Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Secret to Neil Adams' Juji roll - hidden in plain sight

The Adams roll is almost entirely dependent on pressure and pain to induce uke's roll and as such is brutally effective.

You enter for Adams roll by inserting one leg in between a turtled uke's legs. Then you do what Adams calls 'the catch'. Adams favours attacking on uke's left side, but most people prefer doing it on the right, Adams inserts his left leg in between uke's legs, like in then he 'catches' uke's with the arm closest to uke's feet. He inserts it palm up and as he inserts it he drops into position using his right arm and head for stability.

Adams inserts the leg

Adams 'catches' the arm.

The right arm and head are very important for stabilising yourself in establishing the arm control. Your head musn't be too close to uke's body and you want your body to positioned so it is almost forming an L shape with uke's body. Your body forming the horizontal line of the L and uke's the vertical.

Once you have your right hand and head on the mat you start to use your left arm to draw out uke's caught arm. Putting pressure on the inside of the elbow to create space.

Then balancing purely on your head bring your right hand in to grasp uke's wrist with your right hand and then grip your own right wrist with your left hand.

The core of the Adams roll has now been estbalished. This ude garami grip is what generates the pressure that causes uke to turn. 

You then use your leg and stomach muscles to stretch out uke's caught arm whilst holding with the ude garami grip. This is why leaving big enough gap between your posted head and uke's body is vital otherwise you hurt your own neck and can't do it. Adams is almost applying an upside down bicep slicer from the turtle at this point and done properly it is already starting to hurt.

You now bring your right leg round and place it at the top of uke's head or if you can manage it under uke's head, on their face. Many people though prefer placing it on the top of uke's head. Adams aims to bring it under uke's face so that when he rolls he doesn't have to swing his leg over to catch the head.

Now you turn onto your side twisting uke's arm, holding with the ude garami grip, towards his head and keep on twisting towards his head so that there is so much pressure and pain uke wants to roll over to escape it. Adams is simultaneously applying a bicep slicer and a shoulder lock as he does this move.

To assist in the roll Adams uses the leg that was inserted in between uke's legs as a hook to help bring the lower part of uke's body over with him. Although the core of the technique remains the pressure applied to uke's elbow and shoulder through the ude garami grip which makes them want to roll to escape it.

Uke then starts to roll, use your foot to assist them over and control their roll so that you keep everything tight once their land on their back and maintain the ude garami grip. If you didn't manage to get your foot under their face as they complete their roll bring your foot round and over their face to prevent them escaping.

Then use whatever methods you feel most comfortable with to break any defensive grips uke may have established.

I can not emphasise enough how important getting the ude garami grip on uke's arm is. If you don't do this and your fighting anyone who's as strong or stronger or as heavy or heavier you basically won't roll them unless you go for the Iatskevitch legs option, but to do that entails switching which arm you're gripping uke with so you might as well ude garami whilst you're there...

The majority of people who attempt the Neil Adams roll aren't aware of the importance of the ude garami grip and it is even taught as the Adams roll by people without the ude garami grip.

The turnover is a personal favourite of mine because it is incredibly powerful and also because it can be done succesuflly with or without a gi. However, I would say that giving up the back mount to pursue this turnover in an MMA ruleset would be a lot riskier than in Judo or BJJ. So if you compete or train under that ruleset you may want to exercise caution when attempting this turnover.


  1. Oh nice! I'll be trying that with the ude garami set up as soon as my back heals!
    I'd been shown it previously, minus the ude garami. I always liked the turnover, but found it very low percentage.

    When you say "Iatskevitch legs option", do you mean when you grab a leg and pull it over to assist with fnishing the roll?

    Incidentally, I've been lurking for a while at Bullshido. I've been enjoying your posts over there and am really enjoying the blog.

    Previous post removed due to a stupid looking spelling mistake.

  2. Thanks, glad you've found the information helpful.

    Yeh that's why I published the post, because for some reason unbeknownst to me, so many people teach the Adams' roll without the correct ude garami grip. And exactly as you say it is very low percentage without the proper ude garami grip, because it means you've pretty much removed exactly what makes the technique work. Like trying to de ashi barai someone without using your foot.

    The Iatskevitch leg option... I typed out a long explanation then realised I might as well do a post on it. I'll throw in the Traineau turnover as well.

  3. Funnily enough, I almost reverse engineered the armlock portion of the turnover by accident while rolling one night.

    Back injury be damned, I may go along for a light practice tonight and try this out.

  4. I was practicing this with a friend tonight. One thing our instructor pointed out to us is that making a point of hugging uke's upper arm to the chest makes the turnover much easier. If you get the right angle it becomes all leverage and you don't even need to put much pressure on the shoulder.