What is Freestyle Judo?

Why are we devoting Three classes a week to the subject?

A little background…

The home school for Judo is the Kodokan. Kodokan Judo was founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882 and consolidated the very best jujitsu techniques from many schools between 1885 and 1925. Kano developed the first set of jujitsu competition rules in 1905 and these permitted students from different schools to compete together on an even footing. These rules have changed over time to include or exclude various techniques.

After World War II, Judo came into its own as an international sport. In keeping with the ideas of sporting competition, the International Judo Federation (IJF) introduced weight categories and scoring distinctions that were compatible with Olympic competition. Their work paid off in 1964 when Judo entered the Olympics. Judo has become a truly international sport thanks to the hard work and foresight of the IJF.

The Olympic movement has grown increasingly commercialized over the years. Judo competition rules have changed to make them better to watch on TV in order to keep vital commercial sponsorships. We don’t see Judo much on TV in the SA, but the rest of the world does. The IJF has responded to the needs of broadcasters and the International Olympic Committee and modified Judo rules progressively.

The IJF Judo rules are the international standard and as such most competition and training is focused on how to perform under this framework. Recently, some have questioned whether the rules that govern the sport on TV should be the same rules used in a local competition. However, over the past two decades many of these fighting styles were discouraged, and eventually penalized, in tournament Judo for reasons cited as “better television viewing”. What makes for exciting TV might not be as good for those striving to improve their skills and develop well rounded Judo. Kodokan Judo includes techniques from wrestling, sambo, and of course modern jujitsu. Unfortunately, the resulting rule changes resembled almost similar to Greco-Roman wrestling in a kimono or Judogi (Judo suit), all the while professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) grappling gained in television popularity.

There is only one Judo, and that is the Kodokan Judo of Jigoro Kano. Judo is more than simply a sporting event; rather, it is a complete martial art that has adapted over the years to various fighting styles and techniques.

Freestyle Judo brings back the “Golden Age” of Judo competition by embracing the fighting styles of Wrestling, Sambo, Jiu-Jitsu and modern Jujitsu. Competitors who specialize in standing techniques can throw for ippon. Wrestlers who prefer lower body attacks can shoot for the legs which are part of the old Judo as well (Morote-Gari (hand technique) in Kodokan Judo). Grapplers who specialize in submissions have the time and flexibility to fight on the ground. All of these styles are good Judo.

A Judo coach observing a Freestyle Judo match for the first time will remarked; “That looks just like judo.” Then answer will be: “That’s because it is judo. It’s just judo the way it ought to be done.” Good judo is good judo and the rules of Freestyle Judo allow judo athletes to use all the skills of judo during a match.

Freestyle Judo encourages participation from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestlers, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) enthusiasts by providing an open-ended competition format.

Therefor the new Freestyle Judo South Africa Alliance Fight Club Organization was formed to support and bring back Judo as how it ought to be “ and to bring back the “Golden Age” of Judo competition.

Freestyle Judo is Kodokan Judo played under a different framework. Points are awarded for changes of control like a guard pass as well as throws. Matches can be won by Ippon through throws or submissions but players can also win by accumulating points from throws or groundwork techniques. Pins don’t win (although they do get lots of points); submissions do. Throws that grab the legs are permitted.

Rules shape training. When we train for IJF rules, we include or exclude techniques and strategies based on how they impact the scoring and rules. By changing the rules framework, we expand practice to include more and more options.

Any Club and Player, does not matter what martial arts back ground you have can become a member of the Freestyle Judo South Africa Alliance Fight Club you only have to register your club or yourself on our webpage  https://freestylejudoalliance.org.za/, to obtain a license to ensure that you can participate in our Freestyle Judo “Gi” and “No-Gi” tournaments. There will be temporarily license available on organized Freestyle Judo tournaments upon registration in these tournaments.

The Freestyle Rules have been developed by the International Freestyle Judo Alliance (IFJA).

For more information on Freestyle Judo South Africa Alliance Fight Club organization and Freestyle Judo over the world, please visit the International Freestyle Judo Alliance (IFJA) webpage: http://www.freestylejudo.org/ifja/

Please join us as we explore different dimensions of Judo at Monday, Wednesday and Friday Freestyle Judo classes.