Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Legal or Illegal Bear Hug?

When is a Bear Hug illegal? According to the current IJF rules, it's when it is done as a direct attack. It is not considered a direct attack when either White or Blue has at least one grip on the other. In the video example shown below, Blue has a grip when White lunges in with a Bear Hug. Because of Blue's grip, it is not considered a direct attack.

Ezio Gamba disagrees with that assessment. He says based on his understanding of the rules, if White (Tori) has the grip, White can attack with a Bear Hug. But if White does not have a grip and only Blue (Uke) has a grip, White cannot attack with a Bear Hug.

Juan Barcos disagrees pointing to the written rules about Bear Hug. But Gamba insists the rules are wrong because last year, when he made an IJF video about the rules, it showed that when Uke has the grip, Tori cannot attack with a Bear Hug. The only time Tori can attack with a Bear Hug is when Tori has the grip.

Barcos admits that probably a mistake was made when transcribing the rules onto paper but now that it is done, they have to stick with it until after the 2016 Rio Olympics. After that, the rules can be changed. Gamba is dissatisfied and says they should stick to what was demonstrated on the video last year.

Alexander Iastkevitch gives his opinion that the hug done by White (Tori) was actually not a Bear Hug because he did not clasp (interlock) his own hands. Instead, he hugged the judogi. Barcos explains that clasping (interlocking) is not necessary for something to be considered a Bear Hug. As long as you initiate a direct hugging attack (with or without clasping), it is a Bear Hug. Iastkevitch says if that is the case, then White should be given Shido for Bear Hug.

Iastkevitch is essentially taking the same stance as Gamba, that White is doing something illegal because he did not have a grip when he attacked. Barcos, however, says that's ok because Blue had a grip. That makes it not a direct attack anymore.

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