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Gemma Howell
(July 30, 2012 – Source: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Europe)

I used to love watching Judo whenever it was on the TV. I will admit that I watch just about anything martial arts related from the UFC to Fight Quest and I never tire of it. The Judo at this year’s olympics though is leaving me a little cold. I can live with the television replays and the interminable inquests by the various judges anytime there is a borderline decision to be made, but Gemma Howell’s disqualification left me stunned. As I understand it, and correct me if I’m wrong, Gemma was disqualified for grabbing her opponent’s legs! This is judo for pity’s sake. Apparently the rules of Judo have been changed since the Beijing olympics so that grabbing the legs is now not permitted unless there is some strange combination of events that include the opponent having a particular hold on the back of your gi. I feel very sorry for Gemma Howell who was putting up a very game performance. From the position Gemma was in she clearly felt her opponent grab the back of her gi but lacked the rear view camera that would have told her in that split second that the grip was only with one hand.When Kano created Judo he removed certain elements of the original Jiu Jitsu to allow it to practised full force in a competitive manner that could be taught in schools. Whilst much was removed, what remained was still an effective art but with rule changes like this one it makes you wonder what they’ll ban next. Maybe they’ll remove holding the sleeves, or perhaps the use of the sweep, who knows but I wonder what the founder would make of it all…… 






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