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Judo and Jujitsu

The purpose of this article is to briefly explore some of the differences between competition Judo and self defense Jujitsu as taught at Budokai South in Aiken, South Carolina.

Today, the primary application of Judo is for a sporting competition between two willing participants that are approximately equal in size and skill. Each competitor is judged based on their ability to throw the other person. Thus, a match tends to consist of two approximately equal participants that try to prevent the other person from throwing them by not giving their opponent any momentum by which they could be made off balance (kuzushi). This completely defensive stalemate is only offset when one participant attempts to gain kuzushi by pushing or pulling on the other. If one can skillfully (e.g., by a clever faint) or forcefully gain kuzushi on the other, the defensive stalemate ends with an attempted throw. That attempt can itself provide sufficient kuzushi for the opponent to reverse the attempted technique with one of his own. This type of contesting continues for the duration of the match.

Judo techniques are carefully honed to excel in the match environment. To gain maximum efficiency against a resisting opponent, the Judo practitioner must move in certain ways to execute a throw. Characteristic movements of Judo often include bending over at the waist and either lifting a leg high in the air or springing off the floor to bump the opponent when the opponent is positioned (locked) on your back or to your side. In general, to throw an opponent in Judo, you must exert tremendous effort and skill to force the opponent into position and to execute the throw because the opponent is trained in the same strategy and techniques, and is actively resisting any attempt for you to gain kuzushi.

Self-defense situations are significantly different than a Judo match. The attacker cannot attack you while maintaining a completely defensive position. The attacker cannot attack you from across the room. The attacker will naturally move toward you, push, pull, or otherwise provide ample opportunity to gain kuzushi. As opposed to a Judo match, there is little need to create kuzushi in self-defense.

Because the defender (tori) does not need to create kuzushi on the attacker (uke), there are several implications for self-defense. One of these implications is the need for the tori to keep his back straight and bend at the knees. Otherwise, the uke may land on top of the tori as the kuzushi is too much to resist. Another common implication is the need for the tori to lean left or right to move his upper body out of the way for the kuzushi of the uke to continue moving forward. If the uke collides with the torso of the tori, kuzushi is hindered and this could result in a failed throw or the uke knocking the tori to the ground—neither of which are good situations for self defense.

Does this assessment somehow imply that Judo practitioners are not able to defend themselves in a real life attack?
Absolutely not! This article simply showcases the purposes for some of the differences in training methods and techniques.

Budokai South Defensive Arts Institute
Minami Budo Ryu
Ju Jitsu / Aiki Jujitsu / Judo / Self Defense
Aiken, SC
Phone: (843) 864-3125
Email: newtobudokai@gmail.com

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