Tuesday, November 26, 2013

(IJF) Judo's Answer to Everything: More Rules and Restrictions (Yes. More).

A coach for whom I have a lot of respect was outlining some new rules/changes in place in Texas at the Police and Military Championships, and the President's Cup in Judo.
He's been playing Judo and coaching longer than I've been walking the earth, so when he speaks, I listen.

Some changes are old (listed below from the video embedded), the ones directly below are new.

As I've said before, Judo's move to further define itself apart does just that. It insulates Judo from the broader grappling world. What will remain are a few powerful nations that professionally fund/train their athletes in a very specific sport. Instead of the plethora of countries which will medal along with the powerhouses, you'll see Japan, Cuba, Brazil, Korea (perhaps Mongolia) routinely outperform the others.
Judo's broader global appeal I think will wane, much like how complicated the rules are now for various styles of wrestling in the Olympics. Having even the basics of things like leg ride, back position and the varying time lengths can be maddening to a layman who asks some basic questions.
I don't have much desire to compete any longer simply due to the ever lengthening list of rules to remember that in many ways are antithetical to solid, effective grappling (ala the banning of the bear hug, or that touching the leg even when clearly accidental is an automatic Disqualification).
It is so complex now, even for someone who's been competing for 8 years or so that I doubt I will train and compete with anywhere near the regularity I once did despite having had some success in returning to black belt competition at the regional level.

I understand (much like the IBJJF found out with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rules) that efforts should be made to address the state of play). That being said, the answer is not always more and more and more rules but rather less restrictions as that ultimately allows for the biggest variety of contest.
But, that is my personal opinion.
The reality is this: You can either make it easier or harder for people to compete in your sport.

-- New Rules from this past weekend --
Mainly when playing the edge, you must attack your way back in or be penalized by a shido.
Before, the referee would only penalize if you were going out of bounds to avoid engaging or perhaps if you were driven to the edge several times and were in active.

Unorthodox grips like the bear hug and belt gripping or cross gripping are still dicey.
The bear hug or clasping the hands to throw is illegal. Cross gripping and belt gripping must be IMMEDIATELY followed by an attack.

Leg grabbing even when clearly incidental is automatic disqualification.
You cannot break a grip with two hands.
The amount of time to score/win by pin is less now.
Rolling out of bounds does not negate the pin IF it began inside the boundary.
You are NOT allowed to shake hands.


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