Train Judo Ground Judo for BJJ, and vice versa

8/8/12 7:17 PM
Posts: 2140
Hello Judo/Sambo forum!

I recently co-taught a seminar with Judo and BJJ Black Belt Mike Lee.  We filmed a bit of the Q&A, and my intention was to release it to the BJJ community to show them that Judo newaza does have things to offer to BJJ.

I'll put up the four videos along with brief descriptions here - see what you think!

Stephan Kesting

P.S.  Interesting factoid: when I first started posting on the UG years and years and years ago my screename was 'exjudoka', which, in fact, I still am!
Edited: 8/8/12 7:20 PM
Posts: 2141
 In the first video Mike talks about some of the ways he’s adapted his Judo to work in a BJJ context. He shares how he maintains mobility on the ground, and uses that mobility to avoid getting dummied by his training partners (plus check out the cool butterfly guard pass straight into an arm bar).

Then he addresses a common problem in BJJ competition: opponents who bend over at the waist and stiff-arm you, refusing to engage. As you’ll see, there is an effective solution that can dump your opponent flat on his back and put you into a dominant position.

8/8/12 7:18 PM
Posts: 2142
In the next video we discuss some of the differences between BJJ and Judo groundfighting. One thing I thought was really cool in this video is that Mike talked about some BJJ techniques that his guys have had success with in Judo competition.

8/8/12 7:19 PM
Posts: 2143
Now Mike breaks down his side control (known as ‘Yoko Shio Gatame‘ in Judo). In Judo if you pin someone for 25 seconds you win the match. As a result Judoka with good groundwork often have ferocious pins. Since I outweigh him by 80 lbs, Mike placed special emphasis on the adjustments needed to control someone much bigger than himself. I can vouch for the fact that these adjustments make his side control super tight!

8/8/12 7:20 PM
Posts: 2144
 Here are some basic attacks from, and against the turtle. At the end of this video Mike takes you through Yoko Sangaku-jime, the Judo side triangle choke, which I’ve always thought was a hugely under-used technique in BJJ. Maybe after this video gets out that will change….

8/8/12 7:22 PM
Posts: 2145
Finally, in case you want to email a link to the article itself, here's the link to where it lives on my site:
8/8/12 10:02 PM
Posts: 1006
Hi Stephan, I'm on your mailing list and I love your techniques. I have a question, a little off topic but jiu jitsu related.. I have been trying to keep an active guard, using my knees, feet on hips, it always seems as soon as I open my guard I have trouble keeping my opponent from passing, I use double underhooks or usually an overbook on one side, but then I feel trapped.
Any info or videos that can help me? Thank you Phone Post
8/9/12 2:15 AM
Posts: 2147
Hi Adam,

Without seeing you in action it's really hard to generalize.  But let's give it a try anyhow.   How long have you been doing judo or bjj?  And what's your build (i.e. how tall are you, how heavy, and do you have relatively long or short legs)?  Hopefully you get back to me soon on this thread because I'm leaving town for a few weeks on Friday, but I'm sure that other people will chime in with their opinions and help you out too. 

I'll throw out two general bits of advice here though: if you gripfight like crazy and prevent your opponent from controlling your legs, sleeves or lapels with his grips, and if you use hip movements and pushing motions with your arms and legs to prevent your opponent from squashing and immobilizing your legs and hips, then it will become much more difficult for him to pass your guard.

Also there's the possibility that you're just trying to control your opponents and stop them from passing without working towards your own offense, and that's a real problem.  It's really difficult just to maintain certain types of guard unless your opponent is continuously being harassed with the danger of being swept, having his back taken, or getting submitted.
8/9/12 8:34 AM
Posts: 2161
I read your posts on the BJJ forum and you truely try to share with the BJJ community. And avoid the usual BJJ vs Judo theme that is prevelant on the BJJ forum.
Video 1 - having 1 leg up is normal in judo but the crouch position on 2 legs for mobility is something I haven't seen/tried. How effective this is in a BJJ tournament I would have to see live fighting footage. He has the mobility to do it so it would work for him. HIs point of turning the shoulder to break the stiff arm is very good but attacking from that far out can get you countered if the opponent grabs the right leg with his left hand. Need a setup up like Kosoto gari then Osoto.
Video 2- was looking for the technique demonstrated. Butterfly guard to sweep. We practice a similar sweep from turtle to butterfly guard to turnover. Watch this judo turnover at the 5 Min 51 sec mark by Mike Eldred our best USA judo ground fighter. (You can do this turnover from turtle also.) I have been to 2 of Mike's seminars where he demonstrates his turnovers. He is the best.
Video 3- Good point controlling the head and your body position pinning the shoulder. Not sure if you can cup with the open hand like that on the face/jaw area. Usually we grab the collar in that area and pressure with the shoulder to keep the head turned away. A variation you demonstrated is you can bring the legs up and adjust your body farther forward over to the other side for a chest pin.
Video 4 - We practice turtle attacks almost ever mat session. We don't strattle to oneside and reach over to the other as this will get you countered as you demonstrated. We learn to attack the turtle from front,side, behind. WE also learn to attack when the opponet goes prone.

Final comments: The judo attacks for BJJ need to be second natured so it will be difficult for BJJ student to learn unless they take up judo and practice them regularly. I have did BJJ for 8 years, judo for almost 20 years and each art has something to offer the other for the average guy who are trying to better their BJJ/judo game.
8/9/12 5:40 PM
Posts: 41056
steve, what is mikes background? bjj or judo first? american?

8/9/12 10:48 PM
Posts: 130
Thank you for sharing these videos. They're thought provoking for me as a student of both arts.
8/10/12 5:33 PM
Posts: 370
Nice vid's. My knees hurt just watching the video of you squatting...ouch!
8/10/12 7:04 PM
Posts: 1010
I'm sure I missed you but.. I am 6'4 real lanky and flexible, my go to sub in the guard would be a triangle I've been doing submission grappling for about 5 years or so, I've never done anything with a gi Phone Post
9/19/12 9:01 AM
Posts: 9176
I'd like to hear his perspective on how to deal with a person that has the intention of jumping/pulling guard. What if I want to throw but the second I take grips my opponent jumps guard? You can never get any judo throws off that way.
9/20/12 3:30 AM
Posts: 8550
...and then...I started to blow out both my knees lol
9/27/12 9:58 PM
Posts: 4653
Trichoke7 - I'd like to hear his perspective on how to deal with a person that has the intention of jumping/pulling guard. What if I want to throw but the second I take grips my opponent jumps guard? You can never get any judo throws off that way.

Control his grips
10/31/12 1:39 PM
Posts: 25
The way I think is that rules have the power to transform the sport. One day Judo and BJJ were the same thing but as much as they become more and more of a sport them both will lose the fighting (street)aspect.

Athletes will train only techniques that are allowed in competitions because Ideally they all want to win, and some techniques with the years will be forgotten.

In BJJ you score more points on the ground so athletes many times do not train takedowns, in Judo you can and the match with a throw so they all think lets train throws and then they became two different sports.

Please let me know what you think I would love to hear.
11/1/12 5:05 PM
Posts: 2213
To win at the highest levels you have to be able to win the close matches and that means taking advantage of the sport(judo/BJJ) rules. IN judo that means grip fighting/attacks that make you opponent look passive to score a shido. Many Olympic medals were won either in prelim matches, semi's or finals becasue the competition is so close. But each athlete has to tailor their game to their strength. SOme are outstanding throwers with little ground game. Some have very good throwing and very good ground game. Some are so so throwers and exccellent ground game. The question is how do win your matches? What are your talents? Watching BJJ matches at the highest levels they win by advantages which to me is the equivalent of shido's in judo when the competition is so close and so tough.
11/1/12 5:35 PM
Posts: 9846
nowaydo - 
Trichoke7 - I'd like to hear his perspective on how to deal with a person that has the intention of jumping/pulling guard. What if I want to throw but the second I take grips my opponent jumps guard? You can never get any judo throws off that way.

Control his grips

Some types of guard pulling can be stopped by controlling the grips, but others cannot because they are basically just sfalling straight to the butt. 

11/7/12 11:15 AM
Posts: 520
Interesting points. Someone should put out a real judo for bjj video for both go and Nogi techniques. Phone Post
12/25/12 8:27 PM
Posts: 1310
Sub Phone Post
Edited: 12/26/12 3:48 PM
Posts: 98
Not to speak for Mike or Stephan.<br /><br />Mike did wrestling in high school, and later trained in Judo and BJJ. He and I trained for shodan together.
3/13/13 4:51 PM
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For later Phone Post
3/15/13 3:01 PM
Posts: 2002
. Phone Post
4/23/13 5:55 PM
Posts: 4645