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Competition Judo Training: Beating The Stiff Arms Opponent

How To Overcome Stiff Arms In Competition Judo

In my opinion, there really is only one way to deal with a stiff-armed opponent in competition Judo ... Throw them!

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I know it is not that simple but of all the variation that I have been taught over the years, the only ones that ever worked for me in competitions were the ones that involved an actual throw.

But before I detail what I mean by that, let me make one thing very clear: it is only poor competitors that use stiff arms.

These player do it under the mistaken impression that it is a good way to defend and fight.

It's just not true!

A read of the table in this document will show you why. So don't do it.

Not only is it bad Judo it could get you disqualified for "non-combativity".

So if it's illegal why teach to defend against it?

Because whilst the referee is detecting it (and it may take a while as it's not that easy to see quickly) you are having your good contest time ticking away.

Besides if you can beat it before then why wouldn't you?

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Here is my take

So here is my take on dealing with stiff arms, using some videos to help.

This first video by Jimmy Pedro (below) does present some very good options for dealing with stiff arms. He does, however, fail to emphasis the very thing that is from my perspective the most important element and that is drawing or pushing of your opponent into position; though he does show it in the video.

The next video [Link Only] by Judo NYC, in my experience is quite useless in a real contest unless you are up against a very inexperienced opponent. This is because your partner is going to follow you as you move, so you are never going to get around to the side of them. It's not something I would teach my students if only because training to do something that is only ever going to be useful on the odd occasion, is not an efficient use of practice time.

The third video (below) by Kaze Uta Budo Kai is much better except for the very first move. I would never attempt to enter a throw from that far out. Not because of the risk of getting your throw attempt being reversed and you being thrown instead; though that is a possibility. After all, he does skip into it after the initial entry and good practice should avoid that. But rather because from that distance there is a real risk of damage to yourself and your muscles from that position.

If you are going to use the first move you have to make sure you skip in as quick as possible.

Take note that the instructor is all the time drawing in and leading his partner to the setup.

The fourth and last video is basically the traditional method taught and well...

Ok I admit that I am not nor have ever been an Olympic competitor like Matt in this video [Link only]. But I can't believe that people are still teaching this stuff.

The Judo Chop

The Judo Chop? Really?

No I'm not making fun of the name because up until the mid 70's nobody called such a thing a Karate chop. Until then it was always known as a Judo chop.

But even though I know that Matt doesn't mean you to “Strike” because that would be illegal in a contest and could get you disqualified, it doesn't work.

If the “Chop” doesn't work none of the set up's can happen and so the whole thing falls apart.

How do I know that it doesn't work?

Because I've watched hundreds of local contestants try it and I can't recall a single instance where it has worked in a local contest.

If it doesn't work or at best only rarely works in local contest what hope has it in Olympic contest?

No, take the advice of the other video's. Practice throwing whilst making use your opponent's stiff arms. There are many variations, not just the ones I've shown. It's the only way to beat stiff arms.

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