Undoubtedly one of the most common questions any judo Sensei has been asked: will judo techniques be effective in an actual street-fight? The short answer is YES! But first, let’s clarify a few things.
Judo is combat self-defense.
In judo, you learn all of the exciting combinations of grappling, wrestling, throwing, choke-holds and arm-locks. All of which you could definitely use in a street fight. Typically, most people who find themselves in a dangerous situation or sudden conflict are often unarmed or have no immediate access to any type of weaponry or defensive equipment (guns, baseball bats, pots and pans, you name it…) They are left to fend for themselves with whatever they have handy and all too often it’s not much. So that leaves you and your hands — what do you do? You defend, subdue and, if needed, create an opportunity for escape. Judo teaches close range hand-to-hand combat which is highly effective in any street fight.
“But don’t you use thick uniforms in judo? What if I don’t have anywhere to grip or hold onto my opponent?”
Another excellent question and you’re right — we use a very thick uniform called a “gi” when we practice judo. The material is thick and coarse to the touch in order to withstand the aggressiveness of sparring. But that’s besides the point. Although a gi used during judo practice, the form of any takedown can easily be modified to only use a person’s limbs and you certainly won’t need a uniform to execute a choke-hold or armbar! This is often called “No Gi Judo”, which is judo without the use of a uniform. Here are some videos of popular throws that could be used without a gi:
Ippon Seoi-Nage and No-Gi Ippon Seoi-Nage
O-goshi and No-Gi O-goshi
Osoto-gari and No-Gi Osoto-gari
Judo as a longterm passion.
Judo eliminates the need to defend with a weapon; though very handy, this is not always readily available. Judo teaches you how to be comfortable maneuvering against another person’s attack by leveraging your opponent’s weight and strength against them. You could be facing off with someone much heavier or taller than you and it would not matter if you are properly skilled in judo. That being said, to say it takes years and years to develop a finesse in judo is an understatement but very true. Until then, we encourage all judokas to continue training, push your limits and stay out of trouble!