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" with tori's back facing uke
  • a crucifix1

In its explanatory notes, the IJF only includes example images of the former style hold,2 and it seems that the crucifix position from jigoku-jime may now be considered a pin for uke.

Is a crucifix also a valid osaekomi-waza in judo? Either in the standard jigoku-jime position0 or the rotated version demonstrated by Mifune.1


0. enter image description here
1. enter image description here Kyuzo Mifune "The Essence of Judo"
2. enter image description here IJF Rules 2018-2020, Immobilisations (Osae-komi)


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.

In the jigoku jime position, the choker definitely does not have a pin (osaekomi) because they are underneath. The person being choked may have osaekomi depending on the situation. In your picture #0, the person being choked is not in control and would not have a pin. It's possible, however, to have a ura gatame pin and be choked by the opponent in the pin, as in #2 right. The situation of one player having a pin and the other choking is also possible in kesa gatame, for example.

Mifune video called ura gatame

your example Upon reconsideration, I think this is not a pin. From Article 17 - Osaekomi-waza of the IJF SOR:

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.

Uke is not underneath tori.

  • Ah, apologies if I was using cradle in the wrong way. I assumed it to mean any position where you were 'cradling' the opponent's leg with one arm and their head/arm with the other, irrespective of which way you were facing them (i.e. in its most general sense would include both yoko-shiho-gatame and the ura-gatame in the images in the question, but the specific technique I was referring to by that term was the ura-gatame in that picture). – ukemi Aug 27 at 11:05
  • By crucifix I meant a position where you have control of one arm/head with your arms, and uke's other arm with your legs, but I now realise my description was ambiguous and could fall into two versions - the standard one used in jigoku-jime, with your back to the mat, and the version I linked to that Mifune is demonstrating, rotated with his front to the mat. – ukemi Aug 27 at 11:07
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    @ukemi No need to apologize; there isn't necessarily a wrong way, but different usages of the same terms can cause confusion. I have revised answer, and actually changed my mind about the Mifune example based on rereading the referee rules. – mattm Aug 27 at 18:02
  • Ah that clarifies it then - none of the crucifix variants I've seen would qualify as a pin in that case. – ukemi Aug 27 at 18:50

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