brooklynmonk

Posts Tagged ‘sambo’

How Western Wrestlers Changed Judo

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2015 at 7:58 am

????????????????????????????????????

????????????????????????????????????


By Antonio Graceffo

“Judo is a source of national pride in Japan, where the martial art originated.” (Cheng, 2012) But as larger, stronger foreigners, often with a wrestling background, entered the sport, the Japanese world-domination of Judo was challenged. Over the last fifty years judo has seen many rule changes which remove the advantage from western trained wrestlers.

The predecessor of modern Judo is .Japanese Jujitsu, which was founded in the mid 16th Century, but flourished from the 17th to the early 19th century. (Hays) From 1882 through 1887, the founder of modern Judo, Dr. Jigoro Kano analyzed various forms of jujitsu, absorbing some of the techniques, while rejecting others. “Getting rid of all dangerous, killing or maiming jujutsu waza, Kano forced opponents to grapple with one another. Thus, he restricted violence.” (Intjudo.eu) Dr. Kano eliminated many of the brutal joint-lock submission techniques and concentrated on the science of skillfully throwing an opponent on his back. The art he developed would become known as Kodokan Judo. (Worldjudoday.com)

Through Kano’s efforts, Judo became a school sport in the national physical education program in Japan. From its humble beginnings, the popularity of judo spread across Japan and to the rest of the world. The first All-Japan Championship was held in 1930. (Umjudo.com) In 1964, Judo became an official event in the Tokyo Olympics. (Worldjudoday.com)

????????????????????????????????????

????????????????????????????????????

Everything went well for the Japanese and their world-domination of judo until 1961, when Dutch judoka, Anton Geesink won the world championships. (Umjudo.com) Standing 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall and weighing 270 pounds (120 kilograms), by any measure of the word, Geesink was a giant. Dr. Kano originally envisioned judo as an art where size and strength wouldn’t matter. Geesink’s win challenged that notion.
Jigoro Kano was himself small and physically weak. (Judo-ch.jp) Therefore, he wanted to invent a martial art system where a small man could beat a big man. “He decided to learn more about the art which enabled the weak to overcome the strong.” (Intjudo.eu)

To prove the efficacy of his art, Kano and many of his students travelled to Europe and the US giving demonstrations and fighting in exhibitions against wrestlers. Mitsuyo Maeda, Count Coma, for example, travelled to Brazil, fighting all-comers. “And that he went around the world proving his art to be superior to every other, at that time.” (Gbarrasm.com) The Japanese judoka were often much smaller than their western opponents, but this was in keeping with Kano’s principal that a small man, trained in judo, could beat a big man, who wasn’t. For this reason, judo competitions were originally held without weight divisions. The All-Japan Championship “continues to this day as Kano envisioned it, without weight, age or rank restrictions, producing still the strongest Judo competitors in Japan.” (Umjudo.com)

Geesink’s win caused a tremendous ripple in Japan. “This was a big shock for Japanese Judo.” (Umjudo.com) And specifically because of Geesink, “the International Judo Federation quickly agreed to recognize weight divisions in future world championships.” (Umjudo.com)

Further weight class restrictions were instituted. “At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the “open” division was dropped from the program.” (Umjudo.com) The open weight competition was arguably the embodiment of Jigoro Kano’s ideals that a small man could beat a big man, and that judo stressed technique over strength. “However, as historian Donn F. Draeger had pointed out as early as 1961, in circumstances where technical skills were extremely well-developed, and competitors likewise had substantial training and competition experience, strength and weight would play a role, in the Judo world.” (Umjudo.com)

????????????????????????????????????

????????????????????????????????????


Geesink would not be the last westerner to influence rule changes in the sport of judo. After Geesink, next came the Russian wrestlers.

The first major judo competition between The Soviet Union and Japan occurred in 1963, in Kyoto, where Russia’s Boris Mishchenko defeated well-known Japanese judoka Isao Okano “as soon as the match begins, the Russian grabs the jacket of the Japanese, drops on his back and does a perfect arm bar juji-katame. Okano taps. The whole match lasts less than 20 seconds.” (Law, 2009, p. 94) The arm bar was unknown in Japanese judo prior to this match. (Law, 2009, p. 95)

The Russians became a powerful force in judo, even winning three gold medals in the London 2012 Olympics. (Kamalakaran)

Much of the Russians’ success in judo is closely tied to the development of Russian sambo, a grappling style developed for the Russian Special Forces in the early 1920s. One of sambo’s founders, Vasili Oshchepkov, was the first foreign black belt under judo founder, Dr. Jigoro Kano. As a result of Oshchepkov,’s judo experience, “Sambo has roots in Japanese Judo, international styles of wrestling, plus traditional folk styles of wrestling such as: Armenian Kokh, Georgian Chidaoba, Romanian Trîntǎ, Tatar Köräş, Uzbek Kurash, Mongolian Khapsagay and Azerbaijani Gulesh.” (Self.gutenberg.org)

Because of political difficulties between Russia and Japan, and as they were on opposing sides during WW II, the word “judo” was removed from the Russian sports lexicon and replaced with the term “sambo”. In 1938, sambo “was recognized as the national wrestling style in the Soviet Union.” (Lafon) When the Soviet Union found out that judo was slated for the 1964 Olympics, they began training their wrestlers to win gold medals. “The teaching they had did not focus on spiritual education but on sports results. They viewed judo as just another sport.” (Lafon)

In 1962, Soviet sambo champions, Anzor Kibrozashvili and Anzor Kiknadze, won the European Judo championships. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Soviets won four bronze medals. The Soviet, and later Russian, judo wins came from lessons learned through years of wrestling. “The experience of sambo or the expertise gained through years of national wrestling has made Soviet judo different and so powerful.” (Lafon) At the 1972 Munich Olympics, 22 year-old Shota Chochoshvili defeated two time world champion Fumio Sasahara, to take the gold medal. At the 1976, Montreal Olympics, Soviet judokas Vladimir Nevzorov and Sergei Novikov won the gold. “Soviet judo shook the judo world. It took some time for Japanese and Western traditionally-taught fighters to adapt to unorthodox techniques, strictly inspired from sambo.” (Lafon)

The Russian judo wins resulted in rule changes which eliminated many wrestling-based techniques. Single and double-leg takedowns, as well as fireman’s carry throws from wrestling were outlawed. “Concerned about wrestling-style moves infiltrating their sport, world judo officials outlawed wrestling-like tackles in 2009. Judoko that do any moves that involve grabbing the legs will immediately be disqualified.” (Hays)

Many observers felt these changes were as much to eliminate wrestling techniques as they were to hamper the Russian athletes. “The new judo rules include changes that emphasize the sport’s standing techniques and outlaw direct attacks on the opponent’s legs, often used in countries with a strong wrestling background like Russia, which won the most gold medals in London.” (Cheng, 2013)

The 2014 World Judo championships, held in Chelyabinsk, Russia, were conducted under the new rules, banning wrestling techniques. As a result, the Russians finished “without a single gold medal, but with three silver medals and six bronzes.” (Ellingworth) Many believe that these new rules prevented the Russians from winning. “One possible reason could be recent rule changes that have aimed to return judo to a more traditional Japanese style.”(Ellingworth)

Some international judoka maintain that the judo federation banned wrestling techniques in order for the Japanese to dominate the sport once again. Many purists, however, claim the changes were made to bring the art back to its origins and eliminate contamination from other sports, especially wrestling and sambo. (Hays) “The International Judo Federation says the rules were changed to make judo more dynamic, not to help Japan win more medals.” (Cheng, 2013)

Whatever the reason for judo’s changes, whether to preserve the art or to give an edge to the Japanese, wrestlers are now at a greater disadvantage in judo than ever before. ”You used to see people pick someone up midair, grab their legs and the next thing you know, someone’s on the ground,” (Cheng, 2013)

Finally, the rule changes are the legacy of the influence that westerners, particularly wrestlers have had on judo.

Cheng, Maria. ‘New Judo Rules Favor Japan At World Championships’. philstar.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Cheng, Maria. ‘Japan Looking For More Judo Golds At Olympics’. Thejakartapost.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.
Ellingworth, James. ‘Russian Wrestlers’ Prowess On The Mat Leaves Judo Playing Catch-Up Russian Wrestlers’ Prowess On The Mat Leaves Judo Playing Catch-Up | Russia Beyond The Headlines’. Asia.rbth.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Gbarrasm.com,. ‘Gracie Barra Santa Monica | Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | BJJ | Martial Arts | Mixed Martial Arts | MMA | Santa Monica | Gbarrasm.Com’. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Hays, Jeffrey. ‘JUDO: THE OLYMPICS, RULE CHANGES, JIGORO KANO, RYOKO TANI AND THE JEWISH GRANDMOTHER | Facts And Details’. Factsanddetails.com. N.p., 2009. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Intjudo.eu,. ‘International Judo Federation’. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Judo-ch.jp,. ‘The Life Of Jigoro Kano: Jigoro Kano, Father Of Body And Mind Education | Judo Channel | Token Corporation: Official Partner Of The All Japan Judo Federation (Zenjuren)’. N.p., 2015.
Judosolutions.co.uk, (2014). Judo as a Fighting Art. [online] Available at: http://judosolutions.co.uk/judo-as-a-fighting-art/

Kamalakaran, Ajay. ‘Three Olympic Gold Medals In Judo Put Russia On The Map At London 2012’. Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 2012. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.
Lafon, Gerald. ‘If You Can’T Beat Them, Change The Darn Rules! | Betterjudo.Com’. Betterjudo.com. N.p., 2010. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Law, M. (2009). Falling hard. Boston: Trumpeter.
Self.gutenberg.org,. ‘Sambo (Martial Art) | Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing – Ebooks | Read Ebooks Online’. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Umjudo.com,. ‘Globalization Of Judo’. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Worldjudoday.com,. ‘The History Of Judo’. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.

Advertisements

Martial Arts Styles Do Exist

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2015 at 10:22 am

Slide14

Slide10
By Antonio Graceffo

Recently, I saw a Facebook video of a grappling competition, between a freestyle wrestler and a Brazilian Jujitsu practitioner. There are a lot of Youtube videos with titles like “Muay Thai vs. Kyokushin” or “Kung Fu vs. MMA” but what I liked about this particular video was that both practitioners were wearing the clothing appropriate to their art, which made them easily identifiable. The wrestler wore his singlet and wrestling shoes. The BJJ fighter wore a grappling shirt and shorts. The next thing that was special about this match up was that both men fought according to their distinctive styles. In this modern era of open grappling tournaments and MMA fights, most champion fighters are so well-rounded that the imprint of their original martial art is often barely visible.

The litmus test, for a fighter looking like his or her style, would be Ronda Rousey, who, in spite of being incredibly well-rounded, and in spite of having won her UFC 190 fight completely with striking, usually looks like a judoka. Watching her fights, it is generally clearly obvious that she comes from a world-class judo background. Lyoto Machida definitely owes much of his success to the fact that he fights like a karate man and both grapplers and strikers find it difficult to break inside of his unusual footwork. Another example would be Cung Le, whose san da background is evident in his MMA fights. But, when GSP defeated world-class wrestler Matt Hughes, did he really look like a kyokushin fighter? Or is there anything about Roy “Big Country” Nelson to suggest that his first martial art was kung fu?
Slide13
In this video matchup between the wrestler and the BJJ practitioner, the BJJ guy kept trying to pull guard, to take the fight to the ground, where he would have the advantage. The wrestler was clearly looking for, and got, the takedown, which is his strength. Once he engaged, the wrestler executed a suplex, followed by a high-crotch takedown. He slammed the BJJ guy so hard that the referee stopped the match.
Slide11
It was the comments posted on this video which caused me to write this article. “its not the name of the style… Its the practitioner”, “Jujutsu is wrestling, Judo – is wrestling”, “There are not ‘greco technique ‘ of ‘BJJ technique , ‘judo technique’ or ‘free style technique’ There are only ‘RIGHT TECHNIQUE’ and ‘WRONG’”.

Recently, I have heard a lot of people claiming that there are no martial arts styles, only “good technique” and “bad technique.” But this is simply not the case. Some techniques are similar across multiple styles, for example, a shoulder throw can be used in judo, shuai jiao, submission wrestling, or even san da. But other techniques are not. And if a particular style lacks a particular technique, the practitioners normally don’t drill the defense to that technique. Boxers, for example don’t practice sprawl, because there is no single or double leg takedown in boxing. Wrestlers don’t practice passing the guard, because that situation doesn’t exist in wrestling.
Styles definitely exist. And for that reason, when people wish to excel in mixed style events, like open grappling tournaments, or MMA fights, the best fighters tend to be complete fighters who train in multiple styles.

As anecdotal evidence proving the existence of styles, let me present the findings of my summer research. This summer, I travelled for three solid months training and filming Martial Arts Odyssey. My journey took me to Shanghai, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, New York, Singapore, and Johor Bahru. Along the way, I trained and/or filmed the following martial arts: san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, Kepap, catch wrestling, sambo, submission wrestling, judo, boxing, and Brazilian jujitsu.

In san da training, we spent an hour catching kicks. Kick catching is not taught in Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, catch wrestling, submission wrestling, judo, boxing, or Brazilian jujitsu.

In Greco-Roman wrestling we were practicing dropping to one knee and executing a fireman’s carry (without touching the opponent’s leg). This method is not taught in san da, shuai jiao wrestling or boxing.

In freestyle wrestling we were working on cat’s cradle pin. This technique is not taught in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, or boxing.

In freestyle, we also worked on ankle-pick which is not done in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, Kepap, judo, or boxing.

In shuai jiao wrestling we practiced jacket grabbing drills. These techniques are not taught in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, Kepap, catch wrestling, submission wrestling, boxing, or Brazilian jujitsu.

In kepap class the students were learning how to execute a knife attack. Offensive knife fighting is never taught in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, catch wrestling, boxing, sambo, submission wrestling, judo, or Brazilian jujitsu.

In Catch wrestling we were learning knee and ankle submissions. These techniques are forbidden, and thus not taught, in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, boxing, or judo.

In sambo we were learning knee compression submissions. These are not taught in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, Kepap, judo, or boxing.

In submission wrestling we worked on turtle defense and reversing an opponent who was turttled up, so you could get the pin. Turtle position doesn’t exist in san da, shuai jiao wrestling, Kepap, or boxing.

In judo we learned how to use the opponent’s gi top to choke him. This is not practiced in: san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, Kepap, catch wrestling, submission wrestling, or boxing.

In boxing training, my coach, Paddy Carson, was helping me improve the rhythm of my three-punch combinations. Punching isn’t taught in Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, catch wrestling, submission wrestling, judo, or Brazilian jujitsu.

At Brazilian jujitsu class we were learning spider guard. These skills are not taught in san da, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, shuai jiao wrestling, catch wrestling, or boxing.

Styles clearly exist. For this reason, to be a complete fighter, one must study multiple STYLES.

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.
The Monk from Brooklyn, the book which gave Antonio his name, and all of his other books, the book available at amazon.com. His book, Warrior Odyssey, chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia, including stories about Khmer and Vietnamese martial arts as well as the war in Burma and the Shan State Army, is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey
See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on http://www.blackbeltmag.com
Twitter
http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk
facebook
Brooklyn Monk fan page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brooklyn-Monk/152520701445654?fref=ts
Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1
Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)
http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com
Slide9

Brooklyn Monk Catch Wrestling w. Sambo Steve (Parts 1 and 2)

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm

053

389
Sambo Steve (Stephen Koepfer) of New York Combat Sambo invites Brooklyn Monk , Antonio Graceffo to train catch wrestling with his team in Manhattan. Catch wrestling is a form of submission wrestling where you can win by submission, choke, or pin. The pin makes it more like wrestling and different from Brazilian Jujitsu, where many competitors like to pull guard. In catch, if your shoulder blades touch the ground for three seconds, you lose. In this episode, the Brooklyn Monk also welcomes Eddie Goldman, the host of the podcast, No Holds Barred. In part two, hear Eddie tell the history of Catch wrestling.
Watch Brooklyn Monk Catch Wrestling w. Sambo Steve (Part 1)

Watch Brooklyn Monk Catch Wrestling w. Sambo Steve (Part 2)

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.
Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey
See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on http://www.blackbeltmag.com
Twitter
http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk
facebook
Brooklyn Monk fan page
Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1
Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)
http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

391

118

No Holds Barred: Antonio Graceffo, the Brooklyn Monk, on Wrestling and China

In Uncategorized on July 12, 2014 at 5:13 am

Radio Podcast Interview:

No Holds Barred: Antonio Graceffo, the Brooklyn Monk, on Wrestling and China
http://nhbnews.podomatic.com/entry/2014-07-11T13_45_42-07_00

 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the writer, web show host, MMA fighter, and wrestler, Antonio Graceffo.

Born in Brooklyn, known as the “Brooklyn Monk”, and raised in Tennessee, he is in the process of completing his Ph.D. at Shanghai University of Sport in Shanghai, China, and is a member of the traditional wrestling (Shuai Jiao) team there.

We spoke with him Thursday in New York while he was in town.

“My Ph.D. thesis topic is comparing Chinese traditional wrestling with Western wrestling,” he said. “My professors want me to write about history, culture, rules, competition, techniques, training, all different aspects. And they sort of expanded that and they wanted me to write a lot about Greece and Rome for some reason, but that led me to writing now about Pankration: ancient Greek wrestling, and then Pankration, and then Pankration into the Roman era, which becomes like the gladiators. So actually it becomes very interesting, a lot of fun for me to write it.”

He continued, “But then it also means it’s expanded, the types of things that I need to go do in addition to my reading, that I need to go experience, catch wrestling for example. And they also want me to write about pro wrestling. And of course as soon as you include pro wrestling as sort of a modern evolution of wrestling, if you want to call it that, and in a way, the modern pro wrestling is the gladiatorial games of the Romans.”

Thus, on this trip back to New York, he sampled training in several different styles. He attended a training session in catch wrestling with Sambo Steve Koepfer at New York Combat Sambo, as well as one in judo at Long Island Judo with Sensei Gary Rasanen, and even met with a group which performs the staged pro wrestling.

We also discussed the status of wrestling and grappling in China, how there is not now a large feeder system there on the amateur and youth levels of wrestling, how children in regular schools do not play sports, why it would be difficult for catch wrestling to succeed in China at present, his future plans, and much, much more.304 469 489