Saturday, December 24, 2011

IJF Rule Change: An Improvement on Coaching Behavior

Got this from over at
It outlines and changes what coaches are allowed to shout and do during the course of live time in Judo matches.
There's not a lot of recent rule changes by the IJF I think are good for the sport, but this one is a positive one, in my humble opinion.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Game/Stragery/Stratego

As a Judo player, and as any player who spends time attacking/passing the guard, having your routine/set of moves is important.
The following takedown to half-guard passing is by and large my process for getting to a more dominant position than half-guard and working toward a submission:

Kouchigari to top position/half-guard:

a) to Paulista Pass
Kurt Osiander's version:

b) Cut Through pass

c) Tripod Cut Through pass/Knee slice pass

d) Half-guard Pass to mount

Happy Trainingz!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 1: Add the Overhook to your Guard Game Grappler!

In honor of my catching someone with the Buddha's fist guillotine for the first time this week

Link to the Buddha's fist Guillotine instructional
Link to my post on the McKenzie-tine variation of the Guillotine

I was unable to start this post before linking/referring to my catching someone in the above guillotine. Lame or not, I was excited that I pulled of something I have continuously failed in trying for months on end.

Anyhow, despite the above tangent, here is the purpose of this post:
I got this from a post over at DSTRYSG.
A great site. Great links, videos, articles, etc.

Here is the actual base/pdf file for those who wish to save it.

At any rate, as a smaller player, coming from Judo, I spent the first few years religiously working off my back. I had the tools often to be on top, or to get to my feet, but I forced myself to learn the nuances of being on my back. 4 or 5 years later, I'm still working on it. But that's the point, you can always learn more.

The overhook mentioned in the above links/Iron Hook business is a powerful grip, that both breaks down the posture, isolates an arm, and leads to chokes, armbars, and/or the triangle.
Not bad for something as potentially simple as overhooking the other guy's arm.

At any rate, the overhook represents a go to part of my guard game, and is a higher percentage finisher/starting point than a lot of other grips which are available. That, and it gives me a level of control over bigger, stronger, faster players that is welcome. The amount of work the other guy has to exert and/or patience he must utilize to escape his arm from the overhook very often opens him up to sweeps, my standing and basing, or submissions etc.

That being said....

Happy Trainingz!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Elite Newaza: Craig Fallon Profile

Craig Fallon: Former Simultaneous World Champion/European Champion @ 60kg in Judo
Here's his Int'l and Nat'l medal count
Fallon is also one of the elite Judoka who utilize mat work in the form of pins and chokes to win matches.
Watch the below to see what I mean:

You hear a lot about the lack of mat work at all levels of Judo, in particular, elite level Judo.
This is a fair criticism, but also due to the limited time constraint on the mat. Add in the fact that a considerable portion of Judokas are primarily focused on the win by throw mentality, and win by choke or pin when it presents itself rather than spend time on the mat draining the clock in hunting for pin/submission, and you'll understand this trend.

Some notable names come to mind in discussing those Judoka that utilize mat work/newaza to win: Flavio Canto and Craig Fallon. Flavio Canto's career is so expansive, I'm saving him for a later post.

Fallon's turnover, seen at 1:52 in the video above (and posted right below), is one I have seen him use across all levels of competition. Against players from countless countries. Few escape the turnover into the pin.

Like most Judoka, Fallon began with a recreational club as a kid and eventually progressed into international competition.

Below: a short interview with some training footage of Fallon in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics

In Judo, there are Individual 7 weight classes for each gender.
There are only 7 people, every 2 years that can be World Champion in Judo (for each gender).
There are no different champions at different belts.There are not separate master's divisions by age that are also coined "world champions".
There is only your weight class. In the entire world.
As of 1992, the open weight class was dropped from the Olympics as well. 
(There is the separate Master's event, but when you say "world championships" in Judo, the vast majority mean the senior/adult divisions by weight, not the Master's as it is held each year).

Further Reading:
Interesting and strikingly honest insight into the mindset of an elite level competitor
Interesting post about the physiological breakdown of Craig Fallon's Judo matches
Great recount of Fallon's senior career in Judo with breakdown of key matches

Off Topic:
The evolution of Judo Rules/weight classes etc

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mutual Welfare and Benefit

Awesome breakdown of Rodolfo Viera's guard passing game over at the Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory.

A great post over at got me thinking (read the post here).

Initially, I began training Judo in college. I trained with a local, private club (non-University affiliated).
I wrestled for the University's club team and wrestled with a local high school team where I was interning toward my degree on the days I didn't have Judo practice.

I graduated, and relocated to a bigger city and began training with a local University club Judo team.
Eventually, the University (in fairness) made it more difficult for non-students to train and what had been the best time of my Judo training drew to a close. Between the schedule, my early work hours at the time, and the difficulty getting into the facility, I no longer had a club.

However, I am not being entirely honest. There was more to it.
During this time I had been training Muay Thai and fought several times in MMA. For my first two MMA fights, I had only trained Judo and Muay Thai. I had never even trained without a Gi on the ground (won both of the fights btw).
My first Judo coach had recently moved to the area. He was now training at the University's Judo club and what I had not noticed or been unaware of when I was a white belt, was now much more glaringly apparent. His disdain for mat work and disregard for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA seemed to be more apparent now that I regularly competed/trained in both. Rather than see my cross-training as ambassadorship for the sport ( had previously trained Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai on days I didn't have Judo practice), he rebuked me for both and downplayed whatever success I had in each. Unwilling to tolerate his personality (as was the case with several other high level competitors who no longer visted/trained there because of him), I stopped making a point to visit even when the rare occasion presented itself.

I visited other clubs in the area, but they were either non-competitor-friendly or trained perhaps once per week.

At any rate, I was without a club and began seriously devoting myself to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the interim. I helped with the kids class, and used my Judo when possible in training, in tournaments, represented Judo in MMA, and the like.

I still see him at occasional tournaments, but the number of competitors with the club, and the number of new belts that the University's incoming freshmen class always produced has dwindled as well.

In the long run, my Judo is likely not as good as it could be, but my mat work, use of Judo in fighting, and other grappling skills are far superior than they would be.
When the opportunity arises, or when Judoka feel the burnout of only training Judo for years on end, visiting another style of grappling club/team, emptying your tea cup, and being a beginner or novice at something keeps it fresh and helps retain that humility that can be lost.

Perspective is reality, and reality is perspective. But, by cross training, you not only learn more about your central style of grappling,  but often, I find, reality will keep your understanding and belief in your style of grappling in check.

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shrimping Ain't Easy

Two Things:
1) a sweep from bottom in semi-half-guard-ish position that I find myself in quite a bit while I monkey around
2) thoughts on basics and the like

1) Hurt my knee recently during NoGi class. One of those things that happens, and I'm guessing, also in part comes from years of Judo. At any rate, I'm back to working on my bottom/sweeping game while liberally and safely going for submissions when possible, but no triangles and no rapid-fire armbars.

It is what it is, and as a result, I find myself in half-guard, full guard, and deep half as I monkey around on the mats in an effort to not completely stop jiu-jitsu while I'm hurt. 

At any rate, I began doing the following shin sweep (save the variation with the bottom side leg trapping the leg you're sweeping, and I too have found it works on a variety of opponents. I typically hit it with both knees inside the leg you're attempting to sweep, but this new variation with the bottom side leg helping to trap the leg you're sweeping worked for me the other night in class.

At any rate, it's from the Grappler's Guide (which also recently posted an old Judo pass I've been using since I was a white belt and one of the few head down/low posture passes I still use).

2) as stated above, recently hurt my knee during a failed takedown by a bigger guy (historically, this is how I got hurt in Judo. I've never been hurt by someone my size or within about 20 lb's or so).

At any rate, I'm back to playing my bottom game, defending guard passes, monkey-ing around and finding ways to come up on top/take the back that don't require one my legs/putting weight on that leg.
Some days, I end up defending guard passes the entire class. Other days, I find a route to the back and collar choke my way to the submission.
It's always interesting rolling when injured in that I find myself doing things differently than I would. I actually end up taking the back more often when injured, whereas normally I make my way to mount when not injured.

I also find that I can still shrimp, albeit more slowly, and more controlled with the use of one leg.
I shake my head when a white belt is repeatedly told to shrimp to escape, and sorta just flails around.

The shrimp works. The shrimp works even better if you begin before the other guy settles into his position.
I learned a loooong time ago in Judo, if you let the guy settle into the position or pin, getting out, even if it works, is an exhaustively daunting process.

So, shrimp, shrimp, and shrimp some more. Knee elbow escape I've also heard it called.

    - Happy Trainingz!

Friday, December 2, 2011

T.G.I.F. - The Gari/Gake Is Friday! - Know the difference when attacking the f33tz!

Was perusing sherdog earlier and came across an arm drag to kouchigari takedown.
The technique is a lapel grip break to a  sleeve grip and finished in a kouchigake-style trip  with a double leg type grip on the leg.

The sleeve grip coupled with the kouchigake is actually a pretty structurally weak throw against a competent player. The change to a double leg style grip (hands/arms wrapping around the legs/knees) is a much better takedown. However, I'd be willing to bet against a wrestler or brown belt Judo player who competes, you'll get turned over to your back in the transition to changing from the sleeve grip to double leg style grip.

Moving on to the point of today's post:

The technique is labeled arm drag to kouchigari.
It's actually an arm drag to kouchigake.

Below is a true Kouchi Gake style takedown:

And Below is a TRUE Kouchi Gari style takedown:

You'll find even in Judo HL's on youtube and other compilations, the two are often grouped together as in the Below:

At any rate, it reminded me of something you often see in white and green belts in Judo with is the desire to wrap that leg/hook the leg and lay your whole body weight down in the hopes of getting a takedown.

The gari vs gake difference seems minute but they're two completely different techniques.
I often hear BJJ players make fun of the Japanese terminology, but then talk about "so and so's armbar" or "*insert famous BJJ player's name* triangle set-up".....what they don't understand is that throwing has just as many nuances as mat work. Given that a particular throw must change to work against each body type/frame/heigh/weight of player, again, there can be a massive difference between "gake" and "gari".

That being said, a large number of Judo players don't actually differentiate between them either. But they need to be taught separately. Often what happens in motion/movement, is what starts as a kouchi gari style sweep finishes in a gake style motion when uke resists the direction exerted on his foot by tori's attack.

A true gari requires much better sense of timing to sweep the uke's foot as he is in motion to put him down, when compared with a gake style attack and committing your body and weight for the driving force. 

Happy Trainingz!