Judo Destroys BJJ
question has now been answered.
derives from the oft-heard internet assertion that a BJJ blue belt can beat a judo black
belt in a BJJ competition.
Not many people
would deny that other things being equal, BJJ guys are better at ground,
and judo guys are better at stand-up. But what if other things are not
equal? Suppose that BJJ guy is a typical blue belt and the judo black
belt is an Olympic gold medallist.
hypothetical! Could never happen!
Sunday November 26, in Samukawa [寒川],
Japan (a small town about 30 minutes south of Yokohama).
was the ASJJF Dumau Japan Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017.
The blue belts
were typical blue belts. At least one had been training for 16 years
(don't ask why), competing sporadically but successfully. He represented
RB Academy in Yokohama.
The judo black
belt was two-time Olympic (2004 and 2008, 66 kg.) Gold medallist
Utishiba Masato [内柴正人].
(that's how it was romanized on the posted brackets) had just gotten out
of prison about three months previously, so he probably didn't have much
time to develop an all-around BJJ specific game.
need an all-around BJJ game.
It was a
reasonable prediction that the BJJ blue belts would not try to exchange
stand-up with the two-time Olympic champion. That turned out to be a
correct prediction. It was also predicted that Utishiba would not
himself "pull guard". That left one alternative, which was
that the BJJ blue belts would try to pull guard. The questions were,
could they do that, and what would happen after?
competed in the 82 kg. class, and open class, blue belt. He was
representing Alavanca Jiu-Jitsu in Zama-shi (famous for its U.S. Army
base and recent serial
was one of those who ignorantly predicted that Utishiba might have problems
with the blue belt BJJ game, based on his presumed paucity of experience with
the nuances of BJJ competition, which was in turn based on the assumptions that as a hard-core super successful
judo competitor he hadn't sacrificed precious judo training time to learn something that he wasn't going to
use at that time, and the fact that he had been in prison for the past
not being a genuine judoka himself, Roberto has trained judo and trained
with numerous judoka over a 20+ year period (here).
His assumptions were based on that. But he had not trained with a
two-time Olympic gold medallist. Olympic gold medallists are (obviously)
on a different level. Also, Roberto mistakenly assumed that Utishiba
would be as shunned in the BJJ world as he was in the judo world hence
would not have a full range of BJJ instructional options. That
was a mistaken assumption. Utishiba was obviously welcome at Alavanca,
and the tournament participants and fans seemed more hero-worshipful
game plan was simple and logical: Don't let the opponent pull guard. If he
somehow does, let him have half-guard, then pass it with crushing
pressure. He did this in all five matches and it worked all five times.
The first match was finished with a cross collar choke from mount. The
next four were finished with Japanese arm-bars.
obvious that Roberto's initial prediction was going to be wrong from the first
seconds of the first match. The opponent tried to pull guard twice, but
Utishiba had solid grips and used them to stop the guard-pull. The third
time, Utishiba took him to the mat with an uki-waza type throw. From
there, side control, mount, choke. Judo resembled classical BJJ, not by
Utishiba's next blue belt antagonist was Takuwa Yukawa. Yukawa
was watching the first match intently and remained upright longer than
his predecessor, and even managed to "pull-guard" but Utishiba
had little trouble powering through it into half-guard, which only
slowed him down briefly. From there it was mount, a threatened choke,
and an arm-bar to wrap up.
asked Yukawa-san (wearing black kimono in picture below) for a comment after the match.
The vanquished BJJ representative's comment was,
["as expected, he was strong"]. There wasn't much more to say
about it, after all.
the afternoon, Utishiba was back for the open class. His three opponents
were all about his own weight and the results were identical to those described
sports press was there in full force. BJJ tournaments are small potatoes
in Japan generally, but Utishiba had been a popular hero up to the time
of the incident that landed him in prison. (In Japan, BJJ is viewed as
a sub-school or variant style of Kodokan judo**). The story of
Utishiba's comeback was too tempting to pass up. It made it onto the Sports
News website, but not Monday's news, being drowned out by the
results of the Winter sumo tournament and Hakuho's triumphant return to
form. And of course, the horse racing results.
several useful lessons in this story. Everyone knows them already, but
we tend to forget what we know in favor of what we see and hear
frequently, so it is worthwhile to restate them from time to time.
Lesson 1. Grips
are important. Judo is a game of grips and throws. There are no throws
(well, not many) without grips. The quality of the grips determines the
success of the throw. Easy-to-get grips usually yield hard-to-finish
throws. You can't be thrown if the adversary doesn't have good grips, and you can't throw
without good grips. Good throwers are people who have good grip-getting
and grip-keeping skills. If you have good grips and the opponent
doesn't, you are way ahead. To paraphrase wrestling legend Dan Gable,
"you have to train skills that don't score points". To
paraphrase Gene Lebell, "everything is a handle".
Lesson 2: Don't
let opponent close his guard on you.
Lesson 3: Force
your opponent to try to pull guard when it is disadvantageous for him to
do so. Take advantage of his guard-pull.
Passing the guard is often more energy-efficient in two-steps, rather
than one. That means you need to have good half-guard passing, and
half-mount survival skills. (The difference between half-guard and
half-mount is roughly the relative position of the two
Final Conclusions: (1) A
Two-Time Olympic judo champion can beat recreational blue belts in BJJ
matches. At least, one such champion did so on November 26, 2017, and
(2) não esqueça
2004 and 2008 Olympic Judo Utishiba Masato
内柴正人 competing as BJJ blue belt, November 26, 20017,
connection is implied between Alavanaca Jiu-Jitsu, the city of Zama, the
U.S. Army, and the recent serial murders.
BJJ as a sub-style of Kodokan judo [亜流], or
"underground judo" [裏柔道],
vs BJJ 1
Judo and BJJ:
vs. BJJ 2
Judo (when gripping defeats judo)
Training for BJJ
and BJJ are the same", says Oswald Alves
Furey describes Dan Gable's training philosophy and other things.
Lebell talks about handles and other important grappling topics here
Portuguese vocabulary and cool slang for train jiu-jitsu in Brazil?
Click here (nothing for worry, it's all
Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.