Judo and BJJ: My story…
In around 2001, I began to read about an online article on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Olympic level Judo players Dave and Dan Camarillo. I had recently begun training at a Thaiboxing orientated Mixed Martial Arts Club and had begun learning “groundwork”. I really wanted to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and here were these guys advocating mixing it with Judo. Well there was a lot of “bad press” on Judo within the MMA scene at the time; Judo apparently didn’t work without a gi and everyone knew that you just took the back of any Judo player once they had done a dodgy head and arm throw!
I eventually began training BJJ with Brazilian Top Team (BTT) and then continued this when I moved to StraightBlastGym (SBG). I also resumed boxing, began wrestling and resumed MMA training. The original notion of BJJ and Judo being combined never completely left me and whilst commuting, there was one evening each week night where I was unable to train at SBG but there was a local judo club. So I began training Judo….
The Judo guys were impressed with my armlocks and strangles but I actually found Judo, and particularly the stand-up extremely physically tough despite thinking I was very fit. I rarely took anyone down as they gripped my gi early, preventing the double legs I used in wrestling. And whenever I went for a single leg, they always managed to somehow throw me. Their reactions just seemed faster and even the non-blackbelts always had a plan, a strategy that revolved around landing the same couple of techniques but off of a few set-ups. And the blackbelts just made me feel like a small child in a straight jacket during randori.
The Judo continued on and off until I resumed BJJ competitions. Suddenly I found myself not having a clear approach. Sure I could land double legs in the gym against guys with similar experience and pull guard easily enough, but under competition pressure, I felt clueless.
With time, I began to return to the original article featuring Dave and Dan and it all became really obvious. If you want to compete in BJJ, then you have to practice Judo. This was probably obvious to many others, but it hit me like a thunderbolt. Since then, I have begun to split my time between BJJ and Judo and there has been a clear movement of gi grappling towards combining Judo, BJJ and indeed Sambo. Rhadi Ferguson, JC Santana, Lloyd Irvin, Saulo Ribeiro, and the Camarillos have done much to publicise this movement in their articles, books, and DVDs. And competitors from BJJ and Judo (albeit more slowly) are beginning to follow.
However, whilst this truth seems incredibly obvious, there remains the traditions from which even those “in the know” are reluctant to stray from. Familiarity, personal preference, and convenience are one thing, but erroneous technique, ignorance and fear are quite another. “That’s not [insert Judo / BJJ when you are in a BJJ / Judo environment]” is a comment I have heard too many times in both arena’s. Even in BJJ with its more typical “whatever works attitude” as a reaction, its known for those who knee-fight to complain when a training partner uchi-mata’s them or refuses to repeatedly pull guard. In Judo, its frequent for those with BJJ experience to hear that an unfamiliar armlock, position, or strangle is “not Judo”, “illegal” (when it is not) and such claims are often made by experiencied blackbelts; often looking for excuses rather than question the exponent.
Source by Glyn Powditch