Thursday, November 28, 2013

Speed, Aggression, Technique and Minimum Effort

A young man asked me on Facebook

I recently saw a interview with you on The Ultimate Fighter. You said that you can use speed and aggression when technique doesn't work. Isn't that exact opposite of Kano's theory of maximum efficiency with minimal effort? I'm just a shodan, who doesn't belong to a tournament club. I'm just trying to wrap my head around a different way of looking at things. 

I'm a statistician so let's look at it like an equation with

 Effect = .4X1 + .3X2 + .3X3

Say technique is X1 and speed and aggression are X2 and X3 -- so, if you are equal on all of these things, the person with the best technique will win. If you are somewhat better on technique, even if you aren't quite as strong and aggressive, you will still win. My point there, though, was that you use what you have. The Ultimate Fighter show is filmed over 8 weeks. You are very limited in the amount of technique you can learn in 8 weeks. That is NOT to say that you should not learn every bit that you can, but simply that you can't learn a whole lot more technique in 8 weeks so you have to leverage every single asset that you have.

In competitive judo, I think we do many athletes a disservice by telling them not to use strength. That's like telling basketball players not to use their height. What we want is for people not to use ONLY strength. Seriously, why would you not use every asset that you have? That doesn't sound very efficient to me.

My other point is that many people who are technically skilled are not mentally as strong as they could be. They will hesitate and even if they have a better hip throw (harai goshi), while they are holding back waiting for just the right moment to get that perfect timing, you can knock the person down with your so-so leg sweep (o soto gari), get on top and win the match.

The biggest weakness I see in most American judo players is that they don't attack enough. They are always waiting for that perfect moment for the big throw. I know this is not unique to the U.S. but I cannot say if it is as prevalent in other countries as I see here. I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this.

6 comments:

plam said...

I'm sure I don't attack enough. I feel like I'm not in position to attack and I'd just get countered. Part of it is to arrange to get into better position to attack, but also I'm sure that if I just attacked more I would get better at attacking from marginal positions.

Minimal effort is, I think, minimal effort required to win. If you are putting in less effort than that, then it's not very efficient at all.

Anonymous said...

"The biggest weakness I see in most American judo players is that they don't attack enough. They are always waiting for that perfect moment for the big throw. I know this is not unique to the U.S. but I cannot say if it is as prevalent in other countries as I see here. I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this." WORD! My kid has been winning a lot in junior shiai mostly because (and when) he's not thinking about winning the gold but rather going fight at a time, consentrating on attacing hard and scoring an ippon on the guy he's facing. I think fear of being countered (and fear of losing) is the biggest enemy of developing as a judoka (and eventually winning).

Anonymous said...

I think the real answer is that Kano's Judo was a lot different than what we have today. It really was one of those things that you could use all technique for. The old Sode tsurikomi goshi didn't go all the way over the back.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Minimal effort is minimal effort required to win. That's really well said. I think I'm stealing that.

JudokaKC said...

Cuz all elite players are loose and relaxed . Sure they do use power but biggest problem of low level judo, recreational judo is stiff arming. So when people learn techniques in good clubs it always very smooth . The main skill for high level judo drilling is speed while having perfect technique. If you drill wrong technique than you are getting bad habit rather than benefit.

Christopher Malachite said...

Judo is about flow. The problem with much of American competitive Judo is that it is dominated by the beginners trap, strength. Bracing, blocking out, and antagonistic movements.

The problem is not too little aggression, the problem is too much aggression. Judoka act against the flow of the fight. Rather than letting their opponent have part of what they want, and then using it against them, they simply pit strength against strength.

Nothing is worse than watching someone pick up an opponent bodily with a hip, then drop them to the mat, and hear it called a hip throw. If Judo is art, most of America are still doing cave paintings.