Dan Pedersen: So what's going on here (Lyoto Machida vs B.J. Penn, March 26, 2005)? Machida isn't a Judo player per se, but this certainly a technique his style of Karate shares with Judo.
Jimmy Pedro: The foot sweep technique is one of the most fundamental throwing techniques of judo. And it epitomizes the fact that a smaller person can defeat a larger person regardless of size. The key to a successful foot sweep is the timing and power generated by the attacker.
Every person-whether they are fighting or simply walking-relies on their legs and feet to hold their body up. It's an automated process: A person takes a step and assumes that, when they step forward and begin to place their foot on the ground, that the ground will actually be there. That their weight will be held up by their foot and leg when it touches the ground. With proper timing-by sweeping someone's foot just as it is about to hit the ground-one can take down an opponent effortlessly.
In this instance, BJ steps forward a bit too deeply and slightly off balance. Machida uses that as his kuzushi, his off balance point, and executes a foot sweep. Notice that Machida's posture is strong. The power of a foot sweep comes from one's hips, so it is extremely important to stand up straight in order to have a powerful and effective foot sweep.
The reason why BJ falls so easily is because his mind assumes that, because it told his foot to step forward onto the floor, that it would support his weight. But Machida's timing was perfect and took the foot out just as it was about to touch the floor, allowing him to take down BJ with a simple foot sweep action. This was superb timing and power just at the right moment. Great Judo by a Karate expert.
JP: What do you think about the "Judo vs Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" debate? Especially in situations online, you see individuals from both sides throwing insults at each other and arguing about which is better. Where do you think this whole argument came from, and where do you stand on it?
JP: That's a good question. It probably just come from, you know: Who is better, his guy or your guy? Like I said, back in the late 1800s, Judo fought Jiu-Jitsu in what was basically a team fight, Judo vs Jiu-Jitsu. Back in the day, they lined up Kano's students, who were the founders of Judo, against the Jiu-Jitsu team. And they fought. And I don't remember the rules that they fought under. But at that time, the Judo guys beat the Jiu-Jitsu guys. They cleaned house. And because of this fight, Judo became the national sport of Japan, and [became] the martial art that all the military and police officers train in.
Today, I think it just stems from, you know, "Which is better for MMA?" I think both are excellent. They both have their strengths and they both have their weaknesses. A Judo fighter who is a serious competitor is going to be extremely explosive and aggressive in a fight. And they're going to be able to take down-without shooting singles and doubles and exposing themselves-be able to take down most people with leg trips and throws and things like that.
But their ground game isn't as solid as BJJ practitioners, because that's where BJJ guys make their living. [BJJ players] spend 90% - 100% of their training on the ground. So clearly their skills on the ground are going to be better than a Judoka's, because Judo players spend at least 50% of their time on their feet. And in a lot of Judo dojos they spend 70% - 80% of their time on the feet. So just by sheer number of hours training, a Judo player is going to be better standing, and a BJJ player is typically going to be better on the ground.
That doesn't mean every Jiu-Jitsu guy is going to submit every Judo guy. That doesn't mean every Judo guy can take down every Jiu-Jitsu guy. But realistically, that's where the two sports are today.
And because the rules of Judo have changed, and a lot more emphasis is put on throws and takedowns, trying to make it more spectacular for people to watch, the ground game in Judo has almost gone away. Now, that's a place where I won a lot of my fights internationally. On the ground. I was schooled from a very young age to spend a lot of time doing ne-waza, the ground game. And I've rolled with a lot of Jiu-Jitsu guys and some of them are very, very talented-there's no doubt. And I think if a Judo person wants to be good in Judo, they should spend time learning Jiu-Jitsu. On the flipside of that, there's a lot of Jiu-Jitsu guys that could become much better fighters if they spent some time training Judo. Specifically on the gripping game: How to hold your opponent and nullify their techniques just by where you grab. Also by training some of the throws and takedowns that don't put Jiu-Jitsu players at risk.
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