The Toe Hold – The second greatest way to disqualification.

Although I have never formally wrestled, I love to wrestle. Standing, my judo can better be described as wrestling (and has been). On the ground I am never fully comfortable on my back with a more experienced player. I like to be on top. I like to shoot. I love the huge throws I’ve picked up from Greco-Roman.

This gets me in trouble in judo. As of 2010 the competition rules say I can’t grab the legs. Three of my trustiest throws are Te guruma, Kata guruma, and Sukui nage (this is te guruma, this is sukui nage, I don’t know why all the leg attacks from judo get confused – it’s a common problem even with the two types of single-leg takedowns… the Kodokan has a book of the official names with pictures…).

As a blue belt in BJJ my leg attacks are limited (kind of). CombatCorner is pretty indicative of the rules for gi and no-gi in my area. For gi I’m limited to knee bars and straight ankle locks. This means I can also do my Achilles crush. This means I cannot do my toe hold. For no-gi I can do anything from the crucifix to the twister to cow catchers to heel hooks so long as I don’t do single-digit manipulation or put my fingers where they don’t belong. The one big difference between CC and other BJJ tournaments around me is kani basami. CC is cool with it.

So last night I’m on the ground with Anders. He’s good. He better be, he’s a 3rd degree black belt in jujitsu, a black belt in judo, and a blue belt in BJJ, and has been as long as I’ve known him (2.5 years now). I’ve recently started using an escape for the omo plata that I picked up from Catch. You can relieve the pressure by turning your body to use the same structure to apply a hip-lock to them. You won’t finish the hip-lock, their legs are a figure-four so you’re trying to fight both legs – not a winning battle. What it does do is let me limp-arm very easily when they try to change the angle upon realizing I can’t be tapped from that position. It also lets me do a simple escape to reverse mount. Anders got an omo plata. I got reverse mount.

Reverse mount is exactly what you’re thinking. I’m sitting on your stomach/chest, but I’m facing your legs. By the judo definition, this is not a pin. You can’t escape it super easily (you can squirm and pull your legs out, but it’s possible to grapevine on your arms/head and if I sit on your chest with my legs forward it’s just all my bodyweight on your solar plexus), especially not if I underhook either leg, but I’m not facing you, so it’s not a pin. This is where I start getting in trouble. Reverse mount is great for one thing (and pretty much one thing only) and that’s harvesting legs. From the reverse mount I have my options of leg-locks as long as I grab a leg before the person squirms out.

Attacking the turtle is another one. I found this cherry attack on the turtle (Plate 151). Pull them forward, foot tight behind their arm, roll into the half-nelson, take their foot, toe hold, profit. You know who turtles? Judoka. You know when you’re not allowed to do toe holds? Judo.

In case you’re wondering about the single greatest way to get disqualified in judo: Flying Armbar (3:19) I’ve gotten much better at it since then, but it’s still not allowed. I now prefer the “Chaotic” as Dave Camarillo calls it, it meshes well with my wrestling-style judo.


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