Kids Judo Books by Koka Kids
Judo Books by Koka Kids

9 Shadow Judo Exercises to do on your own

Shadow Judo (Tandoku-Renshu) is the perfect way to keep training when you can’t go to judo. Simply imagine you have a person (a shadow) in front of you to train with. Practise different judo throws, combinations – you can even do shadow randori!

What you will need:

  1. Your imagination
  2. Yourself
  3. A space
  4. Your parent’s permission

How to do Shadow Judo:

  1. Keep you eyes open throughout
  2. Imagine you have a shadow in front of you
  3. This shadow can be small, tall, light or heavy
  4. It can be slow, fast, tactical or technical.
  5. It is all up to you and your imagination.

Let’s begin

Below are 9 Shadow Judo exercises to get you started. Once you get the idea, then feel free to substitute different judo techniques – and invent your own games. Shadow judo can be a lot of fun!

Why not try the Uchi-Komi challenge with Shadow Judo!

First, a quick reminder!

We are going to use Ippon Seoi Nage for the next three exercises.

Here is a quick reminder on how to do Ippon Seoi Nage without a partner. This is called Shadow Judo.

Imagine you have hold of the collar and sleeve.

Turn in for an Ippon Seoi Nage. Make sure your feet are placed at hips width apart. Bend your knees and keep your back straight.

Pick your shadow up off the ground by straightening your legs.

Finish by throwing your shadow for a clean and controlled ippon!

For Beginners


Turn in for an Ippon Seoi Nage uchi-komi (as shown in the pictures above.) Make sure your technique is good. Check to see if you feet are placed properly. Then turn out again. Repeat ten times

2. Power Up

Now let’s power up! Turn in again, but this time lift your shadow up off the ground. Put your shadow back down on the floor and repeat. But be warned: each time your turn in your imaginary shadow gets heavier by 5 kilograms! So make sure you really bend your knees to lift your shadow off the ground. Keep going until your shadow becomes too heavy to lift.

3. Ippon Buster

Next let’s score some ippons! Turn in again, and throw your shadow, right over onto their back for a perfect ippon score. Make sure your shadow doesn’t land on the television or knock your mum’s pictures off the wall. You can do this as many times as you have energy. Each time you score a perfect ippon make sure you shout “ippon” loudly!

You could also use any of the following judo techniques: O-Goshi, Morote Seoi-Nage, Koshi-Guruma or Harai-Goshi.

For Intermediate Judoka

To do the next three shadow judo exercises you will need to know how to do: De-Ashi-Barai,  Kouchi-Gari and Ippon Seoi-Nage.

Judo throw de ash barai

4: Fast Feet

Let’s get our feet moving. Imagine your shadow taking a step to the side. As they step, sweep with De-Ashi-Barai. Repeat to the left and right. Watch this video of Yusuke Kanamura to see how to do this ashi-waza exercise like a champion.

5: Move it

Now your shadow is moving around you! Quick, take a grip and direct your shadow’s movement. Push and pull your shadow around. When you feel it is the right moment, turn in and attack. Use any technique you like. Aim to do 20 attacks before stopping for a breather.

6: Double Trouble

Now, let’s use Shadow Judo to practise a combination. First attack with Kouchi-Gari. Break your shadow’s balance. Make your shadow stumble backwards. Then allow your shadow to recover and walk back towards you. As your shadow comes forwards, quickly turn in for an Ippon Seoi Nage. Repeat until you feel you have nailed the movement.

For Advanced Judoka

For these advanced shadow circuits use your tokui-waza (favourite throws) or take a look at our ultimate guide which has all the judo throws if you are stuck for ideas!

To get a deeper understanding of how to use Tandoku Renshu to improve your technique take a look at this video clip.

O-soto-gari judo throw

7: Tokui Waza

Choose your tokui-waza (favourite technique) and turn in for 10 uchi-komi to the right, 10 to the left, 10 moving backwards, 10 moving forwards. Repeat with other waza (techniques) if you want to be brilliant.

8. Counter Attack

Yes, shadows can attack too! Allow your shadow to attack you with different techniques. Anticipate the attack and counter it. Repeat 10 times and each time allow your shadow to get closer to throwing you before you counter attack. If you are too slow, then let your shadow throw you!

9. Get a Grip

Practise getting your favourite grip (kumi-kata) and once you achieve it use it to dominate your shadow and attack. Practise against a left handed shadow then against a right handed shadow.


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