Monday, February 08, 2010

New Rules = New Strategies

I don't mean to harp on the no leg grab rules, but I just saw this on the USA Judo site, and I needed to share. First and foremost, I congratulate Travis Stevens on his hard-fought Bronze medal, and I also commend him on his quick thinking of how to use the new rules to his advantage.

By his own admission from the USA Judo site, he coaxed his opponent into an illegal leg grab to win his match and put him in the semifinals:

"I was shaking my arm out and trying to figure out how I was going to beat this guy when I remembered from watching his other fight that he was always trying to grab [Takahiro Nakai's] leg when he stuck it out," Stevens said of his strategy to capitalize on a new rule that bans grabbing your opponent's leg during a match.  "So I decided to go with that and I was able to trick him into grabbing my leg and trying to throw me with a te guruma [hand wheel throw] and it worked."

Stsiashenka's failed te guruma attack resulted in a hansokumake (disqualification), making him one of seven players to be removed from the tournament for violating the new rules.

I will re-iterate, that they need to add a shido for these rules (at least for the time being) to help set the tone. In this case, Stevens' opponent might have had the ability to change his game to prevent being disqualified (and if he didn't, he'd deserve it). At first, the IJF was reluctant to change the rules during the qualification period for the Olympics. If only one or two people had been dq'd by the new rules, I'd say that the effect was not as bad as I thought, but 7!

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