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  1. Devil is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 8:41am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Leg Attacks Now Legal for Kids at NAGA

    My son has competed in several NAGA tournaments over the last year or so. They are now allowing straight ankle locks and kneebars in the juvenile and teen divisions. I believe they were not allowed previously and this is a relatively new rule change. None of the other tournaments he competes in allow any leg attacks at all for kids.

    So, here's how that played out in the last tournament he competed in. I saw two kids under age 12 get injured by ankle locks within a five minute span. Very few BJJ schools teach ankle locks and kneebars to kids, as far as I've seen.

    However, there's one school that always shows up to local tournaments that is VERY competition focused. They have a huge group of kids. Many of them are very good. And it was clear from watching them this time that the instructors have been drilling ankle locks like crazy with them to take advantage of the new NAGA rules.

    I have some conflicting thoughts about the whole thing. First of all, I don't really blame the instructors. I guess it's kind of a "don't hate the player, hate the game" type of situation. They come to win and they're working within the rules. It's the rules that I have a problem with.

    The problem as I see it is that everybody knows most kids who grapple haven't been trained to apply or defend against leg attacks. As a result, most kids will never sense the degree of danger they're in until it's too late. In most cases, it amounts to an ambush. It pisses me off to watch an 8 year old girl get injured by an ankle lock when she has zero awareness that her ankle is even a viable target. Yes, I know the rules are available for everyone to review. Yes, I know there's a rules meeting. It still pisses me off and I know I'm not alone.

    The way I dealt with it on the fly with my son was to tell him to tap immediately if someone attacks his leg. No ifs, ands or buts. He hasn't been trained to deal with leg attacks and I don't want to see him on crutches over some bullshit like that. It turned out not to be an issue since he didn't compete against a kid from that particular school. Anyway, we may be done with NAGA for a while. I know there's no way his instructors are going to teach him ankle locks and kneebars and the deck is too stacked against him now without it.

    I'm curious what you guys think about this ruleset and what you think about teaching leg attacks to kids in general.
  2. Matt Phillips is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 9:33am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    IIRC they were allowed in juniors expert only. Double check the reaping rules; my son was DQ'd numerous times for "reaping" even when the other player caused the leg to come across.
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  3. Devil is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 9:46am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Phillips View Post
    IIRC they were allowed in juniors expert only. Double check the reaping rules; my son was DQ'd numerous times for "reaping" even when the other player caused the leg to come across.
    That may have been the case in the past, but not anymore. Straight ankle locks and straight kneebars are legal in all kids divisions except Novice (One point to clarify - this is for no-gi only. No leg locks are permitted for kids and teens in the gi divisions).

    Reaping is still illegal. Here are the rules:

    http://www.nagafighter.com/pdf/2014_naga_rules.pdf
  4. BKR is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 10:18am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    My son has competed in several NAGA tournaments over the last year or so. They are now allowing straight ankle locks and kneebars in the juvenile and teen divisions. I believe they were not allowed previously and this is a relatively new rule change. None of the other tournaments he competes in allow any leg attacks at all for kids.

    So, here's how that played out in the last tournament he competed in. I saw two kids under age 12 get injured by ankle locks within a five minute span. Very few BJJ schools teach ankle locks and kneebars to kids, as far as I've seen.

    However, there's one school that always shows up to local tournaments that is VERY competition focused. They have a huge group of kids. Many of them are very good. And it was clear from watching them this time that the instructors have been drilling ankle locks like crazy with them to take advantage of the new NAGA rules.

    I have some conflicting thoughts about the whole thing. First of all, I don't really blame the instructors. I guess it's kind of a "don't hate the player, hate the game" type of situation. They come to win and they're working within the rules. It's the rules that I have a problem with.

    The problem as I see it is that everybody knows most kids who grapple haven't been trained to apply or defend against leg attacks. As a result, most kids will never sense the degree of danger they're in until it's too late. In most cases, it amounts to an ambush. It pisses me off to watch an 8 year old girl get injured by an ankle lock when she has zero awareness that her ankle is even a viable target. Yes, I know the rules are available for everyone to review. Yes, I know there's a rules meeting. It still pisses me off and I know I'm not alone.

    The way I dealt with it on the fly with my son was to tell him to tap immediately if someone attacks his leg. No ifs, ands or buts. He hasn't been trained to deal with leg attacks and I don't want to see him on crutches over some bullshit like that. It turned out not to be an issue since he didn't compete against a kid from that particular school. Anyway, we may be done with NAGA for a while. I know there's no way his instructors are going to teach him ankle locks and kneebars and the deck is too stacked against him now without it.

    I'm curious what you guys think about this ruleset and what you think about teaching leg attacks to kids in general.
    8 year old kids doing any sort of submissions to the point of finishing is not good. I thought NAGA only allowed kids to get into position and hold, then the ref called the match?

    Injured growth plates will be the result, eventually, if not sooner. That might piss off a few parents...

    Any reason given by NAGA for the rule change?

    Kids finishing subs is just ludicrous.
    Falling for Judo since 1980
  5. sambosteve is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 10:48am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Phillips View Post
    IIRC they were allowed in juniors expert only. Double check the reaping rules; my son was DQ'd numerous times for "reaping" even when the other player caused the leg to come across.
    I can't speak for kids, but all leg locks have always been allowed at all adult levels of NAGA. That is why we like their rules.
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  6. sambosteve is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 10:56am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    8 year old kids doing any sort of submissions to the point of finishing is not good. I thought NAGA only allowed kids to get into position and hold, then the ref called the match?

    Injured growth plates will be the result, eventually, if not sooner. That might piss off a few parents...

    Any reason given by NAGA for the rule change?

    Kids finishing subs is just ludicrous.
    What he said. I have always felt that younger kids should stick to takedowns and pins. Teens is another story. I have no problem allowing straight leg locks with teens. Get them started and end the bad habbits of their elders now.

    Having said that, I can't see being concerned about kids doing kneebars if I was not already concerned about kids doing armbars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    The problem as I see it is that everybody knows most kids who grapple haven't been trained to apply or defend against leg attacks. As a result, most kids will never sense the degree of danger they're in until it's too late. In most cases, it amounts to an ambush. It pisses me off to watch an 8 year old girl get injured by an ankle lock when she has zero awareness that her ankle is even a viable target. Yes, I know the rules are available for everyone to review. Yes, I know there's a rules meeting. It still pisses me off and I know I'm not alone.
    This is no different than the vast majority of adults who do not train leg locks.

    The only real problem I see is that most coaches are so institutionalized to avoid, hate, or not train leg locks that it is easier said than done to hope that the kids will get trained up on them to address the new rules. Though, I suspect, any coaches who bring adults to NAGA regularly must be more leg lock aware since they are all allowed for adults.
    One of the best Bullshido investigations ever written: http://www.bullshido.org/David_Kujawski_Investigation

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  7. Devil is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 11:03am

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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    8 year old kids doing any sort of submissions to the point of finishing is not good. I thought NAGA only allowed kids to get into position and hold, then the ref called the match?

    Injured growth plates will be the result, eventually, if not sooner. That might piss off a few parents...

    Any reason given by NAGA for the rule change?

    Kids finishing subs is just ludicrous.
    No submissions are allowed for novice kids. Submissions are allowed for all other kids. The referee can call the match at any point if he feels the competitor is in danger and it is very common for the ref to end a match before a kid actually taps.

    I don't have a problem with kids finishing submissions. All the kids I know who compete in BJJ tourneys are finishing submissions in class every day and they know when to tap. When you add in the referee's ability to end a match at any time, I think it's very safe.

    My problem is that ankle locks and kneebars are a different animal and the kids aren't prepared for it the way they're prepared for armlocks and chokes. With the leg attacks it tends to be...doesn't hurt, doesn't hurt, doesn't hurt, Aaaaagh! It happens fast, many of the kids don't understand the danger, and it can be too quick for the ref to stop it.

    No, I haven't heard any reasoning from NAGA on the rule change.
  8. Devil is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 11:10am

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    Quote Originally Posted by sambosteve View Post
    What he said. I have always felt that younger kids should stick to takedowns and pins. Teens is another story. I have no problem allowing straight leg locks with teens. Get them started and end the bad habbits of their elders now.

    Having said that, I can't see being concerned about kids doing kneebars if I was not already concerned about kids doing armbars.



    This is no different than the vast majority of adults who do not train leg locks.

    The only real problem I see is that most coaches are so institutionalized to avoid, hate, or not train leg locks that it is easier said than done to hope that the kids will get trained up on them to address the new rules. Though, I suspect, any coaches who bring adults to NAGA regularly must be more leg lock aware since they are all allowed for adults.
    The reason I'm concerned about kneebars and not armbars is that I know that virtually every kid who shows up understands armbars. That's not the case with kneebars. That's not a political statement about armbars being awesome and kneebars being evil. That's just the truth about the skillsets of kids that are participating.

    It's true that you have the same risk with adults who aren't well versed in leg attacks. But they're adults and get to make big boy and girl choices and take big boy and girl risks. That's the difference in my view.
  9. W. Rabbit is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 2:01pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil View Post
    My problem is that ankle locks and kneebars are a different animal and the kids aren't prepared for it the way they're prepared for armlocks and chokes. With the leg attacks it tends to be...doesn't hurt, doesn't hurt, doesn't hurt, Aaaaagh! It happens fast, many of the kids don't understand the danger, and it can be too quick for the ref to stop it.
    Sorry for the wall of text but having been injured with this kind of thing and also having a kid in BJJ now, I wanted to dump my opine.

    Kids don't understand the danger because a lot of the adults teaching them probably never fully appreciated the danger either. The "we train for how we compete" mentality works right up until someone changes how you can compete, then you adapt or die (or get hurt or if you're lucky, JUST lose).

    In my opinion the terms "leg attacks" highlights the issue, with the key word being "attack". This is all stuff that brings BJJ back to its old jujutsu roots (to take an armored/unarmored warrior to the ground and trying to break his limbs, strangle him, etc.). Today with the focus on competition (instead of warfare) being the goal of the quality arts, I think it stands to reason that when techniques like these are re-introduced, it reminds people just how much has been removed from MA training to make it into something you can keep doing for a long time without serious injury. More relaxed rules = more chances to hurt yourself.

    And yes if you don't adapt your TRAINING to account for this stuff, you WILL get hurt. There is no coach or ref that can prevent a well timed and executed "attack" from succeeding if the attacker follows through. Stop or no stop, DQ or no DQ, the limb will be damaged.

    Once upon a time, these types of "attacks" were routine and mundane in jujutsu training. These kind of attacks are designed to destroy joints and limbs and make them useless for fighting (not to defeat your opponent necessarily but to make them easier to defeat bit by bit), not to force a submission (either tapout or plain old surrender). This rule change seems to be a case of BJJ moving back in the traditional direction, trying to allow for more diversity in competition, but yes with the additional risks (both in training and comp) of "alive" jujutsu training.

    If these techniques had been left in Judo/BJJ all along, I think injuries in training both Judo and BJJ would be far more common and the arts would be FAR less popular than they are. People LOVE MA right up to the moment they start getting hurt.

    I also think that relaxing these sorts of rules for the younger crowd changes the whole stage with regards to what their parents will be comfortable with, like the difference between allowing your kid to do Shotokan point competition vs full contact Kyokushin.

    Parents LOVE their kids in MA right up until the moment they get kicked in the face or end up with a limb hyperextended in a very ugly direction...
    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 8/11/2014 2:25pm at .
  10. Devil is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2014 2:38pm

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    It's not an example of BJJ moving back in a more traditional direction, though. Remember - only a minority of kids who train compete and only a portion of the kids who compete do so at NAGA. So it only impacts a very tiny portion of kids who practice BJJ.

    Again, I'm not against kneebars and ankle locks. I would be fine having my kid train those techniques. But here's the reality - his instructors won't teach him those techniques. Most BJJ instructors won't teach kids those techniques and NAGA is slam full of those kids who are clueless about those techniques.

    There are a couple ways you could approach this situation. One option is for NAGA to say "**** it, our rules make more sense. If you don't like the rules, don't play." They have that right. The other option is for them to recognize the actual skills and limitations of their child competitors and opt for a ruleset that doesn't expose them to a high risk of injury. I vote for option 2.

    To me, the proof is in the pudding. Now, I admit this is a completely unscientific observation but at the last tournament I attended I saw about 6 or 7 ankle lock attempts in the kids divisions and 2 of those resulted in kids screaming in agony, crying and being helped off the mat because they couldn't walk on their own. In contrast, I saw dozens and dozens of armbar attempts with no injuries. Admittedly a small sample size but I have a hunch I will continue to see a high injury rate with these techniques at NAGA in the future.

    I'm all for competing hard and training realistically but in my opinion this is a situation where NAGA should err on the side of safety for the sake of the children competing.
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