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To be more specific, my question relates to the judo throw named "釣込腰" ("tsurikomi goshi"). The most common translation I've seen is "lifting and pulling hip/waist throw" (e.g. the Wikipedia entry). However, definitional/translation resources (such as Wiktionary and Google Translate) seem to indicate "fishing/angling" as the most common meaning/translation of "釣込" or just "釣".

I can see the sense in metaphorically relating the action of lifting and/or pulling to fishing (angling), but I'm wondering if there might have been more to it than that, like "reeling in", perhaps. Unfortunately, Jigoro Kano (the founder of Kodokan Judo) is no longer available for comment, and many modern, accomplished judoka (in my experience) are as weak in Japanese language skills as I am. So I was hoping for a little scholarly (and non-martial) insight into the quotidian meaning of this term as it would have been used in late 19th to early 20th century Japan.

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    I'm neither a master of Judo, nor Japanese, but "釣込" might be a contraction of the verb "釣り込む". If that makes sense in this context?
    – user40476
    Nov 26, 2020 at 11:36

3 Answers 3

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As shown in this dictionary entry, 釣る and 吊る belong to the same spectrum of "using a rope-like thing to hang/hoist/lift something". In a sense, Japanese 釣る ("to fish") is a specialized version of 吊る ("to hang"), just as 訊く ("to ask") and 盗る ("to steal") are specialized versions of 聞く ("to listen") and 取る ("to take"), respectively. Although 釣る almost always means "to fish" today, it was sometimes used simply in the sense of "to hang" in the past. For example, I believe 釣鐘 was named as such simply because it's hanging, not because it's related to fishing. See these search results from 青空文庫全文検索, too. Thus, if there is no clear evidence that 釣込腰 has anything to do with fishing, I think it's safe to assume this 釣 just means "lifting (with arms)".

込 roughly means "inwards", "towards someone", "putting inside", etc. Judo players may understand why it's there better than me.

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The Kōdōkan New Japanese-English Dictionary of Judo defines the term thus:

tsurikomu (to lift and pull) To use pulling and lifting movements of the sleeve hand (hikite) and collar hand (tsurite) in order to "float" your opponent forward.

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A relevant bit of grammar is the verb stem or continuous form. This happens to be the polite form of a verb but with the -ます stripped off; for most (i.e., godan) verbs, the conjugation changes the trailing vowel of the dictionary form from u to i. The result typically can be used as a noun, or be used as part of a compound word.

Tsurikomu (釣り込む or 釣込む) is a verb that means to attract or take in.

It is composed from two common words:

  • Tsuru (釣る) is the verb to fish (with rod and line), catch or lure. One of its homophones is 吊る which means to hoist or hang, such as lifting a Sumo opponent off his feet (by the loincloth). Note there can sometimes be a dozen homophones with similar meanings (同訓異字), using different kanji to convey different context or nuance. (Here, 釣る happens to be the more common version, and 釣り is its stem, sometimes just written 釣.)

  • Komu (込む) is a suffix (appended to a verb stem) with meanings such as to do thoroughly. (On its own, it is a verb meaning to be crowded.)

So, tsurikomi (釣込) means something like hoisting.

In judo, the word appears in the name of four techniques. In each of these, upper body grips are used to pull and lift the opponent's torso, drawing them to stumble their weight forward (vulnerable to toppling over an obstacle).

  • Sasae tsurikomi ashi (foundation hoisting foot). In this technique the opponent's weight is already planted on their lead foot (as if evading a powerful throw to the other side) and the thrower draws them forward and up off their heels while blocking that ankle. This is differentiated from Hiza guruma (knee wheel) where similar contact points are instead used to push and tilt the opponent's torso over (in a bend rather than a sprawl).

  • Harai tsurikomi ashi (sweep hoisting foot) is performed similarly to Sasae (still drawing them forward over a blocked ankle) except it is timed when the opponent is retreating and their weight lifts from the lead foot, so that this foot can be swept back (pinching the opponent's feet together).

  • Tsurikomi goshi (hoisting hip) involves pulling the opponent (by the upper body) over the top of the thrower's hips. This is distinguished from several subtle variations by the mechanism of propelling the opponent. In O'goshi (great hip) the lift is generated from the thrower's hips (straightening the knees from squatting) rather than by the pulling grips. In both Uki goshi (floating hip) and Koshi guruma (hip wheel) the opponent is wheeled over the thrower's hip; the thrower reaches around behind the opponent and turns like a crank lever (against either the torso or neck) to tilt the opponent over. In Utsuri goshi (changing hip) the opponent is first lifted off the ground and then dropped onto the thrower's hip. And notably, Tsuri (釣) goshi (fishing hip) literally grips the belt sash like a rope with which to haul the opponent.

  • Sode tsurikomi goshi (sleeve hoisting hip) is a variant of tsurikomi goshi, where a raised arm of the opponent is used as the line by which to hoist their body.

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