Which Martial Art is Best? Part 1: JUDO

Over the last couple of months, we’ve discussed plenty of mixed martial arts. But sometimes it’s fun to break down each discipline that comprises MMA. A question we used to ask (say, in the days of the first UFC) but don’t anymore is: which is the most effective martial art?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll cover as many disciplines as I can. We’ll start with Judo.

A combination of throws, takedowns and  grappling, Judo was developed in the late 1800s by Dr. Jigoro Kano in Japan. The name of the game is leverage – taking away your opponents’ balance to set up throws. The best Judo practitioners are masters at defeating opponents much larger than them.

So how does Judo stack up against other elements? Essentially, it has similar strengths to both wrestling and Brazilian Jitsu while remaining a unique art. Like wrestlers, Judoka use lots of creative leg sweeps and takedowns to take away opponents’ footing, minimize their balance and neutralize their striking power. Once on the ground, Judoka control their opponent’s using a variety of hold downs, chokes and arm locks, just as BJJ practitioners do.

One strength I notice among Judoka – especially those competing in MMA – is an outstanding ability to evade trouble on the ground. Their timing and leverage makes them very tough to keep in one place.

Famous Judo practitioners: Fedor Emelianenko, Karo Parisyan

Given MMA’s popularity, there’s no more famous Judoka today than Fedor Emelianenko. He’s a Russian gold medalist and Master of Sports in Judo. Given his numerous wins over opponents much bigger than him – like Bob Sapp and Hong-Man Choi – it’s no surprise that he’s a Judo master. That said, Fedor incorporates other elements such as Sambo and boxing into his repertoire.

So where does Judo’s effectiveness rank? The main (if only) criticism is that it doesn’t develop a fighter’s striking ability. On one hand, Fedor has defeated striking juggernauts like Mirko Cro Cop using takedowns; on the other hand, he wouldn’t be nearly as dominant if he didn’t also have heavy hands.

Perhaps a better measuring stick of Judo’s effectiveness is Karo Parisyan, who practices Judo in MMA more exclusively. He’s performed well against other ground fighters, tossing them around the cage like ragdolls. But, when Parisyan struggles, it’s against powerhouse strikers like Thiago Alves (Muay Thai) or Georges St-Pierre (Karate).

As we move onto our next martial art, we know Judo is an extremely effective discipline in that it allows fighters to engage any opponent of any size at any time. But we also know that it leaves a hole in the striking department – one that certain types of fighters can exploit.

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

Judo Clubs Toronto,  North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

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