Monday, November 28, 2011

Jiu-jitsu habits I just can't stand

I'm not hating on jiu-jitsu in general, but having spent over 30 years in judo and misspent too much of my youth in actual fights, there are two things in jiu-jitsu that just have the effect on me of fingernails scraping across the chalk board. I realize that these habits are just as legal in jiu-jitsu as those pants the curling team from Norway wore in the Olympics and I am against both for the same reason - I'm pretty sure they will get your ass kicked if you try them out in the street.
(And yes, those are their actual uniforms and they won a silver medal and you didn't. The team, not the pants.)

One thing that irritates the hell out of me is what they call jumping guard.  When I saw this in a grappling tournament, I turned to my friend and said,

"What the hell is that? Why doesn't the other guy just drive his head into the mat?"

and he told me there was a rule against it. This is NOT a "judo is cool, BJJ sucks" post, because believe me I know that judo has its own share of stupid rules, starting with the fact that if you grab a guy's legs, pick him three feet off the ground and slam him hard on his back you lose because you touched his pants with your hands.  All that aside, doing a move where the only reason you don't get your ass kicked is that there is a rule against it is irritating. Notice that in mixed martial arts you don't see people do this move because there isn't any rule against driving your stupid head into the mat. You don't see people do it in judo because there is a rule against jumping guard, too. Judo keeps adding rules against everything. One day, we'll only be allowed to indicate with our eyes the directions we would move to throw the person if we were allowed to touch him. I won't even be surprised when this happens.

The second thing that irritates me is that lately when I watch jiu-jitsu people do matwork 100% of them start the same way, on their back. People in JJ tell me this is because it is the easiest position to defend.

Again, I understand this is true according to jiu-jitsu rules. (The alternate explanation, that 100% of the people I have watched lately are stupid, seems rather implausible.)

However, if you have ever been in an actual fight, or even watched one, you realize it doesn't go like this:
  1. Guy X insults Guy Y's girlfriend, mother and/or masculinity.
  2. Guy Y calls Guy X outside to the parking lot to see whose girlfriend/ mother / masculinity is the real #%^&&(!
  3. Out in the parking lot, Guy X falls on his back and yells, "Come on, sucker!"
In fact, laying on your back is a VERY piss-poor position to defend from getting kicked in the face, hit with a two-by-four, jumped on or even being urinated on by your opponent (speaking of piss). 

Rant off. For today. Tomorrow, in the interest of fairness, I think I'll ramble on about stupid judo things that irritate me.

31 comments:

gbutts said...

don't forget about pulling people in your and hanging on for life. Do you my help for stupid judo rules?

Anonymous said...

Pretty fair on the stupidity of the no guard slam rule. Now in all fairness the guy in the picture does have a leg hooked and a triangle locked in so slamming probably won't help the other guy too much. ADCC rules do allow you to slam someone if you're under threat of a submission. Most BJJ schools which have MMA competitors also actively discourages people from the "tree hugging" guard jump. But like any stupid rule, people are there to take advantage of it. I'm pretty sure on the street I can't just bait my opponent to grab my leg and wait for the ref to disqualify him but that doesn't stop competitors at the highest levels in Judo from doing so.

Attacks by starting from guard is purely a style choice. The reason most people do is because they have no takedown skills. I have my sankyu so I don't pull guard very often when competing. The other thing is there are a myriad of sweeps for points one can achieve from the guard. Points for the sweep and points for the take-down are exactly the same but I do have the option of submitting from the guard whereas that isn't available standing up.I'm pretty confident that most bjj players will not pull guard in a street fight. If they do then we'll assume that evolution will run its course.

gbutts - I believe that to be an unfair statement. People pulling you into their guard and holding on for dear life probably don't know what they're doing. It's the same like Kyu-grades who stiff arm for an entire randori session. When someone is in my guard the person hanging on for dear life will not be me.

Anonymous said...

Pretty fair on the stupidity of the no guard slam rule. Now in all fairness the guy in the picture does have a leg hooked and a triangle locked in so slamming probably won't help the other guy too much. ADCC rules do allow you to slam someone if you're under threat of a submission. Most BJJ schools which have MMA competitors also actively discourages people from the "tree hugging" guard jump. But like any stupid rule, people are there to take advantage of it. I'm pretty sure on the street I can't just bait my opponent to grab my leg and wait for the ref to disqualify him but that doesn't stop competitors at the highest levels in Judo from doing so.

Attacks by starting from guard is purely a style choice. The reason most people do is because they have no takedown skills. I have my sankyu so I don't pull guard very often when competing. The other thing is there are a myriad of sweeps for points one can achieve from the guard. Points for the sweep and points for the take-down are exactly the same but I do have the option of submitting from the guard whereas that isn't available standing up.I'm pretty confident that most bjj players will not pull guard in a street fight. If they do then we'll assume that evolution will run its course.

gbutts - I believe that to be an unfair statement. People pulling you into their guard and holding on for dear life probably don't know what they're doing. It's the same like Kyu-grades who stiff arm for an entire randori session. When someone is in my guard the person hanging on for dear life will not be me.

robthornton72 said...

Agreed on the stupid BJJ rules. Sadly however, I still see more opportunities for Judo from your average BJJ competition than I see at a Judo competition! We've water down the rules too far. I think, along with marketing, this hurts Judo versus the nuber of students for BJJ.

Ze Grappler said...

my only response would be the traditional judo training response of lifting the opponent off the ground to avoid the armbar or triangle/jujigatame or sankaku will also get your elbow dislocated or deepen the triangle rather than learning to avoid the 2 altogether with good posture...which also leads to better guard passing.

In Judo competition, nearly all of the ippons by submission i've gotten were b/c the judoka on top tried to pull out of the triangle or armbar rather than defending with posture before i set up the triangle/armbar.

Jorge Almeida said...

Most of the rules are in place so that an athlete can go for a competition and still have dinner with their grandparents without stitches, bloody lacerations and lacking a couple teeth or a coffin. I agree with all the rules that are in place to protect the players. I also agree with the rules that make it easier for the referees not to make mistakes, and to make it less biased.
Now... rules and alteration of rules to make a sport more "beautiful" or easier to "market" is stretching the patience limit of the players that practice a sport. They should not touch these.
My take with rules is that we should accept them or change sport.
My take of brawls is that I never start them, never invite or accept invitations to go outside, always warn them that if we start this both of us will be hurt, always give my money or try to run. The only thing that I think I can win on a fight is a bloody nose or maybe a court trip if I hurt someone badly which is not very difficult with a good throw and their head whiplashing against the floor. Any of these options is worse than walking away with a hurt pride. I would only fight to save someone or for my life. Punish or revenge leads to court.
This is to frame my opinion about these issues. Now the questions.
1- Do you agree with rules that are in place to prevent injury from the players? (I already know that you do not agree with rules that exist to make the sport more beautiful or to separate it from other sports).
2- Do you think that BJJ and Judo exist to prepare people for actual fights? If yes, do you think that leaning BJJ or Judo is the most efficient way to win an actual fight?
3- Why do you practice judo and not BJJ, MMA, grappling or something else? Do you prefer Judo rules to the other sports' rules?
4- Why should someone practice Judo?

BJJ Judo said...

I view pulling guard as a strategic decision. I am a top player and thus want to get on top by the easiest and safest means necessary. Sometimes the easiest way for me to get on top is to throw the person and land on them. Other times the easiest way to get on top is to pull guard and sweep. Either way what I don't want to happen is the other person throws me and lands on top of me in side control or worse. So from that standpoint I pull guard under two circumstanses. One, if I feel like the other person has much better standup then me and I am at risk of being thrown and landed on in side control. In this case I will forfeit the top position for a bottom position that gives me a good opportunity to sweep and get on top. Two, I feel like the other person has good standup but TERRIBLE ground work. In that case my standup may be better then the other person's but not so much better that it gives me a huge advantage. In this case if my ground work is SUBSTANTIALLY better the easiest route to the top position is pull and sweep.

As far as a street fight goes, that's a whole different ball game.

Enosis said...

Corrections....There is a rule in MMA about "spiking heads into the mat"...it is not officially allowed although it does sometimes happen. You actually do see many people pull guard in MMA...mainly when a grappler can't keep up with the oppenents striking game. Keep in mind, MMA is still not a combat situation, mats, no small digit manipulation...very different than combat. Speaking of small digit manipulation, I recall there was a pankration champion in ancient Greece that won all his matches by breaking his opponents fingers.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

To Jorge
1- Do you agree with rules that are in place to prevent injury from the players? (I already know that you do not agree with rules that exist to make the sport more beautiful or to separate it from other sports).

Yes, but I think some people are stretching it. What I mean is that there is SOME risk of injury in anything. So, yes, I agree with the rule you have to give an opponent a chance to tap out in an arm bar. I do not agree with those people who would like to do away with arm bars completely because you can get hurt. Same thing with people who want to get rid of some throws because the opponent might get hurt if he or she falls wrong. I'm not a big fan of rules to protect people from their own stupidity.

2- Do you think that BJJ and Judo exist to prepare people for actual fights?

** I don't know if that's the reason they EXIST. That is too philosophical for me. I think that the basis for the two way back when was to prepare people for actual fights (if you think of judo as stemming originally from jiu-jitsu in Japan). I think that is why many people take up the two sports today.

If yes, do you think that leaning BJJ or Judo is the most efficient way to win an actual fight?

** The most efficient way to win an actual fight, in order is:
a) Shoot the other person
b) Stab the other person
c) Hit the other person with something like a brick or other hard object

You think I'm kidding but I am dead serious. I have been in fights with people who really wanted to hurt me and do bad things to me. There are no rules in an actual fight. However, knowing judo does HELP.

The better plan is not to be in situations where people want to fight you. Few people want to beat up statisticians. (Well, maybe my doctoral students, but they're not allowed. The university has a rule against it.)

3- Why do you practice judo and not BJJ, MMA, grappling or something else? Do you prefer Judo rules to the other sports' rules?

When I started judo, MMA and grappling did not exist. No one had heard of BJJ. Wrestling didn't allow girls. In those pre- Title IX days, judo was the only choice I had, and I liked it so I stuck with it. Personally, I like the freestyle judo rules the best. If I was competing now, that is what I would do.


4- Why should someone practice Judo?

For fun. For exercise. To get in better shape. To meet nice people. Because they have a hard life and it is a socially acceptable way to choke someone and knock them down without going to jail. (Freud had a lot of good things to say about catharsis, and so do I.)

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Anonymous -
The tree-hugging guard jump is the one that I really have a problem with but I couldn't find a picture of it.

I do think though that even if you have a leg hooked and triangle locked in being slammed on your head will loosen you up a bit.

robthornton72 said...

Good Judo should have some valid self defense practice to it. Having said that, there should be instruction to avoid the ground as possible whenever possible. Having said THAT, in a real world situation, you fall back on your training whether instictively or not. If your first instinct is to throw the guy and then go to armbar, that's great - until his buddies kick you in the head.


AnnMaria - I can't agree enough on Freestyle Judo. If I was running a club right now, I'd do all I could to spread it to the area. I do my best now not to practice by "IJF" rules. I'll do my leg grabs as much as I damn well please, thank you very much :)

robthornton72 said...

PS to what you just said - for all the argument in the rules against slamming people, it ignore the fact that people have the option in 99% of the cases to just let go. If they want to get slammed on their head, it's their fault. We let them get choked out and their arms dislocated. What's the difference in being slammed on your back and being thrown with force into a holddown?

Anonymous said...

BJJ or judo won't work in a street fight Kava Maga will. A kick in the nuts a poke in the eye it's over

Jorge Almeida said...

Thanks for the answers. They are right to the point and I agree pretty much with what you said. Specially the part about fights. Starting a fight because of words is stupidity. If there is a fight, judo will give you an advantage but not a sure win, specially against guns, knives and static objects.

When I speak about rules to prevent injury i am speaking for example about the use of the head by the tori to make a throw. They forbade it because there were too many people getting seriously injured and some even died because of it. However, it is a rule that tries to curb stupidity or risky behavior.

One rule that I have never understood is why grabbing tori's leg during a pin stops the osaekomi. It never, ever made any sense on my head.

Jorge Almeida said...

Hey Anonimous... have you ever watched Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark?

robthornton72 said...

Jorge - can you explain what you mean by "When I speak about rules to prevent injury i am speaking for example about the use of the head by the tori to make a throw. They forbade it because there were too many people getting seriously injured and some even died because of it." Assuming there were deaths, can you let me know when those happened? I've heard of extremely few deaths in the Judo community. I'm not saying they're not out there, but usually something like that gets publicized.

As far as grabbing tori's pants leg in groundwork when they have osaekomi - if you mean wrapping it with your legs, it shows tori no longer has control.

Anonymous - if you rely on a kick to the nuts to end a fight, you'll soon deal with a rage induced fighter as opposed to one who might have just wanted to whomp on you a little. Nut kicks won't end many fights, regardless of the movies.

Jorge Almeida said...

I cannot find the people that died because of this. I think it was a Dutch player but I can't find the reference. I used to use my head for some throws and my coaches told me not to do it because I would hurt myself. Of course I only stopped after being hurt.
http://www.intjudo.eu/IJF_Referee_Rules/English_Version_/English_Version
27B(32)
To "dive" head first, onto the Tatami by bending forward and downward while performing or attempting to perform techniques such as Uchimata, Harai-goshi, etc. or to fall directly backwards while performing or attempting to perform techniques such as Kata-guruma whether standing or kneeling.

Sorry for the confusion about the grabbing the legs on the ground. I mean wrapping Tori's leg. I think it really depends on the pin and how the situation goes. You can still keep the Uke in very good control with him wrapping one of Tori's legs. If you tell me that it starts to loose control and it would be much easier to escape, I will agree with you. But if it is like that, then just let the osaekomi continue until the Uke gets out.

Anonymous said...

Darnit i am out of donuts!! i'll be back!

CPMMA said...

A slam will not necessarily weaken an armbar or a triangle. BJJ deals with this via hooking the leg, rotating underneath the person's torso to sweep them, changing the submission to an omaplata or leg lock, etc.
Let's not look at competition BJJ/Judo as a representative of the self defense portion.

Anonymous said...

Only in bjj would you jump into guard. In traditional Japanese jujitsu/jujutsu we all know being on your back is the last place you want to be but train for being on your back in case you do end up there, but in true combat you never want to be in that position especially if you fighting with more than one assailant . Enough said !!

Joe Marino said...

Yes, there is definitely a difference between sports and real fighting. Pulling guard in a BJJ match is not something which would be ideal in a real fight, just like a wrestler or Judo player offering up their back is a bad idea in a real fight. When playing a sport, we exploit the rules of that sport to our advantage.

I have never once heard of any Jiu-Jitsu instructor that advocates pulling guard in a bar brawl or a street fight or any other such situation. When a Jiu-Jitsu player gets into a fight outside of the gym, our first inclination is to put our opponent on his back, because we know just how difficult it is to fight from that position. And while wrestlers and judoka tend to poke fun at Jiu-Jitsu guys for our awful takedown skills, we're still much more skilled in that area of fighting than your average drunkard or jerk.

Diet Black said...

Finding this site made my damn day.

And you funny as shit Ms. Doctor lady.

Many props your way.

Euphrates said...

Anonymous...please!

Read up on some of the history of BJJ as well as the Gracies. If you look at their fights, they typically took the fight down, got on top, smacked the guy a few times, then put on a choke from the back. Now in some cases, they couldn't get top position and yet they still won. See Royce Gracie's victory over Dan Severn. In that fight, Royce couldn't get the top position, Dan was the better wrestler. Royce was the better overall grappler and choked him to submission from the bottom.

The point? Sometimes, you have no choice on whether you end up on the bottom. If you end up there, you better know what you are doing.

As for me, I do BJJ and also I utilize my Guard, when I spar the larger guys in class I go for top position, top position, top position. If I'm on the bottom, I get out immediately or look to sweep back to top position. The thing is, you have to spend quite a bit of time working your bottom game in order to get good at being able to sweep and get out of that position. You don't just don't immaculately conceive those skills when you need them.

Stephen said...

I'm turning 56 this month. I had a friend when I was a sophomore in high school who had been trained to pull guard on the ground in fights.

Boy, that seems like a long time ago. Never did really make sense out of it.

Anyway, enjoy this site.

Anonymous said...

the first grappling gold medal i ever won was from using a judo strategy.

in the finals, i came off my line and hit my opponent with the best harai goshi that i had ever done up to that point in my life.

when he hit the mats, i felt his ribs compress and all his air in his lungs rush out of his mouth and into my face.

3 minutes of yoko shio gatame and kesa gatame later the match was stopped because my opponent stopped moving.

I heard him complain to his coach that he thought that "judo slamming" should have been illegal.

every BJJ tournament i've been to since then i have done well with the same strategy. hara goshi, ura nage, moroto seoi nage, and tai otoshi are the BJJer's kryptonite.

they really should put more emphasis on takedowns and takedown defense that isn't "pull guard".

dave schaeffer said...

Anonymous stated that BJJ or Judo would not work in a street fight. Oh my, would being a slightly above average high school wrestler?. I'll answer for you, Yes!!! I'm not gnarly, and don't get into fighting, but a couple of times outta H.S. I found myself in fights. Took my opponents down in a blink of an eye, had them in tight head and arms. let them go. One guy was "the best fighter" from a rival school. Anyways, If I'd have known Judo submissions, wow......

Usagi said...

Perhaps instead of making guard-pulling illegal, the person against whom guard was pulled should be awarded points for the takedown.

Kinda like: "OK, if you want to pull guard, that's fine... but you are giving you opponent points because of it."

Mike said...

I know this is a very old post, but I find the premise so outrageous I just have to comment.

"doing a move where the only reason you don't get your ass kicked is that there is a rule against it is irritating."

But this describes almost everything anyone does in any combat sport, with the partial exception of MMA. The way you approach your opponent and hold your hands in judo, BJJ, or wrestling would get your ass kicked if there wasn't a rule about strikes. Same thing about the way judo players turtle up. Or what about the core thing judo rules assume: that the fight is over as soon as you execute a pretty throw. Or, to take it in another direction, what about the way boxers bob and weave and get low sometimes? They couldn't get away with that if knees were allowed.

Everyone works within the rules of their sport.

You personally like standup, you like throws, you like judo, and so you don't like to see people pulling guard. Fine. But don't pretend it's because of some overriding general principle.

By the way, the reason BJJ people start out matwork with one person playing guard (sitting on his butt or lying on his back) is because it's the most neutral position that makes any sense. If in a match I found myself on my knees and my opponent was also on his knees... I would stand up. It's not a position that makes any sense to try to grapple from.

Patrick Do said...

Well that's a bad argument.

A "rage induced crack whore" won't feel anything. Kick to the balls is just a tool. A tool tto be used to get the desired result.

A better point is what if its a WOMEN OR A BALLESS POST OP MAN OR SHEMAN.

Either way people who argue that crotch shots is a bad technique clearly don't have any balls.

First of all its just so exposed. Its too hard to defend from a strike. Easily acccesble to kicks because most people can't do head kicks like jet Li. From the ground game or full guard. Your balls are uber exposed.

JÖL said...

To AnnMaria,

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Now hang on just a darned second here... those pants are awesome! I think I could make those look good!

As for getting my ass kicked, I'm like many of you fine folks surely are, in that I'm mighty enough to be kindly toward most people, like the good sap that I am. That's usually sufficient for keeping the peace. However...

If it is not, my would-be assailants will witness gruesome, horrific ass-kicking done by a very large and very-suddenly-NOT-so-kindly man, in the sweetest, polyblend Norwegian Olympic Curling Team britches ever!

P.S. Speaking of sapdom, this may qualify as downright nauseating wholesomeness but, whatever. I won't be happy unless I tell you how much I'm enjoying your excellent and helpful WOTG book, and how cool it is to read all the fun and interesting views in your blog. THANKS! YOU ROCK!

DAN said...

Mike, I understand your point about the limitations fight sports have but if a boxer knows to maintain guard they could still get low and block knees and feet. And the guy who said Judo won't work in a street fight is wrong. Getting thrown on the ground is one of the quickest ways to lose a fight.