One of my favorite comedians was Rodney Dangerfield. His classical catchphrase was “I don’t get no respect.” The first half of his autobiography’s title is It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect. If Judo were a person and could scream at the top of his lungs, I’m sure he’d be yelling “It’s not easy bein’ me. I get no respect.” Since Judo is not a person, we judoplayers must step up to the plate and do the screaming.
Last month, many of us received this announcement from USA Judo. “As you may have already heard, the International Judo Federation, due to the respect United States has earned in developing and promoting Judo has been awarded the hosting of one of the IJF World Cup which is an Olympic Qualifier for the 2012 London Olympic Games.” I nearly choked on my raspberry-filled doughnut when I read that. The only thing the IJF respects is how much money it can make off national Judo federations, and how many of their votes can be bought off though minor gifts like hosting one of a plethora of World Cup events.
Let’s be honest. In an attempt to overprotect participants and redefine the aesthetics of Judo, we are witnessing as never before the sissification of Judo. We have removed and penalized so many things that we are left with a sanitized version, a shell, of what used to be one of the most comprehensive forms of grappling. For those of us in areas where Brazilian jiujitsu and mixed martial arts are popular, today’s sport Judo is not helping our cause one bit.