View Full Version : Combat Judo

October 22, 1999, 03:34 PM
I recently (one year ago) took up judo as a self-defense art because I have found the judo/aikido techniques the most useful BECAUSE they are not the most lethal. I realize this is NOT a common opinion among martial artist and would like to explain my reasoning and generate some discussion. Also, let me say I just recently discovered these forums so have not been following the discussion (although yesterday I did read the thread on SCARS)

Now, my background. When I went through Marine officer training in 1984 they were emphasizing hand-to-hand combat training for officers, so we had 6 months of it about 3 times a week at The Basic School and then an additional 3 months almost every day at the Infantry Officer Course. Then I was given an instruction/teaching guide which I used in training my platoons over the next 4 years.

The techniques were very basic, very easy, and were designed to kill or maim your opponent quickly. We also learned some basic takedowns and grab release techniques - to get us out of trouble in bar fights. These were based on judo/aikido techniques.

I've never had to use the "kill techniques" we learned.

I have had to use the judo-based takedowns, holds and grab releases. First time, we were in a big bar fight and a guy jumped me, so I broke his arm at the elbow to get him to let go and then I left the bar QUICKLY.

Second time, I used the takedown on a drunk college classmate who was acting stupid with a butcher knife, and I've used the grab releases/holds A LOT to stop drunken or obnoxious people from starting anything. All judo techniques.

So, I've never had to pummel anyone or attack anyone with my bare hands - never had to strike a lethal blow - but I HAVE had to use pain compliance holds or grab releases often. So, to me, in this age of firearms, if someone is is attacking you in a way that justifies lethal force, YOU SHOOT THEM. But, striking or beating someone who is simply obnoxious, impolite, or testing you out to see if you are a mark is not justified, so a style which allows a range of non-lethal response is better.

In the one case where I was attacked and was NOT armed, I was in a convenience store pouring myself a cup of coffee. Some guy came up to me with a butcher knife, so I threw the BOILING HOT cofee in his face and then whacked him with the pot. It worked - but again, I used a weapon.

ANy thoughts? Contrary opinions? Perhaps some discussion on the use of martial arts in an armed society?

Anyway, I'm starting my kids with judo.

October 22, 1999, 04:34 PM

Judo is an excellent art. Just make sure that the kind of Judo you learn for self-defense isn't Olympic Judo, which mainly emphasizes Ippon throws.

By the way, I tend to agree with you about use of certain techniques against less than "lethal" opponents.

Just because someone is acting stupid doesn't mean that I can take him down and beat him silly or break elbows and knees.

That's why I like chokes. They render the opponent in relatively painless unconsciousness, but no permanent harm is done (except a few lost brain cells, maybe).

Of course, the best thing to do is to simply leave. But I also understand that sometimes that is not feasible.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

October 23, 1999, 11:08 PM
The dojo were I study has many people who are shodan or higher in other arts and we do a lot of cross training with USEFUL stiking and kicking (no spinning back kicks thank you.) We have classes on Mon. and Wed. during the day that started as police only classes (we have about 10 officers at the dojo) then evolved into real world combat judo classes for advanced students. Most of our night classes are sport judo and emphasize full ippon throws. An officer I work with who teaches the combat judo classes (he is a nidan) has thrown 2 bad guys on the street with a very basic O Soto Gari (large outer reap.) Both times, the BG was knocked cold and no further action was neccessary to get them into handcuffs. I think that a basic striking or blocking knowledge, into a basic throw and then good ground fighting skills is what the serious self defense student should be looking for.

October 25, 1999, 09:00 AM

That's great (I mean about the LEO who is Nidan). However, one cannot always count on the opponent going unconscious after a throw. There has to be a follow-up "finishing" technique if only for "just-in-case."

Unfortunately, a lot of sports Judoka do not really care about how they themselves land after Ippon throws ("hey, the match is won") due to their "sports" orientation and mentality.

"Combat" Judo is a really lost art, practiced by a very, very select few Judoka. By the way, early Kodokan Judo (pre-Olympic) was "combat" Judo with extensive array of striking and finishing techniques. Very similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (not surprising since the latter evolved from the former).


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

Rosco P. Coltrain
October 25, 1999, 03:07 PM
The best unarmed fighting art is taijutsu, the art of using the body as a weapon.

October 25, 1999, 08:03 PM
I agree that finishing is very important. When you hit the ground, you better be on top and moving for a choke or arm bar. I don't care much for just trying to pin unless you know backup is close and on the way. I don't know much about Taijutsu as an art, but I believe that everything is a weapon, from my forhead to the ground and everything in between, including walls, cars, benches, chairs, tables, curbs etc. etc. One big problem that I have with sport Judo that doesn't emphasize combatives is the so call "sacrifice throws" such a tomoe nage and uri nage. These throws have no place on the street because they require you to fall straight back and throw your enemy over you. They can fail bad 2 ways. 1 is that you can go straight back into an object and knock yourself out and 2 is that if you are not successful, you are on the ground with your enemy still standing or on top of you. Take care. BTW, for you other Judoka, my favorite throw is Uchi Mata.

Covert Mission
November 4, 1999, 08:03 PM
Alex: I totally agree with you. I am a lapsed (hopefully resuming) Jujutsu student of Hakkoryu/Yo-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-sune style. Yo-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-sune has evolved to adapt to American-style confrontations in the modern world.

The thing I like about the Judo/Jujitsu styles is that you can dial up the force required for the situation, from 1-10. It's not "take no prisoners" like so many hard styles. The encounters you describe are probably the most common we have, and don't warrant destroying the perp (well, maybe if they have a knive?). You drunk brother-in-law may be a jerk, but if you break him in two....dohhh!

I just wish someone taught a really condensed course in the 10-20 most effective basic techniques. I just don't have the time to devote 10 hrs a week in the dojo. Any advice?

Btw: maybe you should get a Kydex holster for your coffee pot. That worked well!

[This message has been edited by Covert Mission (edited November 04, 1999).]

November 5, 1999, 10:41 AM
Covert Mission:

Wouldn't we all like to learn 10-20 condensed techniques and then be able to "kick ass" in the streets?

The truth of the matter is that it is indeed better to practice 20 techniques 1,000 times than practicing 1,000 techniques only 20 times. So, your desire for learning the most effective 20 techniques is understandable.

However, nothing comes naturally in this world without practice. Perhaps 10 hours per week is too excessive for some, but I'd think that at the very minimum, one ought to practice two hours, twice a week (total of four hours) to keep existing techniques sharp while making improvements. Three times a week is even better. If three or four times a week is too tiring, for example, one can reduce the intensity level a bit. If it's a time problem, you can reduce other activities (less weight lifting or running, more Dojo time, etc.).

Really, once a week is not enough to make a progress, I think (kinda like lifting only once a week and expecting to become muscular).

Just my two bits.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu