Friday, 18 September 2009

IJF re invent Judo

Are the International Judo Federation DESTROYING JUDO?

IJF Congress: New rules to be tested in WC Junior in Athens
The International Judo Federation Refereeing Commission announced All techniques below the belt line will not be allowed anymore. Any athlete trying to grip the opponent´s leg will be punished with a shido (first time). If another try happens, he will be banned from the combat (hansokumake) and the victory will be given to the opponent. Only techniques using leg against leg will be allowed, or if the hand grip in the leg is the continuation of another technique tried (example: ouchigari which can develop into kataguruma).
“We don´t want our sport to be mixed with other martial arts. Judo is judo, and all IJF wants is to come back to the true judo”, explains the Head of the Refereeing Commission, Mr. Juan Carlos Barcos. “We may lose a few techniques with this decision, but on the other hand we will be awaking some techniques who we don´t see any more in the combats due to the sitting position the athletes take while they try to grab the opponents leg”, adds Mr. Barcos.
The IJF concern is that more and more often, wrestling and sambo techniques are seen during judo combats.
“That is not good for the future of our sport in the Olympic Games”, says Mr. Barcos.
The Refereeing Commission also announced that another step will be taken to modernize and professionalize the sport: the use of only one referee per mat (instead of three) is also to be tested in Athens during the World Juniors.

The above was copied from the British Judo Association Web site.
As some one who has been involved in Judo since 1955, holds an 8th Dan IBF, member of the British Olympic Squad, World Masters Judo Champion I would like to think I can speak with some authority on Judo. I have over the last couple years been very critical about the direction of competition Judo feeling it has lost direction and the continual tampering of rules I believe has been the main problem. Some like the relaxation of Keikoku for stepping out was a good move, the mat area looks nice but feel it is just an added expense to those who run tournaments. In my competition days between 1965 till 1980 I finished in 2001 Judo was different there were a lot more high dynamic throws, in my father’s words to score Ippon you had to throw someone 6ft up and 8ft down i.e. bury them, there was much more Ne Waza many competitions were won on Armlocks, strangles and hold downs and Judo was more upright. So why has it changed so much since then obviously continual rule changes have not helped, I feel “if something isn’t broken do not fix it” Judo back in those days was very popular in Clubs and Schools our International Players were very successful despite not having hundreds of thousands of pounds thrown at them but the one thing is Referees not up holding the rules of Judo. Let me explain one of the major complaints today is that Judo is not upright and a lot of players take a very low bent over stance, 20 years ago you would have received a penalty for passivity if they done that now upright Judo would appear over night. Throwing while on the floor was not allowed now you can score Ippon from the floor, penalise them for doing it and the crawling on the floor Judo would vanish over night there are many incidents I can recite my point is that if they applied the rules in the first place we would not be where we are now.

The IJF are trying to change Judo completely, Mr. Barcos. Makes the excuse that his ideas will result in Judo returning to its true state? I do not know this gentleman and do not know his age but when was his ideal of True Judo started? In the 1950’s there was only Waza-ari and Ippon scored, Competitors were expected to take hold and not fight for grips, penalties were never given, there was only one referee in Judo and the only techniques allowed were those of Judo Origin what ever that was. Yes in those days you were bolt upright and there were some good throws but surely all sports should be allowed to develop and not stand still? Whether Mr.Barcos likes it or not Sport Judo is just another form of Jacket Wrestling and his proposal of only allowing throw with grips above the waist moves Judo along the lines Uzbek Kurash a wrestling style which is a lot older then Judo. He seems to think that throws initiated below the belt are not Judo or detrimental to the Sport again let me remind him of what I consider the heyday of Judo 1970 till 1980 when there were Judoka like Robert Van De Walle from Belgium who was world ranked and well respected his leg picks were renowned throughout the world and he would take his opponent high and drive hard into the mat a dynamic thrower, if the IJF have there way he would be disqualified in today’s Judo.
Most probably the throw that has been responsible for demise of Judo as a Dynamic sport is the drop knee Kata Guruma or the Fireman’s as it is called Free Style Wrestling. This technique is hardly if ever seen in Sombo/Sambo as their wrestler have more control of the Jacket simply because they are allowed to hold in many positions, the technique come from Free Style as I have said the difference is that in Free Style Wrestling they use it to roll their opponent into position where they can pin their opponent it was never meant to be a dynamic throw. Yet with the criteria of Ippon being downgraded to some one being placed on their back rather the being thrown on their back it has become a major part of the sport. In early times the criteria for Ippon was to throw your opponent largely on his back with speed, power and impetus if Judo kept to that you would still have dynamic throws.
The IJF are reinventing Judo rather then bring it back to TRUE Judo(What ever that means) its purpose is to make it more TV friendly hence the near distinction of Ne Waza, instead of changing the rules and re inventing Judo the TV interest could be done by a simple thing of allowing coloured Judogi.
I believe this new Sport called IJF Judo will be detrimental to us who have competed in Traditional Judo and one must ask the question did anyone ask the people who do Judo and who’s license money pays or these bureaucrats yes the Judoka what they want?

Over the years Judoka have complained that it is Sambo or wrestling that is ruining the sport and is taking away the big throws, RUBBISH it is the Judo Fraternity who is wrecking competitive Judo. These people most probably never seen World Sambo or Free Style Wrestling yet they continue to bleat on, they remind of a child who kicks a Football through a window and then says “It was not me it was the ball”/
Although I have won a couple of minor medals in Free Style a sport I enjoyed I can not speak with any authority on the Sport but I can speak with authority on Sombo/Sambo. I have won 4 World silvers, am the only GrandMaster in GB awarded to me by the World Body FIAS,FIAS Gold Award for services to International Sambo and I am a member of the FIAS International Masters Club which a club of the 10 most influential Samboists in the World. So when I hear and read articles that Sambo has been the downfall of judo all I can say lets look at the results only a few Judoka have been successful in International Sambo yet consider how successful Sambo Players have been in International Judo extremely so for many years the Soviet Union Judo Players were all Samboists and all they done was to adopt their techniques to the rules of Judo. Yes the rules of Judo and that was 40 odd years ago, next the Japanese the Soviet Union (now the Eastern Block) are the most successful Judo nation. The reason is Sambo is a dynamic powerful Jacket wrestling Sport with a speciality of high throws, a sport which does not limit itself to specific holding positions or throws but they realised what they do is just a form of Jacket Wrestling something Judoka can not understand about their own Sport. Samboists can adapt to any Jacket Wrestling Style I will go as far to say they can adapt to any Grappling Style, that can not be said of Judoka and with this latest rule change they we will even less able to compete in other events. My first love was Judo but I was glad I was introduced to Sambo by the British Wrestling Association in the early 70’s, Sambo opened my eyes to a multitude of new and dynamic techniques. To me Sambo is the way forward for Jacket Wrestlers but I still will keep to the Traditions of Judo i.e. Kata etc. So Judoka come out of the closet and try the many different styles of Jacket Wrestling open your eyes to a new world.

Martin Clarke 8th Dan Judo, Sambo GrandMaster

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