Saturday was a lesson in sport judo. We had some guests who came and I ended up working out the entirety of the class with Junior. We mostly did the eight variations of seoi nage (ippon, morote, sode, eri, ko, o, reverse, and cross-sleeve). It was hard work, uncomfortably warm, and by the end of it I was too exhausted to do warm-ups for BJJ. It’s the kind of judo I haven’t done since I competed.
Those are the high points. There was also another discomfort. I was being treated like I knew nothing about the techniques. The off-hand comments like that I’d be going over my shoulder/head to take yoko wakari, the immediate correction of the variation of o soto that I have used in competition, or the surprise that I knew the names of the eight seoi variations… I’ve been at this since 2007. The discussion about the fact that I think the IJF is inherently wrong was also uncomfortable. I’m not in judo to compete in judo. I’m in judo to get better at grappling and the new rules don’t do that justice. Yes, I understand they’re for the safety of the athletes, the clarity of calls, and the preservation of a style of judo that is in vogue. Understanding that doesn’t mean it’s what interests me.
I don’t play politics. I grapple. It’s important to me that the environment I’m in fosters not only sport judo, but judo as it can be applied to grappling. We are in an environment where it’s important that people know how to shoot so their partners can learn how to sprawl, where students have to learn to perform and receive kani basami without damaging each others knees, and where we all have a life to live the next day. Sport judo has a place in teaching people which throws work in competition and giving people the experience of setting them up and executing them against other skilled players who know the throws and their counters. However, judo as it will be practiced in my environment will not be where the IJF stops it, and no individual saying “you can’t grab the leg anymore” will be welcome to work with me. Sport judo was great. I got my hardware there and may some day decide to do a couple of tournaments to pick up more. Right now, the emphasis is on being ready for grappling in general.