Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Judo is Not Jiu-jitsu is Not Wrestling is not MMA: AnnMaria Explains it All

Some people say BJJ stands for Basically Just Judo.
They're wrong.

Other people think that if someone is a good wrestler, they'll kill everyone on the mat in judo.
They're wrong, too.

Some people think that jiu-jitsu players will beat judo players on the mat.
They're often wrong.

Other people think that most judo players suck at matwork.
They're right, but it doesn't mean that jiu-jitsu players and wrestlers will necessarily beat them.

I can't believe I have to explain this to you --- jiu-jitsu, judo and wrestling all have different rules. The MAJOR difference in matwork is in judo you get very little time to score with your technique, where BJJ and wrestling referees will let you hang around on the mat all day.

That's just the way it is.  It's like in football where five guys can jump on one quarterback and knock the guy down and that's not cheating but if you step over a line it's a penalty. Those are the rules and don't whine about it.

This does have some implications for cross-training. If you are a judo player training at BJJ it may not help you as much as you expect on your offense because they often take longer to set up than will be allowed in a judo match.  Also, there are a lot of restrictions in judo - and they vary from one tournament to the next. In some, only brown belts can do armbars, in others only black belts. Young kids are never allowed to do armbars at judo tournaments.

On the other hand, if you are a judo player cross-training in BJJ your defense should get better because they get a LOT longer on the mat. You won't be able to save yourself by waiting for the referee to stand you back up. Also, if you are AWARE of the differences, you really can get a lot out of BJJ because they do spend a lot more time on the mat and, consequently, have a lot better defense for matwork (because they need it) and may have some entries into armbars you haven't seen before.

Admittedly, I've been in judo a LONG time .... but I've never seen anyone in BJJ do an armbar I hadn't seen. I mean, let's face it, there are only so many ways you can twist an arm. I have, on the other hand, learned new entries, new escapes and new drills.

Does wrestling make you brain-dead? Seriously, I'm asking because I've seen some very good judo players who were also very good wrestlers that, when they competed in judo, never did so much as a half-nelson. They'd do their standing technique, like a double-leg takedown, which is now illegal in judo, but perfectly legal wrestling moves on the mat, they never did. When I would ask them about it afterward they would say,
"I don't know. I guess I just never thought about it."

I am embarrassed to admit that I would have known the answer if I had only listened to myself talk during practice,
"You'll do in tournaments what you practice. In the middle of a match is one hell of a time to be figuring out what you want to do next in this situation."

 If you don't practice doing a half-nelson or a sit-out in judo practice AS A TRANSITION FROM YOUR STANDING JUDO TECHNIQUES you're much less likely to do it in a tournament.

 Judo matches start standing every time, unlike in wrestling where there are periods where you start on the mat. For many people, avoiding matwork is a strategy. To score in matwork you have to be good at transition and fast enough to score before the matwork is stopped. That takes a lot of drilling until it is almost a reflex, which is one of several reasons why most judo players don't get very good and one of several reasons why, for most people in judo, going into MMA is not going to turn out well.

Judo matwork techniques CAN be lethal if a person gets really good at them, and judging an individual based on the stereotype of a sport is always a bad thing.

When Ronda first started in mixed martial arts, a lot of women in jiu-jitsu and wrestling made comments like,
"She may be an Olympic and world medalist in judo and have some good throws, but I have a game plan. I'm just going to the mat with her."

To which I, Blinky, Gary Butts and the other coaches at matches would always reply,
"Yeah, that sounds like a really good strategy, You should go with that."


BlackBeltNation said...

"...that sounds like a really good strategy, You should go with that."

That's gold.

BJJ Judo said...

I first started training in BJJ and added Judo training later on. When I started training Judo I immediately realized two things about my mat work. One, my escapes from pins were terrible (practicaly none existent) because pinning in BJJ is so often confused with stalling. Two, my pins were terrible, because I didn't want to be seen as stalling I would also press forward to the next position or submission. I could do very well on the mat against the Judoka in my club as long as they didn't pass my guard. If they passed I was toast because they would get to a pin and stay there. Once I correctly those two flaws in my ground game my BJJ really jumped to another level. Of course the cross training in Judo helped my standup, but people are often surprised when I tell them how much Judo helped my ground game as well. In my opinion unless someone has serious plans to compete at an ULTRA high level they should cross train in everything they can.

JudoWill said...

I like your football analogy ... I think I'm going to start using that when people complain about the various rules that they may not agree with.

BlackBeltNation said...

Just saw this over at and thought I'd share...
"She was attacked by a DOG [hiss!] prior to her first pro fight a couple of days ago."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Is the dog okay? "

"Of course the dog's not okay. "

"There are three inevitables in life: death, taxes, and Ronda Rousey by armbar.

Dogs are ignorant creatures but even they should realise that. "

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Stephen said...

There are three inevitables in life: death, taxes, and Ronda Rousey by armbar.

I liked that.

I'll note that the intensity you practice at is the intensity you will compete at. Often.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Funny thing, I was at her place tonight & that dog was fighting with Mochi again. I shoved it away from me and her roommate said, "Don't worry, he never bites."

I said, "EXCUSE ME?"

and he said, "Oh, well, except for that time he bit Ronda."

The dog did not get armbarred for the simple fact that it did not have an arm.

That's an avoidance strategy none of her opponents have considered yet. Just don't have any arms.

aglee said...

"I'm just going to the mat with her."

Talk about not taking TWO MINUTES to study your competition. I agree -- "Good luck with that!"

Dr. AnnMaria said...

I know it seems crazy to me, too, but some people don' study their competition at all. I remember, years ago, asking someone who was training for the national championships about the players she would compete against at nationals - were her toughest competitors right or left handed, were they mostly mat technicians or standing and she said "I don't know, they don't have anything to do with me. I'm just going to do MY judo."

As you might have guessed, HER judo did not win.