George Washington brought them over from England by the trunkload. At the time of his death, he had over nine hundred, a considerable number back then or even today. To develop his intellectual depth, Benjamin Franklin relied on them extensively to supplement his two years of formal education, which stopped at age ten. George Patton carried them onto the battlefield. General Dwight Eisenhower stressed their importance. USMC General Jim Mattis, our current Secretary of Defense, had a personal collection of 7,000 of them. Yes, we are talking about books.
If you’ve ever had to control a group of 3-5 year old lil warriors on a large Judo mat, you know how great they are at running around, fidgeting, and not paying attention. Coach Yuki at Judo America found a convenient way to corral her charges. On the command “Get back to your spot,” her lil warriors move back into their personal ‘ring.’
If you follow international sports as I do, you probably know that a nation of 330,000 just qualified for the 2018 World Cup in soccer, while a nation of 330 million failed to qualify for the same event. Why did Iceland qualify while the United States failed? Who cares, some of you might be thinking? Well, the answer is simple. There’s much to learn from Iceland’s success in soccer, and from America’s failure, because Judo in the U.S. suffers from the same problems when it comes to national development.
Back in March, I posted a video clip on BetterJudo’s Facebook page of a failed O soto gari, and asked my readers why it had failed. Knowing that respondents would blurt out the go-to solution of no kuzushi, I debated whether to include, “Come up with something other than no kuzushi,” as the reason the throw failed. I didn’t include that caveat, and sure enough, half the answers mentioned kuzushi.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard it said, but my blood pressure goes up every time I hear a coach say, “I’m not in it for the money.” This is quickly followed, or preceded, by statements that suggest the coach is having a hard time building his program. Don’t get me wrong, coaches are free to charge or not charge for the services they provide. However, there are unintended consequences when you don’t charge for Judo lessons.
Sports are finally waking up to the long-term effects of concussions. Judo is no exception. The United States Judo Association, for example, has prominently displayed on its website an online course entitled Heads Up!. This course is the work of the U.S. Center of Disease Control, which tells us how important this issue is. Continue reading