I’ll start off by saying I am relatively new to the sport of Judo. Judo has become something that I’ve enjoyed as a hobby. It’s something that I took an interest in this year and wanted to add to my game in order to augment the rest of what I was doing. It would allow me to become more well rounded with the addition of the stand up game. I have enjoyed my time in Judo, so much so that I even decided to read about the sport’s history by diving right into Mark Law’s Falling Hard. A must read by the way!
When I think of Judo I don’t view it as a rival art. Something that requires some kind of a debate about which is better and/or more effective for personal growth or self defense. To me at least, it’s a mute point. They are two halves to the same coin so arguing which side gives it it’s worth is pointless.
“Migration of athletes of athletes to several sports would only represent a spiritual contamination of our sport..”
Recently the International Judo Federation released a memo/email restricting ranked Judokas from participating in other combat sports. While I understand this will only affect a small portion of the Judo population, its another example of the governing body harming itself. They have already outlawed the grips and throws that are more wrestling based to maintain a more classical form of Judo. While I do somewhat understand the thought process, it’s still worrisome.
With those past decision along with this new one it feels like they want to continue to isolate themselves from growth. It shuns creativity and exploration of the art and those around it. Again, I get that this will only affect a small number of individuals (for the time being.. slippery slope), it’s not fostering growth. In their haste they are potentially making themselves irrelevant. Judo schools are already hard enough to find, and competitions even harder.
While there are aspects of Jiu-Jitsu that have created a divide between street and it’s competition form, I think what’s allowed Bjj to grow beyond it’s old school roots is the governing bodies not limiting it’s creativity with a bunch of new rules. Coach Lafon wrote a blog a few years back where he pointed out, “if certain techniques are effective in a Judo setting, we need to embrace them and learn to deal with them, not ban them.”
Instead of the IJF viewing some of these interactions as a form “spiritual contamination”, perhaps they look for the next evolutionary step in the art so that more people can enjoy the art I’ve grown to love.