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?
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.