I admit it. I’ve been missing in action for more than I wanted to be. Several of my readers have reminded me that I haven’t posted anything in over a month. Time flies when you are busy. I’ll have a lot to discuss in the coming weeks. In December, I spent 12 days in Japan watching the Tokyo Grand Slam and teaching here and there. I recently received The Second Life of Judo, a new book by Alan Rafkind, who’s one of my fans. I’ll have more to say about that soon. And then, when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, there’s the IJF with its latest version of how to make Judo even more irrelevant.
I just received some information from EJU sources that I thought you would enjoy. The IJF is reviewing the rules that will be in effect for the next four years. Here are some of the ideas being considered.
Over two billion people worldwide are now watching the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. That includes me. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with a Judo blog. Well, there are things that the soccer world can teach the Judo world. If we are perceptible enough, soccer also serves as an example of what Judo should not be.
Back in January 2010, I announced that the USJA was going to create new rules for “developmental” tournaments. That was great news. I thought that some sanity would return to our sport after the IJF’s latest, and drastic, rule changes were announced. Well, the results are in, and I am very disappointed, but not totally shocked.
Back in December when I wrote Hansoku Make, IJF!, I had trouble understanding why actions in certain video clips merited hansoku make. Well, apparently now, so does the IJF. According to a report by USJF Referee Development Committee Chairperson Joon Chi, twelve of the twenty-one clips that I called into question no longer deserve hansoku make. Instead, the IJF being the IJF, half of those twelve now require a shido to one of the players for what I can only guess is illegal gripping or defensive this or that. Clear on that?
To the best of my recollection, nothing has awakened or maddened the Judo community like the new IJF rules, which make their debut in 2010. My greatest fear is that in spite of all the grumbling and anger, Judo people once again will get in line like meek sheep and do nothing to take our sport back from the lords of the rules. Case in point: an official from the USJA told me that although she didn’t like the rules, and considered them stupid, they were still going to run a January tournament with the new rules. Mind you, this tournament is not some national or state tournament. In fact, it’s marketed as a unique tournament devoted to a small segment of our athletes- female athletes. You would think they would ignore the rule changes to make this event even more unique. So far, that’s not the case.