Sr. Nationals--The Wrap Up

I wanted to add this thread for final thoughts on the Sr. Nationals from those who watched on the internet, and for those who might have been in attendance.

My thoughts,

1) I loved the internet coverage and as stated before, I think that Pat and Leo have grown alot in their roles as color commentators. They need to get rid of all the pomp and presentations in the beginning of the program. It even irked Pat on the second day, and he made comments about getting on with the matches. Yet another time I agreed with Pat this weekend. Do the presentations earlier, or start the broadcast later.

2) I thought that big attacks/throws were lacking in the second day. Many of the attacks looked like they were to stay busy more than throw the opponent.

3) Just the numbers. Contestant participation was down from last year. USA Judo should get their head out of their ass, and start having some big tournaments in California. Numbers would go up, the tournament would have plenty of volunteers, more spectators, and would be run like a national tournament should be run.

The east coast bias of USA Judo can be irritating. I thought I heard on the broadcast that next year is Virginia Beach. Who wants to go to Virginia Beach? Nearly everyone will need to make connecting flights, you might need to wear a jacket, or worse get rained or snowed on. Sounds like fun. I think I'll pass, and just go to the Trials in Vegas.

4) From the broadcast, I thought the refs did a pretty good job for the most part. Definitely better on Day 1 than Day 2. However, I spoke to a few people at the venue, and they had a different opinion. I'd like to get other ground zero opinions on it. I'd also like to get their opinions on the overall tournament experience, as fans or contestants. I thought it was great for a person who just had to turn on the computer.

The rules have to be totaly revamped.Eveything that has been done in the last half a century in order to make judo throws more appealing to the masses has failed.Hell,I sometimes see more clean slams in a MMA card than I do in a judo tourney.The submissions that were slowly tweaked out of judo because of their so called boring nature creates more buzz & excitement today in MMA and grappling tournaments,than some of the weaker judo throws that are sometimes called ippon.

It has become more of a contest of who has the better "Gripping strategy"in order to con the referee into penalizing their opponent more than anything else and that my friend,is not really apealing from a spectators point of view.

oh and by the way I love Judo.

its all good,

Are your comments just general or did you attend/watch the Sr. Nationals?

I agree that judo is not a spectator sport. I can't imagine that anyone who was not familiar with the sport could have enjoyed the Sr. Nationals.

You touched on a subject that I've been thinking about. Is the lack of big throws a result of young players concentrating more on the tactical than fundamental aspects of judo at earlier ages?

Judo guy,

I Just watched it on live feed but my analogy is not just with this particular judo tournament only.There is something definitely wrong when players are instructed,taught and groomed into learning when to false attack just so that the referee can give a penalty point to their opponent.They are so good at it that they know exactly when they have to fake the attack in order to cause a shido penalty.

They know that if they make a lame attempt at a throw they will get called for false attack but they also know that if they act like they commit completely only to collapse safely onto their stomachs,then they just might get the reff to give uke a stalling penalty.

At times it even ressembles a sumo match.It's like let's see who can push who out of bounds without the reff noticing it,so I can get my opponent penalized.It's really not pleasing to watch.

Al of these rules were adopted to draw more action and increase the chances of seeing spectacular throws more often but the truth is that the older version of judo play in which nobody is being rushed into throwing "fake stuff" is more appealing to me personaly.

Judo guy as you well know judo use to be a much more slower beatiful game of chess where one can actualy set Uke up with Fakes and feints and not just have them interpreted as fake attacks like they are today.They actualy had a purpose in the master plan which sometimes took time to see the end result in the duration of a longer match.

Long gone are the days when you could bait someone during a complete match with feints and fakes by attacking let's say right side only to have Uke defend so much to that side that by the end of the match tori can bang him for ippon to the left.These type of strategies were nullified with the newer set of rules.

its all good,

I hear you. A lot of the action last night followed a pattern. 1) weak attack, tori covers 2) uke attacks sankaku, ineffective or just to stall 3) ref calls matte 4) repeat steps 1-3.

If I could change the rules I would, but the IJF won't grant me that authority.

While I am excited that youth are starting to dominate, I don't see the fundamental development at their ages that a Swain, Pedro, Teimoc, Tommy Martin, Nicky Yonezuka, Bob Berland, Kevin Asano, or many others had at the same age. Ronda Rousey being a big exception.

I wonder if changing the rules at the local level would help. Instead of IJF rules, have tournaments where the purpose is to develop fundamentals more than handing out more hardware. A couple of ideas.

1) All Ippon Judo Tournament--No time limits. Single elimination. No stalling penalties. Match does not end till ippon.

2) Transistional Judo Tournament--Need ippon to win with a caveat. Even if you throw with ippon, you must follow up and win by ippon on the ground. Groundwork can only be engaged by transitioning from tachiwaza. Lifting opponent off the mat, does not stop newaza progress. Opponent has to escape by technique, not by ref.

In boxing for example fighters set up the power hand with a lead jab punch.It takes time most of the times to set up that right hand(or power hand).Fighters most of the time cannot go out there and just start swinging for the fences because once your opponent see your best or most powerful techniques then he can now easily defend against it.

This might be what we are watching today in judo.players are forced(because of the rules)to attack constantly but guess what?if you attacked your 2 best throws whithin the first 20 seconds of the match uke now has a better perception of the entry motion and we end up seeing much more failed attacks that never had a chance because uke is already on to them.

If judo rules require players to go all out and attack without the proper setting up and baiting for certain techniques,then judo players tend to force the ko (ippon)technique that's really not there to begin with.

That older strategy then is gone and replaced with the strategy we see today which is to outwitt the system,the reffs and the judges into giving your opponent penalties.

Been a judo player/fan/coach since the Stone Age but there is no doubt submission grappling and sambo are more spectator friendly. Damn, freestyle wrestling from the average Joe's perspective is also more dynamic.

All the rule changes throughout the years, albeit implemented with good intentions, have done very little to stimulate more excitement.

During open mats at the MFC very little rolling/randori took place under judo comp rules by preference.

are you compaining about general judo rules ?

The current rules are good. Judo is as popular as ever, unpredictable as ever and there are many great matches being produced.


If you are referring to judo in the States when you opine, "Judo is as popular as ever", then you are correct in that assertion, which of course is not a positive.

As far as being a spectator sport I do not believe judo will ever catch on in the States. I believe it is doing o.k. as a participation sport though. I could be way off but I believe judo was more popular with the every day people in the sixties.

Slightly off topic,

In the United States, we have figures through 2004 for the USJF the largest of the judo organizations.

Participation rates peaked in 2002. I don't have current figures, but I would estimate they are down a minimum of 15%.

The USJA published current membership rates recently that should be very accurate. The figures were within the document they had online for the annual meeting. Its not currently there, but my recollection is that total active membership both annual and sustaining life was around 5600 members. That would be down significantly from earlier reported membership numbers, but the USJA had some real bookkeeping problems, so earlier figures can't be trusted. Needless to say, no matter what the trend is down.

Japan has been declining for years. There are 200k registered and probably 1 million besides that. In the Japanese school system, I saw figures near the beginning of the decade, that showed judo ranked 8th in terms of participation in school sports in Japan. Trailing American sports like baseball and basketball by wide margins. The number of Japanese High Schools offering judo was 30 some odd percent. I imagine the trend has only gotten worse.

In Britain, of all the offered high school sports, judo declined by the largest margin in a study that was published earlier in the week. The same study showed boxing was experiencing the highest growth rates.

So in the largest and most important sports market, the home of the sport, and the country for the 2012 Olympics; judo is not doing well.

I can only surmise that in most parts of the world, judo is in decline; save for a few countries like China, which is allocating a lot of money towards the sport because of their chances to garner gold in the Olympics. Same might hold true for strong Eastern European countries where judo can garner some Olympic glory.

I don't blame the rules for that, but I just want the record straight for the discussion.

Anyway, great stats and opinions as usual JG. You definitely added interest to the nationals with your threads and stimulated thought. Sorry if I hi-jacked the thread somewhat.

Did you ever notice how lay-folks visiting a dojo seem to be enthralled when watching randori but sorta dazed and confused as a spectator at shiai?

I can watch judo comps all day/continuously and my above-listed comments are what I feel judo comps are to those spectators unfamiliar with the sport.

I wonder, has judo been in decline in England/UK since Neil Adams left the competitive scene, so 20 years now? They never got their Olympic champ, did they...