How To Do Kata Guruma: Step-by-Step Guide

Kata Guruma or the fireman’s carry was once one of the most used throws in Judo. After 2010, the International Judo Federation IJF decided to ban any grabbing of the legs or trousers in competition, therefore, techniques like Kata Guruma became less used in competition.

Luckily, Judo masters around the World did not give up on this technique and created a new version of it where there is no grabbing of the legs.

This is traditional Kata guruma where legs get grabbed. This version has been banned by IJF rules since 2010.

This is a compilation of the legal Kata  guruma where legs are not grabbed

In this guide, you will learn how to do the legal version of Kata guruma where it doesn’t involve grabbing the legs.

If you are interested in learning the full version of Kata guruma/fireman’s carry without the gi and with leg grabbing, we have dedicated a full article for it.

How to do Kata Guruma? (No leg grabbing)

1. How to grip the gi for Kata guruma (Kumi kata)


Every throw starts by hand positioning and grip fighting, the game is to get the superior grip and stop your opponent from dominating your grip.

Your gripping should never be static, you should always be moving forward and backward and circling to confuse your opponent.

Always deceive and change grips whenever your opponent thinks that they’ve got it figured out.

Use shoulder rolls to make your opponent release a superior grip, also use footwork and weight shifting to confuse them.

If you have done all that correctly your opponent would be in total confusion by now, not knowing what throw you are intending to execute.

Now, it is time to apply this grip to initiate the throw. You want to have the following grips:

  • With your right hand, grab your opponent’s left tricep from the gi
  • With your left hand, grab your opponent’s right wrist from the sleeve

2. Elevate Your opponent’s arm


Create space for you to get under your opponent’s armpit. Remember that tricep grip you had with your right hand? Now use it to elevate your opponent’s arm.

3. Always put your opponent on their toes


Don’t let your opponent in peace while doing your setup, if you don’t shake your opponent’s balance and make them busy and distracted, they will realize what you are setting them up for and they will counter you. The goal is to put them slightly off balance.


Very simple! Pull your opponent towards you. This will force their heels to be off the mat and therefore make them vulnerable to attacks.

4. Trap your opponent’s wrist against their hips


Remember that grip you had on your opponent’s wrist? Now is the time to use it to your advantage. Push that right wrist towards their left hip.

You may be worried now that your opponent might untie their wrist once they feel it stuck against their hips?
That’s when the next step comes in handy.

5. Spin and drop on your knees

This is the most crucial step of them all, why? Because if you mess it up there will be consequences and you will be countered hard with a pin or a submission.

  • Make a sudden, explosive spin. The goal is to be sideways with your opponent. In our example, you will be spinning towards your right side.
  • Drop on your knees. The drop has to be fast and explosive
  • Both spinning and dropping must be executed simultaneously. Spin in the air while dropping.
  • This spin and drop move will automatically make your opponent’s wrist trapped against your whole body. Even if they have Hulk strength they won’t be able to move that wrist.
  • Make sure to go deep under your opponent, the more you are under the easiest it will be to carry them and put them out of balance. Don’t drop far away.

6. Make your opponent lays on your shoulders


Remember that grip you had on the tricep of your opponent? Now is the time to use it.When dropping hard on your knees, keep hanging to that grip, gravity will take care of the rest.

The opponent can’t lift your whole body with one arm, so they will automatically bend and lay on your shoulders.

7. Finalize the throw

The difficult part is done and everything is set up, now is the time for the easy and fun part.

  • Lift your opponent in the air
  • Throw them to the other side

Congrats! Your opponent is no longer standing on their feet.

8. Following through

Doing a successful throw is not the end of the match, many judo practitioners make the mistake of letting go once the throw is successful.
Once the opponent is down, make sure to capitalize and follow through.



  • Don’t let go of the tricep, keep grabbing it and pushing it towards the ground. This will help pin down the arm.
  • Use your shoulder also to pin down the arm you are grabbing from the tricep. Just lean with all your weight on your opponent’s arm using your shoulder and it’ll be automatically pinned down.
  • Stand on your legs while arching with your back. Walk with your back arched and the back of your head on your opponent’s sternum.
  • You are now facing the ceiling
  • Make a circular walk towards the other side of your opponent to establish side control.
  • Do all this while still maintaining the grip you have on your opponent’s tricep
  • Use your other free arm to support your balance. How? Put your free arm’s elbow on your opponent’s stomach and it’ll help support your balance and at the same time help pin them down.
  • Establish side control. Keep circling until you are on the other side of your opponent. Now, turn to face them.
  • Release the grip you have on their tricep. Now both of your hands are free to use them for side control.
  • Both of your knees should be pressed against your opponent’s body to prevent them from escaping. Your side control must be tight, don’t leave any space between you and your opponent.

Other lgal variations of Kata guruma (No leg grabbing)

1. Without gripping wrist

This Kata guruma is the same as the one we broke down above, the only difference is it doesn’t need wrist grabbing. You can do it with only gripping the tricep.


2. Arm trapping

3. Outside Kata guruma

4. Italian Kata guruma

5. Mollaei reverse Kata Guruma

6. Korean Kata guruma