Speed vs. Strength - And Where to Apply Them.

A common problem that many Judoka have is that they don’t realize that their Judo must change depending on their opponent.  You must adjust your tempo to who you are facing.

If you are a big guy, and you are facing ‘Speedy Gonzalez’, who is dancing around you - he is doing precisely what he should be doing… using his speed to counteract your greater strength.  By the same token, you should be ‘rooting’ yourself in one spot, and using your greater strength to offset Speedy’s greater speed.

Of course, should the opposite situation occur, you must reverse your strategy.  I’m a relatively big guy, but I once entered the open weight category because I had students of mine in my regular weight class - so every single opponent was bigger than I.  And knowing the trick, I immediately went into “speedster” mode, and tried forcing my opponents to move faster than they were used to.  I ended up with a second place trophy, yet every single opponent had me out-weighed by 20-30 pounds or more.

Keep this in mind as you do randori or compete - and decide whether you’re going to stay in one spot, or move like the wind…

None of this applies, of course, if you’re facing someone that is of relatively the same weight, strength, and speed.  Then you can merely act and react normally.  But being able to change tempo is a great skill that most International and Olympic Judoka have, and you should consciously develop it yourself.  And against someone of your own weight class - changing tempo in a random fashion is a tactic that few Judoka are prepared to deal with… so give it a try!