When it comes down to it we have all cheated in some form or another, especially in the sport of judo. We have all gotten Shido’s and we have all won and lost on those calls. This grip is so common on the IJF Tour that it is considered as an accepted practice. There are a few other grips that are technically illegal, but we are allowed to get away with and the sport has recently changed the ruling to allow them (as long as we are offensive with them).

That’s really the key when you are going to cheat! Being offensive while holding the gi illegally, that’s one of the best ways to hide the fact you have an illegal grip. I choose to use educated guesses as to what I can and can’t get away with. You see, one of the best parts about fighting my weight class was always being on the second day. I got a lot of information from the coaching staff when they would come back after being at the event all day they would share what the refs were and were not calling.

Let’s face it there are a lot of rules in judo and it’s almost impossible to have a match where rules don’t get broken (called or not). We just have to figure out what rules we can get away with. The grip I showed in the video above is one I have gotten Shido’s for in competitions. With that being said the benefit of having it is well worth the risk. By having that grip it give me a tremendous advantage and ability to score.

See most of the rules in judo are very ambiguous. So when it comes to how they get applied and interpreted can change per event. I base what I can and can’t get away with on every competition individually. For instance, if I use the grip in the video and I gain control of my opponents sleeve and they get a Shido for non-combativity I know I’m okay to use the grip for the rest of the event. Sometimes, however that is not the case, I have shown up to an event on gotten a Shido in the first 20 seconds of a match for an illegal grip. That tells me that the referees are choosing to pay attention to the grips for this event.

Having the ability to adapt and change is a skill that all high-level athletes have in combat sports. Not every competition is the same and not every opponent is the same. We have to always be thinking and making adjustments. We have to think about not only making the adjustments to our opponent’s but also the refs. Being able to fight a match in a way that allows you to get away with more than your opponent can mean the difference between making the finals or going out in the first round. I use to fight every match as if it started with a Shido because I knew I was going to get one at some point in the match from testing my limits especially in the first round of an event.


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