Don’t Jump

I am not allowed to jump guard.  Since my Jiu-Jitsu coach Amy is also a Judoka, she is not a fan of jumping guard, and she doesn’t want me to do it.  I have jumped guard a couple of times in competition, and she was not happy about it.  Amy doesn’t even like it when I go for single or double leg takedowns, because “That’s what everyone in Jiu-Jitsu does!”.  She would much rather prefer to see me (and everyone else) try to sweep or throw.

Guard is my game, so jumping into it seems logical, and it’s easy.  Jumping guard is probably all I would ever do if I was allowed to, so I’m actually glad Amy won’t let me do it.  Otherwise, I would have never developed any takedowns.  About the only time I have not gotten the takedown points in competition is when my opponent jumped guard on me.

Throwing and sweeping are also part of our Karate curriculum, and many a sparring match has been won by our students taking their opponents down with foot sweeps (which are allowed in the State Games).  Shihan Roseberry likes to say “Why do I need to kick high?  If I want to kick you in the head, I’ll just take you down first!”. He started his training as a Judoka, and at 77 years of age he can still toss people across the mat.  I’m not sure what he would do if I tried to jump guard on him, but I can guarantee it would end badly for me.

Even if I didn’t train at a school that emphasizes takedowns, I would still want them to be a part of my game.  Jumping guard is so much less satisfying than throwing someone down and establishing top position!  Not only do you get points, but you also set the tone.  In women’s Jiu-Jitsu class, Amy often has us randori where we have thirty seconds to take our partners down and submit them, and if anyone tries to jump guard, she tazes us.  Okay, I was kidding about the tazing, she just shuns us.

One of the reasons I am at all interested in competing in Judo is because I want a chance to test out my throwing, and my defense, against an opponent who is not going to just jump guard.  If you try jumping guard in a Judo competition, you will get warned for illegal entry into mat work (right, Ken? ;).  I’m not sure what the Judo policy is on flying triangles, but if I could actually pull one of those off, I think Amy would approve!


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