One thing that will occur for the eternity of competitive Judo (and all other combat sports for that matter) is that certain techniques and styles will continually come to and drop away from the height of the fashionable limelight. It is important to remember that these ‘in favour’ techniques usually come to the forefront of modern competition by being on display during tournament by the winners or successful fighters.
I got onto the idea for this post after coaching a very passionate guy in a private Judo session who was eager to look at one of the extremely unorthodox techniques used by -66kg Olympic Champion Fabio Basile from Italy. I have see this throw before, mainly from ex Soviet State fighters, and I’m not criticising its’s effectiveness at all, it’s a great technique, but it is important to remember that it is a surprise attack from when the opponent has won a dominating grip. Another similar scenario is regarding video hits, or social media videos of flashy techniques with huge numbers of hits; flying arm bars or crazy spinning Ura Nages (suplex) etc. Again, I’m not questioning the effectiveness of these techniques but it should be noted that they can mainly only occur in a very small number of fighting scenarios.
Now, when I was a lot younger I would drill techniques similar to the above quite regularly and probably, in hindsight, a little too much. Now I feel I understand Judo and my own Judo a lot more and personally I try to spend 80-90% of drilling and practice time on proven and established techniques, with a smaller allocation of time for the surprise attacks, absolute scenario specific techniques and counters etc.
I firmly believe that there can be a time and a place for most techniques however the amount of time spent drilling and practicing that said technique should be relative to how often it is seen successfully used in high level competition.