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?
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.
My last post elicited demands for more information, ranging from videos to full curriculum, on how I handle beginners and people trying Judo for the first time. Rather than give you the whole enchilada, I’ll take the proverbial route of “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Several weeks ago, I had a visit from an entire Japanese family: two kids, two parents and two grandparents. Grandpa had done Judo at the university level in Japan, and mom had a very good knowledge of the turmoils the Japanese Judo team was going though.
With the latest scourge coming from the IJF, discussions are heating up, and more and more disgruntled coaches and players are ready to go in different directions. Some are leaving Judo outright, because they are unable to comprehend that options short of quitting Judo are available. Some are saying that they are not leaving Judo, but that Judo has left them. Fair enough. Thankfully, many more are discovering Freestyle Judo and realizing that FSJ offers a return to the way Judo ought to be played, and that the Judo community doesn’t revolve around the IJF.
I’d like to start off my first post in 2013 by wishing you a Happy New Year, and by thanking you for your continued interest and support of my blog.
You’re probably not going to hear me say this very often, but the IJF’s latest decision to allow armbars for 15-16 year olds is a good move for a change. USA Judo promptly followed suit since it never preempts or contradicts the IJF. Players competing in the Juvenile B (USA Judo) or IJF Cadet division can now do what thousands of BJJ fighters and submission wrestlers participants have been doing all along- straightening arms out or bending them. Participants in these divisions must hold the rank of sankyu though.