Monday, December 15, 2008
IJF Rule Changes for 2009
The International Judo Federation has recently tested and finalized a number of rule changes, and we think it's pretty obvious that no one is better equipped to evaluate these changes than a sankyu and an ikkyu who have never competed beyond the local/regional/state/provincial level. I know, right? The rules themselves can be seen here, here, here, and here.
A.W.: I had sort of expected, before reading the updated IJF rules, that there would be some radical changes. But that is not really what I see to be honest! And that's just fine!
Goodbye koka, no one will mourn you. If there's anything I hate on an aesthetic and personal level, it's anything less than ippon judo. I know that there is an argument to be made for racking up a number of small scores but I think it's sort of garbage. Why tire yourself out when you can use perfect judo to instantly win and look awesome doing it?
Let's see, what else is there to this. Defensive gripping is bad! So is flopping to the ground! Weren't these always against the rules? In any event, that is why judo isn't brazilian jiujitsu, which is a beautiful art in it's own right.
The sokuteiki is a weird lil contraption, I don't know why it is better than a referee's hand but apparently it is!
KS: Yes, there is less here than we had been led to expect, I think, but the abolition (yeah, abolition) of koka is pretty significant. I was hoping that, without koka, the osaekomi times in ne waza would be reduced accordingly, so that ten seconds would score yuko, fifteen waza-arai, and twenty ippon. But alas.
The gripping clarifications are mostly reinforcing existing rules, as my most esteemed colleague has said: excessively defensive gripping is a penalty, endlessly holding your opponent down in obi-tori grip is a penalty, etc. But there are a couple of meaningful changes here, at least in the way these rules are being interpreted for now. Grasping your own lapel to prevent your opponent's grip is a penalty now, and beginning an attack by grabbing the pant legs is a penalty. Both of those changes will be noticeable. Apparently a morote gari where you shoot in, no grip, is still totally cool so long as you hook the legs with your hands or arms? This is the word. And you can grab the hell out of the pants so long as it is in the middle of an attack that you do so. But your first grip can't be a pants grip. I guess.
I like the new boundary rules. So long as one of the competitors is in bounds, and the other, even if he's out of bounds, hasn't deliberately stepped out to avoid fighting, everything is cool. That's a big improvement. It never happened to me, but it was brutal to see people penalized for completely incidentally stepping out of bounds.
Anything to to keep people from pushing the rules on gi size is a good thing as far as I can see, and so I welcome you, sokuteiki.
Finally, I am a little nervous that my drop seoi otoshi will be penalized as a false attack by the overzealous when in truth it is often a genuinely failed attack offered in all earnestness. It is just that dudes do not sail over-top me with the kind of frequency I would like, you know?