Many of you know that I have a history of dabbling in martial arts besides wrestling. Back in college i did a semester of Judo as part of a college elective. Judo is an Olympic sport involving ground grappling but more importantly some spectacular and sometimes simple or complex throws. I didn`t continue to pursue the sport for two reasons. The first was that my schedule interfered with practice times. The other reason is what I feel is a good segway into today`s blog, the club felt very elitist and cliquey.
Over the past week the International Judo Federation (IJF) sent out a letter to all practicing Judo schools instating a new rule which defines the sport`s governing body. The new ruling prohibits all ranked Judoka from competing in all other grappling sports. This rule applies to but not limited to wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, and Mixed Martial Arts.
To many of you this may seem like a harsh and sudden rule to be implemented in such a world wide sport. However, to me this is the dagger to the heart of a once proud sport. Over the past several years the IJF have been implementing rule after rule making traditional Judo moves illegal in competition. Rulings like this have been angering and driving people away from the sport. Moves such as the double leg takedown, ankle pick, and scoop throw have all been made illegal in an attempt to alienate wrestlers and BJJ artists.
The biggest complaint that the IJF has been the fact that many combatants are coming into and winning Judo competitions beating out skilled, strict Judo artists. If I were a coach and that heard that statistic I would go back to my coaching routine and find a way to improve my fighter’s game strategy, not throw a temper tantrum. A temper tantrum is exactly what this is. The IJF is acting like a child that can’t have its way on the playground and therefore come up with a stupid alienating rule that works in their favor. To put this in another light, the IJF is the jealous girlfriend or boyfriend that will no longer allow you to see your friends.
I have always been taught that a true martial artist studies multiple arts to improve their mind, body, character, and combat. One martial art is not all encompassing and it certainly isn’t Judo. If the IJF is truly jealous of others coming in and winning their competitions they should look at the schools and their coaches. It is not the fault of outside competitors that their schools teach them better Judo than the actual Judo schools. Rather it is the fault of the Judo schools not teaching good Judo or how to compete against outside competitors.
Ultimately, this is the decision the IJF has made. A decision that will hurt the sport in the long run. This will not make the sport more popular but will weaken it. Fewer people in the dojos and participating in the tournaments. This will all lead to weaker Judo practitioners who will not grow to become stronger because they won’t be challenged like they are now. But for the time being we can only watch and shake our heads at the IJF and watch them alienate themselves from the martial arts community.