View Full Version : Notes on bjj to judoka

9/02/2004 2:32pm,
I've mentioned it a few times on here in passing, but I've stopped doing judo a.) because I've moved to a new area and the closest judo club is about 15 or 20 miles away (not a huge deal, but a little annoying nonetheless) and b.) I've dislocated my shoulder so many times that I end up doing purely newaza at class ANYWAY so I figured "Why not do BJJ?"

So, I've been doing BJJ for a few weeks now. Here are my thoughts on the differences between the two arts (or at least the way I've learned them). Keep in mind that I actually practiced judo at a newaza heavy club (maybe not as heavy as some places, but definately much much more than the average club).

The dynamics of the guard position are quite a bit different. The main thing that makes this so is POSTURE in the guard. Not only does it make it different whiles passing the guard, but while being on bottom and defending the pass. You always have to be careful of pulling the person down and not letting them get posture. At my old judo club. posture was something that we glanced over from time to time but it wasn't ever covered in a sufficient manner.

Tied in with this is breaking open the closed guard. At my judo club we always stressed open guard because the stress was on always attacking (partly because of the short time for newaza on the ground). This is GREAT but the drawback is that you don't get to work on breaking open the closed guard, and I've suffered there quite a bit. I've been able to use tsukomi jime (thrusting choke) to get someone to open their guard (while closing my knees together and watching out for the armbar of course), and I haven't gotten armbarred for it as of yet, but I know it's not the smartest thing to do (though I hate getting stuck in someone's closed guard so I'll sometimes resort to it while rolling).

Also, the pinning is a bit different (not as much for me as most judoka, because I usually went to submission and not to pin, but I know it would be a problem for most judoka). When you're pinning, you can't use strength. I know most judo clubs teach you not to use too much strength, but I've seen people get away with it (especially with kesa gatame where they'll give you the deathlock) because you only need to hold the person down for 25 seconds. At the end you'll be tired but you'll have won. When you're going to submission, that **** won't work. You'll hold then in a pin for 25 seconds and they'll sit there while you use all your energy and then you'll be back in their guard with no energy left. Instead of using strength to hold someone down for a set length of time, always be transitioning from one position to another, (yoko shiho to kuzure kesa, to kami shiho, etc). Luckily for me, I did this anyway because I always went to submission, and because I don't have the strength to muscle holddowns anyway.

As for my performance against bjj'ers, I'd say it's about what I expected. I did judo for about 1 year, twice a week or sometimes 3 times a week practicing with friends (a lot of it was spent on newaza because of my bad shoulders, mind you). Assuming equal weight, I am better than the majority of white belts I've gone against, though there was one that I went against yesterday from David Camarillo's school who destroyed me. I'm competitive with new blue belts (though actually I've been to two different schools after settling on the one with the better blue belts, but that's a different story altogether) but the ones who've been blue for a while fucking destroy me unless I'm blessed by a fluke occurence such as one that happened the other night which mistakenly landed me in a triangle choke/armbar. (this isn't to say I'm AS GOOD AS the new blue belts, just that I'm competitive with them.) Basically, the judo was a great base for me, and I'm progressing very fast because a lot of my learning involves patching in holes, not starting from scratch. But also, doing purely groundwork makes me crave a standup oriented judo school, which I hope on attending within the next year or so provided my shoulders get stronger.

9/02/2004 2:48pm,
Good post. I did Judo for about eight months where we'd spend 30min per 2hr class doing newaza (preceeded by 30 min warmup, followed by 30min uchikomi and 30min standing randori), but I was getting triangled to hell and back for my first two months of BJJ. All I really miss now is the throwing, but since my contract at my current school expires in November I'm not going to renew until after exams. That will give me a month or so of nothing but Judo at the university club.

9/02/2004 3:11pm,
Interesting. Since newaza is my personal favourite I really gotta find a BJJ club to take a couple of free lessons, see if it's something for me.

9/02/2004 4:07pm,
I'd say keep doing judo to any of you thinking of giving it up for bjj. If you have good takedowns, you'll either take everyone down OR they'll pull guard. Either way, you're gonna get good at working the top. Also, the throwing helps your balance on the ground and you should be able to keep your base better than most. To me, doing both is the best option unless you have some kind of injury that prevents you (such as myself), or you're going to a judo club like Hayastan that really knows their submission grappling.

9/02/2004 6:08pm,
Maybe your shoulder will heal up and you can go back to Judo someday? Don't give in to the dark side!!!

9/02/2004 6:41pm,
Originally posted by mikus ... Also, the throwing helps your balance on the ground and you should be able to keep your base better than most. ...

Just a little while ago I was thinking about how contrary to popular opinion, what I have learned from Taiji/Bagua HAS seemed to work well on the ground. The usual argument is that as soon as you leave your feet, you can't 'root' or use any of that other stuff cuz your leverage is different. And I was thinking ....actually having good 'base' is the same thing has being well rooted.

So your comment just here came up just as I was pondering on what it means to be 'rooted' when your on the ground. I can't quite explain it but in the Judo I DID do, I remember one of the MAJOR things I took from it was just how to have a good base on the ground. It seems like most noobs tend to just forget about their legs if they arn't being attacked or being used to hold on to something. People never seem to spread them wide enough.

Do the BJJ guys seem to not care to much about getting rolled over? It was always a big deal to me to ty and stay on top.

9/02/2004 6:47pm,
No, they do care, but people aren't ONLY going for turnovers (sweeps) on the ground. They're also trying to submit you. In judo standup, most everything involves defending against getting put on the ground, which translates directly to not getting turned over on the ground.

As for the taiji and bagua stuff, I can't comment. I have not practiced enough of it to say, though honestly I think that all the one-legged, eyes closed stance holding in the world won't do a lot for you if you're not sparring with an active person trying to take you down or turn you over.

9/02/2004 7:31pm,
Yrkoon: I really really want to start up judo again, but unfortunately I don't think my shoulders will ever be great again. I read a statistic that says that over 90 percent of those who dislocate their shoulder/s before the age of 20 dislocate them again. I'm under 20 and I've already dislocated one of them twice (badly) and the other many many times (though never so badly). My intention is to change my whole game around and try to develop a Kashiwazaki style standup game that is well suited to groundwork and that way when I'm training one, I'll be indirectly training the other and I won't have to spend (quite) so much time doing pure standup, and therefore more time where I can hurt my shoulders again and put myself out. I can't wait for the Judo again.

9/02/2004 7:32pm,
Naw, that's a basic exercise as essential for practical taiji as drilling bridging would be for a wrestler.

It's especially critical when your going for the takedown. Too many CMA guys get caught up in tryong to have a "stable stance" when actually the most stable in action is on one leg. In Judo, 2 guys grip. Then you go for the throw. In all the throws and counterthrows, leg reapping, attempted shoulder throws etc...none of it is really done from both legs. One leg plants, the other sweeps/hooks/etc. It's about getting comfotable and ballanced while swinging one leg around. In action, of course your stepping, switching legs, whatever. But the critical moments always involve being one one leg.

The point of that exercise is developing stability through mobility and flexibility along with eccentric movement that is hard to follow.

9/02/2004 7:34pm,
p.s. The eyes closed seems to help a lot with developing your propriceptic(?) sense of balance. ie. balance even when being spun around or otherwise visually disoriented.

9/02/2004 8:16pm,
Mikus, one of my Judo coaches blew his right shoulder in competition and has basically given up on his right uchi-mata. Now he has to drill the **** out of his left uchi-mata to get back to where he was. Still, I hope your arms get back to where they were.

9/02/2004 10:59pm,
Omar: The thing is that I've never met anyone who's problem with leg reaps was being on one leg for a split second. The only time people have what SEEMS to be a balance problem is when they are not driving forwards and they themselves get driven backwards. Still, that is not a balance problem in the way that standing on one leg would help. I'm not gonna say it's COMPLETELY worthless, but certainly it is not the best way to spend your time.

Thanks Shumagorath.

9/02/2004 11:22pm,
This thread reminded me to read more of Best Judo, and in doing so I've already found two new guard passes to try out Tuesday at BJJ. Not only that, it looks like they won't get me triangled. Thank you.

9/03/2004 4:46pm,

I think we may have slightly different ideas about what it means to have good 'balance'.

Balance as you independantly apply a technique is one thing but with any throw one major key is going to be ACTIVELY disrupting your opponents balance while preserving your own. That's probably the most useful thing that can be taken out of push hands for non Taiji people. You can sometimes just grab and yank for a throw but better still is to make contact and then **** with their balance. Little gentle pushes, chorizontal circles, switching it up between different directions and so on.

Think about it this way, if you were a statue made of cast iron in a "rock solid" stance, I could still knock you over with no more force than I have in my index finger. Why? Because your 'balance' is not dynamic. I just walk around to the weak side and give a gentle push. So when your fighting wiith your opponent to control each others balance it's really a matter of both of you simultaneously making zillions of little adjustments AND trying to feed confusing information to your partner to he can't compensate. I'm not talking about "losing your balance" in the middle of a throw, I'm talking about ...what do they call it in Judo? Kuzishi? or maybe that just refers to the plain vanilla version of balance that we all learned on the playground as kids.

The other thing I got from those silly exercises of mine was a way to make reaps more circular and less angular. It makes them harder to resist. Pull back at the bottom as you hit forward up top is kind if easy to fight if you see it coming. But make the bottom part of an osoto gari (to your opponents right side) go in a circle clockwise while your top part adds a bit of counter-clockwise motion . . . much harder to resist.

9/03/2004 4:58pm,
Originally posted by Omar
one of the MAJOR things I took from it was just how to have a good base on the ground.


Do the BJJ guys seem to not care to much about getting rolled over? It was always a big deal to me to ty and stay on top. Having a good base is very important. It also is heavily stressed. Nobody wants to be mounted.

9/03/2004 4:59pm,
Oh yeah....the topic.