History Lesson

Ok. Here’s the answer to the question “What’s the difference between Judo and BJJ”. Honestly…… the competition rules. In essence the are the same. If you took a Judo Player and gave them the BJJ rules and said “go for it” in 30 years it would look identical to BJJ. If you gave BJJ Players the Judo rules, the same thing would happen. The sport versions of both are equally perverted (and of course equally cool/useful). Historically, they are developments of the same thing. It goes like this:

1: Jiu-Jitsu of various styles in Japan used many different theories to fight. Some were mostly throws, some striking, some submissions on the ground, some standing wrist locks and such. Each one was very stylized and very specialized to their theory. Jiu-Jitsu was kind of a catch all phrase. There were different “styles” of it.

2: Jigoro Kano looked at all the styles and decided that the most effective ideas came from 2 schools. They were the Kito Ryu that focused on throws, and the Tenshin Shinyo Ryu tha focused on submissions. Weird. Sounds like Judo and BJJ. Well, Kano put them together into one coherent system. He then decided that live training was neded to really improve the art. He basically pioneered the concept of rolling as a major training method as opposed to just the choreographed practice that was so prevalent. These were his main contributions. Where it all went downhill was (as always) when the focus became competition. Kano encouraged competing for its ability to create growth in a persons character and technique. The problem is that people become obsessed with winning “the game” and not using the game to improve their art. This begins to alter what and hw they do things. So Judo began to deteriorate by focusing too much on the throws. But before it did…. It made it to Brazil.

3: By the time Judo got to Brazil, it was still whole enough that it had the truth in it, it was just “leaning” toward the downward spiral. Well the Gracies saw it, and breathed the truth back into it. They said “who the hell cares about games… This is for survival!” They developed Judo back into its original fighting form containing both standing and ground. They decided to call it Jiu-Jitsu not Judo to reflect the “getting back to the point” idea. Then, as history tends to repeat itself. Competition becomes more prevalent, and “the game” changes everything.

4: We’ve basically split the art back into its original halves. Now we have “Judo” (Kito Ryu) and BJJ (Tenshin Shinyo Ryu). Judo seems more “sporty” for sure but it’s only because it’s older. Give people long enough to screw BJJ up, and well….. they will. It’s already happening. In the decade I’ve dedicated to this art, I’ve watched it devolve in the public to the “sit on your butt and get a point to win” nonsense that you see at tournaments. I’ve known MANY people who despite being accomplished tournament BJJ Players, can still be made to sit on their hands by an untrained hard ass. Because they know in their heart what the do is a game that resembles fighting. Sad. For them…. and my art.

Damn, this turned into a rant. Oops.

Well, this was all to set up this video, which is an historical film on old school Judo. But as you can see it looks a hell of a lot like BJJ. It’s interesting, when you know the history, to go back and see footage from just before the different splits. It also lets you know that we can and should (I know I try my hardest) to do a little forensic reverse engineering, just like the Gracies before us, and try to mend the split in these branches and get them to grow back together. In your training, don’t forget what you came here for. The point is the fight. The tournament is a way to prepare. If you prepare for the game too much, you can lose sight. Don’t let it happen to you.

Oops…. ranting again.

Here’s the video. Oh, see if you can see all the totally new modern moves like gogoplata and more being done back in the 20’s. Yeah, there’s nothing new only refinement. But I have to stop, or I will rant again. Here:




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