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Most people know me as President of The Self Defense Company providing practical simple, easy to learn self defense training programs. But I am also a life long grappler both on the collegiate and international level. It seems that grappling has found its way back into the good graces of the martial arts community. Since 1990 the UFC, Brazilian Jujitsu and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has found its place to the main stage. Now every wrestler willing to get punched and choke has another means to make their skills pay off.
So with all this latest and greatest “trends” in the martial arts, why am I still practicing Judo?
Yes, Judo, the “red headed, step child of the martial arts community” the little known but widely practiced martial art. Why do I still practice your grandfather’s martial art?
First of all, all of those submissions, leg locks, neck cranks and dislocation are in Judo. Pick up a copy of Kawaishi’s My Method of Judo if you can get it and you’ll see everything you could possible imagine when it comes to submissions, joint dislocations (any joint, leg, are, shoulder, wrist) and every strangle you can picture. You see, before the UFC this stuff has been going on since before 1892! But submissions, though nice and cool to do, are not the reasons I still practice Judo along with the Self Defense Training System methods of self defense.
Judo provides a few intangibles that other martial arts and combat sports don’t provide.
It teaches you to stay on your feet. When you train you learn how not to be moved, taken down, tackled or thrown. For learning how to stay on your feet against an aggressive opponent, there’s no better way.
Try to put your hand on a Judo person. Try to pin them down. You won’t be able to. Grip fighting is the hidden secret to the Judo-Self defense link. You can know all the “wrist releases” you want, but try to do them against someone who trains in judo (good luck). Even with limited training in Judo, you will be difficult to control.
On your feet, one false move could end the match. On the ground you have a handful of seconds to get something going. Nothing in the combat sport world replicates this sense of urgency and intensity better. In addition to being restrained by rules, combat sports like mixed martial arts, Brazilian jujitsu, boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and the like, all teach you to feel your opponent out and look for an opening. You can make certain degrees of mistakes and recover. In the urgency is amplified. This is import to train your mind for combat: take your time, but hurry up! This best prepares your state of mind for what can happen in the real world.
There are a lot of combatives men ho couldn’t last a second on the judo tatami (I even know one so called expert who got throw by a woman). To his defense she is nationally rank, but she did give up 40 pounds to him! I also know world renowned martial artists who couldn’t hack it doing the “gentle way”. The nature of the sport develops character (kokoro). It is not easy even to participate reluctantly. Even if you “dog it” you still have to do something.
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This is the only way to deal with a non-compliant subject. Try that fancy wrist lock when its just you and your partner trying to wrangle a guy to the ground. When you’re training n Judo you are always practicing non-lethal restraint on non-compliant subjects. IF you can do it on the Judo mat, you can do it on the street- no different.
So the moral of the story is simple, if you want to learn REAL non lethal methods of restraint, learn how to stay on your feet and maintain a dominant position: go do Judo.
If you want to know how to save your live: Train in the Self Defense Training System. I will always practice and teach Judo, but when the rubber hits the road, I go for what I know works.
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