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    Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

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    Gus

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    Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Gus on Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:26 am

    Why was the Openweight dropped from the Judo Olypics ? It would have made things so much more interesting.
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    finarashi

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by finarashi on Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:39 am

    Olympics started taking new sports and added women's categories to old sports. This led to increase of athletes, more medals and huge number of competitors. All this meant that the price tag for Olympics increased. So IOC decided to limit the number of athletes and medals. For Judo this meant dropping the open category.

    There are lots of other sports that have had to limit the categories. Lets see what happens to wrestling. Will it drop freestyle or Greco?


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    Gus

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Gus on Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:04 am

    finarashi wrote:Olympics started taking new sports and added women's categories to old sports. This led to increase of athletes, more medals and huge number of competitors. All this meant that the price tag for Olympics increased. So IOC decided to limit the number of athletes and medals. For Judo this meant dropping the open category.

    There are lots of other sports that have had to limit the categories. Lets see what happens to wrestling. Will it drop freestyle or Greco?

    Ha - Id rather they got rid of the 100 kg + - it was so boring this games.
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    BillC

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by BillC on Sun Aug 21, 2016 2:14 pm

    How much better could judo be if it had nothing to do with the Olympics?


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    gester

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by gester on Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:17 pm

    BillC wrote:How much better could judo be if it had nothing to do with the Olympics?

    Here,here!


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    Gus

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Gus on Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:23 pm

    BillC wrote:How much better could judo be if it had nothing to do with the Olympics?

    Im not sure - it would have less resources. However many of the "banned" techniques could be reintroduced expanfding Judos portfolio again.

    Anatol

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:50 am

    Judo as a high level sport:

    To be permanent in the Olympics (since 1972) is very important for sport judo. There wouldn't be a lot high level sport Judo, if sport Judo wouldn't get this attention worldwide every four years and all the financial support and organization/structure from their national olympic commitees.

    Judo as a martial art:

    You just don't have to care, what the sport Judoka are doing. What you practise and teach at your Dojo is your own cup of tea. I do randori with all throws with leg grabs and all grips and with no shidos. Why should I care, what high level sport Judoka are doing in their competitions? If I do contests, I have no problems to play after the competition rules - just easy to switch.

    Judo in a broader perspective:

    • Judo is a "do" = "way" (of physical, mental, intellectual and social education)

    • Judo is a martial art (bu gei or bu jutsu)

    • Judo for self defence

    • Judo as social activity

    • Judo as recreational activity

    • Judo as sport (competition Judo) for medals, fame and entertainment

    • Judo has also aesthetic (Kata) and philosophic elements (best use of energy, principle of flexible/pliant, mutual benefit and welfare)

    • Judo as a tool to practice principles and use them in everyday life (best use of energy, principle of flexibility/pliant)

    • Judo as a possibility to teach something meaningful (to the next generation)

    Maybe Judo in everyday life is the biggest challenge and if you can walk it, the most benefiting for you and others.

    This lamenting about sport Judo and the Olympics is just boring and sigle minded ...
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    Udon

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Udon on Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:55 pm

    Anatol, that was a great way to define the many aspects of judo.
    Thank you.
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    Y-Chromosome

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Y-Chromosome on Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:53 am

    The Olympics have been a doubled-edged sword as far as judo is concerned from the get-go.  To a certain extent though, it's simply an extension of the goods and ills that competition brings to judo generally.

    Randori and Shiai are supposed to support judo training and allow for progress to be evaluated.  To that extent they are tools in the toolbox along with kata and even lectures and reading materials.  When shiai suddenly becomes an end in itself, rather than a means to an end, there is an inherent risk that its original intent, and the intent of judo as a whole, can be subverted.

    The same can be said of kata.  Kata is supposed to be a training tool, but how often is it really used that way?  More often it is practiced with the narrow objective of passing an exam or winning a competition.

    Judo as a competitive sport encourages hard training, rewards scientific physical preparation and motivates participants to push their limits.  It can serve to raise the profile of judo and hopefully attract more participants.  Involvement with the Olympics can bring National associations additional funding, access to resources, facilities and education and enforcement of anti-doping.
    On the other hand it can lead National associations to govern for the benefit of an elite few, while neglecting the grass roots, a skewed focus on tournaments and refereeing over other aspects of judo and one has to wonder how many people would have any temptation to dope in anything other than an elite competition environment.

    Judo is supposed to be an exercise in self-betterment with a bonus effect of gaining some practical defence skills.  When was the last time the IJF considered the enhancement of judoka's self-defence qualities when considering a rule change?  Since when is "it will look better on TV" a core element in judo's value set?  We are seeing a gradual erosion of the technical diversity of judo and re-purposing of judo from training for life to training for TV.

    All that said, I think we have to recognize that the dog comes with the fleas.  As a community we need to challenge ourselves to glean the best benefits of a competitive program for the whole of judo, while managing and minimising the negative aspects.
    I think "sport-itus" is a chronic condition for judo.  It won't be cured, even if we get dropped from the Olympics, but neither is it fatal.  I think it can be managed with proper therapy.

    Anatol

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:20 pm

    For spectators there  was magic  in Judo - but these times are long gone.

    First it was "Jiu Jitsu" from 1900 - 1940, showing methods of self defence even for women and MMA fights of Judo experts with wrestlers and boxers. Then in the 50ies, when Judo experts like Hirano came to Europe, they were showing their art in front of the crowd of thousands. Also Black Belt Magazine was basically a Judo magazine. The GI's from Korea and Japan brought home their new Art of fighting and self defence (Gene LeBell and for Europe Jon Bluming)  and  mixed with Zen there was also a spiritual way of life (Leggett and to some extend Alan Watts). Geesink winning the WC 1961 (and OG 1964 Tokyo) over the Japanese was a highlight but maybe also a peak and a turning point.

    The magic was gone in the mid 60ies to late 60ies (coincidence with olympic sport Judo?) and Karate took over.

    Nowadays - in my opinion and from my experience - the greatest magic of Judo is to teach children and adults something meaningful and apply "Ju - Do" in everday life.
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    NBK

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by NBK on Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:42 pm

    I spent a chunk of my productive day (and this is not included, trust me) talking with some gents about scientifically based surveys to determine peoples' attitudes about judo. Why they're in it, why people are not in it, why they do / do not watch, how it stacked up in the recent Olympices, TV coverage, etc.

    Once we get the survey complete it could be interesting to expand to a number of different countries, get some data about how countries / regions / etc compare.

    I wonder if the IJF has data....
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    Jonesy

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Jonesy on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:04 pm

    Back to the original question, "Why was the openweight category dropped"? Well the answer is simple, it had ceased to be "open weight" - it was just another "super heavyweight" category.

    Anatol

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:17 pm

    There were few exceptions ...

    Peter Seisenbacher winning the silver medal open weight  at the european championships 1986 Belgrad as a middleweight (-86kg).

    Seisenbacher was so strong  and super confident in 1985 (winning the olympic games in 1984 and wc in 1985),

    that the japanese feared him in randori and tried to avoid randori with Seisenbacher.

    This is very unusual considering that the japanese were used to destroy gaijin - as a team - in randori.

    cokiee

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by cokiee on Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:34 am

    NBK wrote:I spent a chunk of my productive day (and this is not included, trust me) talking with some gents about scientifically based surveys to determine peoples' attitudes about judo.  Why they're in it, why people are not in it, why they do / do not watch, how it stacked up in the recent Olympices, TV coverage, etc.

    Once we get the survey complete it could be interesting to expand to a number of different countries, get some data about how countries / regions / etc compare.  

    I wonder if the IJF has data....

    I would be most happy to administer it here should it materialise!

    Jonesy wrote:Back to the original question, "Why was the openweight category dropped"?  Well the answer is simple, it had ceased to be "open weight" - it was just another "super heavyweight" category.

    Sounds like a logical conclusion. That said, in all-Japan there were (are?) Openweight competitions, and sometimes the middleweights would get quite far, right? I would imagine these people would put up a good challenge in open weight internationally.

    Just my opinion of course.
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    Y-Chromosome

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Y-Chromosome on Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:26 am

    I think there are some logistical issues with the Open-weight in terms of the Olympic Qualification process. When you have an open tournament, anyone can compete but the Olympics is by qualification only.
    If someone wanted to qualify in Open-weight, would that mean they'd need to compete in open-weight all the time during the qualification period? Would someone lighter want to do that when they may have better chances of qualifying in a limited weight class?
    There have been some notable instances of "lighter" people stepping up. Keiji Suzuki won the Heavyweight Division in Athens 2004 even though he was generally a -100 fighter. As I recall he was selected by Japan after winning All-Japans, an open-weight tournament, against Kosei Inoue, also a -100 kg guy who was sent to compete in -100. Interestingly, although Suzuki had theoretically the tougher challenge in +100 and Inoue was defending champ in -100, Suzuki managed to win while Inoue failed to medal.
    I'm not sure if that would be possible under the current rules where individuals must qualify their own spot rather than the way it used to be where points accrued to the NOC who could fill a qualified spot with the competitor of their choice.
    I also seem to recall a 90kg guy won the Pan-Ams when they held them here in Montreal in 2007,
    (Yes... Carlos Honorato Brazil) but as the level of play goes up it get's tougher.
    Would be hard to imagine anyone below 100 kg giving Teddy Riner a problem over the past couple of years.
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    BillC

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by BillC on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:53 am

    The discussion about the restrictions and changes the Olympics have imposed on judo is in fact right on point, the loss of open weight contests is only one example. From the beginning, the whole concept of "gold, silver, bronze" does not fit well with ippon judo, nor does it fit well with "it's better to lose using 'the Way' that to win otherwise."

    Open weight contest precede weight categories in judo. A test of gentleness overcoming strength.

    Yes, Anatol, a constant listing of ways in which the Olympics are antithetical to judo as created by Kano-shihan may be boring, but it is hard to forget the deal that has been made with the devil for what amounts to political patronage in exchange for monetary support. Yes, we can do what we want in our dojo, but what is done in the Olympics reflects on us all.

    Congratulations to the visible few in Rio who reflected well, win or lose.


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    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
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    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

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    Jonesy

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Jonesy on Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:06 am

    Anatol wrote:There were few exceptions ...

    Peter Seisenbacher winning the silver medal open weight  at the european championships 1986 Belgrad as a middleweight (-86kg).

    Seisenbacher was so strong  and super confident in 1985 (winning the olympic games in 1984 and wc in 1985),

    that the japanese feared him in randori and tried to avoid randori with Seisenbacher.

    This is very unusual considering that the japanese were used to destroy gaijin - as a team - in randori.
    I have done randori with Peter Seisenbacher at the London Budokwai. It was newaza only but can attest to him being spectacularly strong - unbelievably so.

    The most notable open weight success is of course Isao Okano who twice won the All Japan's as a middleweight.
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    Steve Leadbeater

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:35 am

    A classic example of being ""MISMATCHED"" in the Open Weight Category would be 1964 Tokyo Olympics..........Ted Boronovskis (Aus) V's Anton Gesink (Ned) !!

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 pm

    Hi Steve

    THis was a funny one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaVXjg-WNY0

    Anatol

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:35 pm

    Hi Jonesy

    The most notable open weight success is of course Isao Okano who twice won the All Japan's as a middleweight.

    Don't want to take anything away from Okano - one of the all time greats of Judo - but there was also a lack of formidable heavyweights in Japan between 1964 (Kaminaga) and 1973 and later = Uemura, Endo, Yamashita, Saito, Masaki.

    In the final 1967 Okano beat Sato (190lbs), in 1969 he had no opponents of international renommee and not heavier than 235lbs.

    Sekine was all japan champion in 1972 as a middle weight too and Kimura, who dominated the all japan in the late 30's (and would have also dominated in the 40's getting a streak of wins like Yamashita) ) against tough opponents was only 5lbs heavier than Okano.

    I don't think, Okano would have had any chance to win the all japan 5 years before 1967 - 1969 or 7 years later.


    Last edited by Anatol on Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:41 pm; edited 3 times in total

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:40 pm

    Back to topic:

    From my experience - being a heavyweight with 265lbs - and training and randori with competition Judoka at national and international level.

    There is a chance for -100kg to be successful in open weight category, because they are 105kg normal weight.

    http://www.judoinside.com/event/8742/2013_FISU_Universiade_Kazan

    As mentioned Suzuki was a formidable light heavyweight - maybe the best within the last two decades (better than Inoue!).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NDJvkFz4ro

    -90kg Judoka have just very small chances against +100kg and -81kg just have no chance.

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:15 pm

    Hi BillC

    BillC wrote:The discussion about the restrictions and changes the Olympics have imposed on judo is in fact right on point, the loss of open weight contests is only one example.  From the beginning, the whole concept of "gold, silver, bronze" does not fit well with ippon judo, nor does it fit well with "it's better to lose using 'the Way' that to win otherwise."

    Sport Judo is only one part of Judo and winning a contest was as much important for competitors in the past as in the present. Why should be trying to win a contest be a problem for Judo at all?

    Open weight contest precede weight categories in judo.  A test of gentleness overcoming strength.
    Oh very romantic ... Reminds me of the 70 years old Mifune in Essence of Judo, randori against sandan and yondan half his age and double his weight and saying: "I am Mifune, judan, just don't use any force on me, because I am the icon of Judo and you can't destroy the image of gentleness and Judo".  

    Judo never had the means to overcome strength Judo by gentle Judo if both Judoka have Judo and one of the Judoka has a weight advantage of 100lbs ...

    Yes, Anatol, a constant listing of ways in which the Olympics are antithetical to judo as created by Kano-shihan may be boring, but it is hard to forget the deal that has been made with the devil for what amounts to political patronage in exchange for monetary support.  Yes, we can do what we want in our dojo, but what is done in the Olympics reflects on us all.
    That's just lamenting. You can do all the Judo you want in your Dojo and only a few cares, what is going on in olympic sport Judo. Can't see, that olympic sport Judo is restricting the education and instruction of children and adults. It's much more about how you teach and lead your Dojo.
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    BillC

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by BillC on Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:41 am

    Anatol wrote:Hi BillC

    Hello again to you, and thanks for responding to my post.  Seriously.  One of the things I miss about the old Forum was a good old-fashioned gentleman's disagreement.  I doubt that I will persuade you very much, but in this format I can see that you are listening carefully and I hope to do the same to you.  This type of typed randori fits with judo very well I think, much better than the one-sided idiocy one usually receives on Facebook.

    That said, and trying to keep on topic, here's my reaction to your response.

    Anatol wrote:Sport Judo is only one part of Judo and winning a contest was as much important for competitors in the past as in the present. Why should be trying to win a contest be a problem for Judo at all?

    Trying at all means to win within a contest was indeed a requirement Kano-shihan made of judoka.  BUT he very clearly said that this must be within the principles of judo.  

    We can both say "Sport Judo is only part of judo" but we both know very well that what is being promoted by the IJF, by sports ministries where they exist, by a majority of judo teachers is only Olympic-focused judo.  Winning is the objective, it is the only thing rewarded.  Yeah, they may pay very occasional lip service to Kano shihan as a historical artifact (as the IJF website does) but in fact in most places, including Japan, "All of judo" is not taught, and therefore is never learned.  Olympic judo is a changling child, with different congenital tendencies and certainly a number of different values.

    Slight digression.  Everyone seems to agree that more definitive wins by ippon are desirable.  Right?  Slammed on the back,  immobilized and held helplessly on the mat.  Yet arm-pumping "winners" leave the mat constantly having "won" by virtue of fewer shido than their opponent.  Can you imagine an Olympics where it was announced "sorry, no victories by ippon today therefore no gold medal?"  Or even just "sorry, no ippon score, neither player advances."  No, it would never happen.  But that is one difference of winning the judo way versus the Olympic way I am referring to.

    Anatol wrote:Oh very romantic ... Reminds me of the 70 years old Mifune in Essence of Judo, randori against sandan and yondan half his age and double his weight and saying: "I am Mifune, judan, just don't use any force on me, because I am the icon of Judo and you can't destroy the image of gentleness and Judo".  

    I've been called a romantic fool before.  Or just a fool.  Ha ha.

    Yes, this story of Mifune-sensei is well-known.  But you miss my point in that in judo there SHOULD exist contest between smaller and larger individuals, and that a smaller person with skill SHOULD be trained to defend themselves against a larger opponent with less skill, and that good technique SHOULD be defined as those that are useful in such a situation.  "Ju yoku go wo seisu" SHOULD NOT be just a poster on the wall or a commentary by narrators in a judo film.  It is the founding concept.  The elimination of the open category is just one indication that the principles of judo are disposable in Olympic-focused training.

    Anatol wrote:Judo never had the means to overcome strength Judo by gentle Judo if both Judoka have Judo and one of the Judoka has a weight advantage of 100lbs ...

    Sure it has, I have done it myself and I am certainly no Mifune.  Of course, most often I have been crushed by a large and skilled partner or opponent.  But just often enough, I got lucky, or my skill was much better, and I was able to throw someone in competition or randori who had me not by 100 lbs, but by 100 kg.  Not some couch potatos, but guys who in college wrestled, played American football, etc.  Just my job to teach them judo and doing my best not to die.

    Equal weight, equal strength, equal skill, equal aggressiveness, everything as equal as possible ... let's see who wins now ... that is a very, very special and artificial situation, don't you think?

    Anatol wrote:That's just lamenting. You can do all the Judo you want in your Dojo and only a few cares, what is going on in olympic sport Judo. Can't see, that olympic sport Judo is restricting the education and instruction of children and adults. It's much more about how you teach and lead your Dojo.

    I agree with your statement.  whole-heartedly.  My judo club is not one of "those" clubs who avoid competition, create some romantic notion of samurai effortless dispatching giants, and who are never seen anywhere near a tournament site.  I even force myself once or twice a year to enter nationals ... then I forget and grab the leg and have to sit down. Wink  But it is more challenging to lead when there are so many mixed messages, and when the loudest and best-funded are willfully challenging that leadership ... willfully wiping out the principles of judo.

    Anatol, I usually end up in the pooling room at tournaments, and there is always some aggressive, competition focused coach or parent complaining about how their 7-year-old was pooled.  There are never enough kids for everyone to have a completely equal pool, and sometimes one kid is just bigger or smaller than everyone within two years of his or her age.  So you try to find at least one kid for the oddball to play.  You approach the coach or parent "well, I know that your player is smaller, but I have seen them play and they know what they are doing.  And I have seen the larger kid, he's a yellow belt and very timid, don't you think it will be OK?"

    What you get back is most often not "sorry, my kid would fight but I don't think it would be safe."  No.  What you hear at high decibels is "you can't do that!  My player won't WIN!"  Seven-year-olds.  Already trapped in the mindset by adults who don't understand judo.


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    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling
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    Y-Chromosome

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Y-Chromosome on Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:23 am

    BillC wrote:
    Everyone seems to agree that more definitive wins by ippon are desirable.  Right?  Slammed on the back,  immobilized and held helplessly on the mat.  Yet arm-pumping "winners" leave the mat constantly having "won" by virtue of fewer shido than their opponent.  Can you imagine an Olympics where it was announced "sorry, no victories by ippon today therefore no gold medal?"  Or even just "sorry, no ippon score, neither player advances."  No, it would never happen.  But that is one difference of winning the judo way versus the Olympic way I am referring to.

    To be fair, these things did not come out of a vacuum. Insisting on ippon wins only would imply that there could be no time limit. Even regional, developmental age tournaments would be unworkable under such circumstances. Sometimes competitors are evenly matched and the higher the level of skill and physical preparation the longer an evenly matched contest could take to play out.
    Even the much maligned IJF seems to wish that every match would end with a highlight-reel worthy, grand-amplitude ippon, but it takes two to tango. The only way to guarantee such a thing would be to predetermine the outcome of matches. Don't think for a second that happened by accident in the so-called pro-wrestling world.
    For shiai to have any meaning at all, we need to accept that sometimes there will be fireworks and sometimes we will have grueling matches of attrition, where neither opponent can achieve a decisive finish.
    But what about the courage to take risks, to be bold?
    It's true, that sometimes boldness and risk-taking win the day, but when boldness and risk-taking lead to failure, I'm not sure that's a wise lesson to be preaching. A lot of Canadians died or were captured as a result of a "bold" attack on Dieppe. (Could cite a shopping list of historical examples, but you get the point.) Is this really a value to promote? Is there not value in a tactical victory achieved through subtle guile rather than brute force? Why is a spectacular victory the only kind of victory with value. I love to see a massive ippon as much as the next guy, but I'm at a loss as to a general philosophical justification for letting oneself get thrown for the benefit of the spectators.

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

    Post by Anatol on Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:59 am

    Hi BillC



    Hello again to you, and thanks for responding to my post.  Seriously.  One of the things I miss about the old Forum was a good old-fashioned gentleman's disagreement.  I doubt that I will persuade you very much, but in this format I can see that you are listening carefully and I hope to do the same to you.  This type of typed randori fits with judo very well I think, much better than the one-sided idiocy one usually receives on Facebook.
    Thumbs up! Smile!


    Trying at all means to win within a contest was indeed a requirement Kano-shihan made of judoka.  BUT he very clearly said that this must be within the principles of judo.
     
    This is just idealizing contest Judo. It never was this way - not in the period, when Kano was in the lead of Kodokan practice (1882 - 1890), not in the period of the Four Guardians of Judo and not when Mifune took over (1912 and later). They wanted to win at all cost and this is just o.k. They were young men who wanted to succeed and competition Judo is a darwinistic process of selection. Look at the best Judoka in their physical prime from the very beginning of Kodokan Judo - they were hulks (especially for japanese):

    1886: Yokoyama Sakujirō, 55kg

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/10/2b/19/102b191daf067ce8373ffb095054cfb2.jpg

    1910: Mifune, 60kg

    http://judomania.no/wp-content/uploads/MifuneBody.jpg

    1934: Tatsukuma Ushijima, 70kg

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/33/Tatsukuma_Ushijima.jpg

    1938: Kimura, 85 kg

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Masahiko_Kimura_(1917-1993).jpg/220px-Masahiko_Kimura_(1917-1993).jpg

    Kano said a lot of idealistic things about Judo but I am sure it was also very important for him, that his Judoka were the very best fighters in Japan and even more that Judo is a perfect martial art, with which you even can beat boxer and wrestler from the West. You maybe know the infamous fights against Ad Santel

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_Santel

    We can both say "Sport Judo is only part of judo" but we both know very well that what is being promoted by the IJF, by sports ministries where they exist, by a majority of judo teachers is only Olympic-focused judo.  Winning is the objective, it is the only thing rewarded.  Yeah, they may pay very occasional lip service to Kano shihan as a historical artifact (as the IJF website does) but in fact in most places, including Japan, "All of judo" is not taught, and therefore is never learned.  Olympic judo is a changling child, with different congenital tendencies and certainly a number of different values.
    I am o.k. with this attitude and goals of sport Judo. They can do what they want and as winning medals is the most important goal for them, they should just go for this. Why should I demand a holistic Judo from sport Judokas?  I also wouldn't underestimate the overall Judo of young sport Judoka. Some of the most dynamic and fluent Nage no Kata I have ever seen were by competition Judoka.

    Slight digression.  Everyone seems to agree that more definitive wins by ippon are desirable.  Right?  Slammed on the back,  immobilized and held helplessly on the mat.
    I disagree... I don't care for Ippon. I want to see an interesting match between two good and skilled contestants. It's just boring to watch slow motion Judo from the 60's. The Judoka today are high level athletes, very skilled and fast and the new rules engaged upright attacking Judo with a lot of scores.There were not many matches decided - with no scores - only by shido(s) at the olympics.

    http://www.ippon.org/oly2016.php

    I am happy with the rules as they are now. High level sport Judo is not for the Judo uneducated spectator and never was. It is a contest for the very best sport Judoka within a specific rule set. It isn't even a spectator sport for the medium level non competition Judoka, if he is not a fan of a Judoka or a team.

    If you have no shidos, there would be matches of 20 minutes with a lot of passivity, blocking and stalling - as it was before the indroduction of shidos for passivity in the 70's...   two equal opponents hanging on each other in bend over posture for minutes :-)

    In chess a battle of skill and subtilities with the result of remis/draw is sometimes much more interesting than a plain win - same in Judo (at least for me).

    I understand the problem (winning "only" by shidos) but there are many reasons, why someone gets three shidos and the other competitor has none. If you are two shidos down, you have to open the fight and not continuing being passive, running away, step out of the mat, being bend over, doing fake kumi kata et cetera. This is also a benefit of shidos, you don't see - the reasons - on the scoreboard: being one, two or three shidos down, open up the game, taking more risks and therefore - losing to a score. There are more scores now - and Ippons - because of the shido rule.


    Yet arm-pumping "winners" leave the mat constantly having "won" by virtue of fewer shido than their opponent.  Can you imagine an Olympics where it was announced "sorry, no victories by ippon today therefore no gold medal?"  Or even just "sorry, no ippon score, neither player advances."  No, it would never happen.  But that is one difference of winning the judo way versus the Olympic way I am referring to.
    No there is no difference - and there were not many matches only won by shido. It's quite the opposite - in the past there were very long and boring matches decided only by hantei. I remember the Judo of the 70's and 80's well and if you are not a romantic and doing only highlights of the WC 1981 there were a lot of long and boring matches.



    Yes, this story of Mifune-sensei is well-known.  But you miss my point in that in judo there SHOULD exist contest between smaller and larger individuals, and that a smaller person with skill SHOULD be trained to defend themselves against a larger opponent with less skill, and that good technique SHOULD be defined as those that are useful in such a situation.  "Ju yoku go wo seisu" SHOULD NOT be just a poster on the wall or a commentary by narrators in a judo film.  It is the founding concept.  The elimination of the open category is just one indication that the principles of judo are disposable in Olympic-focused training.
    I like the idea and I wrote in a different judo forum a few days ago:

    "If we follow the ideas of Jigoro Kano, there should be no weightdivisions at all, because the smaller man can beat the heavier man through best use of body and mind und "ju no ri", one of the main principles of "ju - do" by using the force and strength of your opponent for your advantage. In a street fight or in a life matters situation you also can not flee, because your opponent is 100lbs heavier than you.
    Weight classes were introduced to Judo only, because the japanese feared, that they will win no gold medal at the Olympics 1964 Tokyo, Geesink dominating the Judo world after his convincing win at the world championships 1961.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGYINZyl_co&t=4m22s

    Conclusion: It's in the spirit of Judo to have no weight divisions at all!

    More serious:

    I would love to have open weight category back. -90kg and -100kg have some chance against the heavyweights and it's interesting to watch a fight with strength and weight (and height) disparity. The "magic of Judo". I once watched a competition, where a -66kg Judoka was first in the open weight division, winning the final against a 115kg Judoka with a tomoe nage in style."

    We organize at our state championship an open weight category every year and it's a lot of fun. At high level competition (olympics ...) this is a different story - it would just be a double chance for the heavyweights to get medals.

    I usually end up in the pooling room at tournaments, and there is always some aggressive, competition focused coach or parent complaining about how their 7-year-old was pooled.  There are never enough kids for everyone to have a completely equal pool, and sometimes one kid is just bigger or smaller than everyone within two years of his or her age.  So you try to find at least one kid for the oddball to play.  You approach the coach or parent "well, I know that your player is smaller, but I have seen them play and they know what they are doing.  And I have seen the larger kid, he's a yellow belt and very timid, don't you think it will be OK?"

    What you get back is most often not "sorry, my kid would fight but I don't think it would be safe."  No.  What you hear at high decibels is "you can't do that!  My player won't WIN!"  Seven-year-olds.  Already trapped in the mindset by adults who don't understand judo.
    Yeah - this is so stupid ... Kids have to learn Judo with and against different ages, weights, heights, gender etc. Randori is King to develop good Judo and Shai is the test.

    Thanks BillC for your long answer!

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    Re: Why was the Openweight dropped from Judo ?

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