Friday, August 19, 2016

Olympic Judo Thoughts

This Olympics, I have been watching several of the Judo matches. There has been some good Judo without a doubt. One observation is on groundwork - newaza.

Not every Judo match in the Olympics has featured groundwork. Most Judo players do not opt for groundwork, as the vast majority of scores in Judo are earned via throws. This is because the current rules of Judo favor the throwing game.

However, in every instance that I saw groundwork used, a score resulted. Many times, it was a deciding score or an outright winning score.

On several occasions, a lower ranked player used groundwork to unseat a higher ranked player. In one instance, a reigning Olympic gold medal winner was defeated via arm lock - juji gatame. In another case, the 6th ranked player was defeated via pinfall - yokoshiho gatame.

3 time Olympian Travis Stevens used a groundwork combo to reach the gold medal round for the first time in his career. He used a juji gatame to okurieri jime finish.  BJJ stylists call that particular one "bow and arrow choke." Stevens had participated in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, but had not medaled. In 2012, he started training in BJJ to improve his ground game. He earned a black belt in 18 months - most say the fastest ever. The improvement showed in this Olympic Games.

Reigning gold medalist Kayla Harrison won a second straight gold medal. In the gold medal match, she won via juji gatame arm lock.

I predict an influx of Judoka wanting to tighten up their ground games after this Olympics is over.

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