Monday, December 15, 2014

Is the IJF ban on other combat sports a bad thing?

When news broke that the IJF has banned ranked judo players from competing in other combat sports, famed judoka-turned-MMA champion Ronda Rousey was outraged (to say the least).

Rather harsh words but of course one can understand where she's coming from. She might be from the USA, a rich country, but there's little money in American judo. So, she moved on to MMA and is huge star in those circles. She's even a movie star now.

The world of judo is very divided about this topic. In recent years, there has been a trend for judo players to cross train with BJJ, probably to get extra newaza practice. Some have also strayed into MMA, probably to make some extra income.

In 100 Percent Judo's interview with Travis Stevens, he was asked about MMA and his answer was quite telling. He basically said he didn't particularly like MMA but he would do it for money. Well, now it looks like he can't even do that.

The ones who welcome the ban fall into two camps, the traditionalists and the purists (somewhat similar but not the same).

The traditionalists are the ones who don't like change. They generally oppose the blue judogi and prefer judo players to wear all white. They also don't like the IJF rule changes that prohibit grabbing of legs etc... (They probably wish kani-basami was still legal, that matches still lasted 45 minutes like in the days of Kano, and that women's judo is not yet an Olympic sport).

The purists, in contrast, can accept change. They are fine with blue judogis. They can accept and adapt to rule changes. They welcome women's participation in judo. But they just like judo and don't care at all for BJJ or MMA or Sambo or any other combat sports. Their heart is in judo and only judo.

I would say I fall into the second category. I just like judo. It's unfortunate of course that the ban on "any other combat sports, other than judo" for ranked players will mean that such players cannot earn extra income by competing in other combat sports. But things are starting to change in judo and there is now some prize money to be won international events.

Okay, so you have to be an international champion to win money and the money's probably not all that great compared to what you can win in other combat sports. But at least there's some money to be won. It didn't used to be that way just a few years ago. So, there's improvement.

Hopefully, over time, more money will flow into judo and players will not even have to consider competing in other combat sports just to make ends meet.

1 comment:

  1. Why does the IJF itself have a ban on other combat sports? Have they provided an official reason?