Monday, July 30, 2012

Cross-Training is Heresy!!!!! (I'll probably get banned or my post removed (again) )

Who am I to suggest that doing things the way they've always been done is contrary to the spirit of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu?

Let me start off by saying I've had posts/topics removed by Judoforum administrators that questions the direction of American Judo, its politics and money-driven organizations, and the close-minded attitudes on both sides of the some of the biggest factions of the grappling community in America (BJJ and Judo).

God forbid a forum be a place to question the status quo, challenge antiquated beliefs, or put forth a thesis supported by evidence.

It's still mind blowing to me that two sports that pride themselves on "what works" and competition as an avenue to determine ability (rather than private challenge matches to save face/$) are so inflammatory if you post a video as proof/support of a hypothesis.

Kano and Helio BOTH (as a commenter pointed out) ran extensive advertising campaigns, made challenges, and devised rules to favor their style or their best skill sets in order to garner students, funding, legitimacy and later contracts/teaching.
I know, who is a lowly Judo black belt and BJJ blue belt with mma fights that dares to compete in both and suggest that you can get better at both by cross training!
It is the end of the world, people.
My point, as always, has been the sports have more to gain from one another than they have to lose.
Just as the UFC has brought more to the grappling-related sports than it has taken away.

The strongest responses on the forum represent why both sports still have so much to learn from one another.
BJJ will never be a spectator sport beyond its own community if they butt scoot/pull guard. I watched Victor Estima and Claudio Calasans grab one another's ankles at the Pan Ams this year. For 8 minutes.

I've seen Judo players at the world class level get their half-guard passed and pinned b/c they held on to a leverage-weak/inferior position rather than immediately work to escape/underhook.
I've trained with national and international level players in both sports who remain overwhelmingly deficient in basic areas of standing or the ground that have no developed those skills b/c of a rule-centric mindset.

Judo could learn a thing or two about self-promotion.
BJJ could learn a thing or two about being slightly more spectator friendly. 

Again, who am I to say these things? On a forum. Or on a blog.

My experience (as with most forums) is that when you post an opinion and support it with evidence, the responses tend to fall into a couple categories:

1) : Emotional response followed by examples of world class players that do it better/ commenters questioning who are you to make a claim? - 
"Why are you trying to make a statement at your low technical level? You are opening yourself to ridicule. I didn't see Judo nor even BJJ in that video. I was expecting to see some incredible application of Judo in a high level BJJ competition then all I saw was a weak takedown after someone with zero-level of tachiwaza put himself on your back for a throw. This is no proof that Judo does/doesn't transfer well to BJJ competition.....You should realize that many top-level Judoka and BJJers cross-train in Judo/BJJ. Rodolfo Vieira, the current GREATEST STAR of Jiu-Jitsu (hey, I'm Brazilian, here we call it Jiu-Jitsu, let me drop the [Brazilian] for the length of this message, ok?) trains in judo EVERY DAY. He trains Jiu-Jitsu in the morning, go the gym afterwards, gets lunch, goes training Judo at 16:00 then goes to jiu-jitsu again later at early evening. For him Judo is fundamental....We can also see Roger Gracie, the all-time greatest competitor in jiu-jitsu is a good judoka, a black belt, and trains it regularly.....We have a 2-time jiu-jitsu world champion, Leo Leite, who main sport is not jiu-jitsu, but JUDO, as he is in the Brazilian National Judo Team which is not at all a judo team to forget (we've just got a gold and a bronze at the first day of Judo competition in London 2012)......
Mark Huizinga, one of the greatest judo champions of the later times, and a fierce newaza player too has recently adventured himself in jiu-jitsu. He wasn't able to win over some local brown belts. That even surprised me, due to his great newaza, athleticism and level of judo in general I was really expecting it to transfer to jiu-jitsu competitions superbly and that he would be jiu-jitsu's European champion in no time! But even with such high-level judoka, with some of the greatest newaza on the field, the transfer is not that easy, logical, immediate. It takes a lot of practicing and a different mindset to transfer your judo skills to jiu-jitsu.
....And there is a nasty reason for that: jiu-jitsu rules are tailor made to prevent people from other grappling techniques to win at jiu-jitsu competitions by doing "their" game....So, while Judo skills are GREAT at jiu-jitsu competitions, its transfer is not easy! I can't say a lot for myself because I'm doing jiu-jitsu and judo for more than 17 years right now and I can't talk much about "transfer" of skills from one art to the other because for me it is all ONE SINGLE ART with different competition aspects (and in some jiu-jitsu schools different ideologies, but in many others the same judo pedagogical aspects are present to great extent!).
....I will love to see how Huizinga's judo will transfer to jiu-jitsu in the coming years/months. I can assure you he will have to train a LOT in jiu-jitsu to adapt his throws and positioning and mindset to jiu-jitsu rules. I've seen great judoka BEING "THROWN" in BJJ because in BJJ one can do a throw after entering in newaza, so you can "crawl" to the ground, grab "uke's" legs and "throw" him. It is hard to come up with an answer to that! .....Of course Judo skills can transfer to jiu-jitsu. But it is not immediate, nor smooth as you made you sound, and no, your video is no testament that it does. ...

2) The other common response is: This is an old topic that we have figured out. There is no need for discussion despite the fact that America qualified 5 Judo players across 14 weight categories and we are one of the richest nations on earth with TONS of private funding for the Olympics:
"My strawman comment is regarding the fact that you are addressing an very old debate that is pretty much solved at this time. I see from later posts you are trying to tie in lack of success by American judoka at high level events (WC Olympics). Taiobroshi's post hits the nail on the head. The lack of success of American judo at higher levels is multifactorial. Piggybacking onto BJJs "success" is something that has been addressed for years....Not busting your balls over your post at all, carry on for sure. Just realize that it's an old angle on beating the same dead horse. "

So, things change and they stay the same. Those involved in two sports that (often) look down and condescend those deluded karate/kung-fu/whatever practitioners, end up being just as closed minded about another sport that has its roots in very, very similar circumstances.

Go cross train. You will be better than you were before.

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