KOKAKIDS - Junior Judo Magazine
Kokakids - Junior Judo Magazine

The Top Scoring Judo Techniques for Olympic Judo

So which judo technique do you think was the top scoring waza at the London Olympic Games? And just how important is knowing that anyway?

Click on any of the links in this blog to take a look at that technique or go straight to our Technique Section to see all the Coaching Resources we have on teaching judo throws.



But to answer the first question…


According the London 2012 judo statistics that you can find at the European Judo Union Website:

Uchi Mata was the top scoring technique for the London 2012 women’s judo event, and by quite a difference.



Morote Seoi Nage was the top scoring technique for the London 2012 men’s judo event, and by an even bigger difference.




Top Scoring Techniques at the London Olympic Games

Taking all scores into account

1. Uchimata (22)
=2. Kouchi Gari (13) & Harai Goshi (13)
=3. Ippon Seoi Nage (12) & Ouchi Gari (12)

1. Morote Seoi Nage (39)
2. UchiMata (15)
3. Harai Goshi (12)


Just counting the ippons

1. Uchimata (7)
2. Ouchi Gari (5)
3. Kouchi Gari (4)

1. Morote Seoinage (12)
2. Harai Goshi (7)
3. Tai Otoshi (5)


Well that’s easy then.


Let’s just specialise in Uchimata (ladies) and Morote Seoi Nage (men). Introduce a good Kouchi Gari to the repertoire, if you can add a Harai Goshi and perhaps a few sneaky Tai Otoshi and hey, you’re already almost on that medal rostrum in Rio.

Nice short cut hey?

Save all those Osoto Gari uchikomi for a starters.


But we know it doesn’t work like that.


As we delve deeper into the stats provided by link it becomes clear that our top scoring techniques were also the most attempted techniques.

Lots of Uchi Mata and Morote Seoi Nage failed to score.

In fact, they failed a lot more than they worked.

Out of 322 attempts at Morote Seoi Nage for example only 44 scored.

Kosoto Gari was much more effective choice of waza for London Olympians. Only attempted 15 times throughout the whole Olympics but it resulted in 8 throws.


Or if you want to go further down this line of debate (for what it’s worth) Uki Goshi had a 100% ippon scoring success rate.


Before you spend hours in the dojo on this technique, do bear in mind, it was only tried once!

But then again, just how happy would you be about those hours you invested in Uki Goshi, if that one score, was an ippon at the Olympic Games?

Stats are of course always like this. You can pull them, bend them and read into them whatever you like really.

And you can have all the theory in the world tucked under your belt, but in a sport that relies as much on split second instincts and reactions as it does on strategy and tactics, you could be bowing off before you’ve even had time to get your spreadsheet out of your kit bag.

And so perhaps more important than the first question at to “Which was the Top Scoring Technique at the Games?” is the second question: “Just how important is knowing this anyway?”

Do stats like these really help us as judoka and coaches?

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I’d say yes, without doubt.

Stats allow us to make sense of and interpret a great deal of information. 

And once we’ve found the meaning – we can then begin applying it to our skill sessions at the Dojo.

We can develop training sessions around what we consider important.

It’s all in the reading and interpretation – and getting that part right is crucial.

Out of the whole report, if there is one statistic that I think does really tell us something important then it’s this: over 36 different tachiwaza techniques were used by competitors during the 2012 Olympic Games.

That’s an incredible diversity. 

Those 36 plus throws are a mix of the Gokyo, a myriad of Ashi-waza, Te waza, Sutemi waza and Koshi Waza.

And the majority of these 36 different Waza scored at least a yuko on the World’s Greatest Stage.

I think it’s the most revealing stat of them all.

It stresses the importance of developing as wide a range of techniques as possible.


There are so many variable factors in a judo contest, and so many different opponents you will meet over the duration of your competitive career, you need to have knowledge in all techniques.


At minimum enough knowledge to be able defend against every technique in the Gokyo. But really you should be able to do each technique, so that on that rare occasion, when opportunity calls, you can pull a Ura Nage or Hiza Guruma out of the bag. 


The Kodokan classify 67 techniques as part of the modern Gokyo, and time learning any of these techniques is never wasted.

Time may come in your career when you begin specialising on your Tokui-waza, but don’t specialise too soon.

But remember make sure you work on that Uchi Mata!