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shihonage 04-02-2004 02:22 AM

So I took a Judo class today...
I just went ahead and took a class in the local Judo school.
I have no Judo experience. I have studied Aikido for 4 years.

It was a 2 hour class.
First we started with warmups which involved jogging around the mat, jogging around the mat backwards, sliding around the mat sideways, front rolls, backward rolls, that wheel thing that I cannot do, some stretches, 10 "Judo-pushups", a forward and backward "bridge" and other crap.

There was also a sort of a "punching sausagebag" which was put in the middle of the room vertically and we had to jump and roll over it. I did pretty well, asides from slightly tipping it in flight and knocking it over.

Then we had to crawl, then crawl while sitting and using the back part of the feet, and then crawl backwards sitting while using the uh... basically... butt movement.

Then there was the technique portion, where we practiced some takedown, then seionage (not shihonage!) and then how to do seionage when the first takedown fails.

Apparently in Judo resistance is encouraged and so I gave resistance, probably too much, just having Aikido posture and shifting weight/stepping away/turning knees when I felt disbalanced, and pretty much stopping the other guy's technique.
So I easened up on it a bit because I didn't want to be the analog of Aikido's "bad uke". The rules are fuzzy to me at this point.

I kept trying to do iriminage instead of grabbing the guy's collar behind his neck and I always kept letting go of my grab after the throw, which is wrong in Judo.
I was also not close enough initially.

In Judo you really feel the consequences of a sloppy technique. REALLY.

After techniques there was the randori session which I stayed out of.
Some guys were a tad too young and teenage-y angsty for my taste(had the whole "ya lookin' at me ? ill give you evil eye" syndrome going), and I was not sure my ukemi could handle their possible lack of emotional self-control.

Some guy explicitly explained to me the differences between martial art and a sport art, and that people really aren't rewarded for breaking wrists in sport competitions.

After the class was over, I came up to a guy who looked relatively sane and calm, and asked him to do a light randori session with me, if possible minus the super high falls.

I managed to throw him using seionage, to my surprise.

Then another guy who came in late and wasn't sweating much, decided to spar with me. I was already out of breath.
Initially I locked him into a sankyo, and I could've locked him down but I didn't want to risk breaking his wrist as he didn't know the ukemi.

Soon enough I just stopped trying because I was really tired, and just was mostly on the defensive as he kept using the same hip throw to land me on the floor.
I was too tired to figure out how to stop it.

The instructor, a former Judo champion from Soviet Union (where I migrated from too, coincidentally), seemed initially like a big contrast to a typical Aikido Sensei.
At the end of the children's class (before the class I attended) when he was making kids spar, he was yelling things like "You're disappointing me ! Don't laugh, fight ! Don't just stand there ! Don't let him just throw you ! Why are you crying ? Cry later, fight now !" etc etc.

But during the adult class I saw that he was a man with powerful technique but not the typical "Cobra Kai evil master".
He has self control and he is kind, just not so kind when students are slacking off.

At the end of my after-class sparring with that newly-appeared guy, I finally got slammed into the ground too fast and my tired reflexes didn't cushion the fall, so I got my air knocked out of me.
Even my voice changed a little for a minute...

The prior times I've been thrown by this guy, however, Aikido breakfalls have served me better than I anticipated.
The mats in the dojo are also harder than mats in my Aikido dojo.

At the end of class the instructor demonstrated to me that he also knows Aikido techniques. He has great respect for Aikido, and his opinion is that it is a fast and deadly art.
"On the street, I would not use Judo. I would use Aikido." he said, and then did an intense version of one of those Aikido "float uke up and throw" throws.

He also demonstrated katate tori kokyunage, katatetori ikkyo, etc, all very energetic and lightning fast.

He said, that Aikido needs Judo to work, basically. Aikido is the highest level art and it cannot work without Judo.
He's a good guy.

Now I'm sitting here with slightly shaky hands, bruised fingers and some bruises on my legs which will probably only show up tomorrow.

I really don't know what am I supposed to do here.

I went to try Judo to experience the feeling of real competition and I got it.

But in our Aikido class we have some ex-Judo people who got fed up with it.
I can sort of see how some things about Judo dojo can start eating at them after a while - probably a higher injury rate and in general non-peaceful, competitive atmosphere having to do something with it.

On the other hand Judo will allow me to learn things that are simple, proven to work, and effective.
Ugly, but effective against a single opponent.

This instructor guy has JuJitsu/Aikido/Tai Chi skills which are backed up practically by his competitive Judo skills. If he can make Tai Chi work against Mike Tyson, I wouldn't be surprised.

Blah. So that's that.
I have a feeling that I may need Judo to have strong Aikido.
On the other hand, I have a feeling that my recent jiyu-waza sessions in Aikido have been improving, and I've been really getting into the whole flowing thing.

Studying Judo at this point will not confuse me in technique and footwork but it MAY confuse my mind and prevent the "Aiki" mindset needed for Aikido techniques. Blah.

I would be really curious to hear what someone like Peter Rehse or someone else who crosstrains in Judo has to say about this... to help me clear my mind.

PeterR 04-02-2004 03:06 AM

Keep going Alexsey but remember what Kenji Tomiki said.

[paraphrased]When you train Judo - train Judo, when you train Aikido - train Aikido.

Judo will add something to your overall training that Aikido generally misses so I think your Aikido will improve but that might not be clear right away. Leave the Aikido at home when you go to the Judo dojo for now. Don't even try to relate the two at this stage.

Kensai 04-02-2004 06:54 AM

I also thought the same.

I did Judo with only 6 months of Aikido behind me. I've now been doing Aikido for nearly 2 whole years (wow) and I believe Aikido to work without Judo as long as you work hard at your Aikido.

Judo, no doubt is great. But I felt that for every 2 steps I made forward with AIkido I would take one back with the total attitude and technique difference of Judo.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Judoka and what they do, as they do it bloody well.

The key factor with Aikido training (in my very humble soon to be blue belt, (hopefully), opinion) is that Aikido NEEDS energy, you need to have Uke being honest, clear, powerful, fast and centered. If you have that then you're on your way.... I think.

bob_stra 04-02-2004 09:14 AM

Re: So I took a Judo class today...
Hey Aleksey

Other than the slightly disturbing kiddy name calling, this seems a 'typical' judo class. Ie: not a really top notch one nor a bottom of a barrel one. But a very 'sporty' club by the sounds of it? In those types of clubs, agression is encouraged, as tournament wins = going up in belt rankings.

General comments - the warm-ups are usually fun. Might be just me - we have lots of kids over here, so most classes tend to be ... interesting. Just last week, for breakfall practice, sensei grabbed a hanging rope (we share the floor with a gymnastic group), swung on it like a pirate, then did a breakfall. "Now you try" he sez to the kids ;-)

Re: Resistance in judo. I usually say to my partner "ok, let's go at X %" so that they know how much resistance to give. It sounds like you were working uchikomis (static throws). Typically, you start out with no resistance for the first set, then maybe work upto 30% "simple resistance" - generally just being stiff, not doing crazy counters etc. Kinda an unwritten rule there, unless stated otherwise.

Re: irimi nage. Just wait till you get to osotogari ;-) I keep doing that with irimi nage arm follow thru, much to my amusement.

Re: Angsty young guys. Yes. Protect yourself from them. They can and will hurt you. Mostly happens in 'sporty clubs', but you can run into it anywhere. Diffuse it with humor, or lay the smack down once to earn their respect.

Re: Judo needs Aikido to work. IMHO, Judo benefits from Aikido in illustrating body connections. The method of instruction in Aikido is quite different to that of Judo. Sometimes, amidst all the high flying fun, you miss out on the subtle details that Aikido excels at. (rotate this, to cause that to turn, to force this over here to happen, thus making the throw easier).

Aikido benefits from judo's rough and tumble. All the esotera in the world will do you no good once some gorilla grabs you and decides to play. You need to know how to shut it down in "real time", against a non compliant opponent. Take heart - judo defense develops a lot quicker than judo offense. (especially in newaza - groundwork)

Finally -

Blind fate seems to have steered me towards clubs where the judo is very much on par with Aikido methodology (more tech, less brute strength, non sporty clubs). Try another club - you might get lucky and find something better. I hear the Zen Judo guys are quite like that, if you can find em.

or ask over at

bob_stra 04-02-2004 09:23 AM

One last thing I forgot to mention

Judo is only "ugly" when equally skilled opponents match up and the will to win overcomes the will to learn. Sadly, we all do it now and again.

Try randori with a non psychotic black belt. You will be stunned at how beautiful judo really is.

I hope you go back for the newaza. Once you get callosuses on your fingertips and knuckles, you can consider yourself a True Judoka (tm)

mantis 04-02-2004 09:43 AM

Almost all of the old school Aikido instructors I've met have all been experienced Judoka. Ask them how that has helped their aikido.

Judo teaches you how to fall from a variety of quick throws (you can't roll out of them like in aikido). Learning to take gook Judo ukemi is very important, and will prevent most injuries.

There are 8 ways to unbalance an opponent in judo. Having a deep understanding of this can only benefit you.

Judo teaches you how to think on different lines of off-balance. (down the line of the feet, and perpendicular to that line).In that way you can set up uke into whatever position you like.

All circular motions in Aikido are really just linear breaks one after another (down the line, then perpendicular, then down the line, then perpendicular etc), So by studying Judo, you can get a deeper understanding of these off balances.

Judo is a grabbing (close contact) art, while Aikido is mostly at arms distance.

If you ever get to close to an attacker, Judo will definitely help you out, not to mention the ground work that you learn.

In Judo (like aikido) strength will come from those who lack technique.

As far as an ("Aiki" mindset needed for Aikido techniques), I'm not sure what this is, but I'm sure Judo won't hinder it.

hope this helps!

mantis 04-02-2004 09:45 AM

double posted???

L. Camejo 04-02-2004 10:12 AM

Happy you had fun Aleksey.

From my Judo experiences, I have often gained a deeper understanding of how to utilise kuzushi and manipulate Uke's balance in new ways for Aikido technique.

In ne waza the iriminage hand position tends to help me to get off strangle techniques really quickly (I love submission techs :)).

Bob spoke about the Iriminage hand position with osotogari. We did this technique in a self defence class (Aikido-based) recently. The resulting ukemi scared even the more seasoned Judoka on the mat when the 2 techs were combined. Guaranteed to dislodge anything in the lungs that ain't supposed to be there.:)

One thing I learnt recently about Judo though, even though in the early stages (or against equally matched competitors) it may look "ugly", there comes a point where the appearance of technical grace is almost identical to Aikido. As some Judoka get older and don't have the muscle strength to use to support poor technique, things start looking more and more like Aikido.

Just some thoughts. This thread reminds me more and more why I love Tomiki's approach to Aikido.:)


mantis 04-02-2004 10:30 AM

Off the top of my head, here are some aikido instructors that have also studied judo:

Kenji Tomiki

Kazuo Chiba

Senta Yamada

Yasuo Kobayashi

Karl Geis

Tetsuro Nariyama

Renjiro Shirata

Shoji Nishio

Gozo Shioda

John Waite

Koichi Tohei

bob_stra 04-02-2004 11:12 AM

There is one thing that bugs me (and may bug you).

While the breakfalls in judo are very effective in what they do, they don't really "flow/accept/yield" into the mat, esp side breakfall.

Does anyone have any advice on some kind of combo judo/aikido side ukemi that would result in less "splat" AND would work if thrown with a dynamic judo throw?

(yeah, it's a quest I'm on ;-)

(and PS: Is this stuff on the fabled Waite ukemi tape?)

Back to your regularly scheduled thread.

Chris Birke 04-02-2004 11:39 AM

Bob, this isn't precisely what you're after, but I think it's in the same spirit.

Certainly intruiging, nonetheless.

bob_stra 04-02-2004 11:54 AM

Ah yes, the ever controversial turnout.

I try and use em when falling from tomoe nage. I frikken hate that fall. Much nicer to cartwheel out. At best, you can land right into north and south, grinning at your own brilliance. At worst, you are forced to do a bridgefall at mid cartwheel, landing heavily on your feet, but still minimizing his the ippon. (note: this is a good way to break ankles)

Turnouts are pretty damn dangerous tho. I think we all had a long debate on here a while back - the consensus seemed to be that they're not true ukemi at all, but rather a counter technique. if I'm getting thrown, I'd rather (A) just get throw and setup something nasty for you on the ground (B) "Spoil" - jam, then drag you down with me & repeat A.

Combo aikido / judo breakfall -

This is the closest to what I'm speaking of (that I've seen online).

Not sure it'd work when thrown with taiotoshi, haraigoshi etc. But I sure wish it did ;-)

Getting slammed down 50 times in a row sure ain't beer and skittles.

Ok - gotta stop hijacking Aleksey thread. If anyone knows anything on this topic, sent me a private message.

David Edwards 04-02-2004 12:04 PM

Add Ken Cottier to that list, too. For him though, and a number of the ones on your list, they moved on to Aikido and never taught / trained in Judo again.

Coincidentally, I also went to a Judo class on Wednesday night, something I've been intending to do for quite some time, at my friend's club (that is, she is a student there, not the instructor).

Warm up was just a few quick gentle stretches, then into nage undo, that was pairing up and going through a throw until just the point where you have them and could throw them, then take it no further, and go back and do it a few times.

Next, light randori. This was fun, as I found they didn't know how to use their seika tanden, or, rather, didn't realise they had one. So I didn't exert myself at all, and just used my centre and posture to negate anything they tried to do, and just waited for a technique to hand itself to me on a plate for me to do (it always did within about 10 seconds). One amusing thing about submission fighting: Held above-mentioned friend down in Ikkyo, and she didn't submit, so I said:

"This is the part where you submit"

"But you're not hurting me"

"Oh.. right.. well.. if you insist"

"AAargh!" *tap tap*

Just speaking to her on MSN as I write this... turns out that that arm hurt the next day if she extended it... Eeps.

There was one guy, not very skilled (orange belt) but quite strong, on whom I wasn't able to put on dozen techniques a minute, and also learned that a lot of the non-Aikido techniques I know (from Jujitsu and Ninjutsu, mainly) are illegal in Judo. As I discovered when immobilizing his arm with acupressure / doing a triangular leg choke in a way that admittedly would snap his neck if I took it too far, but is safe when done in a controlled fashion, etc.

We had a short session of refereed competition, and in my own competition, I was against a blue-belt I hadn't met before... was carefully minding my centre, keeping my posture, letting him use up all his strength (and he judging from how much he was leaping about and running around and the expression on his face, he was) then he made quite a good hip throw and I... forgot where I was (i.e., not in an Aikido dojo where we would co-operate) and took ukemi for him, lol. And, what's more, because my ukemi was good, it made his throw look excellent, and he got full marks. Hehe, never mind.

We played a game whereby we all held each others' sleeves in a circle, and tried to sweep the legs of those next to us. I found people on both sides of me pulling away from me rather than trying to attack me, net result being that I was struggling not to be pulled apart most of the time... swept a few ppl away in the process though :)

We did quite a bit French Randori afterwards, in which we would throw once, then our partner throw once, then we throw once, etc. I grabbed a guy I hadn't been able to play with before, an immature prat that my friend had told me about, and he'd been pretty offensive to and about her while I was there too... so, I let him try to throw me for about five or ten minutes at a time, while I just stood in kamae posture and did my very best (and, for once, succeeded, lol) to exhibit immovable posture (fudo no shisei, IIRC). All the while asking him things like "What's your favourite throw, do that one... what's your best throw, try that (all the while keeping a pleasant demeanour), I tell you what, I don't know much Judo, show me some of the easiest throws that you need to do for yellow belt (and I didn't let him do them sucessfully, was just an immovable uke for him... he was a green belt btw)... eventually he gives up, and says, you have a go, so I throw him once, quickly but safely, and say "Your go again", and this goes on for ages... Perhaps mean of me, but I think he deserved it. I'll admit to "helping" him to get up (using sankyo) a few times (gently, but enough that it hurt just a little)... does this make me a bad Aikidoka?

Anyway, the Sensei here said that he had quite a respect for Aikido, and knew my Sensei from a long time ago. He seemed a nice guy who took things quite light-heartedly, and was not your stereotypical macho tough-guy Judoka. Enjoyable as the class was... I don't think I actually learned any Judo from it. IMHO, Judo's a good thing to learn... but for me... not in this life. Too busy with Aikido and other things.

mantis 04-02-2004 12:55 PM


David Edwards wrote:
Add Ken Cottier to that list, too. For him though, and a number of the ones on your list, they moved on to Aikido and never taught / trained in Judo again.

David, your right about that. If anyone's instructor has taken Judo, ask them what they got out of it, and how it surfaces in their Aikido.

It would be interesting to find out.

shihonage 04-02-2004 01:52 PM

Thank you for all the replies.

I think I found a better way to sum up why my mind is at unrest regarding this.

I think I have to choose between Judo and Aikido.

A person has only one set of reflexes, and I want to react properly when my life/well-being is on the line.

1) I'm not interested in competitions.

I'm interested in survival.

Aikido seems much better suited for that.

It goes hand in hand with what reality self-defense schools teach.

I don't want to move my hips INTO someone who has a knife.

I don't want to lock myself to one opponent and land with him on the ground.

2) I have been able to avoid fights since 12th grade.

Is it really worth it for me to shift into training mode where I come home feeling beaten and bruised every time ?

Where conflicts I have at work only get escalated instead of dissolved, in my head ?

3) Judo is a sport.

One thing I forgot to mention is that Judo guys who tried to throw me actually fell down several times while I did nothing but keep my balance.

Especially the last guy, who actually went full force/full speed trying to get his hips under me and bam, he's on the floor.

That was hilarious. He probably had 10lbs on me.

In real life when a Judo person tries to close the distance like that, not only their chances of a throw are far worse with an Aikidoka, but they will get punched in the head, kneed in the face, gouged in the eyes, uppercut, etc.
An Aikidoka has a sense of atemi when the comfortable distance has been breached.

Sport is not survival, and I don't want sport to give me wrong habits which may cost me when I'm attacked by some moron in a bad neighborhood.

Aikido stuff which doesn't work with a Judoka due to rules, WOULD work once I land a solid hit on their face immediately and then move.

A grab interrupted by a punch in the face (or two) WOULD allow for a nikkyo or whatever.
In fact nikkyo HAS a punch or two built-in as they go together with footwork.

I don't mean to insult Judo, and maybe this sounds arrogant from someone who's been only to one class, but hey, I have to make some kind of decisions.

I've been able to use Aikido just fine recently vs. dedicated sincere punches and kicks from a friend, did a perfect yokomen shihonage without them even feeling it, and all that.
Even did perfect ikkyo ura while riding resistance from their punch as it was unfolding.

Aikido allows me to hold my own when grappling with a much heavier man (like my father or just a much more skilled man, like my Judo uncle). Sure I can't really throw them, but I can, for the most part, prevent them from throwing me.

If I do keep at Judo, thats going to be my main mode of behavior in randori...

Be centered, negate throw attempts, conserve energy.

If they fall on their ass as a result of my evasion, great.

If not, whatever.

David Edwards 04-02-2004 02:00 PM

Well said in many places. I think *rereads post* yes, I agree with everything you said in your last post there :) But hey, I'm biased. But then, I suppose that bias is born out of reason.

Duarh 04-02-2004 02:26 PM

On a somewhat related line. . .something that caught my eye in Aleksey's original post. . .

The fact that a judo instructor appears mean while teaching judo really seems to have little connection with the 'actual' meanness of the instructor :). My original aikido teacher was also a judo 4th dan and big in the sport during Soviet times - he now teaches judo to a large group of younger folks who often go on to win international competitions on the junior level. It's sometimes really scary to watch him teaching a judo class - shouting, extorting, reprimanding severely, driving the kids up and down ropes without reprieve. . . Then we go in for an aikido class, and suddenly he's polite and very controlled - still strict, but also more formal and respectful, a different person altogether.

I think this probably has to do with two things - 1) the difference between teaching a kids' class and an adults' class 2) the difference in idealogy between competetive judo training and aikido training. Most folks do aikido for the enjoyment they get out of it - winning competitions really is not a factor - while in competetive judo people have different motivations and are, therefore, ready to accept different levels of external motivation.

I sure am not qualified to talk about how "effective" judo is - I just know I prolly wouldn't enjoy it that much because of how "messy" it always appears to me :). Belts and gis all over the place. . .:D

willy_lee 04-02-2004 05:53 PM


Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
Entirely correct.

I've been there a few times.

You mentioned the hard mats. I also thought they were pretty darn hard at first. After the first couple nights, they started feeling soft again though. :)

After a month at judo, I went back to an aikido class. I was okay during class doing set techniques, but I tried doing some jiyuwaza afterward and ... it was horrible :) I kept getting mixed up in my head and doing stuff sorta halfway between judo and aikido and not doing well at either. I think I'll try to keep them more separate for a while.

I love the osotogari/iriminage combo. Lately I've been tending to throw more hip into iriminage anyway; adding in the leg sweep is a very natural-feeling addition. I still suck at it though :)


Be centered, negate throw attempts, conserve energy.
that's good strategy for some things, but not for learning judo, if that's what you want to do.

Aleksey, you have to come back for some newaza nights! That's so much fun :)

Belts and gis all over the place. . .
I think this is because most people, in any gi-wearing art, do not tie their belts correctly. The way I learned to tie my belt, it rarely ever comes untied, even during newaza.


Charles Hill 04-03-2004 03:23 AM


james bennington (mantis) wrote:
Off the top of my head, here are some aikido instructors that have also studied judo:

You forgot Morihei Ueshiba.

Charles Hill

James Whatling 04-03-2004 06:19 AM

As a newbie to Aikido
I guess that as long as you enjoyed the lesson , it was time well spent. I think sometimes there is too much of "Aikido better that Judo" , but to me that is like saying "Rugby is better that American Football" There both look kind of the same to someone who has no idead but if you play both you will know that they are very different. I don't think that should things such be compared. Just enjoyed in they onw time ans space.

It's just what I think.

jk 04-03-2004 07:11 AM

Aleksey, I'm not trying to be rude, but other than maybe your uncle, did have a chance to try randori against assorted judo yudansha? I think judging judo by how you do against the mudansha might not be very helpful in evaluating judo. I wasn't too impressed with aikido myself until I got a chance to feel a yondan's technique.

It might be a good idea to try being defensive (being centered, negating throws)against a few decent judo yudansha. The last time I tried that, I became an ashiwaza test dummy. Luckily, I had plenty of experience being kicked in the legs.

Kensai 04-03-2004 12:15 PM

Aikido may not be better than Judo, but RUGBY is better than American Football.....

willy_lee 04-03-2004 01:14 PM

Oh I forgot
Aleksey said:

Then we had to crawl, then crawl while sitting and using the back part of the feet, and then crawl backwards sitting while using the uh... basically... butt movement.
I thought this was pretty interesting. It's basically shikko, except using the cheeks of your buttocks instead of your knees. Once I realized that it was shikko I could use most of the same body control.

Is there a Japanese name for this kind of movement?

Interesting all the different ways of moving there are ... once I read about a teacher of harimau silat who could stand straight up and move along the mat using nothing but his toes to pull himself along. I thought this was an interesting, but useless, parlor trick, until I read later that during grappling he would use his toes as extra "fingers" and in particular was known for his extremely painful pinches using his toes.


shihonage 04-03-2004 03:12 PM


John Kuo (jk) wrote:
Aleksey, I'm not trying to be rude, but other than maybe your uncle, did have a chance to try randori against assorted judo yudansha? I think judging judo by how you do against the mudansha might not be very helpful in evaluating judo..

The teacher did show me some things and his technique was a lot less jerky and more graceful than his students.

Once he took the balance he had me under control and then he could do something akin to Aikido's spiral taking-of-more-and-more balance.

On the other hand, I AM a mudansha in Aikido, so I guess it would make sense to compare to Judo yudansha if I was one myself.

David Edwards 04-04-2004 02:01 PM


Willy Lee (willy_lee) wrote:
I read about a teacher of harimau silat who could stand straight up and move along the mat using nothing but his toes to pull himself along. I thought this was an interesting, but useless, parlor trick, until I read later that during grappling he would use his toes as extra "fingers" and in particular was known for his extremely painful pinches using his toes.

For some time I've had this idea wandering around my head that it would be possible to use one's toes to do acupressure techniques, if one developed sufficient toe strength and control... but then the sensible part of me says "Yes David, but learn to do it properly with your hands, first"

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