Just when you think the IJF rules can’t corrupt Judo anymore, in rides Neil Adams with more insanity from the IJF. Neil has bought into the notion that Judo needs to remain an Olympic sport, and that in order to do that, Judo must be made purely an offensive minded sport with big throws. Sorry, Neil, that’s a load of crap. What the IJF is proposing makes a mockery out of what used to be Judo. At my club, we will continue to have none of this nonsense.
I was so disgusted by the last video that Neil Adams put out on these changes that I issued this statement via several email lists, and Facebook pages and groups. My apologies if you have already seen it.
To all Judo Coaches and Players,
For many years, I had been a strong supporter of Olympic Judo and the IJF. Two of my daughters have been on our Olympic or World Championships teams: Valerie Lafon Gotay (1992 and 2008 Olympics + three world teams) and Natalie Lafon (2011 World Team). However, with the rule changes starting in 2009, I have decided that the IJF no longer represents the best interests of Judo. Accordingly, I support a burgeoning grassroots movement that uses alternative rules in lieu of the travesty that the IJF has forced upon us. One such movement is the Freestyle Judo Rules formulated by another former, strong supporter of the IJF, Steve Scott.
As more and more coaches and players are finding out about Freestyle Judo (FSJ), and participating in FSJ events, threats have been made by the national organizations establishment. We’ve seen this ploy before. Players and coaches are being told they won’t be promoted, and referees are told they will lose their referee status or won’t be advanced to higher levels. Most of these threats are idle. USA Judo’s Robert Fukuda confirmed to me that it’s not the policy of USA Judo to threaten referees with loss of referee status. In addition, the new USA Judo/USJF/USJA agreement on the “Scrimmage Sanction” confirms that tournament directors may use alternative rules as long as they don’t affect safety. As none of the recent IJF rule changes affects safety, rescinding them carries no increase in liability.
We’ve all complained about the IJF rules for good reason. Do yourself a favor and check out Neil Adams’s video explaining the 2014 changes. You should be disgusted by what the IJF is doing to our Judo.
If you’re a complainer, but continue to think that IJF rules define Judo, here are some things to think about. All those good Judo throws that were once valid but are now banned by the IJF are still valid in FSJ. If you’re tired of the shido culture, you’ll be pleased by what FSJ has done. FSJ referees are proactive, so they’ll be giving your players verbal warnings before a penalty score is given. Numerical scores (1 for koka, 2 for yuko, 4 for waza ari) are cumulative, and help mitigate the impact of borderline referee calls. Tired of the 5-10 seconds for ne waza? Well, FSJ recognizes the importance of ne waza in today’s Judo by allowing more time on the ground, and giving scores for ne waza actions the IJF doesn’t recognize. You’ll have to read the rules to see what ne waza actions score. Go to http://www.freestylejudo.org
James Wall will be hosting the next Freestyle Judo Nationals on April 5, 2014 in Denham Springs, Louisiana. I’ll be there with my team. I’d like you to support this event. If you’re concerned about the direction the IJF is taking the sport, you should be in Denham Springs. If you’re concerned that an IJF-emasculated Judo can no longer compete with other grappling sports in the U.S., you should join us in Denham Springs. If you think that more Judo can be done in BJJ or submission grappling tournaments than can be done in IJF rules Judo tournaments, it should be a no-brainer: come to Denham Springs and help us grow Freestyle Judo for the sake of Judo’s survival.