Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Olympic Judo – Ban theTurtle

I’ve been watching bits and pieces of the Judo when I can but yesterday I decided to record the whole day’s action and must have watched about 4 hours of nonstop Judo last night when I got in from work. I was surprised that I didn’t get bored watching for that long as even when I watch a UFC event I normally have to split it over two days.
Having never really watched high level Judo before, except for a few highlight videos on YouTube, I was a little surprised about a few aspects of what I have seen thus far.
Now this is based purely on what I watched yesterday which was the under 81kg Men’s and under 60kg Women’s but I found the lack of groundwork very surprising.

I know that the referee restricts the amount of time you have on Newaza and this is done largely to make the fights more interesting to the non Judo watching public and to an extent I can see the logic behind this. What I can’t understand though is why the fighters are not penalised for turtling up every time they hit the ground. Quite often the other fighter doesn’t even bother to attack the turtle as he knows he is just wasting time and effort on something which has a low percentage of success.

I know a lot of people on the Judoforum advocate cross training in BJJ to help improve your groundwork but on last night’s showing that would be a total waste of time. All you really need to practice is how to turtle, which can probably be taught fairly quickly. I’m not suggesting that the rules of Judo should be changed to allow unlimited Newaza as this would, imo, change Judo for the worse as Judo is first and foremost a throwing art/sport. However if you were penalised for using the turtle position every time the fight went to the mat, say with a shido, then it would make the limited amount of time that one spends in Newaza that more exciting.

Do you agree?