For those of you who have been turned off from competing under the restrictive IJF rules, the National AAU Freestyle Judo Championships, which take place on March 23-24, 2012 in Kearney, Missouri, offers you a great opportunity to compete under more sensible rules that allow the full complement of Judo skills.
Freestyle Judo uses a numerical point system, awards points for ne waza skills that receive no score under IJF rules, doesn’t ban leg grabs or Kata guruma, returns Ippon to its real hard value, and minimizes penalties by empowering referees to be more proactive. If only these were the norms for all Judo tournaments, we wouldn’t be fighting for our survival!
Included in this year’s tournament is the National AAU Technique Tournament that will be held on Friday, March 23. Competitors will perform ten different techniques. Scoring will be based on kuzushi, tsukuri, kake, and kime. Sounds like a wonderful idea.
For more information about the tournament, please contact the tournament director, Ken Brink, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In conjunction with the announcement of the National AAU Freestyle Judo Championships, Steve Scott, the main mover and shaker for AAU Freestyle Judo, just published an article, Legislating the Judo out of Judo, in his Welcome Mat Online Newsletter. With his permission, I’m including excerpts that make a case for the AAU Freestyle rules.
What is also happening is that there are more and more judo people who are seeking alternative ways to be able to compete and not having to use the IJF rules. That’s a big reason why AAU Judo and AAU Freestyle Judo have become popular. Judo people want to do the full range of judo and not be limited to what some judo bureaucrat decides judo should look like.
When the IJF “banned” specific techniques such as kata guruma, etc., more than only the contest rules were changed for judo. Obviously there are people out there who think they can’t teach what were legitimate, skillful techniques simply because a judo organization no longer allows them for competition. Instructors, in many places, have stopped teaching viable, skillful throwing techniques. That’s something that needs to be commented on, and that’s why I’m commenting on it.
One of judo’s strengths through the years has been its ability to absorb the influences and techniques from other combat sports. In the early days of the Kodokan, judo was known for its ability to include the skills and techniques of other jujutsu styles. As judo progressed as an international sport, judo absorbed sambo, freestyle wrestling and a variety of national and cultural folk styles of grappling; all of which made judo the most technically advanced form of sport combat on the planet. Now, the powers-that-be have taken judo in a new direction, technically, educationally and as a sport. If millions of people stop doing kata guruma, morote gari and other viable judo skills (including newaza), then judo, as a whole, will suffer and suffer on a permanent basis. If no one bothers to teach these skills, then no one will learn them and they will be lost. Sure, there will be hold-outs who continue to teach these skills, but the mainstream of the judo community won’t and that’s bad for judo.
Then, there are those folks who actually like the way judo has evolved (or devolved) and have nothing but bad things to say about people like me who don’t do “pure judo” (to quote someone who said this recently). To these people, “pure judo” is what is now permitted in IJF contests and any deviation from it is not to be tolerated. If that’s the case, I contend that Prof. Kano (based on what he wrote over the years) would also be accused on not doing “pure judo” if he were alive today.
While freestyle judo isn’t perfect, we’ve tried to learn from what other groups are doing and are trying to turn judo back into the combat sport is once was, that is, before the bureaucrats legislated the judo out of judo.
To read the entire article, and to receive future articles from Steve Scott’s Welcome Mat Online Newsletter, email him at email@example.com, and ask to be put on his mailing list. Like me, he tells it like it is.