Judo - the whipping boy of grappling?

Discussion in 'Judo' started by Timmy Boy, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    Judo is respected by many people as being one of the "proper" grappling styles, i.e. everything is done against a resisting opponent. However, it often seems to be considered the worst of the good styles when compared to stuff like Greco-Roman and BJJ, and I personally feel it gets some stick it doesn't deserve - even from judoka themselves! The aim of this thread isn't to pretend that judo is flawless, but to address some of the criticisms and evaluate how much impact they really have. Here's my take:

    1) Judo relies too much on the gi for its moves. In real life, gi-reliant moves won't work unless your opponent is wearing a thick jacket.

    As I said, this is something that can be problematic. However, I don't think gi-grappling is as irrelevant as people make it out to be. In many fights that I've either been in or seen, it's extremely common for one bloke to grab the other by whatever he's wearing and then a crappy version of judo grip-fighting ensues. People do actually wear jackets on many occasions, and I feel this is one of those small aspects of self defence that is present on "the street" but not in MMA, which is where I feel a lot of the criticism comes from. As such I actually think it would be beneficial for non-gi grapplers to cross-train in gi-grappling for this reason.

    When I started MMA recently, I had a little judo experience, and though I didn't beat anyone as I'm still a novice even at judo, I did manage to pull off some good stuff (their words, not mine) and I put this down to the little bit of judo experience I've had, despite the fact that I was now grappling without a gi.

    2) Judo contains no striking and this also means that judoka don't learn how to defend against it well.

    Again, this is a relevant criticism, however it's easily covered simply by taking a little boxing in your spare time, if you don't do a striking art already. All you need is enough to let you survive until you get into clinch range.

    3) Judo doesn't contain leg locks.

    This is only a weakness when compared to other grappling arts like BJJ. Good judoka are still more than capable on the ground and - although one shouldn't always settle for second best - it's far far far better than not learning any groundwork at all. IMHO, judo newaza would still RUIN someone on the ground if they didn't know grappling at all. Plus, even when leg locks etc are allowed, they are still not all that common - most submission victories as far as I can tell come from chokes and armlocks, which are still present in judo.

    4) Judo contains pins.

    This is the final and I believe the weakest anti-judo argument I've come across. Whilst pins may not be as satisfying as submissions from an MMA perspective, they do still have a justified place in a martial art from a self defence point of view, allowing you to restrain your attacker for at least a few seconds until a policeman/bouncer/friend/stranger intervenes to break up the fight.

    It's easy when talking about MMA, especially on internet discussion forums where we can easily go into detailed analysis, to exaggerate the shortcomings of one style or another. This is what I feel is happening here; what's required is a step back to look at the bigger picture. Yes, judo has its weak points compared to other grappling styles. But they aren't weaknesses that cripple it completely. It's still effective.

    Whilst I do train for effectiveness, fun is more important to me as long as the art is at least "good" if not "perfect". It's possible to worry so much about perceived weaknesses in a style that you spend your MA-related life obsessing over becoming the hardest bloke you can in case you get jumped, and as well as being a bit sad, it's the roots of McDojoism - loads of people spending huge amounts of money for someone to cure their insecurities.

    At least, that's my take. Any other views? :)
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2005
  2. Ikken Hisatsu

    Ikken Hisatsu New Member

    some of the more rabid mma people seem to think that nobody actually wears clothes in a stweeet fight. this is of course not the case, but sometimes judoka need to concentrate on using throws that dont require your opponent to be wearing a small carpet. people also forget that judo is a sport first, and a "self defense" martial art second. when you start covering EVERYTHING in too much detail you end up with people who are a jack of all trades and master of none.

    this is probably the most relevant because its very true. solely doing judo is not teaching you how to punch. however i have met VERY FEW judoka or bjj people who dont cross train in either boxing or muay thai, except for those who are doing it solely as a sport. same thing can be applied to most other arts though, including greco roman and bjj.

    if you are going to compete in mma then yeah, it is a weakness. for self defense, not really. i can obliterate my friends in a wrestling bout, and thats with a whole 6 months of judo under my belt. unless you get into a fight against a bjj guy on the street :D

    never really heard this as a criticism before? applications of a pin are pretty obvious, restraining drunken friends etc.

    i agree- judo is first of all a sport. self defense applications are obvious, as they are in all martial sports, but when the fear of the streetman becomes the focus of your training, and you start to move into techs that are too deadly to be practiced properly...
  3. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    Judo does contain many throws that do work on someone who isn't wearing big tough clothes. In fact, it's surprising how many of them don't, considering the amount some mma guys go on about it. I've done hip throws and leg sweeps without gis.

    Is this an argument against my idea of doing a bit of gi grappling if you don't already?

    Well what I think is a more serious consequence of not learning to punch is not learning to defend against them, but yeah.

    That's exactly the point. People often forget that MMA is the very top level of grappling, and whilst a judoka might be at a disadvantage against a BJJka or a submission wrestler on the ground, he's still gonna be light years ahead of people who haven't done groundfighting at all.

    Kimura actually nearly suffocated Helio Gracie with Kesa Getame, come to think of it!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2005
  4. Ikken Hisatsu

    Ikken Hisatsu New Member

    very true. keep in mind that a lot of mma guys have never actually DONE judo :D

    no, im just complaining about people who feel the need to add things in to a system in an attempt to make it stweet effective. and you end up with arts so convoluted and bloated that effective training goes out the window

    oops thats what I meant to say as well :D

    haha yeah but Kimura is a judo legend :D
  5. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    On the SFUK website and other places where I meet grapplers who have actually done judo as well as other styles, whilst they acknowledge its faults they still rate it quite highly.

    Ah right, yeah I see what you mean now. Better to just do free sparring/rolling and let the "situations" arise through practice. BTW, what do you think about gi grappling - do you think it's worth having a go at if you only do no-gi?

    So am I, damnit! :D
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2005
  6. faster than you

    faster than you Valued Member

    judo throws can be executed in an mma format, but they are very difficult to execute against someone who has western wrestling training. western wrestling seems to be more effective in an mma format. getting your hips under someone who has a good sprawl is very difficult.
  7. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    I thought a sprawl was a defence against the shoot? Besides, you don't need to get underneath someone for EVERY judo throw.
  8. faster than you

    faster than you Valued Member

    a sprawl is not limited to only the shoot avoidance situation. a sprawl may refer to simply spreading your legs out and back, while standing or on the ground. the ground sprawl is useful in avoiding hook flips and other reversals.
    yeah, i know that about judo. the best judo throw for mma from my own experience is tomoe nage, which is easy to pull off if you manage to bend someone at the waist while contorling his head.
  9. ubermint

    ubermint Banned Banned

    Shuai Chiao is the whipping boy of grappling, and rightly so.
  10. gedhab

    gedhab Valued Member

    Chinese wrestling. :)
  11. Kwan Jang

    Kwan Jang Valued Member

    First, if you look at judo for self-defense, ou need to look at it in it's original combat form (though I admit it's hard to find instructors who still teach this). Since it's inclusion as an Olympic sport, the VAST majority of judoka practice what will be effective for winning competition under the rules of competition. This is very natural, but can be adjusted for very easily in your training. I've had the pleasure of "playing" with members of the US Olympic Judo team as well as Olympic wrestlers. I've also rolled around with an trained with some of the Gracies and UFC champs. The principles are the same, they wil just adjust for the rule set they are working for in competition.

    While I'm at it, let me go ahead and alienate a bunch of other people. I honestly see groundfighting as being basically the same (principle-wise)as stand-up except that ground work has a stronger base, but lacks mobility.

    P.S.-I do believe in both stand-up grappling and ground striking.
  12. Juego Todo

    Juego Todo Stay thirsty, my friends.

    Excellent thread & posts. My only contribution consists of 2 words:

    "Hidehiko Yoshida".

  13. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    I don't think you *need* to do original judo for self defence, all you really need to do is a bit of boxing to cover striking (and therefore anti-striking).

    And yes, Yoshida rocks!
  14. Linguo

    Linguo Valued Member

    I think the original combat applications were limited to the katas, which are still taught today, though in limited numbers. Kano hadn't developed a way to safely incorporate atemi into randori. As such, striking was not a major feature in Judo. The emphasis had always been on the throws, followed by groundwork. I think cross-training is a better solution to the question of combat applications.

    I do agree that groundfighting and stand-up have very similar principles. Posture, hip movement, and body positioning are just a few examples of principles that are important for both standup and groundwork.
  15. jms137

    jms137 New Member



    what an interesting thread!

    I think Judo is poo-pooed too much.

    'Gi' issue:
    I would rather learn Gi grapplin than no-gi because for self defense one is not usually attacked by people wearing spandex shorts. However, what annoys me about Judo is the way the belt and Gi are exploited too much. We learned a submission last night (which we named Obi Wed-ji) where you grab someones belt and try and cut them in half with it. I think the rules should stop moves which can only be done on someone in a Judo suit, but allow most moves. Do you see what I mean? Say "well this would work against someone wearing normal clothes" so the move is allowed but saying "well that would specificaly required a Gi and Obi" so disallowing it.


    Great! It's still effective without leg locks. I'd rather have no leg locks and be able to spar 100% than otherwise.

    Lack of Striking defence:
    Mmmmm. pretty true. I'd like to learn to slip punches and shoot in, but not at Judo. I like Judo because it is focused on one thing. I would rather be a master of one than a jack of all trades (as Ikken says). It only takes a few months boxing to learn to defend and slip.

    happy randori
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2005
  16. Captain_Coward

    Captain_Coward Ne-Waza Worm

    Remember Judo was developed when Gi type clothing was worn commonly by most people.

  17. faster than you

    faster than you Valued Member

    many people can never learn how to slip, bob & weave, effectively.
  18. fanatical

    fanatical Cool crow

    Actually that is a possibility. Usually requires the guy on top to be bigger than the guy on the bottom, but I've felt that myself. Doesn't necessarily require a Judo master like Kimura ^^
  19. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    Kimura himself wasn't exactly huge, either, though Helio was a little guy.
  20. leeless

    leeless Handshaker extraordinaire

    Are we talking about Judo in an MMA event, or criticisms of Judo in general?

    On a general level, take into account the various environments that people live in. I saw a programme about a group of people cycling through Mongolia. The natives wore thick, bulky coats with belts! Obviously, Judo would be great there. I'm sure there are people from cold places who post on this board. No doubt they wear big coats and scarfs* from time to time. Even those of us who live in (relatively) warm regions wear coats and jackets. So from this POV, Judo does something that the majority of martial arts don't...exploit the weaknesses of not being naked! lol

    Personally, I'd prefer to train in grappling that uses body parts, as everyone has a body! Ideally though...I'd trian in both.

    *quite off topic. In this months edition of Martial Arts Illustrated, I saw some pictures of Pancak Silat being demonstrated. The person doing it (Steve Benitez), used his scarf to trip and choke his opponant. Interesting.

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