Are Judo And Its Techniques Any Good As A Base For MMA At All?

Are Judo And Its Techniques Any Good As A Base For MMA At All?

Sure, BJJ may be the best martial art out there – but other ones are great as well! They will teach you self-confidence and control, as well as give you something to become better in. However, all of them are inherently different and would fare with varying success in different situations… One of them being their transfer to the world of MMA.
The case of one martial art’s efficiency in MMA is being especially questioned. You’ve guessed it: it’s Judo. Namely, how good is Judo as a base for MMA; is it any good at all?

Let’s examine it from one point of view.



If you’re looking at it from one perspective, you could easily conclude that yes! Judo could serve as a solid base for MMA. The two main reasons behind this are that a lot of Judo techniques have been created long before Judo itself; and because a strongly developed clinch game can be transferred easily to MMA.

The second reason is quite obvious; for the Judokas that have developed a strong clinch, the transition from Judo to MMA will probably be a very successful one. However, in so far as the first reason is considered, the underlying issue might not be as clear.
So, let us ask you a question: what do you think is the first and biggest obstacle for Judokas’ transition from Judo to MMA? Your answer was probably: „Gi.“ And while you are very much correct, a crucial thing to understand is that while techniques in Judo are taught in the Gi, the techniques themselves existed a long time ago; way before Judo was even a thing.

That is to say, these techniques were taught in the past with an emphasis on using underhooks and overhooks, not gripping the Gi at all! And even when the „material-grabbing“ aspect is taken into consideration, they were taught in a traditional Japanese kimono first; not the Gi itself.
In essence, the techniques of Judo didn’t require the Gi at all; but were assimilated within the sport and with its use of the Gi instead.



Of course, the thing is that Judokas – especially the very successful ones – are heavily reliant on applying their techniques with the Gi. So, if you’re a Judoka and you want to make the transition to MMA, it is of highest importance that you learn how to utilize the clinch; as well as the underhook and overhook to your advantage. You need to destroy the very well built-in habit of grabbing the Gi material… And develop the one contrary to it.
Also, it’s just as important – if not even more so – that you learn to readapt to the ways of closing the distance properly. That is, if you don’t learn how to close the distance in the MMA setting and drill it well into your mind, then you’ll probably get knocked out.



In conclusion, should you go into Judo if you want to ultimately transition into MMA? Probably not, as getting involved in other grappling arts – such as into a combination of Wrestling and BJJ – will most likely be the most efficiently applicable option.
However, if you’ve already been training Judo and have been persistent in becoming the best Judoka you can be… Then you can surely transfer your skills into MMA as well; as long as you make the changes mentioned above.


Watch the video below for more thoughts on this topic:

Travis Stevens on how we can blend judo and wrestling to take people down and keep them down.

You don’t need a Gi to land big time throws and takedowns, and Travis Stevens is here to show you how with No Gi Takedowns.

  • Adapt your Judo game to No Gi!
  • Learn how to utilize no-gi grips to gain similar advantages over your opponent as you would with the gi.