Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dose of Reality - Judo in MMA

Ouch!I recently saw a UFC or Pride bout on TV that I really enjoyed. It featured two evenly matched fighters, at least as far as striking, but there was something I really appreciated - one of them had the skill and timing to pull off multiple Judo throws in the bout. He was very good at integrating the throws with his striking - something that I'd like to learn,. What struck me though, was the result of the bout - it was stopped, a TKO for the other guy, and that's when the "unreality" of the who MMA made a big impression.

I remember about twelve years (OK, more!) ago, I attended a Wally Jay seminar, and as we all arrived early and started to warm up, waited for the great Small-Circle master himself. During the warmups, a couple of BIG (240-260 pound, all muscle) Judoka were doing their own warmups. They looked like brothers; same build, hair color, and similar demeanor - playful. I tell you what, as soon as they started throwing each other, the room full of Karate, Kung Fu, Bando, and other "hard style" practitioners became silent. You could hear a pin drop, or actually two very large men slapping the mat (or was it a floor) as they threw each other over and over. I tell you, they were committed, full power throws, and that's when I realized what Judo was, a controlled spine obliteration!

The reason I bring this up was because, when watching this match, I realized that the one with Judo experience was actually much better fighter, all around, and that the three or four clean throws that he inflicted on the other guy would've probably put him in the hospital, at least, on pavement. It seems like the problem with Judo in MMA is that it doesn't put you in as good a position to finish an opponent with strikes as other takedowns (wrestling) does. MMA competitors, please comment on this if you know anything about it. Just my opinion: in a real fight, those throws would've finished it!


Patrick Parker said...

Amen. I was at a judo tourney once and was sitting right on the sidelines. as one of the judoka got thrown he tried to bridge out and got dropped right on his head. we were sure his neck would hae been broken but he hopped right back up - confused, beligerent, and disoriented - concussion city.
Probably judo's strongest point as a martial art is that all of the techniques can be done full blast all the way into the mat - so the judoka never have to learn to pull techniques.
Hey, thanks for all the great, practical articles on this site. I have really enjoyed reading some of them.

Nathan Teodoro said...

Thanks Patrick. Devastating style, with a few modifications. Then it almost becomes Ju Jutsu, though...

Anonymous said...

Without being able to grip a gi, judo's ability to leverage throws into bone-crushing maneuvers is limited. Not that it can't be done, just that too few judokas have the skill to really throw well without a gi.

judo's biggest problem when applied to MMA is the absence of any real finish technique that is effective in MMA. a good judoka who can throw and learn how to use traditional judo techniques with heel kicks, knee strikes, etc. would be pretty good MMA fighter. often i see judokas waste opportunities after throwing an opponent and trying vainly to secure an arm bar when a heel kick follow with a shoulder lock would have been more effective.

after watching MMA for the past few years, i'm convinced wrestling, judo, and other grappling arts provide the best foundation for winning. grappling combined with mui tai is possibly the best combination since it combines very close contact and explosive elbow and knee strikes with holds.

damn. wish i were 20 years younger...

Anonymous said...

Great read! Unfortunatly most of todays Judo training is geared too much towards Judo competition, where the biggest aim is to throw an opponent only. Gorund fighting has taken a major back seat in Judo over the last 20 years or so.

Judo throws when done properly should always leave you in a dominting position, either standing on top of your opponent ready to strike, or following your opponent to the ground landing in a pin of some sort, ready to apply a submission or strikes. They should always leave you controlling a limb of your opponent (either an arm or a leg) so you have the advantage.

On the street a hard Judo type throw can be deadly, especially if the person being thrown does not know how to break fall.