Monday, September 14, 2009

New Judo Rule Introduced to Prevent Cross-fertilization

Recently, the International Judo Federation announced that they were testing a number of new rules at the upcoming World Junior Championships. One rule in particular gave me pause. All techniques below the belt line are banned. Only techniques using leg against leg will be allowed, or if the hand grip in the leg is the continuation of another technique tried (ex. o-uchi gari which can develop into kata guruma). The purpose of this new rule is discourage Judo from being combined with other martial arts like wrestling, Sambo, or BJJ. I think this is a sad development for Judo for a couple of reasons.

First of all, this ban removes a number of techniques native to Judo. Morote gari (double knee pick-up), for example, is a traditional Judo technique. Sure, it also used in wrestling and MMA, but what of it? The argument is that they're trying to keep their art pure, and to do so, they're comprising the integrity of their art. How does that make sense?

Secondly, so what if a few wrestlers or Sambo fighters come in and do well in their tournaments? This is just an opportunity for Judo to evolve and learn to effectively counter different types of attacks. Unfortunately, there is a lot of pride/ego when it comes to the martial arts, and I believe these new rules are a way of ensuring that Judo students aren't tempted to add to their knowledge by cross-training.

That is the problem with competition though. If you look at the Kodokan, the original bible of Judo, there are a number of techniques featured that are no longer allowed in Judo competition, like shoulder locks, leg locks, etc. Because of this, and the emphasis on competitive applications inherent in Judo training, there is little incentive to show to teach these techniques in dojos, causing these native techniques to be lost to the art. I think it's all rather sad.


Patrick Parker said...

It's very sad. I agree. There are still dojo here and there, though, that not only practice the old techniques, but welcome and encourage that cross-polination between jiu-jitsu and judo.

The sport of judo, both internationally and in USA in particular is in this sad, downward spiral

Alex F. Mahler, CD said...

Alex F. Mahler, CD

Actually the Rule is grabbing of the Judogi pants not the legs.
Being involved in Judo & Ju-Jutsu for over 35 yrs, I have found that Sambo, Wrestling, Brazilian J-J rely on strenght not Technique as Judo does. Our Club is one of the actually Judo Clubs belonging to Judo BC that teaches Judo & Ju-Jutsu and has done so since 1973
Alex F. Mahler, head instructor,
North Delta Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Club

Anonymous said...

You know, I started Judo training many years ago and competed in many competitions which I enjoyed, however silly little rule changes that do nothing for Judo such as this one really annoy me, and it is becuase of them that I started looking at other forms of grappling compeitions.

For instance the nonsense about not piston gripping is also strange. Judo is a martial art where many grips are utilised so why leave out the piston grip.

I also heard that they where planning on banning sangaku jime, Leg Triangle choke. Why oh why?

SavageKitsune said...

If techniques are being brought in from elsewhere, it's because they WORK. The martial arts are not frozen suspended in amber, they keep evolving to become more and more effective- and that's as it should be. It may mean that in another few generations, everything will meld into an MMA hodgepodge and much of the traditional stuff will die out. It is sad in a way.... but on the other hand, do you want to be able to win a fight or don't you? If you do, you have to use what works.

Lori O'Connell said...

Alex, you mentioned that the rule only applies to the pants, however, the IJF website (which I cited in the article) states that it all techniques below the belt line. Do you have a link that I could see the rules in more detail so I can make sure I have the most accurate information? Thanks for your help!

Ice said...

Just take a look at Mifune's Canon of Judo. There's quite a few techniques in there aren't used in competition today. I guess it all comes down to $. Judo is a huge spectator sport in other parts of the world that pays money to players and is TV friendly. A lot of things are introduced in the rule set to encourage more money. And that again is the bottom line. If advertisers, the audience, the sponsors want a certain type of "judo" then who is not to say what the rules are? Grappling is grappling. Whether it's wrestling, sumo, jiu-jitsu, BJJ, judo, folk wrestling, greco-roman, freestyle and sambo to name a few. Rules set the similar sports apart. Olympic Style Judo is a subset of Kodokan Judo which is derived from the greater Jiu-jitsu lineage. I think there's more in common with the grappling sports than there are differences. Just realize that some decisions are just made simply because of money and sponsorship. Just take a look at the different governing bodies of Judo in the states. There's USA Judo, US Judo Federation, US Judo Association. These are the big three. Then there's others such as the AAU, AJJF and other organizations that also do judo. There's balkanization at the higher levels. Honestly, I'm just a local player looking to spend some time at the mat. Some of my friends just want to just want to call it "jacket wrestling." It's how I explain my sport to my non-judo friends. Since I really am not competing for an Olympic Medal anytime soon (or ever), this change is just another change that have no real impact on me. When I step onto the mat for practice, it is still going to be the same. Just judoka getting some mat time and having a good time.

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Anonymous said...

My family did judo for years. I recieved my black belt s well. Now I teach wrestling to kids 6-14 as a feeder program for high school. I can tell you that judo without leg picks is going to further limit judos effectiveness as self defence. It's pretty easy to get decent at double/single leg takedowns. Now, judoka won't be practicing defences for these moves. A kid with basic wrestling skills will slam a judo kid, hard. And this is from a guy who like judo (the way I learned it) more. too bad.