Cardinal Rules for Dojo Visitors

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.

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Judo as a Profession

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?

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My thoughts on the 2014 IJF Rules

Just when you think the IJF rules can’t corrupt Judo anymore, in rides Neil Adams with more insanity from the IJF.  Neil has bought into the notion that Judo needs to remain an Olympic sport, and that in order to do that, Judo must be made purely an offensive minded sport with big throws.  Sorry, Neil, that’s a load of crap.  What the IJF is proposing makes a mockery out of what used to be Judo.  At my club, we will continue to have none of this nonsense.

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The Harder, The Better?

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.

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Olympic Rules for Everyone?

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.

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A Few Hints

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.”

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