The IJF 2013 Rule Changes | The Effects Of The IJF Rules On Judo | Part One

Auto Date Thursday, December 20th, 2012

“Rules determine how the game is played by limiting the possible reaction to any action” (Faulkner, p. 274).

Whether we agree or not, judo is a stakes game. And the stakes are high or low depending on one’s ability and commitment in and to the game.  The somewhat sobering and depressing thing about the sport of judo is that it is about winning and losing. Simply put, most sports and games are and to that end, the sport of judo differs not.

As a judo coach, it is my charge to help athletes sit on the positive side of two possible outcomes.  Therefore, as most judo coaches, I don’t look at the rules and how to apply them. I look at the rules and how to utilize them as an aid to the desired end result of the judo athlete.

It is here where I am markedly different from many judo coaches but very similar to the ones at the top of sport of judo. My background as an engineer created a different type of thought process for me as a judo athlete and as a judo coach. And as a scientist of sorts, I no longer look at Judo as being “judo.”

Judo, to me, is an expression of moves in an initially perceived random environment which can be ordered through observation and study. It is called a “perceived” random environment because to most neophytes, newcomers or untrained observers, this is what it looks like, but by definition it is not random, it is ordered via rules and human movement both of which are preceded by thought…..  and fit into the theory of reductionism.

Meaning, rules are made –> Options are reduced –> the expression of movements becomes fewer –> the perceived randomness decreases  –> New rules are made  –> options are further reduced –> the expression of the movements becomes even fewer –> randomness decreases even more

And so on and so forth.

In most sports, rules are made to improve safety and provide clarity for other rules based upon the gamesmanship of coaches to circumvent or “use” the rules to their advantage.  In my opinion, a sport really travels a slippery slope when the new rules which they purport actually removes moves and reduces the possible expression of movement.  The natural progression of such a reductionist thought process is ZERO. To the point where the expression of movement becomes zero.

Here’s the deal, the New Rules which are being proposed by the International Judo Federation (IJF), may actually do more harm than good in the long term. Initially, the studies that are performed will be based on some lame ass criteria like…. “how many ippons” or “the length of matches” or “the amount of penalties” instead of looking at the Worldwide growth of membership in comparison to wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiujitsu, etc.,. Or the way that the curriculum has and is changing based upon the rule changes (i.e. “IJF Rule Changes and its effect on the body of knowledge of judo”).

1) As I digress……

1. No matter what the rule changes are in judo, nobody is going to walk out on the mat and let you throw them after they’ve invested time and money in training.

2. The job of the coach is to find a strategy that fits within the rules and then to develop a tactical gameplan in which to apply the strategy.

3. There is NO WAY to return a pure glass of water to its ORIGINAL form by adding things to it to change it back to water. The process of math doesn’t allow you to do so. Look, when you have X, over time because of people’s ability to work within and around the rules… X turns in to X’.  And in your desire to turn X’ back into X what you do is propose –> X’-Y. Where Y equals your new rules. So now what you have is X’-Y=X’’

Now X’’ as proposed turns into X’’’ based upon peoples ability to work around the rules. So now what you do is propose –> X’’’-(Y+Y’).   Because Y’ is your NEW set of Y which is added to your old Y and what you have now is X’’’’=X’’’-(Y+Y’) But……….

Since coaches and athletes will work around your new rules (i.e. still find a way to do kataguruma without grabbing the legs) What you have is X’’’’’.

Now you can CLEARLY see that NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. You will NEVER get back to X.  Never!!!!!!

So when people say stupid S***!!!!! like, “Now we’re gonna get back to the real judo!” I want YOU TO KNOW personally that you sound like a REALLLLLLLLL ignoramus, but you don’t know any better. So do your thing.

Where are we going?

So what we have here is the evolution of the sport of judo. But the question is, in what direction.

As a coach, I just want to make it plain and painfully clear that the rules, no matter what they are, do NOT change my job.

I look at them.

Analyze them.

Analyze the sport.

And try to find the recurring and dominant themes in terms of “rule response.”  Because Newtonian physics tell us that there will be an equal and opposite reaction. Which means, people will find a way to work in such a fashion in which was not the “intent” of the rules in order to be in harmony with the rules while still being within the rules.

The person who lacks the technical prowess (which cannot be gained in 4 years time) will still find a way to occupy one of the 4 places on the medal stand.

This is the paradox which Michael Raynor speaks of in his book The Strategy Paradox from a coaching perspective.  What we will “discuss” tomorrow is what occurs from a club coaching perspective.

Tomorrow’s topic…… “How Do The Rule Changes Affect Coaching At The Club Level: When’s The Last Time You Taught Morote Gari & Kani Basami”

Because if you look at it… our sporting rules actually created Brazilian Jiujitsu  ;-)


Please do yourself a favor and make sure that you not only understand the importance of observing and scouting your opponents, but please understand that it is important to observe and scout THE SPORT OF JUDO and look at the possible reactions that you must make and that other may make based upon the IJF 2013 Rule Changes.  You can do this and be a proactive coach and player by getting Judo Scouting Reports today!  At the least you can go and sign up for the free training and coaching.

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