Everything you ever wanted to know about grappling

Everything you ever wanted to know about grappling


The Grappling Bible

Before Brazilian Jiujitsu, before the Olympics there was simply JUDO. Judo was the complete grappling art. It included Gi and No Gi training and spent time on both standing (tachi waza) and ground (ne waza) techniques. This masterpiece by Mikonosuke Kawaishi published in 1955 is a testament to that fact.

Kawaishi was in charge of Judo instruction in Europe and developed this syllabus to teach westerners. It’s 246 pages include the usual stances, break falls and throws. But it also features an EXTENSIVE ground fighting section that includes every conceivable pin, strangle and arm lock, but it also has every imaginable leg lock and neck dislocation.

Back when I had my dojos I taught this syllabus because it was the most complete and well rounded. The problem with modern Judo is that it focused all of it’s efforts to on standing techniques when trying to become an Olympic sport in 1964. While the sport still has submissions and pins, the primary focus was on throwing and less on ground fighting. The result was that Judoka (judo fighter) would primarily practice standing technique and “get away” with little ground skills since the fighters would be brought back to their feet only after a few seconds of non-action on the ground.

As a result, the vast majority of the techniques in this book were illegal by modern judo standards and completely forgotten. It wasn’t until the UFC when the Gracies reminded us the value of ground fighting.

I often wonder what Judo would have looked like today if it put just a little more emphasis on ground fighting. With a different set of rules, judo could have retained it’s rich ground fighting history.

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company

Published by theselfdefenseco

Founder, The Self Defense Company