Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How do you beat Ono?


If you saw Ono in the 2015 Astana World Championships or the 2016 Rio Olympics, he looked pretty damned invincible! So, how do you beat him? Ask these fellas. They've all done it:

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam

Ono (JPN) vs Akimoto (JPN): 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam



Ono had a pretty bad year in 2014. Not only did he lose out in the 2014 World Championships individual event but he lost in the team event too. Then at the end of the year, in the Tokyo Grand Slam, he lost out to compatriot Hiroyuki Akimoto.

Akimoto is no mug, mind you. He's a former World Champion himself. But it's also true that at that point in his career, Akimoto was already past his prime while Ono could be said to be still peaking. Here, experience won out and Akimoto prevailed.

It must be said Akimoto did all the attacking, attempting seoi-nage after seoi-nage until finally one succeeded. It was given only a yuko but that was enough to win him the match. Ono was devastated but of course he would more than redeem himself in 2015 and 2016.

Today he is a double World Champion and Olympic Champion. Sadly, he won't be at the 2017 Budapest World Championships. Hopefully we'll see him at next year's World Championships... perhaps in a different weight class?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ono (JPN) vs Iartcev (RUS): 2014 Chelyabinsk World Team Championships

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam

(Video courtesy of www.ijf.org)
2014 was a bad year for then-defending World Champion Shohei Ono. Not only did he fail to defend his title in the individual competition, Ono also lost in the team championships to Russia's Denis Iartcev. And it wasn't just a fluke win nor was the match decided on penalties.

Ono scored first but Iartcev attacked him mercilessly, first scoring with a counter attack before launching a solid osoto-gari that won him the match. It's safe to say that Ono was soundly beaten here.

Ono (JPN) vs Lee (KOR): 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam


What a spectacular win it was for South Korea's Lee Young-Jun, sweeping World Champion Ono with okuri-ashi-barai for ippon. And with that, the Japanese champion was out of the competition.

Lee's okuri-ashi-barai was actually part of a "twitch" attack where he pretended to attack to the front and when Ono reacted by pulling backwards, Lee did the sweep which absolutely levelled Ono.

Khashbaatar (MGL) vs Ono (JPN): 2013 Paris Grand Slam

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam


It's a fierce battle back and forth between Mongolia's former World Champion Khashbaatar and not yet (then) World Champion Shohei Ono at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam.

Ono actually launches his Mongolian opponent into the air twice but failed to land him on his back or his side. In the end it was Khashbaatar who got the winning throw and it was an uchimata, no less. What a spectacular win.

Ono would go on to the 2013 Rio World Championships six months later.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wang (KOR) vs Ono (JPN): 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships



South Korea's double World Champion Wang Ki-Chun once beat Ono in the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships where he pinned the Japanese for ippon. It actually started out with Ono attacking in groundwork but his tactics went horribly wrong and Wang was able to capitalize on that to pin Ono for the full score.

When is the one-handed sode illegal (hansoku-make)?

My friend and partner-in-crime JudoHeroes pointed me to an interesting video someone posted (see below) which highlights a one-handed sode attack which presumably got hansoku-make. It goes on to ask why one-handed sodes by the likes of Soichi Hashimoto (JPN) are not illegal but in fact are given scores (sometimes ippon).

The answer, it seems, is that if uke gets injured, it's hansoku-make; and if uke is not, it's a legitimate attack. While some might argue that that's a stupid way to decide whether a technique is legal or not, it's certainly not arbitrary. In fact, it's very logical. If you do the attack in such a way that it straightens uke's arm and injures him, it's considered an armlock done in conjunction with a throw, which is illegal as in the case of waki-gatame done with a throw. If you enter into the one-handed sode without straightening uke's arm, like how Hashimoto usually does it, it's fine.

It's true that sometime even when you don't meant to straighten uke's arm, it just happens in the course of the attack because of how uke reacts. Tough luck then. Top players like Telma Monteiro (POR) and Avtandili Tchrikishvili (GEO) have been given hansoku-make for that very reason even though they very clearly were not trying to straighten their respective opponent's arm.

I guess that's the hazard of doing the one-handed sode. If uke's arm gets straighten either by your doing or uke's own fault, you still get the hansoku-make. You might not like this rule but what would be worse is if the one-handed sode is banned all together.

It's worth noting that Hashimoto has at least once been given hansoku-make for straightening the arm during a one-handed sode attack but since then he has managed to perfect his entry so that it doesn't hurt his opponent's arm. If you want to do one-handed sode, it's a pretty good idea to study how Hashimoto does it. While you're at it, you can also look at how Elkhan Mammadov (AZE) and Alan Khubetsov (RUS) do it. Both are also experts at this.

Ono (JPN) vs Sharipov (UZB) : 2012 Paris Grand Slam

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam


(Video courtesy of www.ijf.org)


In 2012, the year before he became World Champion, Shohei Ono took part in the Paris Grand Slam where he came up against Mirali Sharipov of Uzbekistan.

Sharipov, an unorthodox fighter, outgripped Ono and attacked him continuously but there was no score at the end of regular time. In Golden Score, Sharipov wasted no time in throwing Ono with a sumi-gaeshi-like tomoe-nage which scored yuko. That was enough to win him the match.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sainjargal (MGL) vs Ono (JPN): 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam


(Video courtesy of www.ijf.org)

Mongolia's recently-retired Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal is a tough fighter and in his fight against Shohei Ono at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix, he managed to impose a high grip on Ono while preventing the Japanese player from getting his own high grip.

But Sainjargal was not defensive. He put in his fair share of attacks, as did Ono. In the end though, it was Sainjargal's uchimata that scored the ippon.

Ono tried to stop the throw with his left arm. He was lucky it didn't break.

Ono was actually quite lucky he didn't break his arm trying to defend against that throw as you can see from the picture above. It was a good throw and a good win for the Sainjargal, one of the few players in the world who can say he has beaten Ono with Ono's favorite technique for ippon.

The men who managed to beat Ono

Part 1: Sainjargal (MGL) at the 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix
Part 2: Sharipov (UZB) at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam
Part 3: Wang (KOR) at the 2012 Tashkent Asian Championships
Part 4: Khashbaatar (MGL) at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam
Part 5: Lee (KOR) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships

Part 6: Iartcev (RUS) at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships
Part 7: Akimoto (JPN) at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam

Judo fans will miss out on watching Shohei Ono defend his World title because he won't be at the 2017 Budapest World Championships.

The reason is that he did not take part in the Japanese national trials (2017 All-Japan Weight Class Competition), ostensibly because he wanted to focus on his studies, and so he wasn't chosen.

Aside from France's Teddy Riner, it's hard to identify a judo player who is as feared as Ono, who hasn't been beaten since 2015 in IJF World Tour events. So dominant is he today that it's easy to forget that prior to 2015, he was beaten by a handful of players.

In fact 2014, was a pretty bad year for him. He was beaten three times that year. In 2013, he was beaten once, in 2012 twice and in 2011 once. Who are these guys who have beaten him at IJF events?

Well, he's lost to two Mongolians, two South Koreans, an Uzbek, a Russian and a fellow Japanese. Over the course of the next seven days, we'll be showing you highlights from those fights where Ono actually lost (and in some cases, it was by Ippon).

So stay tuned and enjoy this special 7-part mini-series.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

5 Common Mistakes in Cutting Weight

By Amelie Rosseneu

The World Championships is coming up, and soon we’ll start seeing athletes dieting and running around in sweat suits. According to a large scale research involving over 800 judo players at all levels, 82% percent of them are engaged in regular weight loss practices.

Most of them lose 2 to 5% of their bodyweight, while 40% is losing between 5 to 10% and some go even further than that and lose more than 10%. Losing weight in judo is so common it almost feels like it’s part of the sport.

Although many fighters are cutting weight few are doing so under the guidance of a dietitian. Ambition and lack of information are the causes of mistakes in the weight cutting process. Without knowing it, athletes are making their weight loss harder for themselves. Here are five common mistakes:

Mistake #1: Sports drink

A lot of athletes keep drinking sports drink during their weight cutting days. But sports drinks contain a relatively high amount of salt, which retains liquid and therefore sabotages their weight cutting efforts.

Mistake #2: Fruit and vegetables

There is a big difference in the method of weight loss over a long period of time and the tactics of weight cutting used during the last couple of days before weigh-in. While eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a smart way to keep yourself feeling full during a long-term weight loss plan, this is not the right approach for weight cutting periods. Fruit and vegetables contain a lot of fiber and stay for a long time in the intestines. For judo players who need to lose weight for competition this dead weight is the last thing they want.

Mistake #3: Omelette for breakfast

When a competition is far away from home and you find yourself spending a few nights in a hotel, there is always the issue of finding the right food. Eggs for breakfast is a very tempting treat. Eggs are very healthy and contain high quality proteins, but when the hotel’s chef is frying them, there is no telling to how much salt he uses. If you can’t ask the chef to prepare the omelette without salt, you’d better skip it.

Mistake #4: Food on the airplane

Top athletes need to take a plane to go to various IJF World Tour Events. A small snack in the airplane doesn’t seem like it can do much damage to your weight but you’d be surprised. Airplane food always contains a lot of preservatives and additives which will interfere with your weight loss efforts.

Mistake #5: Dehydration too early

Weight cutting can be very stressful, particularly before an important event, when there’s so much weight to lose. Some athletes prefer to play it safe and start dehydrating one week before the competition. This way they reach their weight limit one or two days before the weigh-in and can have peace of mind. But this practice severely damages performance. It’s better to start dehydration as close to weigh-in as possible and spend less time in a dehydrated state.

Amelie Rosseneu is a former international competitor for Belgium and Israel. She is a dietitian and has written a new book: "Making Weight & Everything Else".