The case for Judo as a self-defense system...

Kung Fu Wang

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We have to admit that there are something missing in a pure wrestling art, or a pure striking art. How to fill that hole is the concern that all MMA instructors (or Sanda instructors) will be interested in.

In this match, the wrestler did very good. But since the rule did not allow head punch, it's toward the wrestler's advantage.

 
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drop bear

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You guys are still beating this up?

OK, well let me toss this in, then. The World War II Combatives didn't have judo in it, I suppose. However, I think the "modern" Army Combatives just might, along with a bunch of other really nifty-cool ways to end a fight in a hurry. I cite my own info to Command Sergeant Major Randy Leatherwood (retired), 6th Dan USJA, who is a really cool, but one bad-dude mo-fo, who won the Army Combatives tournament... though I don't think it's called a tournament? Anyway, he's won it twice. Main art, judo. Main technique to finish the majority of his bouts? Harai-goshi or a spinninging-entry uchimata. Randy is a big dude, coming in at 255-260 lbs, and his throws, especially for the combative competition, end up with his weight on his opponent, driving them into the mat.

Having judo is different to trying to learn it in 8 weeks or whatever.

And I think that is where the disconnect lies. You see super Judo go out and wreck fools. And then you try it and get choked out.

I mean I am working on handstand and cartwheel kicks at the moment. Top guys can wreck people with them. But no matter if I became a master at it. I still wouldn't suggest someone who may get in to a fight in 8 weeks ever uses it.

 

drop bear

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This time may be the first time we have agreed on something. More to the point, doing some techniques, whether it is a throw, a take down or kick is different in traditional martial arts uniforms or even street clothes than in a full duty belt and body armor. These things must be taken into account as well as the knowledge that at least one firearm is present in every altercation...yours. Something traditional training, be it Judo or TKD or whatever does not address unless the instructor deviates from a traditional curriculum, which I would consider a good thing if the focus is on SD. If it's on sport, then such things don't matter.

Only sort of.

What you are suggesting here is a sensible shift in the order of priorities.

But is almost always used as an argument for doing a bunch of dumb stuff that wouldn't work under any conditions.

Like arm bar wizzers and stuff.

Otherwise there are guys like the Trillo academy that do some nice police variations.


Now this is still pretty much competition BJJ except the order of priorities has changed.

That is important because then you are not using LARP elements to make your techniques work.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I'm not talking about after a clinch has been established. I'm talking about before that.

I don't believe without a special training, a Judo guy can deal with boxer's punch. If a Judo guy has never fought in boxing ring, how will he be able to develop that "anti-striking" skill?

The same question can also be asked about a boxer. If a boxer has never wrestled on the mat, how will he be able to develop his "resist for throwing" skill? What kind of boxer's training that can be used to deal with a take down?

I have spent the past many years in "anti-striking" strategy. I just like to know from a Judo guy point of view, what's his "anti-striking" strategy.
The primary defense Judo has against a punch is their strong entry. You see strong entries used by grapplers in MMA to get inside strikers on a regular basis.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I posted what O'Neill, the highest ranked non-Japanese Judoka in the world during his era stated in regards to Judo, it's effectiveness and it's exclusion from WWII combatives. That is factual, it is history. If someone wishes to disagree with his assessment 70+ years later, they are welcome to do so. In my opinion, he was and is correct.
His statement is based on his experience, but you've depended mostly upon the argument from authority in citing that quote. You haven't presented much in the way of actual reasons why sport-oriented arts (not to be confused with the actual sport competition, which you seem to have done) are such a bad choice for SD. If he made good points in his article, cite them.

If the training is geared towards SD, nothing at all. The question, as I understood it, was sport Judo being effective for SD. In my opinion, it is not and is in fact detrimental. Can it be modified to be effective? Yes. Can the parameters be changed in the training methodology to give the student a higher % chance of success? Yes. But then it is NOT traditional Judo as it was designed to be by Kano. Judo was designed, on purpose, to be used in sport. Sport competitions, by there very nature, are artificial environments.
The sport of Judo isn't the whole of Judo (nor is the sport of BJJ the whole of BJJ). Judo was designed to include sport, but included - at inception - specific techniques for self-defense. Not sure how you don't know that if you've actually looked into it at any length.

Can a sport Judoka get lucky on the street? Yes. Can they face someone that can be surprised and defeated? Yes. Is chance the best thing to bet your life on? No. Better to have a SD focused methodology right from the beginning to give you the highest % chance of success. That way if the perp is high, has friends or a weapon you will have at least trained for that possibility. Traditional Judo does NOT train for those possibilities.
Yeah, you really don't know much about traditional Judo. Nor have you presented much evidence that sport training (remember, my Judo training didn't include the goshin waza that are part of tradtional Judo) should automatically fail in a SD situation.

Here's what you've missed in your knee-jerk reaction: I teach a SD-oriented system, and don't train for sport. And you can't even convince me. See, there are definitely opportunities for a gap if you only train for sport. But that's not the totality of Judo, at all. And even if that were the totality, there's a really good argument (@drop bear makes it well) that training for and participating in sport is a good way to develop skills that will translate to the street.
 

Gerry Seymour

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During the 30's and 40's and possibly earlier. I don't recall offhand when he started.



IIRC, everyone he competed against. He was at least 5th Dan by the time of WWII which for that era was amazingly high for a non-Japanese. However, O'Neill is not remembered for his Judo skills but rather his time in WWII combatives and the FSSF. The movie, 'The Devil's Brigade' is loosely based on him in one of the characters.



Well, he and Fairbairn had their certs signed by Kano so I'm assuming the rule set he developed up to that era.



This time may be the first time we have agreed on something. More to the point, doing some techniques, whether it is a throw, a take down or kick is different in traditional martial arts uniforms or even street clothes than in a full duty belt and body armor. These things must be taken into account as well as the knowledge that at least one firearm is present in every altercation...yours. Something traditional training, be it Judo or TKD or whatever does not address unless the instructor deviates from a traditional curriculum, which I would consider a good thing if the focus is on SD. If it's on sport, then such things don't matter.
A quick note (and really, I'm not poking at you here) - you've crossed up the two threads we're discussing in. The BJJ thread is the one focused on LEO.
 

Tony Dismukes

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On the original question of Judo vs BJJ for self-defense, a lot depends on how it is taught. Old school BJJ has a pretty sound methodology for dealing with strikes and other common untrained attacks as well as a reasonably effective takedown game. I don't think I've ever trained at a Judo school where they actually practiced sparring against punches. Given the choice of a classic BJJ school and a Judo school that only trains for sport, I'd take the BJJ school.

On the other hand, more and more BJJ schools seem to train just for tournament competition and neglect takedowns and dealing with strikes. Given the choice between one of those and a decent Judo dojo, I'd go for the Judo.

Since I've never seen or trained at a Judo dojo that had a strong self-defense focus, I can't evaluate how good their methodology might be. I've seen judoka who can definitely fight, but I don't know the training methodology that got them there.
 

drop bear

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Explanations as to why sport doesn't work pretty much after being directly bashed by a sports fighter.

 

Tony Dismukes

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Train in various types of regular clothing.
Done that with my BJJ. It's still just BJJ.
Train in dim light conditions.
Done that. It's still just BJJ.
Train on stairs, in an elevator, in a vehicle, between vehicles, on the sidewalk, in a parking lot, in an alley etc.
Done that. It's a fun exercise and helps with mental flexibility. (Can't really spar full out on stairs without someone getting hurt though.) It's still 90-95% the same fundamentals with 5-10% situational adjustment. The important thing is to develop usable foundational skills and then you can periodically try them out in various environments to get used to adapting as necessary.
Don't train in a controlled, artificial environment, on soft and dry mats, with a single opponent that has agreed to abide by a rule set.
Every training environment has controls and rules that your training partners abide by. That's how we don't all end up in the hospital after every training session.

I think a better way of expressing your point would be "Don't always train in the same environment and with the same rule set. Mix it up and see what changes."

BTW - the advantage of working on mats is that you can train much longer and harder and thereby develop more functional skill. Suppose you want to be able to throw someone onto the ground. You're going to start with drilling the throw on a cooperative partner - hundreds of reps, thousands if you want to get really good at it. Then you're going to have go live, sparring against a resisting opponent. Lots of hours doing that and often the throws won't end up being as safe and controlled because your opponent is fighting you the whole way.

I think you're going to have a difficult time finding a training partner who is going to be willing to take thousands of hard falls on concrete.

Train with conventional and improvised weapons.
Done that. I'll freely admit that BJJ is an unarmed fighting art, so I draw from other sources (mostly FMA) when using weapons. I do make good use of my BJJ when clinching or tied up on the ground with someone who has a weapon.
Train against multiple opponents.
Done that. I do have to say that, regardless of the system you are training, fighting one against many is very low percentage unless you have superior weaponry or vastly superior skills and physical attributes. Usually the best option is to survive, disengage, and run.
Train to use de-escalation techniques.
De-escalation is really important and I've been moderately successful at it over the years. However, I've trained with hundreds of instructors from dozens of arts over the years and I don't think any of them had any special qualifications to teach de-escalation skills. I think it's hard to find individuals who have legitimate skills and experience in de-escalation and also know how to teach those skills in a systematic way. Finding someone who can teach those skills in a manner appropriate for a civilian self-defense context (as opposed to application for a LEO, doorman, social worker, etc) is even harder. Anyway, those skills don't necessarily have to be bundled with a specific martial art.
Train for situational awareness.
I've worked on that, although it really isn't something specific to any particular martial art. You can practice situational awareness with your Karate, Judo, Wing Chun, BJJ, Bujinkan Taijutsu, Kali, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, MMA, whatever.
 

drop bear

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I've worked on that, although it really isn't something specific to any particular martial art. You can practice situational awareness with your Karate, Judo, Wing Chun, BJJ, Bujinkan Taijutsu, Kali, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, MMA, whatever.

That raises another issue. You can't just train it. It also has to actually work.

And so you need some way of determining if it works.

And that is super hard.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Done that with my BJJ. It's still just BJJ.

Done that. It's still just BJJ.

Done that. It's a fun exercise and helps with mental flexibility. (Can't really spar full out on stairs without someone getting hurt though.) It's still 90-95% the same fundamentals with 5-10% situational adjustment. The important thing is to develop usable foundational skills and then you can periodically try them out in various environments to get used to adapting as necessary.

Every training environment has controls and rules that your training partners abide by. That's how we don't all end up in the hospital after every training session.

I think a better way of expressing your point would be "Don't always train in the same environment and with the same rule set. Mix it up and see what changes."

BTW - the advantage of working on mats is that you can train much longer and harder and thereby develop more functional skill. Suppose you want to be able to throw someone onto the ground. You're going to start with drilling the throw on a cooperative partner - hundreds of reps, thousands if you want to get really good at it. Then you're going to have go live, sparring against a resisting opponent. Lots of hours doing that and often the throws won't end up being as safe and controlled because your opponent is fighting you the whole way.

I think you're going to have a difficult time finding a training partner who is going to be willing to take thousands of hard falls on concrete.


Done that. I'll freely admit that BJJ is an unarmed fighting art, so I draw from other sources (mostly FMA) when using weapons. I do make good use of my BJJ when clinching or tied up on the ground with someone who has a weapon.

Done that. I do have to say that, regardless of the system you are training, fighting one against many is very low percentage unless you have superior weaponry or vastly superior skills and physical attributes. Usually the best option is to survive, disengage, and run.

De-escalation is really important and I've been moderately successful at it over the years. However, I've trained with hundreds of instructors from dozens of arts over the years and I don't think any of them had any special qualifications to teach de-escalation skills. I think it's hard to find individuals who have legitimate skills and experience in de-escalation and also know how to teach those skills in a systematic way. Finding someone who can teach those skills in a manner appropriate for a civilian self-defense context (as opposed to application for a LEO, doorman, social worker, etc) is even harder. Anyway, those skills don't necessarily have to be bundled with a specific martial art.

I've worked on that, although it really isn't something specific to any particular martial art. You can practice situational awareness with your Karate, Judo, Wing Chun, BJJ, Bujinkan Taijutsu, Kali, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, MMA, whatever.
Great post, Tony. Especially good points about de-escalation and situational awareness. I've personally been looking at those again lately, looking for some way to do something valuable with them.
 

Gerry Seymour

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That raises another issue. You can't just train it. It also has to actually work.

And so you need some way of determining if it works.

And that is super hard.
That is the hardest part. Role-playing is just another kind of training with a compliant partner.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Is that just common sense such as stay away from trouble? Do you really need to train it?
I wouldn't think you'd need to, but I've learned a thing or two and had some interesting "aha!" reactions from folks when I discussed the topic. So, there is some value in teaching it, if you can manage to teach valid stuff (hard to verify) in a way that people actually learn in a way they can apply (harder to verify).
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Is that just common sense such as stay away from trouble? Do you really need to train it?
There are instructions on how to use a toothpick. I've heard of a job where someone just tells people to look straight on an elevator so they don't accidentally fall off or trip at the bottom. Some things that really shouldn't need to be trained, do.
 

JR 137

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Done that with my BJJ. It's still just BJJ.

Done that. It's still just BJJ.

Done that. It's a fun exercise and helps with mental flexibility. (Can't really spar full out on stairs without someone getting hurt though.) It's still 90-95% the same fundamentals with 5-10% situational adjustment. The important thing is to develop usable foundational skills and then you can periodically try them out in various environments to get used to adapting as necessary.

Every training environment has controls and rules that your training partners abide by. That's how we don't all end up in the hospital after every training session.

I think a better way of expressing your point would be "Don't always train in the same environment and with the same rule set. Mix it up and see what changes."

BTW - the advantage of working on mats is that you can train much longer and harder and thereby develop more functional skill. Suppose you want to be able to throw someone onto the ground. You're going to start with drilling the throw on a cooperative partner - hundreds of reps, thousands if you want to get really good at it. Then you're going to have go live, sparring against a resisting opponent. Lots of hours doing that and often the throws won't end up being as safe and controlled because your opponent is fighting you the whole way.

I think you're going to have a difficult time finding a training partner who is going to be willing to take thousands of hard falls on concrete.


Done that. I'll freely admit that BJJ is an unarmed fighting art, so I draw from other sources (mostly FMA) when using weapons. I do make good use of my BJJ when clinching or tied up on the ground with someone who has a weapon.

Done that. I do have to say that, regardless of the system you are training, fighting one against many is very low percentage unless you have superior weaponry or vastly superior skills and physical attributes. Usually the best option is to survive, disengage, and run.

De-escalation is really important and I've been moderately successful at it over the years. However, I've trained with hundreds of instructors from dozens of arts over the years and I don't think any of them had any special qualifications to teach de-escalation skills. I think it's hard to find individuals who have legitimate skills and experience in de-escalation and also know how to teach those skills in a systematic way. Finding someone who can teach those skills in a manner appropriate for a civilian self-defense context (as opposed to application for a LEO, doorman, social worker, etc) is even harder. Anyway, those skills don't necessarily have to be bundled with a specific martial art.

I've worked on that, although it really isn't something specific to any particular martial art. You can practice situational awareness with your Karate, Judo, Wing Chun, BJJ, Bujinkan Taijutsu, Kali, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, MMA, whatever.
Best post Ive read here in quite a long time.

Theres a difference between learning techniques and learning principles. Individual techniques dont work under many different scenarios. Principles work under just about all scenarios.
 

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