Friday, December 14, 2007

Surprising and educational - made me think

"Judo is the best art to start with… Jiu-Jitsu breeds students who base their fighting ability on technique. That means you will naturally see a major difference in a Judoka and a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. The difference is a Judoka will be a force, bred to be aggressive with technique as a secondary focus. The Jiu-Jitsu student is bred to look for the easiest ways to accomplish something. This means they will generally be lazier than the latter…If a student starts with JJ they will find it much harder to build those attributes to push their technique under extreme circumstances. The Judoka doesn't have the same difficulty in learning the important technique after the fact…It is a mindset that we are talking about. And when someone is bred to be lazy, breaking that spell could possibly be impossible." Dave Camarillo

I thought this was the most surprising and interesting part of the Dave Camarillo interview. Coming up through the ranks in judo, we were absolutely indoctrinated with Kano’s ideal of maximum efficiency with minimal effort (MEME). And we bought into that ideal too. I’ve been worried lately that this perhaps made some of us lazier than the jiu-jitsu guys, who seem so rough and tough. Now Dave Camarillo comes along and says that in his opinion, the judo guys are the rough and tough, strength before efficiency guys and that the jiu-jitsu guys are the true believers in Kano’s MEME ideal, the misuse of which can make jiu-jitsu guys lazy. A total reversal of how I thought the world worked. Surprising and educational - made me think.
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This sort of reminds me of Protestant churches that split over some political issue and the people of one faction say. “I believe in God the Father Almighty…” and the folks of the other faction say, “No you don’t, I believe in God the Father Almighty...” Who is right? Who are the true believers? In the case of judo and jiu-jitsu, I’d say they are probably both true believers – more evidence for my previous claim that judo and jiujitsu are merely brand names for the same thing – they are based on the same technical ideal of MEME.
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I do have to admit, though, that there is also a counter-ideal in judo – perhaps mostly unspoken, and certainly not as famous as Kano’s MEME, but still there. You have to be effective before you can worry about being efficient. Or as Rhadi recently put it in once of his CDs, “proficiency before efficiency.” I once heard one coach describe this as the idea that, “There is no such thing as good or bad technique. Anything that puts the opponent on his back on the mat is good technique.” I wrote on this ideal here. I suspect you don’t have to search too deep in jiu-jitsu to find that ideal too.

1 comment:

  1. All due respect to those two gentlemen, but I completely disagree. Proficiency to a large extent depends on efficiency.

    I can understand that in the competition-obsessed world of judo, power counts for everything. That's why weight-lifting became mandatory for anyone wanting to compete.

    But as you rightly point out, Kano's philosophy got jettisoned in the process. It's funny that the jiu-jitsu people picked it up. Remember when Royce never lifted weights and yet dominated in the early UFC's? And now he's getting caught with steroids.

    I also disagree that finding the most efficient pathway in a technique makes someone lazy. Achieving that efficiency takes a LOT of hard work.

    Formosa Neijia

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