Two weeks ago, I emailed four IJF officials asking what prompted the latest IJF edict against coaching from the sidelines. Marius Vizer, IJF President, and Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sports Director, responded to my inquiry, for which I am grateful. This is what Mr. Vizer had to say:
The heavy hand of the IJF has once again come down hard on coaches. Good grief! Why the continued assault? While the new directive applies only to IJF events, we must be concerned that national federations will jump aboard and start enforcing a similar rule for national and perhaps even local events. Here’s the IJF ruling, which I only found out about because my American colleague received it from a Mexican colleague.
Winning on the Mat: Judo, Freestyle Judo and Submission Grappling is the title of Steve Scott’s massive (over 400 pages) book on Judo. Scott, a key leader in AAU and Freestyle Judo, is like me a rebel with a cause and admirer of Geof Gleeson. He feels that Judo gets no respect and is headed in the wrong direction. About a month ago, out of the blue, Scott was kind enough to send me a copy of his book. In return, he asked for nothing.
My colleague Steve Scott, recently wrote in his newsletter, “As an interesting sidelight to how history repeats itself, a variety of these techniques are used in various forms of submission grappling and mixed martial arts, although they continue to be illegal in judo competition.” He was talking about various forms of shime waza or constricting techniques, not necessarily neck chokes. Not very long ago, one of my readers commented, “Please correct me if I’m wrong; wrestling, Brazilian jiujitsu, and competitive sambo will allow all Judo throws of the Kodokan in competition. With the IJF rules, Judo does not. This is a disgrace.” I couldn’t agree more.
I had the pleasure of attending the first two days of the 2011 World Championships in Paris. Here are my comments.
I ran into Michel Brousse, the French Judo historian (among other things) in the hotel lobby. He was kind enough to acknowledge that my daughter Natalie was participating in the championships. He also informed me that there would be an International Association of Judo Researchers symposium the next morning, and invited me to attend. I did, and came away with lots of good information from the morning session, which was dedicated to Judo history. Unfortunately, I had to miss the afternoon session as I was meeting my 86-year old father, whom I hadn’t seen in some twenty years.
As more people become disenchanted with IJF, and now EJU, the word “mafia” is starting to be associated more often with these organizations. Coaches and players are feeling the brunt of the economic demands imposed by IJF and EJU. We in the United States also got a taste of this “stay in the hotel we designate or else we’ll charge you a ridiculous sum of money to compete in our event” mafia mentality. Here’s what Kent Gustavsson, a courageous coach from Sweden, has to say on the subject. He posted his comments on EJU’s website.