Thursday, August 28, 2008

Judo Frustrations

I tried to keep up with the Judo events in the recent Olympics, but it was difficult. I never did see where it was broadcast on television. If it was it must have been at 3:00 am. I did get some live video streaming from and they had some replay videos available. But all-in-all it was difficult, unlike swimming, volleyball, or the Equestrian bouts. What I did get to see explains, at least to me, why it didn’t get much airplay. The rules structure of modern sport Judo, especially Olympic Judo, is choking the sport out. Judo provides some of the most intense and technical sparring of any martial arts-based sports, if allowed to play out. However, there is such an emphasis on minute rules, the points system, and the strategic advantage to working these in favor of all-out randori that the action continually stalls. Rather than the dynamic sport Dr. Kano envisioned, modern sport judo reminds me more of a baseball game. You calmly watch and wait for something, anything, to happen. And then as soon as it does it’s over. However, there is some hope. I read that the Olympic committee is considering a re-write of the rules to try and address these very issues. We can only hope that they do. Judo, the martial arts community, and the sports world at large would only benefit.

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