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.
I’m dumbfounded by those who insist that 6-year olds should have to play our sport by the same rules as Olympians. I keep hearing stupid things from some truly smart people, like this statement: “There is no point arguing rules that are already in place and being run at all levels in all countries.” Not only is it un-American to suggest that it’s pointless to argue against any form of world government like the IJF, more importantly, from a development viewpoint, it makes no sense to treat kids like adults. Yet the author of the above quote, a member of one of our national coaching committees, ignores “age appropriateness” and supports IJF rules lock, stock and barrel for everyone. It’s safe to call this person an IJF elitist.
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 admit it. I’ve been missing in action for more than I wanted to be. Several of my readers have reminded me that I haven’t posted anything in over a month. Time flies when you are busy. I’ll have a lot to discuss in the coming weeks. In December, I spent 12 days in Japan watching the Tokyo Grand Slam and teaching here and there. I recently received The Second Life of Judo, a new book by Alan Rafkind, who’s one of my fans. I’ll have more to say about that soon. And then, when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, there’s the IJF with its latest version of how to make Judo even more irrelevant.
This past weekend, three of my adult players kidnapped me and forced me to coach them at a team tournament in Los Angeles. It still gives me the creeps when I have to take players to an IJF rules tournament, which is something that I’ve only done twice in the last two plus years.
A few weeks ago, Steve Scott emailed me wanting to get my opinion on whether the AAU should have a third set of competition rules to attract more grapplers who may not dig our stand-up game and the fact that in Judo it’s one good throw and you lose the match. After much discussion, we came to the conclusion that Freestyle Judo rules were all that we needed for mainstream competition. The only thing left to do is tell more people about Freestyle Judo.