You’re feeling lanky and dislike the feeling of the guillotine around your neck. You want to up your takedown game but wrestling shots feel awkward. Well, perhaps the gentle way is for you because that’s what Judo is roughly translated to in English: Ju ‘gentle’ and Do ‘way.’
How does it fit in with your BJJ?
Well, we’ll continue this article with the assumption that you already understand the off-balancing principles you’d use when you go for sweeps such as the scissor sweep or the sickle sweep. By now you feel where your partner’s weight is centered. It feels something like an impulse ball travelling in your partner’s body, moving from one shoulder to the leg on the same side and then to the other shoulder. Depending on what direction your partner is leaning towards you attack with different sweeps. If he’s moving and leaning backward you attack the sickle sweep. If he’s leaning a shoulder into you, you attack the scissor sweep in that direction.
You’ll use this same type of reaction from your partner when you’re looking to throw or trip him.
Fear of Getting Taken Down
Reality is if you haven’t got a solid takedown defense you’re going to have trouble tripping anyone in tournament. Look up the whizzer defense to single leg and use your non posture hand to turn double legs into single legs.
The Jab and Cross of Judo
For easier understanding, it’s best if you look at your front leg as an extra arm. For example, you could use the same trip Kouchi Gari with both legs. But, your front leg is always closer to your opponent. That’s why, if we imagine for a second that your right leg is front, you’d use your right to attack opponent’s right with a straight leg trip (Kouchi) and left leg with a bent leg (Ouchi). The Ouchi, Kouchi and all other straight leg foot attacks are low-risk high-reward and many Judoka base their whole game on this combo. They’re often referred to as the jab of judo. Attack an opponent when he’s moving backwards and he might go down. Even if he doesn’t, you’ll get a reaction. Throw in a different direction.
Jimmy Pedro’s instructional on both trips is probably one of the best on the web. Give them a look-see.
Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
This is yet another, low-risk-high-reward move. A straight leg attack, it’s easy to control the flight of your partner.
The throw of the kings, the uchi mata is the highest percentage throw in Judo competition. You use your thigh to lift your partner’s thigh while turning his shoulders. However, you still want to end up on top or at least in guard passing position when you pull this one off. The video that follows has a Sambo specialist teach both variations. Pay close attention to the ken ken variation where you hop around the supporting foot to throw. That’s where the money is.
Working on your Judo in a BJJ Club
The single most important thing you have to consider if you have decided to work on your judo at your BJJ club is keeping your partner’s safe. If you’re going for straight leg sweeps, try not to kick your partners. You’ll soon run out of partners. In addition, tell them that you plan on playing judo. Optimally, find a Judo club to cross-train at.
Be really careful with any of the high-amplitude throws. Falling on top and taking the wind out of your partner is considered bad manners in Judo clubs. In a BJJ club, where even a blue belt might not be that good at breakfalls it’s best that you don’t attempt them unless you feel you can do it in a safe and controlled way.