Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recommended BJJ Books for Judoka

This is my favorite "Gracie" book.

Moves shown are very practical, effective,
familiar and easy to adopt by Judoka.

Very good for people who are wanting to learn how to
transition their Judo Ne Waza to BJJ style.

This one is a good to know because it teaches basics
of the guard and also a fighting philosophy from
that position and strategies. It will save you some
surprises and give you few very good, rudimentary BJJ tips:

This one is much more advanced, but it is in many aspect
the state of the art of BJJ with lots of very advanced,
but very effective moves.
It is by BJJ great Saulo Ribeiro who is famous
for his intelligent and natural BJJ.

Learning Updates

I am working on a competitive Ko Uchi Gari and left side Tai Otoshi.

My role model is excellent Won Hee Lee although he is much smaller
than I am (73 kg vs mine 100 kg).

Here is the video of Lee's throws that I watch hundreds of times a day,
frame by frame and that I use as an instructional and an inspiration:

This past Saturday in training I was able to pull few very
good left Tai Otoshi.

Here are some key (advanced) points I picked up from the training
and that, once applied, resulted in a good Tai Otoshi:

For Tai Otoshi:

- Keep the toes pointed forward from the moment
you move the extending leg into a motion for a throw

- Practice "step-snap pull" - the moment foot reaches
the ground snap-pull for a throw.
Timing of this highly coordinated kuzushi
and poisitioning is critical.

- Extend the leg low and far to barely clip the ankle but
keep on the toes facing forward
and twist the whole upper body as you throw

I am also working on a left and right Ko Uchi Gari.

Some key points for

Ko Uchi Gari:

- Make the person move towards his/her outer toes
before attempting the Ko Uchi Gari.
Moving Uke will make this throw drastically easier.

- As soon you clip the leg (out and on the side)
drive the person down hard

- Transition immediately into a holdown or a submission
to capture the initiative from the surprise,
and to ensure good grappling position

Quick update on fitness:

I am 232 lbs but I have replaced about 1% of body fat with
muscles. I train with weights (circuit) three times a week.
I am also regularly (three times a week) doing
cardio-vascular interval training.

I do 25 uchi komi in series.
My goal is 50 full speed uchi komi on my favorite throws.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Medical update, physicians opinion and back to the training

I went to see a doctor today for my gout and things looked fine.
My physician, Dr. Ramos (great doctor) recommended
that I keep dropping my weight.
I asked him to give me a weight loss homework.
It is 220 lbs.

I am 233 today and I am dropping,
so I am hoping that in 3 months I will be at low 220s.

I started training Judo 3-4 times a week.
I also went to gym today for a swim for 20 min,
run for 10 and fast and intensive high repetitions weight
training for 10 min. I always do endurance-circuit
training to avoid bulking up.
I bulk up too easily, and that will not help my weight drop goals).

All was good.
I do have some hip joint pain from Judo this last week,
but it must be from not doing Judo in high speed for a while.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Training Log

After series of injuries,
and starting the PhD program I got seriously out of shape.

It is time to start getting back in shape for serious Judo.

I am still recovering from what some doctors think is a
bone spurt and some think is a gout, so I cannot run.

I am starting the fitness program with 235 lbs.
My goal is to get to 218 lbs within three months and to
get back into 4x5 min Nage Waza randori and 2x15 Ne Waza
randori shape.

I will be posting my progress on these pages.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recommended Fitness Magazine

I struggled to find a good fitness magazine. Most of the fitness magazines,
specially for men, are in my opinion sleazy and too focused on "macho" subjects
involving pumping muscles, drinking protein shakes, eating meat and adult subjects.
Not to talk about cover pages ...

So in my quest to find a good fitness magazine with smart, useful and scientifically
accurate articles on exercise and nutrition I found "Runners World" to be magazine
of my choice.

While distance running is not the most applicable form of exercise for Judo
and grappling I find most of their articles very applicable.

The magazines web site is actually an excellent source as they make available
many of the greatest articles from the printed edition.

Here are some samples of the articles:

Eat Like a Champion

Lessons on Weight Loss

A Core Workout

Speed Play

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Best Judo Throws for Submission Grappling

Reader Formosa Neijia asked for an advice which throws may be the most
useful in BJJ or submission grappling competition.

If I have to select one that works in both gi and no-gi competition it would be deep over-grip/around the neck Harai Goshi or Harai Goshi Makikomi variation.

Here is a no-gi variation demonstrated by UFC fighter Shonie Carter:

In addition I recommend a combinations of Harai Goshi into Osoto Gari or vice versa.

O Soto Gari in Judo competition:

and for no-gi MMA/submission grappling
(courtesy of great UFC player and judoka Karo Parisian):

Both of these throws are very powerful therefore putting the tori
(performer of the throw) into a very favorable position on the ground.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What Can Judoka Learn From BJJ, Part 2 - Playing Different Game

Judoka, in general, are not properly tuned for the BJJ game on the ground.
BJJ players fight from the back, they are slower, they have better developed set of combinations into submission and they, in general, have shaper focus on winning by submissions.

So what should we Judoka learn from BJJers, but more importantly what should judoka do to make a difference on the ground?

1. Follow the throw-pin-submit pattern. I’ve seen many judoka get stuck into BJJ game by pulling or fighting guard and getting raveled into a intricate web of BJJ setups. Unless you are experienced at BJJ ground game execute the different strategy. Always look to throw hard and to seize the strong pin after the throw (unless opportunity for submission is too obvious).

2. Throw. We are trained to use some of the best weapons you can use in submission grappling – throws, so must leverage them to the maximum. Focus on throws that have significant effect. Use makekomi versions, use big and bold, upper body restraining throws such as harai goshi, osoto gari, uchi mata.

3. Go for Simple. Train and go for techniques that work well in Judo. Do not try to beat BJJ players at their best game on the ground. Do not try to emulate some complicated techniques you see on "BJJ From Brown to Black" tapes when you will be far better of at sticking to simple, effective and very well developed Judo techniques such as Juji Jime, Ude Garami, Okuri Eri Jime and similar than experimenting with rubber guards and gogoplatas. (you should, however, be familiar with as many of these tricky BJJ techniques as possible since you can be up for a nasty surprise). Even BJJ legend, Rickson Gracie, recommends his students to stay with the basics - they are proven to work.

Next time I will go into details of some of the more specific Judo techniques that work well when applied in the context of submission grappling.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Can Judoka Learn From BJJ, Part 1

Visit to a regional Judo tournament few weeks ago convinced me of a necessity
to communicate this message as broadly to Judo community as possible.

The Situation:

BJJ practitioner with unknown level of BJJ experience, but definitely not a
beginner in BJJ, enters a Judo tournament as white belt.

He enters to compete in his bracket (white-green)
as well as in the bracket above (brown-black and beyond).

As he enters the actual contest it is clear that his standing technique is not good at all.

He cannot pull one decent throw; however - he tries.
He tries everything he can to bring the other guy down to the mat.
The sad news is that his oponents, Judo guys, are not good either.
As we all know Judo throws are hard to master, and the people in his
category are not good (yet) at pulling any good throws either.

BJJer, however, has one major advantage:
he knows the ground grappling, submission techniques well,
so as soon as he and his oponents end up on the ground he immediately has the edge.

As they go on the ground, his oponent goes to the belly or turtles up.
BJJ guys immediately takes his back and starts sinking the choke in.
Judo guy at this level often gets surprised, often intimidated, and loses to submission
(taps before he even gets "sleepy").

If the Judo guy happens to end on his back or with his arms extended out,
BJJ guy, like on the autopilot, goes for an arm bar (Juji Gatame) and wins that way.

This is in white-green category.

In brown/black belt category BJJ guy has harder time.
Judo guys are impossible for him to throw them.
He almost has no chance to even budge them.

However, many of the Judo guys use throwing techniques like drop Ippon Seoi Nage
that are not really "safe" against the experienced grappler.
If throw like drop Ippon Seoi Nage does not result in an ippon tori (thrower)
is likely to end up in a very disadvantageous position where BJJ guy has his back.

As the game goes to the ground Judo brown/black belts are experienced enough to defend most common attacks from this mid-level BJJ player, but their stamina is often not up to the par with the BJJ player, so game gets pretty tense and commonly even-handed.

As the match progresses Judo players (judoka) win in this category only if they can
take advantage of Judo rules, or if they can score a clear ippon.

Otherwise, they suffer a humiliating defeat from a white belt.

Some important conclusions:

Most of Judo players are totally unprepared to face the BJJ player in Judo competition.

  • Judoka's game is often not tuned for the style and strategy that BJJ player imposes.

  • Judoka's skills are often not well matched against the submission style grappling that BJJ players impose

  • Many Judo techniques used against BJJ players in tournaments are not effective enough to give judoka reasonable advantage.

  • BJJ players enter the tournaments as very low ranks which is the misrepresentation of the skill giving Judoka false sense of advantage. (In my opinion, Judo and BJJ are far too similar to allow one practitioner with years of experience to wear a beginners belt.)

These are my conclusions. I feel I have pretty good response to each one of these issues listed,
so in the next set of entries I will address each one of these areas,
and I will provide a very specific set of tips and recommendations on how to successfully respond to BJJ players using their strategy to judoka's advantage.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Develop Grip Strength

If you've been doing Judo or other type of grappling for a while you know that forearm strength and gripping strength is essential to your effective application of the techniques and for the overall endurance in the grappling match.

How many times you were about to sink in that choke (shimewaza) but you did not have enough strength left to finish it up.
How many times you wanted to execute that throw but you were barely holding on to the oponents gi.

Based on the fatigue I specifically experienced in the forearms I realized that I will need to work on that part of my body to improve my gripping and choking techniques.

To improve strength and endurance, to help your Judo and to help your Ne Waza performance practice forearm excercises every single day.

For starters get yourself one of these pieces of equipment shown below and do plenty of repetitions. You can do it in your cubicle, classroom, workplace, home, ... You will be taking your Judo to the next level.

NOTE: I am not necessarly endorsing this particular product on the picture. It is just for illustration purposes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Recommended Judo Ne Waza Videos

Here is the list of my top 3 favorites Judo Newaza instructionals, in order of value:

1. Mike Swain's Newaza (a.k.a. Championship Grappling) DVD Set

The best by far in terms of quality of instruction, production quality and value.
Great emphasis on details, great tips. It is about four hours long.
It covers turnovers into chokes, chokes, armbars, throws (takedowns) transitions
into groundwork. Amazing level of details is given to Juji Gatame, Ude Garami,
Sankaku (triangle) choke, pin and turnover. Techniques are shown in gi and no gi situations.
This is great video for Judoka as well as for any submission grappler.

2. Judo Newaza by Kashiwazaki

It was a pleasure to watch this newaza specialist showing his tips and tricks, and his speed
of execution. This is a very Judo specific set with lots of emphasis on pins.
There is a good section on transitions from standing to ne waza as well as on tranisitions from one hold to another or from one ground technique into another.
This is not a material for a beginners.
Video is in Japanese.

3. Newaza For Winning with Okuda

Very similar to Kashiwazaki's set. In Japanese as well. Strong focus on upper pins - Kesa,
Kami and some of the more popular chokes (Okuri Eri, Juji Jime, Sleeve variations).
There are lenghty section where Okuda explains his newaza strategy, or shares his stories
but unfotunately I do not understand Japanese except for the few Judo related words.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Will great Judo go away?

I am not being a nostalgia driven guy who cries for good, old days (I am not that old anyway), but I cannot help but notice that at large today's Judo culture in Western countries is still being carried on by aging instructors.

These aging instructor still teach very good Judo. Most of them have learned it from the source - Japanese instructors who spread the fundamental, wholesome Judo to Europe and America.

The problem is - these guys (senior instructors) are geting increasingly old, frail and incapable of "showing" the skill.

One of my former instructors is suffering debilitating ilness. His skill is vanishing. My other instructor had his spine broken, and he cannot go on for a very long.
They are treasures of knowledge, skills, contacts accross the globe, great stories, but they are inevitably going away.

I do not see the suitable "replacements" for them - specially not in USA.

So when we discuss "Decline of Judo" I see it as inevitable just due to the fact that people who volounteer their time and skills today will simply be gone tomorrow, and they will have no one to continue on. The ones that go on may simply not be good enough to preserve and pass on the unique and impressive skill of wholesome Judo.

I am hoping to have skills and fortune to be able to learn and pass on the skill as we learn it from the ones that are great at it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

10 Sec. Drills

10 second drills are a great way to train Judo and even other grappling sports.
The key idea behind these types of drills is that you have to accomplish something - throw, pin, submission, ... in 10 seconds.
You have to do it right and you have to do it repeadetly.

Few examples:

Line up fight

One player stays in the middle. Other players rotate swiftly every 10 seconds.
Player in the middle must attack on every rotation. Rotating players do what they choose - attack, defend, stall ... Drill simulates high intensity match, and how would you play it to win.
Attack, attack, attack.
This is a gruelling drill, but it prepares you to be a "Dobermann" in the competition.

10 sec Juji Gatame (Cross Armlock)

One player (Uke) is on the ground with his hands very loosely close to each other.
Another player (Tori) is standing close to Uke's shoulder.
On the sign 'go' or 'hajime' Tori has to secure the Juji Gatame and Uke has to defend it.
This is a great exercise for both. Tori has to learn to be fast and accurate, and Uke has to learn how to effectively get out of the trouble while on his back.

In our club, we utilize 10 sec drills for the wide array of excercises. We drill grips, pins coming from the knees, escapes, turtle turnovers, chokes coming from the back - all utilizing this method.
We found that these short-timed drills are great for improving the quickness and accuracy which is important for both competition and self-defense situation.

WARNING: These drills may result in a higher rates of injuries because you of the "rush" associated with the time pressure.
Do not practice these drills until you have mastered the moves in a slow, controlled fashion, and
even then have them executed in a fully supervised environment.

CREDIT: I need to give credit for this idea for 10 sec. drills to Ann Maria, World Champion and US Olympian Rhonda Rousey's mother, who shared this training style with few of us on the Judoinfo forum.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ne Waza instead of calisthenics

Start your every class with some light ne waza instead of calisthenics and running.

I got this simple tip from the man who trained under Anton Geesink. He would start the class with ne waza because that way their warm up period would be shorter and they would got to learn much more Judo and ne waza.

They would start with very light pin escapes, sweeps and transitions to prevent injuries.
Than as they warm up they would progress into more serious groundwork.

We started doing this now all the time and the results are great.

- we get to do 25%(30 min) more pure judo per 2 hr class.

- we get to do much more ne waza because as you start your class with ne waza it is hard to stop. It is way more fun than calisthenics.

There is simply more time to add ne waza drills to our regular practice. Even if we want to do lots of standup judo this gives us more time without sacrificing too much of ne waza, because these style of warming up works quicker than calisthenics. It takes only 5-10 min of ne waza to get the heart rate where it needs to be for randori practice. You can always add some streching as needed.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Recommended modernization steps for Judo

  • Seize the moment
    As Judo changes in the future - we just need to be very open minded.
    These are the best times for Judo ever (thanks to growing popularity of MMA and grappling arts) but we got to seize the momentum and not get caught asleep on the old glory.
  • Absorb BJJ
    Instead of rejecting BJJ as just being a copy of Judo we got to adopt everything that is worth adopting from it and pull it back into Judo like Kano did with Kata Guruma, Morote Gari and Western wrestling. WE could even make it better due to the very large "gene" pool of Judo.
  • Modernize training methods
    Accept sports science and sports medicine as official Judo methods. Remove unhealthy, traditionalists methods of training.
    Modernize training methods in general. Do not cover the inefficient training methods by using the excuse that it takes forever to get good at Judo. Make learning more efficient.
  • Eliminate traditionalists snobism
    Start treating "diver" and "pick up" throws as first class Judo throws and not as some
    European, sportish degradation of traditional Judo.
  • Reconcile sports and MA side of Judo
    Reconcile sports and martials arts Judo. Do not degrade one over another.
  • Recognize that MMA business is good for Judo
    Accept MMA as one of the methods of applying Judo. MMA methods were perfectly good for many of "traditional" judoka. It does not mean that you need to teach MMA mentality to kids - just accept the fact the Pride and UFC are ultimate organized tests for the effectivness of the combat sports. Didn't Kano do this kind of "trials" anyway?
    Why did Gracies did UFC, Abu Dhabi, Pride, Vale Tudo - for the same reason Kano sent disciples accross the glode to show in practice how effective his new style is.
  • Add more ne waza techniques from the MMA world
    Adopt new type of techniques such as guard fighting, sweeps, mounting as first class Judo techniques. Again, this stuff works in ground fighting and the BJJ strategy of defending from guard instead of turtle, and moving into mount as a advantageous position is a good one. Just blend this into Judo.
  • Internationalize Kodokan even more. Loosen the policy about not awarding the very high ranks to non-Japanese. Judo is and it will always be of the Japanese origins, but let it grows as a truly international movement in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Uchimata Kuzushi

I know it is going to sound funny, but I will use percentages to best describe the kuzushi for the uchimata.

70% high upwards and forward
30% on the far leg towards the toe

Left hand pulls accross the chest, right hand pulls up and over.

In Randori/Shiai the best thing to do is to minimize need for pulling at all, but make him do it. At least that is my style.
Trick him to push or walk on you with head forwards. (Majority of beginners or strength players are suspectible to this, specially if you make them feel you are resisting, but they are dominating) To exaggarate his leaning I usually slightly lean back on him with my head pushing back to make him feel like I am resisting, while I can keep my hip and legs flexible and ready, and my right leg forward. With having leg forward he thinks I am really resisting, but in reality I am shortening the distance for the attack, and minimizing the needed steps for entry.
From that position when he is upright, and leaning, I just insert my left leg where my right was, insert hip and throw over with strong hand rotation of hip upper body. It goes very smooth.

If I can make him walk on me I wait with my right leg for his deeper step with the left (near) leg, and I rotate in.
This is my favorite. It is amazingly efficient - you can do many of these in Randori without getting very tired.

Hope this helps, and I hope others who utilize uchimata would chime in.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Judo vs. Shotokan Karate

I passionately practiced Shotokan Karate (SK) for a while. The training (overseas) was great, and I loved every moment of it. After I moved to US I looked for a good SK school for a while, but without success. All the schools seemed to teach either TKD, or some other "ninja" like styles with weapons, and funny uniforms.

Not being able to find a decent SK school I started looking for another reputable combat sport/martial art Judo. I found one where the head instructor was a internationally recognized 7-th Dan judoka. I started practicing Judo ...

First big difference (a cultural shock) I felt going from one art into another was:

Class and Learning Strutcture

Judo is far less structured compared to SK. As you start learning Judo you understand that Judo format is a good thing.
There is no standing in a row and practicing perfectly executed techniques "on empty" just for the form sake many, many times.
You grab a partner and you do things many times. At first very sloppy, later you get better.
Learning in Judo is very multi-dimensional, and you can not do it just by practicing on empty. You need many different ways of learning, almost all full contact to truly learn Judo.

Full Contact

In SK you do three types of training: kihon (basic technique learning, usually solo),
kata (form of fighting with imaginery oponent) and kumite (semi-contact or full contact sparring).
In Judo (except for basic Ukemis (falling practice) ) everything is done with the partner.
Judo has its repetitive, technical learning part (uchi komi, nage komi), but even that is still very contact oriented, and it can often be (as you grow in ranks) very intense, and rough.
Randori (free sparring) is one of the central parts of learning in Judo and it is as full contact, as full contact can be. Judoka (judoists) do randori all the time. Everything Judoka learn is really validated in Randori - how well can they apply their skills against the fully resisting, and combative oponent.
(That "validation" principle is the same in every major fighting sport/MA )

Judo kata is very different from the SK kata.
Judo kata is practiced and executed with the partner, and the only similarity with the SK kata is that Judo kata is pre-arranged.
You can argue that it is probably less formal than some SK kata, mostly due to the fact that the form/appereance of the technique is so important in SK where in form is always matched with the immediate effectiveness.

In Judo there is only one (Nage No) kata required for the black belt. It contains many popular throwing techniques, and it takes quite a while to learn it well.

Ranks and Grading

Judo founder Jigoro Kano was the inventor of the modern belt and ranking system. As such it was adopted by SK, and in a very similar form.
The big difference between Judo and SK is a grading criteria. Judoka do not need to know as many techniques for a belt, as he/she would need in SK. The emphasis is on the
quality and applicability of the techniques learned. Judo throws are hard to learn, so it takes a while to learn most of them. For most part it is life long process.
Where in SK good demonstration of a technique is very important, and it is very formally treated, in Judo it is competition/sparring ability and
applicability that matters. Very often Sensei will award a belt based on the observation of the student's progress and how well he/she does Judo, and not based on
some 3 hour long testing process. Again, how well one do Judo can be easily observed in the Randori practice because it is all against the resisting, fully combative oponent.


SK has attracted lots of intelectuals, people interested in spiritual side of MA, … where Judo is a down and dirty "blood and guts" sport. That does not mean that in Judo one will be dealing with ignorant thugs in Judo. It just mean that philosophy of Judo will be instilled through the chokes, arm bars and throws ...
Speaking of which - sport mentality is extremly strong and present in Judo where in SK it really varies. I personally like "sport" side of Judo.
It keeps things down to earth and "healthy". I am really against any kind of ideology - specially martial arts ideology. That is why I like Judo a lot.
It is very healthy in terms of any kind of brain washing. There is no much voodoo to it. It is all about the hard work, and runners high.
You will find most of the good Judoka to be simple, tough and friendly people. No BS.

If you really want to take yourself seriously, and to have others take you seriously too - Judo is the right way to go. It may not look like that at first, but
more you do it - more you will love it. In SK, you spend infinite amount of time perfecting the form of your Geri(s) (Kicks) and Zuki(s) (Strikes) to make it
look correct. You also do grueling repetitive standing excercises to "harden" your character.
In Judo you will not do one thing to make anything look right, or just for the character purposes. You will spend all your time to make it work right. All the character building comes from the hard work with your training partners.


In SK you can get injured. I did - many times. Lose teeth, pulled muscles, broken ribs, ...
In Judo you can get really hurt. Much more severe than in SK. Be careful, learn breakfalls well, and learn proper technique.
It is way easier to get seriously hurt in Judo than in SK.

Finally, I still think that SK is great cardio-vascular exercise, and pretty good for self-defense if you have a good Mawashi Geri, etc and if you work on makiwara.
Judo, on the other hand, is in a completely different dimension.
It is an extremly effective fighting sport closely matched to other fight sports like BJJ, Muai Thai, Wrestling or Boxing and it can be used and applied for no holds barred style of extreme fighting to a very good degree, and it enjoys major respect among other serious fight styles.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Some Judo Newaza Drills

Here are some of the Newaza drills that we practice in our club on the regular basis, and that we found useful both as a technical excercise, and as a warmup/agility drill for the ground work:

Continuous sweeps:

This drill develops stamina, and sweeping skills.

Tori is on his back, Uke is standing, huntched over. Tori grabs the Uke, pulls him down, and sweeps him over to the left by hooking his inner left thigh, and by kicking the right ankle/shin out. They continue this roll without stopping until fatigued.

Hands on Belt:

This drills develops use of legs in the ground game.

Tori is on his back. Uke is on the top, standing. Tori must keep his hands on the belt all the time,
and defend with his legs. Drills starts as Uke tries to secure the osaekomi(pin) from the top position. Uke has only legs to position himself, and to defend pin. When Uke secures the pin they switch positions. This drills is continued until fatigued.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Review of Judo DVD Set by Marc Verillote

I give this set 4 stars out of 5.

What do you get:

Disc 1 - Basic Judo. It presents all the throws, but it is not going into details for all throws (comparing to Cunningham's Ikkyo and Nikyo series ) . It is detailing the most effective competition throws, and it has great drills for these (Uchi Mata, Seoi Nage, Osoto Gari, Kouchi, Ouchi, ...)

Disk 2 - Hundreds of combinations. Again, very strong focus on competition. Very useful set of combos.

Disk 3 - Competitive Judo. You pretty much get a video clinic of a famous French competitive Judo - grips, strategies, tricks, combos. Very useful.

The quality of the production is pretty good. Voice translation in English is ok.

If you are traditionalist Judo guy, you may find this Judo a little bit strange.
If you have been following international, specially European Judo scene - you will
find this DVD set a gold mine. It is pretty much a sports judo clinic delivered through your TV. I used some of the drills (for morote soei n.) in our Judo practice, and I could see immediate results.

Similar to:
Mike Swain's complete Judo DVD set. Mike's production quality is better, and demonstrations are sometimes more forceful, but Marc's competition drills and tricks are way better.

Where did I get these DVDs from:
I got these DVDs from for $90. They are kind of pricey, but for serious and aspiring judoka as I consider myself they are kind of a good buy.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Save yourself from injuries in Judo

In my relatively short Judo career I have had an opportunity to
see a great deal of pretty severe injuries.

People would think that it is a given to suffer injuries in Judo because people toss each other over their heads and shoulders. That is not a case!

Experienced and well trained Judoka can throw and be thrown with minimal
chances for injury. In that respect Judo is very safe.

So what makes those injuries come?

Few first-hand case studies:

Elbow Injuries
In of my tournaments my oponent (a junior Pan Am Champ) suffered a very severe injury, and I had a bad fortune to see and hear the injury first hand. He attempted to throw me Osoto Makekomi, I defended by thrusting my hips, he fell on his extended arm, and broke his elbow. I could hear the breaking sound, like the branch had broke.

One of my Russian Sempai from the club, who was actually trained in Sambo attempted sort of
a Osoto Makekomi against the very strong oponent. They fell - his arm got tied up and he also broke his elbow.

You know the famous Yoshida match when he tried to turn out against the Uchi Mata. He landed on extended arm and broke his elbow.

Knee Injury
One of my instructors attempted to throw this same Russian judoka with Harai Goshi. Kuzushi was probably poor, he twisted his standing leg knee and it broke.

Another one of my instructors was countered by Tani Otoshi. Tani Otoshi did not lift him off the ground and his knee snaped.

Neck/Spine Injury
My Sensei turned out against the hip throw. He landed on his neck/back and broke three of his vertbrae.

My fellow judoka was grappling. He was torqued on his neck, and his vertebrae cracked injuring the spinal nerve. His right side was almost completely uninervated for months.

I would have few more to mention, some of my own but I think few of these will help explain my point, and findings:

It seems to me that these more severe injuries come from:

1. Incomplete or poor breakfalling - turning out against the throw, and landing on the extended arm to avoid loss of a match

2. Neck torquing in grappling

3. Poor kuzushi where body has to generate a strong brute force pull against the completely static oponent

So what I am recommending :

A. Draw a balance between just losing a match, or loosing a match by breaking your elbow.
See what hurts more. I would suggest the first option.

B. Watch for your necks as you grapple. Don't rotate on it, and don't let your uke rotate you on it.

C. Always generate a strong kuzushi, and go with nice low entry when going for Tai Otoshi, Harai Goshi, Ashi Guruma, ... It is way to easy to break the knee, and knee fracture is a pretty debilitating injury.

So much for this time.