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Old 02-15-2020, 07:49 PM   #10
InexplicableVic's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Default Re: Judo is a striking skill

To the OP: I suspect that you genuinely believe that Judo should be a striking skill, or, that you are having difficulty reconciling a few concepts within the rules, notwithstanding Eric and Curmudgeon pretty much being dead-on correct in their explanations. So I'll try to help in a more detailed way (had to cut this down as I went over 10,000 characters by about 300, but it still works).

Let's first start with the concept that when lawyers (like me) and judges interpret statutes or regulations, they generally follow what is known as "Canons of Statutory Construction" (Construction here being another word for Interpretation). I will not recite them all at length, but there are a number that would apply here, such as: (1) in pari materia, Latin for “upon the same matter or subject” (when a statute [or rule] is ambiguous, its meaning may be determined in light of other statutes [or rules] on the same subject matter; and (2) expressio unius est exclusio alterius, Latin for “the express mention of one thing excludes all others” (items not on the list are impliedly assumed not to be covered by the statute [rule] or a contract term, although sometimes a list in a statute is illustrative, not exclusionary, typically when preceded by a word such as “includes” or “such as”).

I think what is missing from your original post, which is of critical importance, is the very first line of the Judo skill: “This skill represents any advanced training at unarmed throws and grapples – not just the eponymous Japanese martial art.” B203. Compare that to Boxing (This is the skill of trained punching. Roll against Boxing to hit with a punch. Boxing does not improve kicking ability – use Brawling (p. 182) or Karate (p. 203) for that,” B181), Brawling (This is the skill of ‘unscientific’ unarmed combat. Roll against Brawling to hit with a punch, or Brawling-2 to hit with a kick. Brawling can also replace DX when you attack with teeth, claws, horns, or other “natural weapons,” B181), and Karate (“This skill represents any advanced training at unarmed striking, not just the Okinawan martial art of karate,” B203). Frankly, your answer is right there: Boxing specifically states that it is used for punching (but not kicking, which requires Brawling or Karate--note that it does not say Judo, Wrestling, or Sumo Wrestling), Brawling specifically allows you to hit with a punch or kick, or other “natural weapons,” and Karate is described as “advanced training at unarmed striking.” Judo mentions nothing about striking.

Instead, what Judo indicates is what you can do with it: (1) unarmed throws and grapples, which is in the first sentence; (2) parry two different attacks per turn, one with each hand; (3) throw your attacker after a Judo parry; (4) substitute that skill for your DX for any DX roll made in close combat, excepting two specific situations. The skill notes that when you grapple someone with Judo, you can throw them on your next turn if the foe fails to break free.

Now, that’s not quite everything. Reading it in context, one must also examine what Boxing, Brawling, and Karate do for striking: Boxing, Brawling,, and Karate improve your damage with strikes (punches only for Boxing; punches and kicks for Brawling and Karate) as you gain greater skill; notably, Judo does not.

So, let’s apply a few rules of statutory construction here:

First, if we apply the in pari materia canon of statutory construction, we realize that reading those four skills in conjunction means that there are three skills defined as assisting with striking, because they explicitly state that they pertain to punching or kicking, and give damage bonuses if one is more skilled. Judo is not one of them. That, if not dispositive, is at least suggestive that the correct way to interpret the Judo skill is to say that it does not assist with striking such as punching or kicking.

Second, if we look at the first sentence of the Judo skill, which states that “advanced training at unarmed throws and grapples,” using the expressio unius est exclusio alterius canon, we realize that the list (which does not use terms like “such as,” or “including”) is exclusionary, and only contains two items: grappling and throwing. That is yet another reason why Judo is not a striking skill.

There are other reasons that might apply as well, but those (briefly) are the two that are probably the most appropriate. As Eric mentioned, many DF and DFRPG templates require picking one unarmed striking skill (Boxing or Brawling) and one unarmed grappling skill (Sumo Wrestling or Wrestling). For Martial Artists, they always have Judo and Karate--never just one.

As an aside, I’d like to briefly mention the whole absurdity of the conventions “RAW” and “RAI,” because to lawyers, those distinctions really make no sense. Rules are always interpreted. Sometimes the plain meaning is the easiest and clearest interpretation, and that’s fine. But the concept of “rules as written,” which suggests reading them literally, without trying to interpret the meaning, is, to lawyers, nonsensical. As many judges have written in many opinions, “the surest way to misread a statute [rule] is to read it literally,” which ties into the statutory construction of “avoiding absurdity” (the law should not be interpreted in a fashion that leads to absurd results).

Anyhow, with regard to the sentence about how one can substitute Judo rolls for DX rolls for actions you are taking in close combat, it seems to me that Curmudgeon’s interpretation is exactly correct.

Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
I think you're reading too much into it. DX as a substitute for Brawling, Karate and/or Boxing is default use of a punch, kick or bite as well as indicating default use of the two weapons you've named. Knowing Judo does not prevent you from making those default attacks, but neither does the ability to make those default non-Judo attacks make Judo into a striking skill.
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
What Judo does allow is that in Close Combat, if your Judo skill is greater than your DX, then, in that limited circumstance, you benefit by being more likely to connect with a punch, kick or bite or with a sap or stun gun. It may err on the side of generosity, it could have read you may substitute Judo -1 or Judo-2 for DX.

It reflects an argument that having to operate in close vicinity to your opponent in order to throw him, which is a principal use of Judo, you should be able to spot and make more effective use of any opportunities to kick, punch or bite at close quarters than your DX would otherwise suggest. Which still doesn't make Judo a striking skill, it just gives you a better default use of strikes under those limited circumstances.

In particular, the very last part is perhaps the most important: “Which still doesn't make Judo a striking skill, it just gives you a better default use of strikes under those limited circumstances.” In other words, knowing Judo (a grapplying skill) gives you an advantage when you’re in close combat as compared to someone who has no training any striking skills. But it’s no substitute for Boxing, Brawling, or Karate. That's why I think Eric, Curmudgeon and I believe this to be splitting hairs.

Maybe that is more helpful, maybe it isn’t. If not, I’m not sure what to tell you. To me--someone who has spent every working day for the last 21+ years interpreting statutes, rules, and regulations, and who can’t afford to be wrong when advising clients--this is pretty clear. And if this were a rule that I had to interpret for a client, with no written opinions from judges specifically addressing it, I'm advising them that Judo is not a striking skill in GURPS.
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anti-talent, grappling, judo, martial arts, noncombatant, raw, striking

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