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Judo/Judo principles vs edged weapons?


Hello Mr. Harrelson. Thank you very much for your time. My question is kinda a bit more off to the martial art side of judo than the competitive side so sorry if it's a bit winded......

First of all, I definitely agree that the first line against any weapons based on pressure of force over area requires you to not be there in the first place or if desperate, gain as much of distance and time as possible since pressure doesn't need distance unlike kinetic energy from say punches.

Now I did some research on old Kodokan Judo and to quote Jigoro Kano directly from 'The Policy of Kodokan-Collection of Kano. J's writings.' against strikes seems to be " approach in a manner to defend yourself against the opponent’s stab and kick." Which suggests that judo does require footwork and evasion to off balance and attack the attack instead of deflections or blockings which helps but is not the main aim.

I have also researched on Kyuzo Mifune and to quote him from his writings "“Almost all ancient schools of jujutsu have tekubi-waza
(wrist techniques: kote-gaeshi, kote-hineri, etc.), and atemi-waza
(striking and kicking techniques) as well" that to defend against such attacks ideally by "applying a leg or hip throw upon the moment of contact" before they even had time to mess with the in-fighting joint locks and strikes.

I was wondering if the same movements can be applied and practiced on edged weapons. Mainly because we know that E= 1/2mv^2 which is the basis behind what makes blunt blows e.g. the atemi waza effective and that distance is usually needed to build up the energy for an effective strike or in close quarters, there's still things that needs to speed up the punch.

Or as both masters put it "you step forward
to his right side whilst you pull the opponent’s right wrist or
sleeve. In this case, the opponent can’t attack you because his
right hand is controlled by the grabbing.The opponent’s
left hand is free to attack, but it is far to reach you so that you are in little danger."

While I do agree with the majority of it. There's certain things I just don't want to use against an edged weapon. Namely the strategy of 'grabbing,' seems to be a debate for most experts in that in knife attacks or violent situations, they just cannot effectively grab onto the armed limb or the attacker could switch knife to the other hand. The other thing I don't quite agree with is if you are truely safe from an edged weapon even if that hand is a 'little too far to reach you.' As edged weapon rely on pressure more than kinetic energy, would it still inflict stab injuries regardless.

So what's your opinion on the evasion and off balance tactics in that type of situation please.

Also do you feel that the Kime no Kata and Goshin Jutsu are a bit flawed in that they are now-a-days rote learned like a dance instead of a full universally applicable study?

Thanks for your support. All the best.

Hi Jack
So sorry this took so long,  I was gone over the weekend and when I got back I tired 3 times to answer this question, but cooldn.t for some reason get the preview button and the spell check buttons to work on the web site. So I am trying it with my kindle.  Hope this works. It will take some doing to type on the kindle but lets go for it.
 Ok if I understand  your question correctly,  Yes you can use judo skills to defend against  weapons attacks. There are several skills depending on if its an over hand strike or a side arm, or an upward slash or strike.  It would take quite along time to describe all of these, so let me see if I can clear it up some. I agree that just stepping in and grabbing the attackers arm is not smart. In our club we teach you to block the attacking arm as stepping in and applying a forceful strike to the attacker followed by a skill that will put the attacker on the ground with enough force to at least knock the air out of them in not knock him out when he hits the ground with his head. He may only get stunned for short time so you have to act fast and with caution. The main thing we teach is to try and not put yourself in this type of danger watch where your going and traveling, be aware of your surroundings. With striking weapons they have to be close enough to apply them or have some advantage on you because you were not alert to where and what you were doing. Self defense starts with the three AAA's. Awareness;  Attitude;  Action; in that order.
 As for your other question, again I agree with your statement. Our club Welcome Mat Judo Club, is a competitive club. We do not practice judo and jujitsu, sambo, mma, and sumo,by doing the dance forms of kata. That is just not practical for our purpose. We practice the katas just as Dr. Kano taught them in a full contact use, this does not mean we use full force on each skill as we practice and learn, otherwise we'd run out of partners to train with. I don't know if you are in a club yet but if not and you are looking for one please watch several and see how they train. Do they spend most of the class doing the dance forms or do they practice like they would if they were doing a tournament match but with control as to not hurt each other. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying the dance forms are wrong they have their place for those who enjoy doing them and don't want to do the more physical and harder on the body full blown sport judo and jujitsu and the rest of the contact martial arts. We as a club choose not to do the dance forms.
 I was a 34 yr old mom when I started judo, and I'm now 64. I did compete till I was 59 in full tournaments never did the katas. I still competed in ground fighting only tournaments till I was 62. My knees are just to worn out after all the years of sports I've done since I was about 7. These included softball, baseball, volleyball, field; ice; roller hockey, even did short time in roller derby. I also did dance and free style roller skating. I'm now retired from the local school district, but I still teach swimming 2 nights a week, roller skating 1 night, and judo few times a week. I would never change a single one of these even though they are hard on the body.
 I hope this has helped, and if you have any more question just let me know. I want to again say sorry for it taking so long to get this to you. Keep studying the histories of the martial arts it's great way to learn about how it all developed, and its always nice to know where it all started and why. Remember it takes a long time and hard work and mental awareness to become a good judoka.  You must practice often so it becomes second nature to you then teach others what you have learned, cause as you teach you also learn, and you give back to the sports.     Thank you for your question again hope this was helpful.  Sandi  


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Sammi Harrelson


I am a 4th degree black belt black in the arts of Judo and Jujitsu. I`ve been in this field since 1984, started at the age of 34. I have been competting since that time and instructing since 1986. I also instruct womens` self-defense classes. I have been a national and international champion several times. Armlocks are my favorite way to win in tournaments.


I took the gold at the USJI Nationals in Indiana in 1986. Have taken gold in several AAU nationals. I also took the golds in three division in the internationals held in Canada. Womens 120lbs and under, the womens masters, and the womens open weight divison. I earned the first place spot to compete in Spain, and England in the sport of Sombo twice. Sombo is a sport very much like Judo. I have won gold in the State Championships each year that I have competed. I've won several different open state championships, including MO, Ks, IA, Neb, and Ok.

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