I just came back from the California State Games, which used the current IJF rules. As always when I go to even a few events that run IJF rules, I wonder how we have allowed ourselves down this ugly road of issuing hansokumakes and shidos for what used to be good Judo just a few years ago. Everyone complains, but few do anything constructive to offer alternatives. So, here are the Judo America rules I use when I host our in-house tournaments.
For those of us who have been coaching Judo for 30 or 40 years, we’ve noticed the changes over the years in the kids who come into our programs. Kids, and parents, of the 70s and 80s, and even as late as the early 90s, are distinctively different from kids and parents of the twenty-first century. I call today’s kids the “entertainment” generation. Parents are known as the “helicopter” and “bulldozers” parents. More concerned about their kids being babysat and protected from the reality of the world, and having bought into the destructive self-esteem movement, these parents hardly believe in the adage, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” The result is that fewer kids are competing and fewer are willing to excel at anything. Yet parents bring their kids to our Judo programs to help their kids gain confidence, while at the same time being reluctant to have little Peter or Mary compete.
Almost two centuries ago, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer, stated that, “Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.” I agree. Todd Brehe, a former athlete of mine and a 2-time U.S. World Team member, addresses this issue from his own perspective as a player, international competitor, and father. Below, you’ll find his well-penned article, Why Every Recreational Judoplayer Should Compete. It’s an empowering article that should be shared with prospective new parents.
Many players like to visit other clubs while on business trips or vacation. Since every club tends to have different rules, culture and expectations, players can sometimes be caught making an etiquette faux pas. By doing so, they can damage the reputation of their home club and coach. A recent etiquette no-no prompted my colleague, Steve Scott, to put together what I’m calling the cardinal rules for dojo visitors. I was so impressed with the list that I asked for permission to post them in my blog. So, here it goes.
I’m so tired of hearing Judo people say that you can’t make money teaching Judo, that I can’t take it anymore. Why is it that TKD, BJJ and MMA instructors can teach for a living, but we Judo coaches can’t? An obvious reason is that if you’re charging $30 a month for your twice a week classes, and you only have a handful of students, it’s hard to envision how you can earn a living. The instructors in the other arts have already figured out that a different business model is needed, a model that may run contrary to everything we’ve ever been told about Judo. To our detriment, we in Judo are allergic to the use of “business” in conjunction with Judo. To be successful, we must comes to terms that our Judo club is a business. Left to discuss is how successful do we want that business to be?
Just when you think the IJF rules can’t corrupt Judo anymore, in rides Neil Adams with more insanity from the IJF. Neil has bought into the notion that Judo needs to remain an Olympic sport, and that in order to do that, Judo must be made purely an offensive minded sport with big throws. Sorry, Neil, that’s a load of crap. What the IJF is proposing makes a mockery out of what used to be Judo. At my club, we will continue to have none of this nonsense.
During a recent coach education course that I attended as an observer, one of the participants asked the clinician what type of mats would be best for Judo. The clinician replied that his own preference was for getting the hardest mats possible. The reason? To ensure good ukemi! That response nearly knocked me off my chair. Here was yet another piece of information that in my mind was clearly a great disservice to all the coaches present, and ultimately to Judo itself. Let’s examine why this statement was not in our best interest as we try to hang on to a diminishing segment of the martial arts market.