Newaza, Judo, & BJJ - A Few Thoughts…


The topic comes up frequently about rules in Judo regarding Newaza… the fact that referees will stand you up after 5 seconds or so.

Although I think this should be extended to 20-30 seconds - I certainly don’t want major changes to this rule… if you want to do matwork, you can do all you want in wrestling, BJJ, or even in the Judo club during randori.

Judo has always had the idea of taking your opponent’s balance, and converting it into a winning position… you should offbalance, throw, then immediately pin, armbar, or choke.  If you cannot continuously move into a newaza technique from tachiwaza, then you’ve essentially failed in your control of uke.

Now BJJ would say - okay, let’s work at regaining control… in fact, they are usually willing to go to the ground with no particular control on their opponent - relying on the fact that they can gain it with superior technique and skill once they are on the ground.   There’s nothing wrong with this approach - it’s just not what Judo practices.

Just like wrestling, which does just fine without Judo’s armbars and chokes… yet produces extremely fit and competent athletes nonetheless.  Each martial art or sport which works on controlling an opponent on the ground does so in their own way, and are fully competent within their sporting arena.

So those who advocate making major changes to the rules simply prefer another martial art or sport to Judo… or perhaps more accurately, would like to convert Judo to their concept of what Judo should be - which often looks more like BJJ… myself, I like Judo, and plan to stay with it.

I wonder… is the same argument going on in BJJ regarding standup throwing skills?  I can easily imagine myself in BJJ telling such people that they don’t understand the philosophic underpinnings of BJJ - and only need such takedown skills as are minimally required to get their opponent to their fighting range, ie, the ground.

Judo is in the middle… it has great standup technique - and it has quite adequate matwork technique to follow up with.  Those who wish more matwork skills have many alternatives available to them.  Even in Judo… but to change Shiai rules - I would argue against it.

Or at least, that's my two cents worth...