Korean Names of the 12 Most Popular Judo Techniques

Special thanks to my friends over at 90 Day Korean who helped with putting this article together. They were key in helping to link up the meanings of Korean terminology and how they apply to the judo techniques.

For the Korean language learning folks out there, you may know that learning anything when in the context of something that interests you will greatly increase the likelihood of committing it to long-term memory.

For the judo fans, you may be familiar with a lot of the popular terms for judo techniques in Japanese. In fact, you SHOULD know the Japanese nomenclature if you have any kind of rank above white belt.

But did you know that there is a different set of terms to describe the same Judo (유도) techniques in Korean?

That’s right! Most of the Japanese words and Korean words in judo are completely different! That may seem obvious since they are different languages. However, there are a few reasons why this is surprising.

The sport of judo was created in Japan. Many words in the Korean language are derived from other languages like Chinese, Japanese, and English. Korea and Japan are close neighbors, so they often borrow words from each other.

For those reasons, it’s interesting to realize that Korea has their own set of terms related to judo. The reason for this is that the root meanings of the techniques are more logically assimilated to the average Korean by using their native language.

Thinking of heading to Korea to practice judo? Or maybe you’re already here, and you want to be able to communicate better. We’ve got you covered!

Take a look below at the Korean names for the 12 most popular judo techniques. We’ll also give you a breakdown of the words in Korean so you can get a feel for what they mean in judo context. The meanings aren’t always obvious. However, if you break them down, they may be easier to remember.

Note: If you can’t yet read Hangul (the Korean Alphabet), you can learn for free in about 60 minutes by downloading this useful guide here.

90 Day KoreanFor the sake of this article, and fellow judokas out there, we will refer to the attacker and defender as we commonly know as tori (attacker) and uke (defender).

The purpose of this article is not to present the minutia of the throws, but rather to highlight the points where each technique name was derived. In this way, we can explain how the Korean terminology is reflective of the essentials of the associated Japanese terms.

Are you ready?

시작! (Start!)

Seoi Nage: Shoulder Throw (업어치기 = eo-beo-chi-gi)

This is a basic, standard shoulder throw like in the movies. Tori pulls uke onto their right shoulder by pulling their right sleeve. Simultaneously, tori turns around so their back is facing uke. Tori’s right hip blocks uke’s right hip. Tori then lifts uke off the ground with their shoulder and throws them onto their back.

업어치기: This is two verbs put together. 업다 means “to carry on one’s back”. 치다 means “to hit, strike, or punch” or throw in judo’s case

The verb 업다 is a way to describe a piggy-back ride in Korean. However, this one’s a bit different. You’re going to use that piggy-back ride (업다) to strike (throw) your opponent (치다). Sounds fun, doesn’t it?!


Ko Uchi Gari: Minor Inner Reap (안뒤축후리기 = an-dwi-chug-hu-ri-gi)

Tori uses their right foot to catch uke’s right foot as they are stepping forward. Tori sweeps uke’s foot forward and out from underneath them. Again, like cutting their leg out from beneath them.

안: inside or inner

뒤축: heel

후리기 is from the verb 후리다, which means “to cut down”.

You will use your inner heel, or instep, (안위축) to cut down (후리기) uke’s advancing leg out from underneath them. Also, you want to cup uke’s heel with your instep for best execution. Again, referencing (안위축).

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform Seoi Nage (업어치기) in combination with Ko Uchi Gari (안뒤축후리기) below.


Harai Goshi: Sweeping Hip Throw (허리후리기 = heo-ri-hu-ri-gi)

Tori pulls uke to them and places the back of their right leg across uke’s right leg. Tori’s right hip is also across uke’s right hip. Tori sweeps their leg back in a reaping or “cutting” motion taking out uke’s legs from beneath them and they land on their back.

허리: waist, the small of one’s back

후리기 is from the verb 후리다. This verb is commonly known as “to seduce” in Korean, but it has a different meaning here. It means to “cut down”, similar to cutting down grass with a sickle.

Therefore, this move is to cut someone down (후리기) using your waist/hip when they are at the small of your back (허리).

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform Harai Goshi (허리후리기) below.


O Goshi: Major Hip Throw (허리껴치기 = heo-ri-kkyeo-chi-gi)

Tori’s right arm goes around uke’s waist. Tori turns and steps across uke’s body while pulling them onto their back. Tori’s right hip will block uke’s right hip fully. Tori then rolls uke over their hip and onto their back. Think very basic hip toss.

허리: back

껴 is short for the verb 끼우다, which means “to put” or “to insert”

치기: This comes from the verb 치다, meaning “to hit, strike, or punch”, or to throw in judo’s case

The 허리껴치기 starts with 허리, so you know your opponent will be at your back. You’ll insert (겨) your right hip across their right hip, and “strike” by rolling him over (치다).

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform O Goshi (허리껴치기) below.


O Soto Gari: Major Outer Reap (밭다리후리기 = bat-da-ri-hu-ri-gi)

Tori steps with their left foot to uke’s right side (to the outside of uke’s legs, not between them). Tori’s right leg then lifts up and then swings backwards, reaping or cutting uke’s right leg out from underneath them. As tori cuts (reaps) backwards, they push uke backwards and onto their back.

밭: outside or outer

다리: leg

후리기 is from the verb 후리다, which means “to cut down”.

You will cut or reap your opponent’s right leg from the outside, which explains the “outside leg” (밭다리) part. Then you’ll “cut down” your opponent by reaping their leg out from under them.

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform O Soto Gari (밭다리후리기) below.


Tai Otoshi: Body Drop (빗당겨치기 = bit-dang-gyeo-chi-gi)

By virtue of the name of this technique, tori is not throwing uke per se. First, tori off-balances uke by pushing them sideways to their right. Tori then steps their right leg all the way across uke’s right leg. When tori steps their leg across, they block uke’s leg and then pull them causing uke to trip and fall over tori’s leg. This is why it’s called a body drop. Uke actually trips over tori’s leg and drops in that very spot. Make sense?

빗: sideways or crooked

당겨: From the verb 당기다, which means to pull.

치기: This comes from the verb 치다, meaning “to hit, strike, or punch” or throw in judo’s case

If we separate out the words for 빗당겨치기, it means “sideways pull strike”. You push your opponent off-balance in a “sideways” manner. You complete the throw or “strike” (치기) by “pulling” (당겨) uke over your extended leg now that they are off-balanced.

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform Tai Otoshi (빗당겨치기) below.


Tsurikomi Goshi: Lifting and pulling hip throw (허리채기 = heo-ri-chae-gi)

Tori’s back is to uke’s back. Tori’s right hip is blocking uke’s right hip. Tori’s right hand collar grip lifts upward and pulls forward at the same time as they crouch down. This makes uke lose balance high above tori and uke falls forward and onto their back.

허리: back

채다: This means to “snatch (away)”, as in a thief stealing someone’s purse.

This throw starts with 허리 (back), so you know that your opponent will be at your back. You’re going to grab them by the collar and “snatch” him upward while pulling forward. They lose their balance and fall over you.

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform a variation of Tsurikomi Goshi (허리채기) called “Sode Tsurikomi Goshi” below.


Uchi Mata: Inner Thigh Throw (허벅다리걸기 = heo-beok-da-ri-geol-gi)

Tori’s back is facing uke. Tori’s right leg goes between uke’s legs as it kicks backwards and upward as a horse would kick. Tori leg is hitting uke’s inner thigh lifting them off the ground as they kick backwards, hence, inner thigh throw.

허벅다리: thigh

걸기: This comes from the verb 걸다, which has many meanings. In this case, it means “to trip” or throw.

You’re going to attack your opponent’s inner “thigh” (허벅다리) to “trip” (걸기) or throw them.

You can watch an 8th dan Korean judo master perform Uchi Mata (허벅다리걸기) below.




O Uchi Gari: Major Inner Reap (안다리후리기 = an-da-ri-hu-ri-gi)

Tori’s right leg goes between uke’s legs and sweeps their left leg in a hooking motion. Simultaneously, tori pushes uke backwards and onto their back. Again, tori is using a reaping or cutting motion to sweep uke’s leg out from under them.

안: inside or inner

다리: leg

후리기 is from the verb 후리다, which means “to cut down”.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? This one is similar to the 밭다리후리기, except you’re going to put your leg between your opponent’s leg from the inside (안).


Okuri Ashi Harai: Sliding Foot Sweep (모두걸기 = mo-du-geol-gi)

As tori and uke move sideways together, like two people dancing or skipping sideways, tori sweeps both of uke’s feet out from underneath them. Tori pushes one of uke’s feet into the other so both are swept.

모두: all

걸기: This comes from the verb 걸다, which has many meanings. In this case, it means “to trip”.

You can think of this one as “all trip” (모두 + 걸기). The 모두 part comes from the fact that you’re sweeping “both” (all) of your opponents feet out from under them.


Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi: lifting pulling ankle block (발목받치기 = bal-mok-bad-chi-gi)

Tori pulls uke forward causing them to advance their right foot forward. This advancing foot is now supporting uke’s weight as their momentum carries them forward. Tori first blocks uke’s advancing foot (at the ankle) with their left foot, then lifts and pulls uke’s sleeve over their own blocked foot/ankle which causes them to trip forward.

발목: ankle

받치기: This comes from the verb 받치다, which means “to support”, as in holding something up. Here, uke’s foot that stepped forward is now their “supporting” leg where their balance lies.

With this judo throw, you are using your left foot instep to block your opponent’s right ankle (발목) as they are stepping forward. Then, you’re going to pull them over their “supporting” (받치기) leg so they fall forward.


Uki Goshi: Floating hip throw (허리띄기 = heo-ri-ddui-gi)

Similar to O Goshi but tori does not roll uke over their hip for uki goshi. Tori twists or swings uke around in a circular, rotating motion. The hip placement and movement in this judo throw causes uke to swing around tori’s waist, similar to the way a hula hoop rotates around your waist. Tori places their hip a bit more than halfway between uke’s hips, as opposed to fully across as in O Goshi. This allows tori’s hip to act as a fulcrum to pop uke off the ground.

허리: back

띄기: This word comes from the verb 띄우다, which means “to fly, float, or launch (something)”

허리띄기 begins with the word 허리, so your opponent will be at your back. After you pull them onto your hip, you’re going to launch or float (띄기) your opponent off the ground and around your waist, and drop them on their back.

Judo is a highly technical game. The ability to throw a resisting opponent takes a great deal of practice and know-how. This is why there are 67 throws currently included in the judo curriculum. Understanding the fundamental components of each judo throw, as indicated by their names, will help you to master their effectiveness.

And don’t forget there is the whole ground-fighting aspect of judo as well! I’ll save that for another article.

Hopefully this article helped you to understand (or learn) judo a little better. Also, I hope it helped you understand the Korean terms for judo throws, and how to remember them. You should have no problem knowing how to say “piggyback” now.

What is your favorite judo throw?

Share Your Thoughts


Loading Facebook Comments ...