So, does this mean judo players are going to be tearing up the mixed martial arts world soon?
I don't fucking think so.
And here is why ....
As I looked through our proofs for Winning on the Ground, something I knew all along was strongly reinforced.
Ronda owes me big time.
No, not just for not setting her on fire and throwing her into Santa Monica Bay on a number of occasions when she SO deserved it (though, that, too). No, it is because some forms of judo are FAR more conducive to transferring to mixed martial arts than others and by an amazing fortunate coincidence, the judo that I did and that I taught Ronda fits into that category.
It is no coincidence that Fedor was not only a fourth-degree black belt in judo and a champion in sambo AND successful in mixed martial arts.
Guess who else won international medals in judo and was the national sambo champion? Okay, well, I am sure you won't guess, so I will tell you - it was me. I don't know diddly squat about sambo. I did the same judo I always did, the same judo in the book and the same judo I taught Ronda and it worked.
In a nutshell, there are two types of judo. Years ago (DECADES ago), when I was at the Panamerican Games, the folks from the TV station asked Coach Willy Cahill who to film. He said,
"If you want judo that looks like a ballet, film Robin Chapman (Chow). If you want judo that looks like a barroom brawl, watch AnnMaria."
There is judo that relies a lot on gripping, on using the gi for tie-ups and that does NOT transfer terribly well to mixed martial arts.
[It should be noted that Ronda did not agree 100% with me on this because she pointed out today that she felt the PRINCIPLES of grip-fighting transferred and that is why she is so effective in a clinch. She did agree, however, that the specifics don't transfer so well and many of the matwork techniques using the gi don't transfer at all.]
So, here are five reasons why most judo players will not be successful at mixed martial arts.
- They just aren't in that good physical condition. That's a fact. Shut up. I've seen athletes in wrestling, track, soccer and, yes, even swimming, and they train more than most judo players in the U.S. My lovely little Julia at age 13 played for the Santa Monica Saints Extra team (that's like the city All-Stars) and they practiced five days a week, two hours a day non-stop, and often played an additional two or three hours each day on the weekends in tournaments. That is more than many judo players in this country. Shut up. I watch you train and fight. You do not.
- They count too much on the referee to save them. Judo has stupid rules. If you touch the opponent's leg (in most circumstances) you can automatically lose. If you hold more than a few seconds on one side, you get a penalty. On the other hand, you can lay on your stomach and stall and it is nothing. In mixed martial arts, the opponent gets to punch you if you do this.
- Many judo techniques on the mat rely on using the judo gi to tie up the opponent, which will not work in mixed martial arts, although it is very effective for judo and if you compete in judo, I highly recommend that, if it is working for you, you keep that up.
- Effective grip-fighting, tying up the opponent so he or she cannot attack, is a good strategy for winning in judo. It is not AS effective for mixed martial arts. (Although Ronda argues that, with the right attitude and strategy, it CAN transfer.)
- Many techniques like tai otoshi rely on using the gi and are far more difficult to do without one.
Visualize them not wearing judo gis (not to that extent, you creepy pervert). You can see that the exact same technique would work.
Even if you are in amazing physical condition, judo techniques that rely on gripping the gi, tying up with the gi, hell, HAVING a gi, are just not going to be as effective as those that do not.