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If you dislike controversy - stay away from this essay.

If you prefer to stick with what you know - stay away from this essay.

If you are not prepared to see how everything you ever thought about the judo/sex equation is wrong - stay away from this essay.

Otherwise, welcome to the new frontier. Welcome to the sexual revolution. Say ‘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.

Tate-shiho-gatame.

Days before, I’d 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 I’d 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 Ray’s crotch: yoko-shiho-gatame. Here was an image of Neil tearing Ray’s 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.

The mount. Cross-body hold. Upper four quarters pin.

Tate-shiho-gatame.

I brought 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 boys”...’

I showed the book to my father.

I said, ‘What does “pornographic” mean?’

He flipped through the pages, his eyes widening, seeing what I had seen, but reacting differently - much differently - than I had.

‘It means,’ he said, ‘that you should bring that book back to the library.’

‘Okay,’ I said.

k Neil Adams controlling Ray Stevens

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, for power.

The shout came. I spun around.

And mounted 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.

‘Hey - let me up,’ he said, struggling to break free. ‘Let me go -’

‘In a minute,’ I whispered, hugging him tighter, screwing my hips against his groin. ‘Just a minute...’

My opponent struggled harder, sensing something was wrong now, sensing he was powerless. The additional friction gave me what I wanted: release, climax.

Orgasm.

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 gonads.

That is how I became JudokaGuy. That is how I learned that judo is gay, that judo is the planet’s most erotic sport.

Until I discovered, fifteen years later, that I was wrong. Wrong in every way that really mattered, that really counted.

d

I first 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 father’s reaction to the Olympic Judo manual, began to make me suspect that gay judo was frowned upon, was considered ‘abnormal’.

It was my mentor, my judo instructor, who finally confirmed my suspicions and made them real.

‘That hold-down,’ he said, having watched me pin yet another stud into submission with tate-shiho-gatame. ‘I don’t like it.'

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, ‘Shouldn’t be taught. Should be banned. Illegal.’

Shouldn’t 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 syllabus.

Permanently.

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 sport.

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...

Kano’s 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.

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The Olympic 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.

Ever since 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 wasn’t dying out entirely, that somebody else out there was also against its depressing demise. I attempted to locate materials which might suggest I wasn’t 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 opponent’s resisting body.

Finally, I found someone.

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 Kano’s 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.

The first 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 of throws.

The second 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.

d

No matter: 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.

So he 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.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The sport of kings.

Of course, that isn’t 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 Kano’s 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.

The first 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 stated intentions.’

Furthermore, 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.

Compare this 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.’

Let’s consider the implications, then. This sport:

a. involves the wearing of gis

b. is devoted almost exclusively to full-contact grappling

and

c. allows 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 judo).

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These qualities 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?

Yes. Yes, there is.

Better still, it ranks as one of the most important techniques in the Brazilian art’s repertoire.

Like judo, 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.

And mounting 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:

‘There are many ways for the person on top to hold and control his opponent. One arm can encircle the opponent’s head, the other is held out wide, hand on the ground, to make a wide base that makes the opponent’s 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 opponent’s 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?

‘It is very advantageous to get into a controlling position behind your opponent’s 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 is.’

d

Surely, 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?

Wrong: there is.

It’s called the guard, and is possibly the sport’s 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 precursor.

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 (judokaguy@hotmail.com). I hope that, together, we can lay Kano’s 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 form.

Now, get rolling!


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MatBattle.com Article: All About the Ground - Diami Virgilio on BJJ's Homoerotic Nature

MatBattle.com Article: All About the Throws - Aaron Gray Explores Judo's Neglect of Ne-waza


MatBattle.com Article: 'Anything Goes' - Juliana Protásio on the Sexual Side of Vale Tudo

MatBattle.com Review: UFC Videogame - the World's First Gay Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Simulation

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