The IJF in 2013 (and the Kodokan in 2017) recognised two new pins as valid osaekomi-waza in competition: uki-gatame, and ura-gatame.

I have seen the term ura-gatame refer to at least 2 distinct positions:

  • a cradle
  • a crucifix1

In its explanatory notes, the IJF only includes example images of the former style hold.2

Is a crucifix also a valid osaekomi-waza in judo?

1. e.g. in Mizuno Kifune's "The Essence of Judo"
2. enter image description here


I do not know exactly what "cradle" or "crucifix" mean to you, but will try to explain how I have seen these terms used and how your examples relate.

Judo rule change

My understanding of the rule change you have illustrated is:

  1. The left position was a pin before, and is a pin now (ushiro kesa gatame).
  2. The right position was not a pin before, but is a pin now (ura gatame). The objection seems to have been that the right position is not a kesa or shiho like position because tori's back was to uke. I always thought this point was silly and I am glad this was changed; tori has no substantial improvement in position simply by turning their hips to the side.


When I hear the term cradle, I think of wrestling, not the ura gatame shown in the IJF rule changes. In the wrestling, Tori pushes uke's head and knee together and tori clasps hands to hold these together to control uke for back exposure.

The cradle can be done on either the near or far side. The near side cradle would probably be considered a kuzure yoko shiho gatame. The far side cradle is not a judo pin because tori's back is to the mat.


This is not a position I have studied formally, but when I have previously heard about this, it refers to an attacking position similar to blue's position in your right image. From this position, white's arms are tied up, and blue can strike with the free hand. This is not a judo pinning position for blue, but for white.

Mifune video called ura gatame

your example I would call this a competition judo pin. Tori has control of uke with shoulder exposure and is in a nominal shiho-like position, and tori would be expected to be able to separate if they desired (no leg control by uke). I, however, am not a referee of consequence, and I might expect to be overruled.

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