Judo Blog: Kosen Judo - Back to the Future
The Japanese game of Sansukumi-kenRock-Paper-Scissorsdepicts the three styles of fighting. 'Rock or striking' i.e. karate, TKD, boxing, 'Paper or wrapping' i.e. judo, wrestling, sambo, and 'Scissors or weapons' i.e. sword, bow & arrow, gun. While Jigoro Kano included ne-waza groundwork and atemi-wazi striking in kata and self-defense, his bias towards tachi-waza throwing is apparent as he incorporated 65 of these techniques with endless variations into his new judo.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu's rise in popularity since the beginning of the UFC in the early 90's underscored the renewed interest in the usefulness of grappling martial arts in no holds barred competitions. Before that debuted on pay for view TV, striking arts dominated Hollywood productions with the success of Bruce Lee's brand, Kung Fu the series, and the Karate Kid movies.
Gary Goltz & Bob (O'Hara) Wall with their sports cars
In 2008 I had the distinct honor to meet the late Toshikazu Okada from the Kodokan the last remaining student of was Tsunetane Oda, who considered founder of Kosen Judo. Okada Sensei did a clinic at my dojo in Claremont, California along with my good friend and mentor Hal Sharp who was recently promoted 10th degree black belt by the Nanka Judo Yudanshakai (the SoCal Judo Black Belt Consortium).
Hal Sharp & Toshikazu Okada
Kosen is an abbreviation for koto senmon gakko or higher school such as college in Japan. The kosen schools started holding judo shiai competitions around the turn of the 19th century, 20 years after Kano founded judo. Kosen judo matches allowed competitors to enter groundwork however they wished which was and still is forbidden in IJF (International Judo Federation) Olympic Judo.
The sensational throws of judo were good entertainment for a live audience as opposed to the pins, strangles and armbars used in judo's ground which became the foundation of BJJ. This became even more apparent after judo was accepted as an Olympic sport in 1964. In fact wrestling has been on the verge of being eliminated in recent years, leading the IJF to ban leg grabs and pick-ups which are still part of Kodokan Judo.
Kata guruma - shoulder wheel throw which was adapted to judo by Kano from wrestling's fireman carry move now has to be modified with no hands on the legs for use in IJF Olympic Judo.
Kesa gatame - the scarf hold is an example of an osaekomi pinning technique used in judo.
Sankaku jime - triangle strangle is a popular judo move also used widely in BJJ competitions.
Ronda Rousey demonstrating ude uishigi juju gatame cross armlock at the 2008 Judo Winter Nationals.
As a result of some pushback by judoka that preferred the pure Kodokan Judo rules over the IJF Olympic Judo Rules, Free Style Judo founded by Steve Scott and Kosen Judo Rules developed by John Paccione have been gaining popularity within the United States.
Kosen Judo Rules as of 2019
1. Marches will start standing.
2. Standing attacks with leg grabbing are permitted.
3. Guard pulling (hikikomi) is permitted - not to be mistaken for guard jumping or BJJ-style sitting guards without grips.
4. All gripping types and grip breaking techniques are permitted, including two-handed grip breaking.
5. Competitors will only be stood up if both are entangled in some form of guard with neither one attempting to improve their position, or if one competitor is left on the mat after the other has stood up and completely disengaged from ne-waza.
It will be scored in the following manner:
Ippon will be scored for:
1. Submissions (chokes and armlocks)
2. 20 second hold downs
Waza-ari will be scored for:
1. High impact throws that would normally reach the standard of ippon.
2. 10 second hold downs
1. Throws that would normally reach the standard of waza-ari will not be scored.
2. Waza-ari-awasete-ippon will be in effect and we expect these special scoring rules to produce a gritty style of action that honors the Kosen tradition and emphasizes the skillful transition from tachi-waza to ne-waza.
these are the current Kosen Judo Rules as developed by John Paccione.
For me personally, I applaud this trend as back when I started judo, I wanted to learn how to defend myself. And let's face it in a real fight there are no referees to say, you can't grab the legs!
- Judo Blog: More on Kosen Judo - Black Belt Magazine ›
- Judo Blog: The Legendary Hal Sharp was a Real Mensch! - Black Belt Magazine ›
- Judo Blog: Controversy at Kosen Judo Event in Vegas - Black Belt Magazine ›