I was recently inspired by this question

Do pins in judo have to be standard pins?

The answers given below are obviously correct as the Judo definition of a pin is a lot more loose that what the question suggests. However it made me think of something:

I can not remember ever having seen a pin in Judo that was so non-standard that I was unable to classify it as one of the standard pins. Does anyone of you know of such a technique (preferable one that could reasonably used in randori or shiai)?

  • There are four, arguably five groups of similar pins or gatame (tate-shiho, yoko-shiho, kami-shiho, kesa, (kata)). Probably every pin can be classified as belonging to one of the groups, but surely there are loads of different, non-standard pins. – Philip Klöcking Jul 8 at 21:32
  • My definition of standart here would be anything that belongs into any of the groups that Philip Klöcking listed. – NewEyes Jul 9 at 6:16

Seated on side-ribs

The current refereeing rules give two examples of invalid pins. One where tori is controlling uke by sitting on their side with legs under their body:

This kind of osaekomi-waza is not valid and the referee must call mate if there is no progression in the action.

enter image description here

Kesa-like holds without arm

They provide a further three examples where tori has their arm wrapped solely around uke's neck, which in addition to being non-standard will incur mate immediately (to prevent situations where uke may endanger their neck):

This kind of osaekomi-waza is not valid and the referee must call mate immediately.

enter image description here

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


There is also the crucifix hold, which as far as I'm aware does not come under any of the official Kodokan pin groupings:

enter image description here

Note: the Kodokan used to designate the collar choke executed from this position as jigoku-jime, but I believe it is now officially considered a variant of okuri-eri-jime.

Visually distinct but classified pins

Note that the Kodokan classifies the pin sankaku-gatame as a variant of kuzure-kami-shihi-gatame.

Higher quality images taken from: Explanatory guide of the judo refereeing rules 9 March 2018 (Referee Commission) (p.25).


Uki gatame is a Kodokan-classified pin that is neither a shiho nor a kesa type hold. This pin is most common from the position where tori is attempting ude-hishigi-juji-gatame with both legs over uke and decides to change from the arm lock to a pin.

uki gatame

Personally, I would also argue that pins from a sankaku position are also not shiho holds, but the Kodokan says otherwise.

  • Ura-gatame is another recently recognised pin by the IJF/Kodokan that doesn't come under a kuzure/ushiro variant of the traditional pins. – ukemi Jul 9 at 18:42
  • @ukemi The ura-gatame I have seen in referee materials is very similar to a ushiro kesa gatame. It was an annoying case where one player would have control of the other in a pin-like position that was explicitly not a judo pin because it did not look like a shiho or kesa position. As a coach, you would simply tell a player to rotate further into ushiro kesa gatame to get osaekomi. Now ura gatame is simply a pin. – mattm Jul 9 at 20:12

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