5 Ways to Transfer Your Judo Techniques to Wrestling

By Elizabeth Dosado

In the combat world, we often see technique translating from one sport to another. One of the most translatable combat cross-overs, is judo to wrestling. When I started wrestling, I had difficulty with my technique as judo was my first sport. created a strange style of wrestling for me at first, as I didn’t know how to combine the two. However, I started seeing a progression in both sports once I learned how to marry both styles. Modifying the moves from judo to wrestling can be a bit tricky, but doing so can really improve your skill set. Applying judo concepts to wrestling throws will help to create a better understanding of throws overall. This article is a compilation of the judo throws I have been able to successfully incorporate into my wrestling.  

The physics of judo throws vs. wrestling throws

In both wrestling and judo, the concept of action-reaction is essential. The main difference between judo and wrestling is the concept of kuzushi (off-balance) and posture. The creation of this off-balance is very different between the two sports. Due to the judogi (robe-like uniform judoka wear), off-balance is generated easier due to the ability to grip your opponent’s gi. Also, the posture used when doing a judo throw is very straight up. However in wrestling, the tie ups must be modified in order to generate enough momentum for a judo throw.  stance also changes the way a judo throw is performed in order to be effective.

Making the Adjustments

Adjustments of judo throws to wrestling are primarily based on compensating for the lack of a gi. The footwork for the throws remains the same, with the main changes occuring in the grips/tie-ups. There will also be a difference in the way a reaction is generated, since  a wrestler moves differently in response to being thrown from that of a judoka.


An Ogoshi throw is made possible by getting your hips through and sending your opponent flying to to their back. A judoka will use the gi as ameans to grip and pull their opponent close enough to throw. However, the best position when you’re translating this to wrestling will be in an over/under position. Your arms must be locked down tightly by trapping your opponent's arm to your rib cage with your elbow, and gripping their back with your other hand. In order to replicate this movement, you must practice pulling your opponent towards your body and sending your hips through just like in judo.


Ippon seonage

An ippon seonage throw is generally done from a standard gi grip. Once the off balance is created, the thrower will place their dominant arm in a position in which it looks like they’re “making a muscle” and will place it underneath and snug into their partner’s armpit. At this point, the partner is loaded onto the back and thrown. In wrestling, this is often done from an over/under position. The off balance can be easily created through pulling the overhook, and getting your partner on their toes.



Harai-goshi can be done with an around the back grip or an around the head grip. With these grips, the judogi provides little difference. This throw is similar to that of a “head and arm” in wrestling. However, there is a stark difference in the execution of the throw. Rather than simply throwing your hip through, you also reap with you leg. This reap is aimed towards the opponent’s outer thigh, and is the thigh on the same side as your dominant side (you will reap with your dominant leg). This throw is especially brutal, since it captures the opponent’s leg to further ensure the throw.



Footsweeps are a bit more tricky to set up in wrestling. If done properly, it will make your opponent afraid of even having their feet around you. A common set up for footsweeps in wrestling is done with an over/under grip. The opponent is moved in a circle through pushing/pulling with the over/under and the foot closest is swept. Footsweeps can also be done in wrestling with a two-on-one grip, in which the two-on-one is thrown and the closest foot is swept.

Uchi Mata.gif

Uchi Mata

Uchi mata is similar to harai-goshi in that it is also a reap. In judo, uchi mata is generally performed from an over the back grip on the gi. In wrestling, uchi mata is super effective from an under-hook. It is essential that when doing an uchi mata in wrestling that one throws up the under-hook as they reap towards the inner thigh and throw.

Ultimately, it is clear that there are many benefits to including judo in one’s wrestling game. These are the moves that can score a critical 4 or 5 pointer, which could turn around the outcome of a match. Additionally, learning these moves will add more variety to one’s arsenal. Sometimes, keeping an open mind in your training journey can make all the difference.

Elizabeth Dosado is from Ruther Glen, Virginia. She is 16, and going into her junior year in high school. She has been practicing judo for three years, and is currently a blue belt. She just completed her third wrestling season. Elizabeth teaches beginner wrestlers in local high schools in an effort to grow the sport for girls in her area.

Elizabeth was fourth in the region during the school season, and made it to Virginia State as the only girl in the 4A division. She is a three time VAWA Girls Folkstyle champion, a two time VAWA Girls Freestyle champion, and has competed nationally representing the Virginia National Team. If she isn't working out or doing combat sports, Elizabeth can be found fiddling with a guitar, singing to herself, or trying her hand at writing. She has done multiple mission trips through her church, and participates in the Army JROTC through her school. 

Dear Fargo Wrestlers...

 katherine's fargo throwback- 2003

katherine's fargo throwback- 2003

Fargo! The crown jewel of our nation’s national high school tournaments. A huge undertaking for all involved. I've watched girls prepping, planning, excitement stirring...it's the biggest (figuratively and by actual size) tournament of the year for high school athletes who continue on to freestyle and greco. For a small percentage, it's triumph and success, and for others, it's heartbreak and disappointment. The first year I coached Fargo, I had just competed three and a half months prior at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Switching gears on my perspective was a challenge. I had just spent a career completely focusing on myself and my own training. You don't always remember the similar struggles of your youth, especially when you spend years conditioning yourself to a mindset always focused on moving forward and improving. However it was exciting to support young athletes through this huge event, as I had just done the same.

When you arrive at the national tournament, the seasoned Fargo coaches stand out. They know the stats of the wrestlers, who’s beaten who, and why so-and-so shouldn't lose to so-and-so. It was hard to bring myself to the same state of mind. I knew the stats were important to these athletes, but as a coach with my long athletic career perspective, I saw it as an advantage to be unfamiliar with everyone's record. I was able to stay grounded in the moment along with my athlete, and I believe they appreciated the redirection of focus. The more the coach is focused on what should have happened, the less they are focused on the process for the athlete. It is immensely important for the coach to stay in the moment. It’s a false notion that you need to tell your athlete everything about their next opponent. Give them key points on offense and defense, then allow them to put their focus back to their warm up, back to their process.

My advice for coaches: help your athletes understand the importance of properly preparing for a big tournament, and how those skills will transfer into every aspect of life. Teach them how to move forward quickly, win or lose. It's important to not ride the high highs, or the low lows. It is easy to get caught up in all encompassing magnitude of the Junior and Cadet Nationals. It’s important to bring yourself back to the ground, so you're athletes can also see that it's not the end-all-be-all.

Some of these young athletes will continue on and have college careers, some will decide to go even further and test out an international career, and some will be done after their senior year. When I competed at Fargo, I thought this tournament would decide my future. I thought it would give me the perspective of what level I was on, and how I could move forward with my career as a wrestler. Fighting through mostly disappointing performances at Fargo became the true test of how my career would be shaped. I was the one who continued even when I wasn't on the top of the podium.

The lesson for the athlete: use the experience, excitement, victories, and heartbreaks to fuel your next move. Never allow one tournament to shape the choices you make, or the path you take. Wrestling is a sport about not only inches, but centimeters. Success at Fargo can create opportunities, but only you can take full advantage of what is presented.

Jenna Burkert: What's Your Why?

 photo: richard immel

photo: richard immel

What is your why? Can you even remember anymore? When you do something for so long, its almost inevitable for your 'why' to come into question. Your why is the reason behind your effort. It is what keeps you driven, if you don’t have a why you may be weak when things get hard. 

Take me for example, I have been wrestling for nineteen years. Now 25-years-old, that’s almost my whole life. I say that with a laugh, can you believe I have laced up my wrestling shoes almost every day for nineteen years? Well I have, but not without the reminder of my 'why.' I emphasize the number of years because it's a long time to keep motivated. I’d be a liar if I told you I never wanted to quit. There have been days that I was so sore, so beat up from practices and workouts, that heck yea I wanted to quit. After those hard days I had to work hard to remind myself why I still compete in wrestling. 

My why is my pure love for the sport. 

My why is the countless hours I have dedicated to become the best.

My why is because at almost 5 years old I saw the Winter Olympics on tv, and knew I had to be there. It didn't matter to me that wrestling wasn't in those Winter Olympics, because the Olympic movement is what set the fire in my eyes and ignited the passion in my heart. I knew I wanted to be the best, and the very best competed at the Olympics. 

 photo: tony rotundo

photo: tony rotundo

On the hard days, weeks, and months, I have to remind myself of why I began wrestling in the first place. Your own personal why can be anything. When you fall down seven times, it's the why that gets you up on the eighth time. Some of my greatest victories came right after huge challenges which had made me question if I should leave the sport. Digging through those thoughts helped me realize I didn't want to give up on my goals. At some point, I won’t be able to keep competing and I will have to retire. This reality helps ensure I make the most of every time I am able to step on the mat. I don’t know a single athlete who have never had thoughts about quitting. Take comfort knowing it is okay to question if you want to continue on. Maybe that’s a sign you need a break, or time to do cross-training. Whether you are wrestling or competing in any sport, your why is your biggest weapon. 

Life is hard. Those three words are the honest truth. There are going to be many hard times in your life. It may be sports, school, relationships, or maybe even filing your taxes. Something out there will make you question if you can do it. Your why is your back bone, and it’s the strength that will help you continue on. With social media dominating our every move, it's easy to think everyone else lives perfect, happy lives. This is deceiving and is never the full truth. We don’t see the struggles or the bad days, we only see an image or a ten second video.

I’ll give you guys an example of life throwing curveballs. Three and a half weeks before this year’s U.S. Open, I fractured my ankle along with a high ankle sprain. Let me tell you, my heart ached and I was absolutely devastated. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. As I sat in the hospital listening to the orthopedic surgeon tell me the news, I couldn't stop shaking my head. The doctor told me I would be in a boot, and I most likely should not compete at nationals. With the qualification system requiring us to compete at the U.S. Open, I knew I had to compete because missing nationals would end my season. My eyes fill up with tears, but I knew I had to find a way to be at nationals. I walked out of that room with my mind set on competing. My physical therapist and athletic trainers came up with a plan heading into the open. I would have to be extremely cautious and the most disciplined I had ever been. I had rehab exercises before and after every workout, and I taped up for wrestling practice. If I wasn’t on the mat, I religiously wore my boot. Fast forward, I ended up placing third at nationals, going on to win the world team trials, and then ultimately fell short at Final X. Despite not representing the U.S. at worlds this year, I overcame so much and I stand with my head held high. It’s tough doing what I did, I had to compete with little to no strength in my ankle to push off, but I found a way. I may not have made the world team this year, but I proved to myself just how strong I am. I will rise again, and just like they say, the sun still comes up the next day. So, keep pushing, chase those dreams, and always believe in yourself. 

Life is tough, but so are you.

Jenna Burkert is a 4x National Team Member, 3x Junior World Team Member, and a 2014 Senior World Team Member. She wrestles for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and was 4th at the Military Worlds in 2017. She was 5th at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games as the only female representing the U.S. 

Jenna wants you to reach out to her through social media! She loves working with and answer young athlete's questions, so send them her way!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejokerjb_/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thejokerjb

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/JennaBurkertfanPage/ 


Why Continued Education is Mandatory for Coaches in Today's Climate

 photo by michael vayan

photo by michael vayan

Over the past twenty years, college wrestling programs across the US have been drastically cut. An unforeseen result of the loss of these programs was the loss of growth in the new coaches arena. As programs are beginning to expand once again, and exponentially in the women's sector, there is a shortage of wrestling coaches available for these opportunities. Enter the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). Their goal is to ensure opportunities in wrestling for future generations by bringing the wrestling community together. Through their leadership academy, they have developed coaching and training opportunities for both male and female coaches. The ever growing responsibilities of a modern day wrestling coach has created a need for the tools provided by the NWCA. Here are a few reasons this kind of opportunity is essential:  

Why it's important

The engagement and importance of a "CEO" style coach is becoming necessary in today's college programs. However, not everyone innately possess these skills. Most learn from mentors or from external resources, which teach them how to become the best all around coach they can. Learning through resources on your own is time consuming, and not everyone may have the means to contact the right mentor. It is essential to take advantage of workshop-like opportunities to further a coach's arsenal of capabilities. 

Program essentials

The need for a program to be successful has been redefined. No longer can your athletes only be equipped with good technique and a school uniform to sufficiently compete. Today, in order to sustain a program, a coach must be supported by fundraising, travel, equipment, and proper training volumes and phases for peaking and tapering. What is required for a coach today is a completely different animal from the coach of 20 years ago. Without empowering yourself to expand your knowledge and ability to maintain a program, it will be difficult to pass those skills along to your athletes. Just like the skills and capabilities needed to be successful in the work force of today, so have the skills for a coach expanded. 

Shortage of coaches

The sport for women is growing faster than we have coaches available take up programs and positions. This starts at the increasing number of college programs, and trickles down to the needs at the youth levels. This means it is imperative for both men and women to continue their coaches education in order to meet the demand. Creating a highly educated group of coaches will create high level social, leadership, management, adaptability, and wrestling skills being taught to elementary age kids through college. 

 2016 NWCA Leadership academy for women's programs

2016 NWCA Leadership academy for women's programs

You're not sure how to get back into coaching

Sometimes we don't even know where to start. Getting back into the coaching world can be intimidating, especially if the coaching in your area is very established. There is always a need for extra support when it comes to creating opportunities for kids. You don't need to be searching for a college position in order to support the growth of the sport. It is not uncommon for a head coach to become stretched thin, especially if they have multiple age or gender groups they must accommodate. Make yourself available. The more coaching education background and experience you can provide, the more you can market your skills. There are always needs for specific technique areas, getting kids to competitions, and fundraising management. There is easily a hole that will need to be filled with your expertise. From there, the more support you can create for a program, the more experience you will gain and be an asset as an assistant coach or head coach in the future. We forget that most people who are "on top," (i.e. head coach at a college or university) started with being a volunteer in the room in whatever capacity was needed. 

Increase your confidence

Not everyone finishes their competitive career and immediately feels like they can be a confident coach. Not everyone who decides to coach wrestling has had wrestling experience themselves. Many amazing youth wrestling coaches may have never competed a day themselves, but have been successful due to their ability to bring a team and resources together to create a successful program. This is due to their ability to recognize key attributes needed in a coach, and to capitalize on their own strengths. Arm yourself with skills through a well thought out program. Sarah Bollinger attended the coaches academy in 2016 when she first started coaching. Attending the seminars helped her lay a path for success:

"I was able to learn a lot from (attending) the different seminars and the online modules. After that, NWCA has always looked out for me, and with the help of Mike Moyer, I just took a head coaching position at a new program! They have continually supported me every step of the way. I’m happy I was able to attend the Women’s Leadership Academy."
-Sarah Bollinger, Head Women's Coach Southwestern College

Know where you stand

Do you know what your strengths are? Your weaknesses are? Why you haven't gone back into the wrestling room to begin coaching? Why are you not as confident in the room around the athletes/parents/other coaches as you could be? Especially if you are looking to accommodate the needs of a specific age group, the NWCA resources will help you learn how to do just that. 

Academy details

The NWCA leadership program was developed by Dr. Dan Gould of Michigan State University and will will be held July 31st through August 2nd. By applying, you have the opportunity to receive a full scholarship to attend the program. If you are a coach looking to further your career as an assistant or head coach of a college program, there are always skills to add to your resume! Along with these college-specific coaching academies, the NWCA has resources for any level coach.

Are you convinced this is right for you? Then get going on that application!




Why Men's Wrestling Gear Doesn't Cut it for Women

This blog is in partnership with MyHouseSports

I want to be open and candid about wrestling partnerships. First, if we don't work together to build a community of businesses that provide wrestlers what they need, then it makes it difficult for people to create a living around the sport and then in turn give back to the sport what it needs. Second, I am thoroughly impressed by what MyHouseSports Gear has created, and the gear they are providing for girls in our sport. I did not have this while I was wrestling, and it is still limited as to what is provided for us. 

I still own my first wrestling t-shirt that was bought for me as an elementary school wrestler. Even though the graphic of the wrestlers on the tee is rather weird, at the time I didn't care. There were women on it, and it was something made for me! Since that time, I have been extremely passionate about gear for women in wrestling. Throughout college I pushed and helped get women's cut clothing for our team. On the national team, I worked on the fit and feel of women's cut singlets for my wrestling club the New York Athletic Club. Today, I am passionate about helping girls find sports bras, shorts, and practice gear that fits their bodies and helps performance. 

But why all the trouble? Not only are there barriers to entry for girls in the sport of wrestling, but the last thing we want to have happen is a wardrobe malfunction. Baggy men's shorts, t-shirts that don't fit our bodies, and less-than-supportive sports bras are a recipe for disaster in a wrestling room –– especially if you are the only female in the room. 

This is why I am partnering with and bringing you to a company who has taken the time to make sure the gear fits well and performs well on female athletes at different sizes. I was so impressed when they discussed the different methods they used ensuring that their singlets fit girls and women at different sizes and how they had to adjust the neck line so girls could get the singlet up over their hips. Now that's what I'm talking about, a company that understands we have hips! I know many of you have and are still wearing boys singlets. How frustrating is it when your teammates are confused as to why you are complaining about the fit? It may be obvious to us, but not as obvious to the opposite gender that boys gear just doesn't cut it anymore. And it shouldn't! 

MHS is offering LuchaFIT readers an exclusive 10% off* on products when you order with the code LUCHA. Here are my favorite products from MHS right now and why I love it:

*note: coupon code does not work on sale items, custom team gear, or team stores


These take the cake. It is rare that I practice in shorts anymore. I am drawn to workout gear that covers more surface area (preventing mat burn, skin infections, and just all around comfort). I am a stickler about the see-through factor, as leggings are a no go if you can tell the color of what you are wearing underneath, and these create the ability for you to wear whatever you want underneath! Waist band is next in my book. With out a secure waist band, the fit around your legs means nothing. With a thicker waist band on the MyHouseSport leggings, I feel extremely comfortable moving, sprawling, and working on my par-terre defense! They've sent me samples, and i've put them through the ringer of hard practices, multiple wash cycles, and they still feel as good as my Lululemon leggings that were 2-3x the price. 



These singlets are a great addition, especially for the freestyle season. What makes freestyle singlets different from regular season? You need two singlets, one red and one blue. The singlet can have any design, but needs to distinctly show a red or blue stripe on each leg and across the back. If you are wrestling internationally, the federation is beginning to request that the singlet cut is done in the racer back style. MyHouseSports Gear allows you to customize your singlets for your team, or for yourself! 


Compression top and shorts

Since the NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) has approved the two-piece competition uniform, more wrestlers have began to choose this option. The availability of shorts and compression tops for girls is quite limited. However, MHS has seen the need for this option and created gear for the girls looking for a different option than competing in a singlet.