A Japanese term used in many Japanese martial arts, but most frequently in judo, that means "unbalancing" an opponent. There are eight directions of kuzushi, AKA...

Happo no Kuzushi

Imagine you are no standing...no, just stand up. Now, lean forward, lean backward, lean left, lean right. There are four directions, the other four are the corners--lean diagonally forward left, forward right, then back left, then back right.

Now, why is kuzushi important?

When you get kuzushi on your opponent, you are able to throw him to the ground in the direction of the kuzushi much easier than if you tried to overpower him or her. This conservation of energy, this efficiency of movements, is the heart of judo, and one of the reasons it is called the gentle way.

How can you achieve kuzushi on your opponent?

  • With the hands by pushing and pulling.
  • With the feet, by blocking the opponent from stepping forward.
  • With the body by bending, pivoting, twisting or bumping the opponent to unbalance.
  • And with your voice by distracting, or mentally unbalancing, the opponent. This is one of the purposes of the kiai, or spirit shout, that everybody on TV does. One of my favorite judo Kiais is "Oshh" (pronounced like the first syllable of Social). Its a mellow kiai, suitable for big guys in the middle of a big throw.

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