Archive for February, 2010

UFC 110

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

This UFC was the first of many, I’m sure, in Australia. The Aussies seemed to love MMA and the athletes.

The fight between Wanderlei Silva and Michael Bisping in UFC 110 had Silva successfully completing both a right-sided ko uchi gari and a left-sided version of the same throw in the following round.

Ko uchi gari is the minor inner reaping throw which involves taking your leg and reaping out the same leg of your opponent, so if you’re using your right leg, you’d reap out uke’s right leg. This throw uses the smaller muscles and is a smaller throw than o uchi gari (major inner reaping). Silva’s versions, though, looked strong: he caught Bisping’s left leg in the first throw, and reaped out Bisping’s right leg. By catching the leg, as opposed to grasping an arm or gripping around the neck, and then stretching his own leg for a small reap, he was able to stay out of danger himself and, yet, throw Bisping to the ground. In the second throw he caught the right leg and reaped out the left leg. Our video doesn’t show the leg grab, but the principle is the same: the leg is isolated and then is taken out.  The traditional version, showing gripping of the arm and lapel or collar, of ko uchi gari can be viewed here

During the bout between Stephan Bonnar and Krzysztof Soszynski, Bonnar attempted an harai goshi when the men were in the clinch. Harai Goshi (Sweeping Hip or Loin) involves turning your back to your opponent and sweeping out his leg, although variations of position could allow throws to the side instead of to the back. Here is the traditional version of harai goshi. I think Bonnar was positioned a bit too far past Soszynski’s body. When Bonnar swept his leg, he made no contact with Soszynski at all. This is a version of harai goshi for MMAin which Dave throws to the side.

There were few submission attempts in this UFC and the only submission I saw which resulted in a win was a knee bar (Chris Lytle in his win against Brian Foster). I had hoped to write about some beautiful submissions, especially from Soszynski and other groundwork specialists, but such is not the case this time around.


February 23, 2010

IJF Rule Changes

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The IJF (International Judo Federation) has issued rule changes which are applicable to judoka who compete in tournaments nationally and internationally. Since, as a club, we have limited people competing in shiai, we ordinarily don’t pay much attention to judo tournament rules until someone is about to enter a tournament.

We were aware of the rule against grabbing pant legs and various defensive moves, which have long been frowned upon, and the causes of penalties. We were not aware, though, of the anti-wrestling attitude of the IJF. Basically, the IJF wants judo matches to be upright, showing good form and fast, beautiful, strong throws.  Any stance which looks as though the judoka is about to go to the ground (bending forward, grabbing a leg as with kata guruma, or yoko kata guruma, etc.) are grounds for penalties. Four such penalties in a match for a judoka and the match is awarded to the opponent.

The IJF and its proponents have decided that anything resembling wrestling moves are unacceptable. Granted, Butt Flops are annoying and irritating, usually an indication that the competitor is at a loss for a way to get his or her opponent to the ground. I can see penalizing the judoka for this manoeuver. Turtling without having unbalanced one’s opponent is comparable, and equally penalized.

The area of the rule changes which astounds me is that of being penalized for grabbing your opponent’s leg to take him to the floor. If you are successful, then you will have taken him off-balance, and he will hit the mats, and you will follow him and begin grappling. The fall may not be ippon, but the grab of the leg should not be penalized.

I will admit that throws which are high-amplitude and well-executed look spectacular. The number of people in the world who know judo, however, and watch judo, are very limited. It is not a spectator sport and certainly not a sport which lends itself to television: every time the CBC has shown judo competitions, either for the Nationals or the Olympics, a great deal of instruction for the viewer was necessary, and yet, I’m sure the average viewer still didn’t grasp much of the intricacies.

Judo is very complicated: there’s a lot to learn when studying it. People actually spend their entire lives perfecting techniques. It takes years to get one’s black belt. How can a five minute segment on the point system, throws, joint locks, or any other technique in judo, explain to the viewers what is happening?

To make rule changes with the viewers in mind is an amazing step backward. Rather than incorporating grappling into tournaments, the IJF and its members will have forced all those judokas in the world, who want to advance their skills into other areas, to go to other martial arts. I wonder how many people will leave judo because of the IJF rule changes.

At a time when, I believe, judo clubs should be growing from sport judo to judo/grappling, we have the top judo organization in the world telling us we can’t do anything resembling grappling. Luckily, we can teach whatever we want in our club.


February 2, 2010