There is only one Judo, and that is the Kodokan Judo of Jigoro Kano. Judo is more than simply a sporting event; rather, it is a complete martial art that has adapted over the years to various fighting styles and techniques. Kodokan Judo includes techniques from wrestling, sambo, and of course modern jujitsu. However, over the past two decades many of these fighting styles were discouraged, and eventually penalized, in tournament Judo for reasons cited as “better television viewing”. Unfortunately, the resulting rule changes resembled Greco-Roman wrestling in a kimono, all the while professional Mixed Martial Arts grappling gained in television popularity.
Freestyle Judo brings back the “Golden Age” of Judo competition by embracing the fighting styles of wrestling, sambo, and modern jujitsu. Competitors who specialize in standing techniques can throw for ippon. Wrestlers who prefer lower body attacks can shoot for the legs. Grapplers who specialize in submissions have the time and flexibility to fight on the ground. All of these styles are good Judo.
A judo coach observing a Freestyle Judo match for his first time remarked; “That looks just like judo.” The answer was; “That’s because it is judo. It’s just judo the way it ought to be done.” Good judo is good judo and the rules of Freestyle Judo allow judo athletes to use all the skills of judo during a match.
Freestyle Judo encourages participation from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestlers, and Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts by providing an open-ended competition format.
For more information on Freestyle Judo, please visit the National Freestyle Judo webpage.