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 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.
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 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?
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.