I’m both a judo and bjj competitor, so naturally the subject of utilizing the techniques of one sport as part of the other has been of great interest to me.
First, I should say that in my mind neither sport can (or should) really lay claim to any of the techniques I’m talking about in this post (despite hundreds of forum posts to the contrary). Judo and jiu jitsu are very similar martial arts, but their respective sports have evolved in such a way that the rules of the sport make the two martial arts appear quite different. Judo emphasizes big throws, while BJJ emphasizes “dominant” position.
My favorite judo technique is standing ippon seoi nage. Here’s a video of Travis Stevens, a top level U.S. judo player whose gripping and technique I draw a lot of inspiration from in my own judo:
Not all seoi nage variations are created equal. Here are some characteristics which define distinct versions of seoi nage which are important in the context of BJJ. I’ll explain why below:
- Lower body
- Drop on one knee
- Drop on both knees
- Koga’s (and my favorite): step back through the opponent’s legs
- Sleeve + Lapel
- One handed (Koga liked this version also)
I do many of these variations, both on the right and left side, which is very important given the unpredictable nature of the gripping game.
What’s important in the context of BJJ is that these throws will end up in different positions, both if they succeed or fail. The danger, in general, is that I turn my back to my opponent, allowing him to potentially take my back and score 4 points, both if the throw succeeds and fails. This doesn’t matter for judo, but it does matter for BJJ. A two-handed morote seoi nage version, for example, keeps space between you and the opponent, and thus the resulting throw is much less likely to wrap your opponent tightly onto your back. The drop version of morote seoi nage, in fact, is the most common seoi nage variation thrown at high level gi jiu jitsu competition (from my observation).
The most common unpleasant circumstance for me is that I do successfully throw my opponent but he chases my back and ends up on top of me in the turtle position. No hooks, so no points scored, but still, I just did a huge throw and the result is that I’m the one on the run. It shouldn’t be that way.
This post is already way too long, so I’ll leave all the things I want to say for later.
Bottom line is that, as Ray suggested after our judo training session at Osagame today, I’ll make a good bjj throw the project for the summer. My goal is to work on variations of seoi nage that land me in side control and also to work on other forward throws that may work well in BJJ competition. More on that later…