Contrary to what I was originally told, I received word a few days ago that the Women’s Judo Championships in Las Vegas scheduled for January 23 will use the new rules. How that came about is more troubling and disappointing than the decision itself. An official from the USJA asked several of the referees what they thought we ought to do. Hello! What do you think referees are going to say? Their allegiance is to the rules, not the sport. For the life of me, I don’t understand why the tournament director didn’t make that decision? Meek sheep falling in line?
All is not lost however. Four in-house, development tournaments in Southern California will be held in the next three months. Old rules will prevail. Patrick Mahon from Australia has indicated that many of you have emailed him to inquire about the petition he is working on. Let’s get other coaches and players to do the same. Check out the last batch of comments my blog has received.
Here’s what a local assistant coach from Southern California just emailed me.
I also share your frustration with the rule changes. I’m one of the people increasingly discouraged with judo politics and the frequent rule changes. As a 1-2x/year competitor, I’m not that interested in keeping up with the constant rule changes. Judo is becoming so idiosyncratic that I’m afraid it will CONTINUE down the path towards becoming irrelevant. Nonetheless, I do appreciate your insightful posts. I look forward to seeing you soon.
I sense that many in Judo, whether competitors or not, share his feelings. Becoming irrelevant is not what I wish for Judo to become. If we allow this latest round of rule modifications to take firm hold, irrelevant is what Judo will become. This is especially true if we teach to the rules as many dojos do, rather than teach the full scope of Judo techniques.
One of our leaders who is looking at the big picture and doing something about it is AnnMaria DeMars, President of the United States Judo Association. She is proposing that the USJA adopt “development rules” for tournaments. These rules would encourage the development of Judo skills rather than merely award wins and losses. This is in line with my November 3, 2009 blog Where is Judo’s Futsal?. She’s been looking into the AAU rules, and is open to other ideas. If you would like to offer suggestions, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve just finished reading Winners Never Cheat by Jon M. Huntsman. Huntsman writes:
A crisis allows the opportunity to dip deep into the reservoirs of our very being, to rise to levels of confidence, strength, and resolve that otherwise we didn’t think we possessed. Through adversity, we come face to face with who we really are and what really counts.
I believe we are at a crisis. I ask you to join me in rising to a level of resolve we have never reached before. Help AnnMaria DeMars, Patrick Mahon, me, and hundreds of others take back our sport.