you dislike controversy - stay away from this essay.
you prefer to stick with what you know - stay away from
you are not prepared to see how everything you ever thought
about the judo/sex equation is wrong - stay away from this
welcome to the new frontier. Welcome to the sexual revolution.
hello to Brazilian jiu-jitsu,
the sport that likes to get up close and personal.
I remember my
first gay judo experience as if it were yesterday, as if it were
now. I was twelve, filled with hormones and energy and undirected desire. I put on my gi - soft on my body,
cool on my skin - and stepped out onto the mat.
I was filled
with purpose, overflowing with vision. I wanted one thing, and
one thing only.
Id discovered the martial arts section at my local library.
There were judo books there. Lots of them. One in particular had
caught my attention, in much the same way The Joy of Sex must
have caught the attention of many a straight boy over the years.
The book was
called Olympic Judo: Groundwork Techniques, by Neil Adams
and Ray Stevens. It was the most beautiful, most sensual, most
intimately homoerotic publication Id ever seen. Every page
resembled something out of the Kama Sutra; every description
was laden with sexual terminology. The further I progressed, the
more arousing its subject matter became.
Here was a
photo of Neil thrusting his arm deep into Rays crotch: yoko-shiho-gatame.
Here was an image of Neil tearing Rays jacket open, exposing
nipples and chest and navel and abs: kami-shiho-gatame. And here,
here was a picture that burned itself into the physical fabric
of my mind; a picture that was clearly all about sex; a picture
that crystallized my definition of the word dominate;
a picture that irreversibly, irrevocably fused the concepts of
sexual gratification and judo in my consciousness.
Cross-body hold. Upper four quarters pin.
the book home. I looked at it for a long time. And then I read
the acknowledgments by Neil Adams, the man who had now come to
represent the very zenith of homoerotic male sexuality for me.
This is what
he said: ...many thanks to Ray Stevens for his magnificent
role as Uke in the photographs...we also acknowledge the splendid
work of David Clicky Finch, some of whose shots range
from the indecent to the plain pornographic (if you sell those
pictures to the newspapers you can expect a visit from the
the book to my father.
What does pornographic mean?
through the pages, his eyes widening, seeing what I had
seen, but reacting differently - much differently - than
means, he said, that you should bring that book
back to the library.
But I did
not bring the book back. Because, secretly, I knew what pornographic
meant. I knew what Neil Adams meant. I knew what judo meant. But
mostly, I knew what tate-shiho-gatame meant.
Which is why
I was so single-minded as I stepped onto the mat of the
dojo that Sunday afternoon, three days later.
The kid I
picked to be my uke was perfect - good looking, strong - just
like Neil Adams uke, just like Ray. My whole body trembled
with excitement as we sat back to back for groundwork, waiting
for the shout of hajime, waiting to battle for position,
came. I spun around.
his body, wrapping my legs around his legs, snaking my arms about
his head, trapping his bicep against the side of his neck, holding
him down, holding him close, following the master, following Neil.
And then I
began to rub myself against him.
- let me up, he said, struggling to break free. Let
me go -
minute, I whispered, hugging him tighter, screwing my hips
against his groin. Just a minute...
struggled harder, sensing something was wrong now, sensing he
was powerless. The additional friction gave me what I wanted:
I came in
my judogi trousers, the feeling incredible, indelible, cementing
the fetish that has stayed with me right into adulthood, into
maturity, and slowly peeled myself away from his torso, from his
That is how
I became JudokaGuy. That is how I learned that judo is gay, that
judo is the planets most erotic sport.
Until I discovered,
fifteen years later, that I was wrong. Wrong in every way that
really mattered, that really counted.
began to sense the wrongness shortly after my conquest of
the boy. He stopped grappling with me, choosing to spar
with other, less threatening partners. This, combined with
my fathers reaction to the Olympic Judo manual,
began to make me suspect that gay judo was frowned upon,
was considered abnormal.
my mentor, my judo instructor, who finally confirmed my suspicions
and made them real.
hold-down, he said, having watched me pin yet another
stud into submission with tate-shiho-gatame. I dont
I rolled into
a sitting position. Gazed up at him, feeling confused. But
I won. He fought me really hard, and I still won -
My instructor turned
away. Muttered something to one of the senior judoka sitting on
the bench behind him. I heard it anyway.
What he said
was, Shouldnt be taught. Should be banned. Illegal.
This, I would
later learn, is the standard response of most male judoka to tate-shiho-gatame.
Why? Because everyone understands the implicit, intrinsic meaning
of that technique; because everyone knows that it mimics the sexual
act - that it can, in fact, become the sexual act simply
by dint of friction and frottage.
Which is why
common sentiment holds that it should be exiled from the judo
In the years
that followed, the gap between the amount of groundwork displayed
in my judo textbooks and that which was apparent in the real world
widened. A worrying trend began to make itself felt: matwork was
being ousted in place of throws. Even a cursory glance at the
annals of history make it clear that this sea change was coming.
Why? Because Jigoro Kano himself never intended judo to be a grappling
Indeed, as Olympian Jimmy Pedro writes in Judo -Techniques
and Tactics, ...he
prized throwing more than he did any other skill of judo. He found
in throwing a challenge and aesthetic quality not found in other
forms of training...As he developed his form of randori, he emphasized
the techniques of throwing...From 1882 to 1900, judo contests
were primarily throwing contests...Kano originally intended judo
to be a standing martial art, an art that emphasized throwing
skills and included no mat work... Think of it: no mat work,
just throws. No grappling, just throws. No sex, just throws...
original aspiration, then, coupled with the strong modern
opposition to homosexuality omnipresent in our society and
the aesthetic concerns of sport on TV, are doubtless responsible
for what happened to judo in the late nineties/early twenty-first
century. During this time, I competed in several major state
and national competitions, winning virtually all of my fights
on the ground, usually with variants of tate-shiho-gatame.
It was this very hold that brought me my greatest victory
- first place in my weight class at the National Championships.
And yet, in the dojo, judo was taught as a standing martial
art, with groundwork lobbed in as an afterthought, as something
that must be endured because it was part of the syllabus.
Games of the year 2000 featured virtually no groundwork; the referees
had become tougher, less forgiving, sometimes allowing as little
as five seconds before standing players up.
The Gap between
theoretical and true-life newaza became a Chasm.
It was the
beginning of the end.
I joined the World Wide Web, I have been actively seeking likeminded
judoka. The very first search I ever conducted (on the once-great,
now sadly outmoded Altavista engine) was for - you guessed it
- gay judo. I trawled the Net for media which might
serve as evidence that groundwork wasnt dying out entirely,
that somebody else out there was also against its depressing demise.
I attempted to locate materials which might suggest I wasnt
the only person so deeply in love with the wrestling elements
of the sport, with the flux of superiority and dominance that
defines the ground game, with the whiteness of judogi, with the
hardness of an opponents resisting body.
His name was
Marc, and he ran an Internet community called Gay Judoka.
Marc is the
founding father of all online gay judo establishments, and should
be applauded for his vision in creating an organization which
would later plant the seeds of something much larger: my own Gay
Judo and, later still, something even more ambitious - MatBattle.com.
He shared my passion for Kanos creation and, using the resources
on his site as a springboard, I began to collect various judo
images, movies, and other source materials which might be construed
as homoerotic in nature. During the course of this process, two
keys elements emerged.
was that most of the really good images I came across were from
books, not actual competition. This is important, because it backs
up my claim that real-world judo has abandoned the ground in favor
thing to become clear was that the rest of the really good images
seemed to concern a sport that was not judo. At first, the purist
in me balked at what it was seeing: blue gis (an astonishing innovation
at the time), gis with Formula One style advertising on them;
brightly colored mats, mats that looked like pieces of a jigsaw
puzzle; spray-painted hair, hair cropped short as if for military
combat. This new martial art was clearly not of the East.
slowly, cautiously, the purist began to waver.
He began to notice just how close the contact was between
the fighters in these new photos. He began to notice how
comfortable they seemed on the mat. He began to notice how
little they rose to their feet.
did some research. Found a name for the sport, the sport
that was not judo, the sport that seemed so different, yet
so similar, so strange, yet so exciting.
jiu-jitsu. The sport of kings.
that isnt strictly true. Although His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon
bin Zahed, son of Sheikh Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates,
is largely responsible for the current popularity of the discipline
around the world by dint of his formation of the Abu Dhabai Combat
Club and its associated international competition, the Abu Dhabi
World Submission Wrestling Championships, it is the Gracie clan
of Brazil to whom the honor of creating such a singularly erotic
sport must go, a sport which, on literally every criteria of sensuality
imaginable, unquestionably surpasses that of Kanos judo.
It is time
to face up to facts: judo was not, is not, and never will be the
kind of carnally inflamed martial art we so desperately need it
to be. We have grown to love it in spite of its shortcomings,
not because of them; we have grown to love it because it pervaded
our early sexual experiences, because it helped shape the twin
fetishes that were to overshadow our adult lives: gis and grappling.
But it is
time to stop the courtship now; a better suitor has arrived.
and most basic tenet of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is this: all fights
go to the ground. The entire system has been built from the ground
up (excuse the pun) with this in mind. As Renzo and Royler Gracie,
the authors of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique
are keen to note, What Brazilian jiu-jitsu recognizes as
a hard fact of life that many traditional martial arts do not,
is that in a real fight it is usually not a matter of choice whether
you end up on the ground - it just happens - regardless of your
there exists no time limit whatsoever when it comes to pins in
Brazilian jiu-jitsu; all holds may be maintained indefinitely
until your opponent concedes the match, escapes your grip, or
is submitted by a strangle, lock, or further immobilization.
to the Gracie's assessment of judo: As a spectator sport
with Olympic aspirations, a greater emphasis was placed on aesthetically
pleasing throws than on effective ground grappling. The result
was an ever growing bias away from ground grappling. Competitors
had only a very short period on the ground before the referee
would intervene and stand them back up...The Gracie clan saw the
negative effect of these limitations and rejected them outright.
consider the implications, then. This sport:
a. involves the wearing of gis
devoted almost exclusively to full-contact grappling
you to pin your opponent for as long as you like (case in
point: a future MatBattle.com movie exclusive shows the
dominant player restraining his victim in an unbreakable
hold for over three minutes; this is unheard of in traditional
alone would seem sufficient reason for gay judo devotees to make
the switch to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But what about that most vital
of components - tate-shiho-gatame? Is there an appropriate counterpart
for it? Is there a twin?
it ranks as one of the most important techniques in the Brazilian
Brazilian jiu-jitsu utilizes a points system to determine the
winner of a bout. Unlike judo, points are awarded for positional
changes that would prove advantageous in a real fight. Thus, taking
your opponent down to the mat earns you two points. Placing your
knee on his stomach while pinning his upper body earns three more.
him, either from the front (groin to groin), or behind (groin
to ass), results in the awarding of four points, the highest possible
score for any given position. Here is what the authors of Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique have to say about mounting
from the front:
are many ways for the person on top to hold and control his opponent.
One arm can encircle the opponents head, the other is held
out wide, hand on the ground, to make a wide base that makes the
opponents attempts to roll out very difficult. If the opponent
is wearing a jacket, one hand can reach inside his collar so as
to threaten the opponent with various chokes. In addition, your
legs can be used to stabilize the mounted position by crossing
the feet under the opponents buttocks or by grapevining
around the opponents shins.
So far, so
good. No mention of, 'Shouldn't be taught, should be banned, illegal'.
In fact, no sign of discomfit at all. What then, do the authors
have to say about mounting from the rear?
very advantageous to get into a controlling position behind your
opponents back. This is because your opponent cannot strike
you and has virtually no chance of applying a submission hold,
while you can attack with chokes, arm locks, and strikes at will.
The best situation is where you are behind your opponent, either
on top of him or underneath him, with both of your feet hooked
into his hips...The function of these hooks is to
keep you in place as your opponent tries to dislodge you. These
hooks give you a great deal of control over your opponent and
give you the time and control to apply chokes and other submission
holds...The fact that in a sporting jiu-jitsu match, achieving
the rear position with both hooks in scores the same as achieving
the mounted position, indicates just how highly valued this position
there is nothing more we could ask for? Surely, there is
nothing else that might elevate Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the
lofty of pinnacle of sex itself?
called the guard, and is possibly the sports most
characteristic feature. Distinctly reminiscent of the missionary
position, the clinch involves one fighter lying on
his back with the other between his legs, chest to chest,
face to face, their hips pressed together with what can
only be construed as conjugal intent.
I could continue
to proselytize for several hundred words on the sheer, audacious
intimacy of this particular kind of entanglement; suffice it to
say that, when combined with the other, equally homoerotic elements
referred to above, there can be no questioning the superiority
of this new breed of grappling over its weaker, more conservative
This is why
my collection of arousing martial arts media now contains almost
ten times as much Brazilian jiu-jitsu than judo. This is why MatBattle.com,
my latest venture, is primarily devoted to BJJ. This is why I
now train Brazilian jiu-jitsu instead of judo.
This is why
I have made the switch.
This is why
I am no longer JudokaGuy, but JitsukaGuy.
I urge you
to follow me; I welcome your comments (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope that, together, we can lay Kanos ghost to rest, replacing
it with the living force of Maeda Gracie, founder of Brazilian
jiu-jitsu, instigator of gay grappling in its truest, most dynamic
Now, get rolling!
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