Judo in Mixed Martial Arts

It’s safe to say we live in a fascinating time regarding combat sports and traditional martial arts. There is a massive surge in popularity of many martial arts through mass communication. Humans have fought since we figured out how to replicate techniques tens of thousands of years ago. Entire cultures formed through martial discipline and tradition. We also have the advent of the arena; combat is no longer limited to the battlefield, humans now have a stage for professional fighters to put on bloody spectacles to roaring applause.

Granted we no longer kill each other but other than that, nothing much has changed. Opponents still agree to meet and fight in an organized venue in sanctioned and sometimes unsanctioned matches. Prestige can once again be achieved with fists. Today, we will discuss the incorporation of Judo and MMA used in a competitive fighting environment and how they build off each other. Let’s dive in and start with Judo.


Judo, the gentle way. Founded by Kanō Jigorō in the 19th century, a system with roots that trace to both Japanese and Chinese martial arts. Judo’s primary aspect focuses on the philosophy of minimum effort and maximum efficiency. The ultimate victory is achieved in two ways, Ippon or submission. Ippon has its roots based on the Edo era Samurai, a throw to the back represents death. A submission is just that; you use pain compliance to break your opponents will to fight. You can say that Judo is a war of attrition, you must dynamically assert control while defensively staying multiple steps ahead of your opponent at all times.


Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed Martial Arts, MMA for short. MMA and Judo share similar fundamentals yet two distinct differences in their execution. The philosophy of combining two fight systems is nothing new, records and sculptures dating back to the Greek and Roman eras depict wrestlers and boxers with cauliflower ears and scared faces from grappling and boxing. In the past 35 years the popularity of Vale Tudo, Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, and the inception of the UFC in the early 1990’s has attracted fighters from a variety of traditional martial arts, Wrestling, Boxing and Brazilin Jiu-Jitsu but has since developed into a separate fighting style. MMA the style has morphed fighters who are well versed in kickboxing, traditional boxing and some form of grappling with an emphasis on ground and pound.



Judoka in MMA

In a conventional matchup, MMA fights can be very dynamic, and action-packed. Others, not so much, fighters can get stuck in stalemates with no forward progression. Judo matches can go entire rounds with nothing but grip fighting. A judoka in MMA will find themselves hitting an opponent when they’d usually grip, which isn’t an issue. It takes a little bit for the Judoka to find their edge but when they do, look out. Judoka goes 100% in training and is experts at staying out of the way until they’re ready to strike. As an MMA fighter fighting a Judoka, master hitting hard and fast then creating as much distance from your opponent as possible. The comparison of a traditional martial artist vs. a fighter is a romantic concept, but the victor is determined by blood and willpower. 10% of all fighters who begin are successful; it’s a foolhardy endeavor to agree to fight someone with a background in a traditional martial art without having one yourself. There’s no shortage of styles to choose from, take some time and think hard about which art would work best for you based on your needs.