• Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • How do you fake out an opponent in Judo? Learn to take advantage of their reactions

Faking out your opponent in Judo involves creating a deceptive movement or feint to make them think you are going to execute a particular technique, only to execute a different one. Here are some ways to fake out your opponent in Judo:

Judo Fakes

Step 1: Use your footwork

Let's get right to it.

A key skill in combat sports is to use footwork to fake out your opponent. The objective is to move your feet in a way that makes your opponent believe you will attack in one direction, but ultimately attack in another.

The same strategy applies to striking. You can start punching in one direction and then abruptly switch to a completely different punch to become unpredictable.

To execute this effectively, you can try a feint with your lead foot by taking a small step as if you're about to attack in one direction, then quickly switching to attack in the COMPLETE opposite direction. Alternatively, you can use a "shuffle step" by quickly shuffling your feet in one direction, then switching to attack in the opposite direction.

It's essential not to over-commit with your hips as this will give away your true intentions and make it easier for your opponent to defend against the attack. Instead, focus on using your footwork to create an opening and move decisively when the opportunity presents itself.

Step 2: Create a reaction

Reality is…

To fake a throw, you can begin by setting up for a specific throw, such as an Osoto Gari or Uchi Mata. As you approach your opponent, you can initiate the motion of the throw, but then suddenly stop or change direction, causing your opponent to react by shifting their weight or moving in a certain way.

Let me explain…

Once your opponent has reacted, you can use their movement or positioning to your advantage to execute a different throw or technique.

They have to react somehow. If they don't react at all, just throw them. 

For example, if your opponent has shifted their weight to defend against your initial fake throw, you may be able to quickly transition to a different throw that takes advantage of their off-balance position.

Faking a throw can be an effective technique for both offensive and defensive purposes. If you are on the defensive and your opponent is pressuring you with attacks, you can use a fake throw to create space and force them to reset their attack.

Fake outs

Step 3: Capitlilize on their reaction

Bottom line is…

To take full advantage of your opponent's reaction, one must keep a keen eye on their movements and act with agility. Swiftly execute your technique once your opponent reacts to your feint, with a resolute and decisive approach.

It is imperative to study your opponent's every movement, adjusting your strategy accordingly. Observe their footwork, body positioning, and balance to strike at precisely the right moment.

Upon committing to your technique, utilize your entire body to produce maximum power and momentum, following through with your move until your opponent is thoroughly immobilized or thrown.

To fully capitalize on your adversary's reaction, a range of Judo techniques can be employed to seize upon any openings. Such techniques include Osoto-Gari, Uchi-Mata, Harai-Goshi, and Ouchi-Gari. Each technique requires unique footwork and hand placement to execute effectively, and one must be mindful of timing and precision to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by your opponent's reaction.

Here is a short list of throws that change directions:

  • Switching from Seoi Nage to Seoi Otoshi
  • Transitioning from Ippon Seoi Nage to Seoi Otoshi
  • Following up Ko Uchi Gari with Seoi Nage
  • Switching from Ko Uchi Gari to O Uchi Gari
  • Combining O Uchi Gari with Tai Otoshi
  • Combining O Uchi Gari with Ko Uchi Gari
  • Combining O Uchi Gari with Uchi Mata
  • Following up Uchi Mata with O Uchi Gari or Ko Uchi Gari
  • Combining Tai Otoshi with O Uchi Gari
  • Combining Ko Soto Gari with Tai Otoshi
  • Following up Hiza Guruma with O Soto Gari or De Ashi Harai
  • Combining O Soto Gari with Ko Soto Gari
  • Following up Hiza Guruma with Harai Goshi
  • Combining Hane Goshi with O Soto Gari
  • Combining Tsuri Komi Goshi with Sukui Nage or O Uchi Gari
  • Feinting

    Bonus Tip:

    Here's something you probably don't know about...Use timing and rhythm: You can fake out your opponent by changing the timing and rhythm of your movements. For example, if you have been executing techniques with a certain rhythm, you can suddenly change the rhythm to throw your opponent off balance. 

    What are some other ways you can use your feet to deceive your opponent in Judo? How can you improve your footwork to become a more unpredictable fighter? With practice and determination, you can master this fundamental skill and become a force to be reckoned with on the mat.