I recently purchased from Fighting Films Shinjido: Evolution and Innovation by former British champion Danny Da Costa. With a background in Judo, aikido and boxing, Da Costa’s Shinjido, or “new style way,” offers some interesting concepts and principles that can only enhance one’s understanding and performance of Judo.
Da Costa, like fellow Brit Geof Gleeson, encourages you to step outside that small box that limits most players and coaches. As always, when new ideas are presented, there will be naysayers. Some have said, “It’s all aikido.” Others have said, “There’s nothing new here. It’s just a bunch of ideas from other arts.” Of course, comments like these come from people who can’t connect dots, can’t innovate on their own, must be spoon-fed all pertinent information, and most importantly can’t see that the innovation is not necessarily in the techniques themselves, but in their application to Judo situations.
From my perspective, Shinjido: Evolution and Innovation made my head spin with ideas. Danny’s outside-the-box thinking created more outside-the-box thinking on my end. That’s the beauty of creativity. Creativity begets more creativity.
Sadly, a few commenters on Youtube suggested that it was the worst purchase they had ever made. Since Shinjido: Evolution and Innovation only costs $15 as a download, I feel sorry for them if they didn’t find any value in Da Costa’s ideas. Oh, well, it’s their loss, and that of their students, if they happen to be coaches, which I hope they are not.
Loretta Doyle, 7th dan and former British world champion, attended Da Costa’s last Shinjido seminar. This is what she had to say.
Today’s seminar was proof that you can always learn throughout our journey within the world of judo and today was no exception to this. I am sure I can speak for us all when I say this was an enlightening seminar shared by judo players of all abilities. I believe that Shinjido has a lot to offer and gives an education and understanding of true movement of our sport. This I know would be of benefit to all ages and abilities. I would like to thank you once more for your dedication in sharing your knowledge, and support your continued success delivering Shinjido throughout the UK.
Da Costa replied:
The BJA coaching hierarchy have either remained unaware or have closed their mind to my work, so I find it rewarding to have a coach with Loretta’s competition credentials make such a positive comment.
He then spoke about innovation.
Judo as old timers like me know it, has radically changed and many feel not for the better. I take a pragmatic approach. If it works and it is within the rules, then it is valid. After all judo is a combat sport and it is up to the fighter to impose his style on the opponent. Many new techniques have been added to our syllabus. These new techniques are the result of competition success. We copy the champions. This is development from the top of the pyramid down. It is a valid approach but it is not the only way. The average player can only go so far by copying. After all the copied skill becomes over exposed and losses effectiveness as fighters learn how to stop or counter it. The potential champion must pioneer skills and continue to develop throughout their contest career. This is particularly the case with so many qualifying events to contend with. I believe that one of the reasons for our poor showing in Beijing, was that our fighters were well known and the opposition was able to negate their attacks. I hope that you agree with me so far and believe that innovation is important. It can also be a lot of fun.
Shinjido: Evolution and Innovation contains 46 technical clips in MP4 format, 4 clips on principles and one interview clip. One of the principles is GAP or Gravity Assisted Power. While the concept is not new to me, the name is. This new term will make communication much easier.
With GAP, Da Costa seeks more efficient ways to do Judo and states that lifting someone is not as efficient as pushing him down. Lots of aikido’s influence here, but lots from Gleeson too. GAP might fly in the face of the “lift” mentality in Judo, but it is clear to me that GAP makes sense in many instances when “lift” doesn’t. This is especially true with tighter transitions to ne waza.
I hope you’ll support Da Costa and buy Shinjido: Evolution and Innovation. Encourage others to do likewise. If you’re one of those with a narrow mind, don’t dismiss Shinjido out of hand. It may take some time before the light goes on and you know what to do with the new found knowledge. In the end, contrary to the luminaries on YouTube, it’ll be worth more than the $15 you paid.
Note: At press time, Fighting Films’ download page has experienced some problems, so keep trying to order Shinjido: Evolution and Innovation.