shiho or Ura position, i.e. similar to the techniques Kesa Gatame, Kami-shiho-gatame or Ura-Gatame.

If you finish a far-side cradle (a wrestling move) on your back, even though your opponent may have his shoulders on the mat, this would not be a judo pin.

Also note that the ura-gatame position was recently (c.2013) added to the rules, so nothing is set in stone. It used to be that your hips could not be facing up.

APPENDIX Article 24 - Osaekomi-waza Should a contestant who is controlling his opponent with an Osaekomi-Waza, changed without losing control, into another Osaekomi-Waza, the Osaekomi time will continue until the announcement of Ippon (or equivalence), Toketa or Mate.

You can switch pins while the pin clock is running, as long as you maintain control. There is no requirement to maintain any single pin position.

And finally to the nitpicking: I think the pictured hold would be classified as a kata gatame (shoulder hold) variation rather than a kesa gatame (scarf hold). The main principle of kesa gatame and its variations (ura kesa gatame, ushiro kesa gatame, kuzure kesa gatame) is the winding of uke's arm. Without the winding, it's closer to a shoulder hold.


The IJF criteria for osaekomi-waza are thus (emphasis mine):

The referee shall announce osaekomi for an applied technique when the contestant being held is controlled from every direction (from the side, rear or on top) by his opponent and must have his full back or complete upper back (scapular region) in contact with the tatami. The contestant applying the hold must not have his leg(s) or body controlled by his opponent’s legs. The contestant applying osaekomi must have his body on and over opponent’s body in covering it to holds opponent down underneath his body, with applying pressure onto opponent’s front upper body with his front upper body in either the kesa, the shiho or ura position, i.e. similar to the techniques kesa-kami-shiho-ura-gatame and sankaku-waza.

Note however:

It is never allowed to hold an osaekomi just around the head/neck without control of at least one arm.

Your specific example is in fact almost identical to the first variation of kesa-gatame described in the Kodokan Judo Osaekomi-Waza video:

Let's look at some of the variations of kesa-gatame. Clasping your hands together will help tighten your hold.

enter image description here


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