Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jiu-jitsu for judo is a bad idea

Jiu-jitsu and judo are two different sports. 
- Captain Obvious

I'm surprised I have to explain this to people but I often do. I cannot tell you the number of judo players I meet who are convinced that jiu-jitsu will help their matwork. If that is true (and it often is) it's because their matwork really sucks.

The haters who only read the first paragraph are now writing long diatribes on how a purple belt in jiu-jitsu could kick my ass (maybe, by the time you are an old grandma - or grandpa -, a lot of people can kick your ass, and the judo and jiu-jitsu coaches that pretend different are delusional).

The reason jiu-jitsu does help some people is their matwork totally sucks. They spend all of their time at judo practice working on perfecting their throws. Not surprisingly, then end up with great throws and terrible matwork. So, they go to jiu-jitsu where 90% of the time they work on matwork and, no surprise again, their matwork gets better.

This proves - what? That you get better at the things you work on.

HOWEVER, I have seen over and over those people who are doing all of their matwork at jiu-jitsu never win a single match in a judo tournament using matwork.

Here is why - the rules are different. In jiu-jitsu you get to roll around for quite a long time trying to get a score. That's fine, that's the rules of the sport. In judo, you do not. You get a few seconds and then the referee makes you get up. This isn't a discussion of who would win if a judo player and BJJ player got in a fight. See my earlier post on unicorns for my opinion on that. This is a discussion of whether BJJ is the best way  to improve your judo matwork. I would suggest it is not.

What if you don't have any people in your judo club who are near your size and the BJJ club has more people who are your size/ age to train with? Even in that case, I think I would stay at my judo club and do drills of judo matwork.

I would do drills like the Collect the Arm and then connect it to the pin combination shown here.

I once had a disagreement with a judo coach who was in favor of having excellent BJJ players teach our players armbars. He said to me,
"Just ask the players. We went to this guy's club and he did moves they had never seen before."

Why do you think they had never seen them? The players weren't stupid and neither were the moves he taught. The armbar combinations he did were great - for jiu-jitsu - but in judo, they often took longer to set up than the rules allowed.

What I see as one of the biggest problems with matwork for most judo players is that they are too slow to pull it off in the few seconds the referees allow for you to "show progress". Training in jiu-jitsu, with different rules and more of an acceptance of matwork makes that weakness worse, not better.

In other words, if you want to do well at a sport, train in that sport.

Captain Obvious is all over the place this morning, no?



30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi AnnMaria,

I think your advice should be tempered a little. Just as you have commented before, conditioning training (such as running) is important but should not replace judo mat sessions. Similarly, may BJJ have a place but should not subsititute or compromise (e.g. from exhaustion) later judo sessions for serious judo players. Many judo players live in cities where the practice of simple ground work techniques (e.g. chokes, kimura locks, arms bars) is superior in the BJJ clubs because the BJJ clubs drill them more than in judo clubs. This (the under training at some judo clubs) is sometimes not easily rectified. Also, the conditioning gained from BJJ 'rolling' may, I suggest, be more useful than a weak circuits session.
I accept your points that too much BJJ training may be unhelpful because it trains the judo player for situations which may not arise in the judo match and it may also slow down the judo players' ground work unhelpfully if judo players become too accustomed to BJJ match rules. However, I think you must recognise that there are some benefits to supplementary BJJ training in certain situations.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

I think we are in agreement. Basically, what I said is if your judo matwork is really bad, BJJ will help. I think your point (which I agree with) is that in some places the matwork in the judo clubs is really bad and the players are better off going to a BJJ club for matwork.

If that is the case (and I agree with you that it sometimes is) then you need to take a look at what you are doing at judo and why the matwork in your judo club is so bad. I think what you are politely hinting at is that if one is a student and doesn't have the option to change the training at the judo club then going to a BJJ club might be a good idea.

Yes, I agree that a BJJ workout is better than a weak circuits session for conditioning, but I wouldn't recommend weak circuit sessions for conditioning either.

In short, if someone needs to go to BJJ to help their judo matwork then I am going to assume that their judo club is not very good.

Anonymous said...

Bjj tournaments allow time for both judo and bjj and are not stopped unless out of bounds or submitted.i seem to enjoy bjj tournaments more so than judo tournaments do to the freedom it provides to work tachi and ne waza,i guess thats why bjj tourny fees are about double the price as a judo tournament so you enjoy both tachi and ne waza, you get what you pay for i guess.

Chris Torres said...

Bjj tournament fees are double the price for one reason- they make money. You would be surprised at how much money they make.
your right on the money Coach. The rules of the sport you compete in, dictate how you train and what techniques you use. is your booked finished yet?

Euphrates said...

My opinion based on being a "Jiu-Jitsu" person while having the opportunity to train with the local Uni Judo club:

I would have to agree and disagree. I think the assumption here is on the idea of time. I will admit that you get more time to fight on the ground in BJJ/Sub-Grappling tournaments then Judo. That said, it doesn't preclude BJJ matches from being over instantly when the fight hits the ground. Just like there are those who take their time and are methodical when the fight hits the ground (I can include myself in that category) , there are those who instantly go for, and get, the finish once it goes horizontal (something I've been working more on myself thanks to your blog actually).

I think the key isn't to think Jiu-Jitsu won't help your Judo ground game, but a certain type/style of BJJ game won't help your Judo ground game just like a certain type/style would. The reverse, it could be said, is also true.

On that note, I guess it depends on how all of it (both the Judo and the Jiu-Jitsu) is taught and approached.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Yes, Euphrates, you are right that a person can finish matches quickly in BJJ, and I know there are people who do. However, I'm assuming that the person who feels the need to go somewhere else for matwork probably isn't that good at it. For those people, jiu-jitsu rules allow them to go more slowly and develop habits that will not help them in judo and are probably going to be counter-productive.

As others have said, if you aren't in shape, of course any kind of conditioning will help, and if you know very little matwork, then learning any matwork is better than nothing. (Oh, wait, I think it was me that said that.) It has been alleged that I have repeated myself on occasion.

Manny said...

Great post regarding the relationship between Judo and Jiu Jitsu. I agree that Judo is and will always focus on takedowns but why does Judo as a sport not implement finishing on the ground? Is it because it is too time consuming for Judoka to learn Jiu Jitsu? Or is it that Judo as a whole doesn't believe in submitting?

Jorge Almeida said...

Hi Manny,

Judo believes in takedowns because it comes from the idea that if you throw someone on a non-soft surface they will be knock-out or heavily injured. Because no one in their right mind would play judo on a concrete slab, we will never know how many of the ippons would really result in technical KO.
Judo believes in submissions and that is why there are chokes and armbars. It also believes that pinning someone for 3 hours (but because someone that has not gotten out from a pin after 25 seconds can hardly escape in 3 hours, it becomes a surrogate of such) is a valid form of controlling and subjugating someone.
This said, you can ask all the rest of "why do we do this" and "why don't we change these rules" but you will end up always in the situation that judo has rules that are accepted by judokas that like to play by those rules. Rules is what makes each sport different and players like the rules of the sports that they choose and they do not want anyone to change their beloved rules.
The rules in judo are like the rules in chess. You can always punch the other guy, but that would not make you a great chess player.

Stephen said...

Jorge, if you throw someone at an angle rather than flat, and through the ground rather than on to it, very few people are interested in getting back up afterwards.

The same is true if you land on them, driving your weight through them.

Not that Judoka practice throwing like that, but that is the martial application of the sport throw (or why I respect some of the banned throws a great deal, some not so much).

Manny said...

Jorge , very well put , that post explains a lot regarding Judo, given that no one in their right mind would play judo on concrete, who's to say every person IS in their right mind? Assuming a Judoka is being attacked and performs, say a o soto gari and the offender gets back up? In this case Jiu Jitsu would be extremely effective in neutralizing the threat , given the assumption there was no other alternative, but i understand where the idea behind Judo is coming from.

Jorge Almeida said...

Manny, I am sorry to say that you are missing the point.
One thing is understanding what might be behind judo rules. Another thing is to see judo, and for that matter any sport, as a game defined by the rules. Although Judo might have some practicality on self defense, I would differ to "shoot him" as best answer to any real offensive person. People do not practice judo because they want to harm other people and go on street fights. Hopefully those people go to other rougher MA. People like to practice judo because they like the rules of judo and decide that they want to win a match by those rules, this is also why people play chess.

So, back to your question:
"Assuming a Judoka is being attacked and performs, say a o soto gari and the offender gets back up?"
"I would shoot him." seems like the best best answer.

Anyway, this is going off topic and we should respect the blogger and the theme of the post.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Manny -
I think judo, like every other sport, has a range of people and some are much better at finishing people on the ground than others.

Although this might go into the category of "My Mom thinks I'm cool" you only need to watch some of Ronda's MMA matches on youtube or many of her judo matches to see someone who believes in finishing things on the ground.

Rhadi Ferguson said...

Doc, I will have to vehemently and enthusiastically disagree. I AM t BJJ black belt and my matwork improved SIGNIFICANTLY once I hit the purple belt level and I won the majority of my matches on the ground. IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE INSTRUCTOR. The instructor must tailor your game for Judo, which is EXACTLY what Lloyd Irvin did for me. We implemented the reductionism and chose the techniques which were the high percentage ones and then worked those from several angles and with several repetitions. The BJJ game, although different from judo can be THE SAME in many respects if taught differently. Some of the things that judo players leave out or just don't know can be picked up in BJJ and there are subtleties that many judo instructors do not know because they don't have to because those that are defending their armbars (other judo folks) don't know the array of escapes available. Nor do they rep them like BJJ players. I HAVE YET TO SEE ONE JUDO INSTRUCTOR IN THE U.S. that knows more than I know on the ground and that is not thrown out there as an insult. That's just the truth. If I had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, I'd say that there is no Judo instructor that knows more about kicking and punching that I do. But I do, most certainly have a black belt in BJJ from one of the best BJJ black belts ever and I'm telling you that BJJ instruction can most certainly improve your judo. I have a whole nation of Judo players from the Bahamas who can concur and Taraje wold also agree. But it most certainly depends on the instruction and the instructors willingness to teach you from a Judo perspective, which Lloyd Irvin most certainly did for me. I would agree with the first statement. "I think your advice should be tempered a little."

And you are correct. Too much BJJ training can hurt your judo. But who decides when too much is too much.

And I am sure that your daughter has learned a great deal more matwork while doing MMA.

Rhadi Ferguson said...

I said that I have yet to see. I am not saying that one does not exist. But what I've seen from people like Lloyd Irvin, Ricardo Liborio and people like David Camarillo is on another level.

Anonymous said...

How is Flavio Canto doing so well then?

Eliah Ballard said...

Playing in a Judo Club which has a fairly even mixture of ground and stand up I still think that most instructors have a very limited understanding of the guard/half guard/mount game. I routinely pass really advanced players legs quiet easily, something that never happens when I'm playing experienced BJJ guys. The experienced judo players do have a very strong hold down game which I feel my more fluid bjj style ground game sometimes collapses under but honestly they have some huge gaps in their knowledge. Often attempting collar chokes or arm locks from within my guard. Another thing judo players are very vulnerable to is triangle chokes.

So I would say that bjj does have something to teach judo on the ground, even within the judo rule framework. That is a better understanding of what constitutes a dominant position on the ground, fluidity leading to submissions and triangle chokes. And really a lot of judo players will also be quite naive to how hard it is to pass guard, scissor guard and rubber guard and will not be able to apply their hold downs on time if you stall them out by defending from your back. As such the argument that it will get stood up before you can finish goes both ways!

I'd like to see a post about what bjj players can learn from judoka though. A clean De Ashi Harai is so much more elegant and economical than the double and single leg take downs jiujitsu guys love so much and can land you in side control beautifully.

Eliah Ballard said...

Playing in a Judo Club which has a fairly even mixture of ground and stand up I still think that most instructors have a very limited understanding of the guard/half guard/mount game. I routinely pass really advanced players legs quiet easily, something that never happens when I'm playing experienced BJJ guys. The experienced judo players do have a very strong hold down game which I feel my more fluid bjj style ground game sometimes collapses under but honestly they have some huge gaps in their knowledge. Often attempting collar chokes or arm locks from within my guard. Another thing judo players are very vulnerable to is triangle chokes.

So I would say that bjj does have something to teach judo on the ground, even within the judo rule framework. That is a better understanding of what constitutes a dominant position on the ground, fluidity leading to submissions and triangle chokes. And really a lot of judo players will also be quite naive to how hard it is to pass guard, scissor guard and rubber guard and will not be able to apply their hold downs on time if you stall them out by defending from your back. As such the argument that it will get stood up before you can finish goes both ways!

I'd like to see a post about what bjj players can learn from judoka though. A clean De Ashi Harai is so much more elegant and economical than the double and single leg take downs jiujitsu guys love so much and can land you in side control beautifully.

ashiwaza said...

First off... Rhadi. Your BJJ is very basic as is your Judo. I will teach my guys, and you go teach yours. I really wished Ann would stop telling ppl how great she isn’t in Judo, and the SAME for Rhadi. Go argue with yourselves about that. You need to hear it loudly though.
Second. Grappling is grappling. I understand the point that these are two different sports, as you aptly reference CAPT Obvious. But they are in essence the same thing. If training is combined, they are synergistic, and do anything but inhibit growth… Judo has lost the marketing battle with BJJ. This is a sad affair. The reason is simple IMO. The wrong people with the wrong motivations lead the various Judo organizations. They cause strife, confusion, bickering, and meaningless ego debates. Decentralizing Judo is the only answer IMO. Taking Rhadi’s fav move out of Judo was not the answer.”Double Leg” Leg grabs, sacrifice throws, and kata guruma should remain in Judo. They could simply have reduced the scores for such attacks to Yuko’s and the problem would’ve been solved. Getting off point a little.
Wrestling/BJJ/MMA are all the same form. The sports have different rules. Train them all. Become the best martial artist. Train your ppl to be the best overall martial artists. And stay FAR FAR AWAY from these ppl that have little experience in things other than the interest in inflating their ego/marketing persona. Don’t listen to me. Listen to your gut. Pride is evil. Why teach our kids to be Pride hounds like the two I reference in this post?

JOL said...

It seems like everything cool about Judo is allowed in BJJ, but not everything in BJJ is allowed in Judo. I say train BJJ. Judo throws rarely happen anywhere else because they're so easy to stop. If a person simply drops their hips back, or goes limp, you won't be throwing them anywhere. I hate Judo's constant "can't do this, can't do that" attitude. It feels like schoolyard sissy stuff. REAL COMPLETE JUDO IS AWESOME! But the new rules leave it incomplete and disgrace it. I think pins, no facial contact, no leg attacks, no leg locks...is embarrassing. When was the last time you saw a submisson in a high-level Judo match? Always giving up the back, waiting to be saved by the ref. So many rules... face it the sport has been watered down for the entertainment of fans that don't exist. No one knows who David Douillet is, or what an Uchi-Mata is. The sport should belong to it's dedicated practioners. I want the sport as Kano created it! It's shameful that the rulemakers took it upon themselves to edit it.

JOL said...

But anyway, back to the topic... I trained Submission Grappling heavily for a little o'er a year. I just started Judo and I'm beating everyone there on the ground. It's not the sport's fault, it's what the teacher is leaving out. It's like they don't have a clue what I'm doing. I'm really not THAT THAT good either. They just don't know the stuff about guard, legs, escapes...They'll tap before they're even hooked sometimes. It's sad, but it's the only place in town. Also, in Submission class we started learning/practicing all types of stuff on day 1. Here they act scared to teach these guys armlocks. Full grown,tough guys too. And they're always telling me everything is illegal. Ex: I can't push or pull someone's head to sink a choke or create space? Embarrassing.

JOL said...

Okay, one last blurb. Reading that back, I feel like a bit of a blowhard. But, I guess I'm just frustrated that our school isn't all it should/could be. I'm letting it out here because I don't think anyone there cares. I'm no world-class grappler but compared to Submission, and BJJ, this school's ground game is non-existent. My heart just isn't in it. Sorry if I offended anybody, that's not usually me but I'm thinking of quitting this class. That's not usually my style either. I'm just hating on these rules and the disappearance of groundwork.

ashi waza said...

I am high level in both Judo and BJJ. Although I no longer compete, I regularly compete in the dojo. I train a new generation of athlete's. They have a strong focus on reality. School and Family come first. Marketing and selling yourself comes last. If that is a slap to your face, then the shoe fits. Complex sports that require tens of years to truly understand require more of an education than "me, me, me, me, look at me". There has to be virtue. And there is not. There has to be a strong community. And there is not. There are ppl who are only interested in looking in the mirror, and getting others to agree with the lie. If it sounds like I'm a little pissy, no worries. I'm not. That's a judgement I pronounce on the community, and especially it's leaders. There is no community that fosters the growth and development of virtue, education, family, and loyalty. This started a long time a go, and not by the current ppl. But, the curse has set in. The cancer is now diagnosed, and is no longer a possiblity. Judo as a sport will die. In a short span of time, Judo dojo's will be few and far between. The love of the art is gone, replaced by competition results of scores that have nothing to do with the original martial art that hooked us. :)

ashi waza said...

I certainly do hope I am wrong BTW. But, the evidence and trend is already setting in. Go to a Nationals competition, the US Open, etc. See if the level is very high. It is not. Ten years ago was the pinnacle for Judo I think. Time to move on and morph. Those of us with the skill will be welcomed with open arms into the new community. Ironically, this new community has it's roots in Japanese culture, but claims to be brazilian in origin. So much virtue there! LOL

Anonymous said...

"And I think if a Judo person wants to be good in Judo, they should spend time learning Jiu-Jitsu." -Jimmy

Kevin McNeely said...

It is partly true that BJJ matwork will not produce immediate imporovements in judo newaza. BJJ players practice from guard which is not as effective in judo due to time limitations. And, they don't get much experience with a turtled opponent since it is absurd to try to hide in turtle under BJJ rules (the referee will not save you from your own silliness.) But, many of our best athletes have cross trained in wrestling and judo (Pedro, Morris) so I expect that in the future cross trained athletes in BJJ/judo/wrestling will be some of our best. They are the best equipped at coming up with new attack sequences and techniques. (Judo is very biased against non-traditional techniques, but that is another issue.) It is true that BJJ has longer matwork set-ups that may not work when your primary opponent is the referee since he/she cannot allow complex newaza. Same problem occurs when a judo player enters a BJJ competition. The BJJ player can just sit down if he is in trouble, so complex tachi waza setups are not as effective. However, I would expect that in either case a smart competitor can figure out how to apply the techniques to the new rule set. Pedro's best matwork attack sequences always included key wrestling fundamentals and techniques. And he was one of the best in the world at taking an opponent out in 15 seconds or less from the time they hit the mat. Moreover, you could tell that his opponents were terrified of being in newaza and would literally run off the edge to get to standing. This changes the dynamics of the fight in so many ways that the advantage is huge. Same applies with a BJJ player who may not get a submission but gains a huge psychological edge. I would say that the only definite is that if you can't afford to live in Japan for several years but follow only the Japanese style of classical judo as taught in the US, plan to always lose at judo in international competition. It is simply not possible to train at the same level so you will make a great throwing dummy for international judo players that are essentially pro athletes. Hybrid grappling training, however repugnant to judo purists, is the way to go.

Ze Grappler said...

i had only won a handful of Judo matches by pin in almost 6 years of regular competition.
then a knee injury forced me out of judo for months on end, in the spare time while recovering, i did brazilian jiu-jitsu.
my first tournament back i won 3 by pin, 3 by submission, and 3 by throw.
jiu-jitsu competition is just another avenue to test your judo skills and empty your tea cup.

to say it doesn't help is just closing your mind to stepping out of your comfort zone and learning skills that will cross over.

Anonymous said...

Im a complete novice in Judo, Bjj, Sub wrestling, mma and kickboxing. I even train in aikido because its the only thing open here on sunday.

My schedule is
4 times a week bjj classes (2 hours each)
2 kickboxing sessions
2 mma
2 judo
1 sub wrestling
and two aikido sessions.

These are taken by different instructors and I have a variety of partners to roll against or play stand up. I probably verse at least 30 different training partners a week.

Im getting the better of a few blue belts in bjj and even took down a couple of judokas using wrestling tatics.

Im finding the learning curve is crazy if you have an open mind and see the techniques and strategies as being positive .

Its actually easier in free practice as I can go for drilled moves from class or draw from what I learnt in a different style. This often catches people off guard completely.

After all isn't the purpose of martial arts is the element of surprise . Arnt we supposed to be setting people up to apply techniques learnt.

I just thought I would put a beginners perspective as instructors at my judo club. Have been very impressed with the progress I have made. One of the fourth dans who was a silver medalist said you fight like you have been doing judo for years.

I have only been going a few months.

Anonymous said...

Hi AnnMaria,

I'm a Judoka and i love GroundWork. My Club practices groundwork and standup. But of course maybe 60% more Standups.

I just want to tell you my learning experience as a Judoka. I only train in Judo clubs. I had never step into a BJJ club. BUT there are Judokas who cross train in BJJ which made them much better on the ground. Why? Because BJJ drills and develops more on groundwork. BJJers Standup aren't as good as Judokas.

You already pointed out that if a Judoka's Matwork sucks. it is probably due to them training only Throws. So yes, the same goes for BJJ, their throws suck because they only train in Groundwork.

So why does a Judoka learn/cross train with people from BJJ? Its because they want to absorb more groundwork techniques.

So what do i do in my Club? I learn and train with the BJJ players, and thus i become much better in Newaza. There are clubs which of course focus alot on newaza too, ive been to one such judo club, the training time is longer more brutal and there is hell load of Newaza and standup. But telling people that BJJ would make matwork of a Judoka worse doesn't make any sense. Because from what i know and experience, it helped me. Wether the people who taught me are from BJJ or Judo, both contributed to my newaza development.

Because there is nothing wrong with gaining more knowledge, cross training and drilling more when you have to and learning from many other practitioners, be it they are Judokas or BJJers.

Dez said...

Agreed--if you want to get good at a sport, then do that sport; but if you want to be an all around better grappler, then do judo and bjj.

Norman Miller said...

Hello AnnMaria, I have stated for decades that high school wrestling is not beneficial to judo competitors.If you are at a strong judo club train hard in judo. The lure of high peer adulation and the fact that a large number of clubs are neither large nor strong makes it likely that many judo kids will wrestle. The same facts would apply to jiu jitsu. Norman Miller