Fighting a stiff armed Judoka is one of the most annoying things at Judo training. In competition a stiff armed /defensive Judoka is quickly penalized in which case they must attack OR they keep getting penalties until they are disqualified. Unfortunately in Randori there is no referee and no penalties and this means some Judoka stiff arming in a way not not be thrown.
If this happens to me in the club I:
1 – tell them to stop stiff arming and relax
2 – don’t train with them anymore
3 – try these techniques below
The main reason why I decide not to train with them anymore is because it is their issue not mine. A stiff armed/defensive Judoka is not going to improve. You find that stiff arming mainly happens in the orange-blue belt belt range and usually with people who cannot breakfall that well and therefore don’t want to be thrown. If this is the case then they shouldn’t be doing randori anyway (but that’s for another blog post all together).
In the end stiff arming is hard to stop at club level because there are no referees in randori so technically they can stiff arm all day. If you are a person who stiffs arms (or get accused of it often by your training partners) I encourage you to find the reason deep within yourself why you stiff arm. Are you scared of being thrown or being injured? If so, I recommend not doing randori until you conquer these fears through breakfall practice because you are just frustrating your training partners and not allowing them to attack and develop their Judo.
Are you super competitive and don’t want to be thrown? If this is the case then you need to know that every time you get thrown, you actually improve because you should have learnt something on the way. With every fight you lose you learn something. All the best champions in the world are champions because they learnt every time they lost.
In the end if you have a number of stiff arming Judoka in your club and you want to know how to throw them here are some techniques you can try. But remember, because your opponent is 100% defending and trying to create as much space as possible these techniques are still hard to do.
Video #1: Multiple Stiff Arm options by Me
Video #2: Trips for tight players by Jimmy Pedro
This video is made primarily for the defensive bjj practitioner but the principles are the same.
Video #3: Osoto set up by American Judoka Shintaro Higashi
video #4: Stiff arm options by random guy on YouTube
I saw this video online and at first I was like, “nah i’m not going to watch this, but I did watch it and turns out the principles he discusses are really really good for defeating a stiff armed Judoka. He talks about moving backwards and pinning the leg on the outside etc. Check it out below.
For more Stiff arms resources I encourage you to check out this log posts:
Dealing with a stiff by the Difficult way