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.
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.
I was talking to one of my judoplayers about our women’s soccer team win over the Japanese at the London Olympics, and I told her we won, but we didn’t play very well. Her mom was sitting nearby, and said “Who cares? We won!” She was, of course, right…but also very wrong, especially with the message her daughter heard.