One of the stars in the Judo scene, Gabriel Mendes is even more requested when the matter is teaching. Just so you can know, Mendes was invited by the American’s Judo National Team to trade experiences with their athletes.
Training Judo for 20 years, Gabriel is also a BJJ athlete. He’s a purple belt and already fought in IBJJF’s World Championship.
We spoke with Gabriel, who gave us 5 tips from Judo that should be in your BJJ game.
1) Grip: The grip is almost 50% of the fight in Judo. That’s why you can see a fight for a better grip. I think that’s an advantage for anybody, especially when you’re using a gi. With a good grip in BJJ, not only you can have a better position or enough control to score a takedown, but you also can defend his takedowns and block him when he tries to pull up his guard.
2) Footwork: That’s one of the biggest differences between those two sports. The way that fighters move on their feet. We train 90% of times on our feet in Judo, but we don’t see much of that in jiu-jitsu. They don’t worry about their footwork, but they forgot that every fight starts on the feet. A person that has better footwork has more advantage than a fighter that doesn’t have that quality. Not only you can cause more trouble to your opponent, but you can also find more ways to score a takedown or a better way to pull up your guard.
3) Takedown: Working on your takedown game is something special for the Judo athlete. Our game is based on that. But that’s also very important in Jiu-Jitsu. An athlete that actually knows how to take his opponent to the ground starts with a good advantage or 2 points ahead of his opponent, putting the pressure on his opponent so you can find more opportunities to submit or score more points. There’s a lot of Seoi Nage on BJJ’s competitions, which is a good takedown but that’s a takedown that can expose your back to your opponent. I think that takedowns like De-Ashi Barai, Ouchi-Gari, Kouch Gari are some of the techniques that are safer for BJJ athletes because they don’t expose your back. If the athlete likes to pull guard he should use Tomoe Nage or Yoko Tomoe Nage. They are good techniques and also give the athlete some openings to ground transitions.
4) Fast Thinking: Judo is a sport that requires fast thinking and skills to adapt to any situation. That’s a sport that explosion and speed are very common. That’s a very active martial art. Every BJJ athlete that trains Judo will be used to that kind of situation, so he will be prepared to have a fast response if his opponent scores a point or dominate a position. Being prepare to have an fast answer to different situations is an advantage that any athlete would like to have.
5) Concentration: As i spoke earlier, explosion and speed is something very common in a Judo fight, which the result can change in a matter of a second. Being focused and concentrated in the fight and on your opponent’s every move is something extremely important. I think that BJJ is a sport that you have more time to adjust your positions, hear your coach and prepare for your opponent’s moves. At the same time, you have a lot of fans cheering in the middle of the fight and that’s something that can distract you. So having a strong mindset against these sounds and attitudes is something very important for the athlete. Being 100% focused on everything and on the fight is essential.