Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Successful Judo Performance in Rio 2016

In December 2008 I presented at a Research Seminar at the Kodokan, Tokyo, on the topic of Successful Judo Performance. I tried to identify what we know about successful judo performance based on research.
I have pasted below the bullet points from my Summary slide:

•Come from less than 30 nations (30以下の国)
•Aged 18 – 33 (18歳から33歳)
•Technical range – unpredictability (意外性のある技の幅)
•6 nagewaza, 2 newaza (6種類の投げ技と、2種類の寝技)
•Kouchigari (小内刈り)
•Six 25 second bursts with 10 second rests (25秒間の激しい攻防と10秒間の静止)
•Understand seoinage and uchimata (背負い投げと内股)
•Low body fat percentage (低い体脂肪率)
•High lactate tolerance (高い乳酸値に対する耐性)
•Left sided tendencies (左サイドの技への変化)

Lets look forward to The Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Around 6.5 years to go. The mean age of the judo medallists in Beijing was 25, with a range or 18 - 33. If we assume that to be the case in 2016, then the players you are working with between the ages of 11 - 26 are in with a chance.

What can you do in 2010 as a coach to increase their chances of medalling in Rio? How can you enhance their environment? Can they work on the left? Can they score with kouchigari? Is their conditioning relevant to the task they will encounter and relevant to their stage of development. How can you better yourself as a coach so you are still useful to them in 6.5 years time?

Do you have a plan for these players? Can you get advice? Do you have a more experienced coach you can turn to for support?

The New Year is a time for resolutions. Make that plan, devlop yourself so you can develop your players. Imagine coaching a player to win a gold medal in Rio. What a party that would be!

I'm working with the team at http://www.judospace.com/ to deliver the European Judo Union Level 3 Coach Award.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Three Levels of Judo

I would like to quote below from Mind over Muscle by Jigoro Kano, page 94-95.

"We have now established judo's three aspects - training for defense against attack, cultivation of the mond and body, and putting one's energy to use. We have also affirmed judo's highest goal as self perfection for the betterment of society. For the sake of convenience, let us place the foundation - training for defense against attack - at the bottom and call it lower level judo. Let us call training and cultivation, which are by-products of training for defense and attack, middle-level judo. The study of how to put one's energy to use in society comes last, so let us call it upper leve judo.

When we divide judo into these three levels, we can see that it must not be limited to training for fighting in the dojo, and even if you train your body and cultivate your mind, if you do not go a level higher, you cannot truly benefit society. No matter how great a person you are, how superior your inytelligence, or how strong your body, if you die without achieving anything, as the proverb says: 'Unused treasure is a wasted treasure.' It can be said that you perfected yourself, but it cannot be siad that you contributed to society. I urge all practitioners of judo to recognise that it consists of these three levels and to undergo their training without undue emphasis of one aspect over another."

I feel this message is of great value to coaches.

Of course you must strive to ensure your players have the technical ability to apply defense against attack, the first level. Some coaches also step up to the second level, and seek to cultivate the bodies and minds of their athletes, encourage them to develop physically in a balanced way, and encourage them to better their minds through education. Only some coaches work hard to study how to put their energies to use to benefit society.

Try to be a coach who benefits society, it's one of the things that makes judo more than sport.
I hope you have the time to vist the European Judo Union Level 3 Coach Award at www.judospace.com.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Presents come in threes.

Yesterday morning I collected my post at the Welsh Institute of Sport, it was a large envelope posted in Japan. Inside I found several imprints of a translation of part of my PhD thesis. A section of the thesis relating to historical judo research had been translated into japanese by Tajima Yasuko, a Project Researcher in the Department of Budo at the National Institute of Fitness and Sport, Kanoya University, supevised by Professor Hirasawa and Professor Hamada.
(Hamada Hatsuyuki Sensei 7th Dan was the coach to Miss Ryoko Tamura, and a gold medalliist in the Asian Judo Championships.)

I was thrilled to see my work in kanji. A wonderful gift. Thank you to all my friends in Kanoya for choosing to study my thesis. I was reminded of how important your friends are in judo.

In the evening I attended one of the most important events in the judo calendar. The Team Bath Judo christmas party is an occasion not to be missed. Double Olympian Marcon Bezzina had flown from Malta to the UK just to attend. In all there were 8 nations represented, and in the training group there are 7 players on the current IJF World Ranking List. A huge credit to the coaches. Thank you to Megan and Kat for organising it.

It was warming to be amongst friends, they gave me a great welcome and I am so proud of every one of them. Their gift of friendship was a wonderful present. Again I was reminded of how important your friends are in judo.

This morning Postman Pat dropped off a parcel at the front door. A third present? A box set of the fantastic Fighting Films Inoue DVD, sent by Kosei himself, with a note of thanks. Kosei is a remarkable young man, a judoka and a samurai, a credit to his parents and his University. It has been a pleasure to be able to help him this year.

A wonderful present. For a third time I was reminded how important your friends are in judo.

Jita kyoei.

Working with http://www.judospace.com/ to educate coaches in partnership with the EJU so that more players can have the chance to find friendship through judo.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A century of Olympic Judo

As we draw to the end of 2009, I am reminded that it was in 1909, a century ago, that Jigoro Kano accepted an invitation from Baron Pierre de Coubertin to join the International Olympic Committee. Kano was the first Asian to join the IOC.

Just 3 years earlier in 1906, Kano had been involved in the creation of the Butokukai in Japan. You can read much more about the important role that the Butokukai played in the development of judo in Syd Hoare’s excellent book, ‘A history of Judo’ (www.sydhoare.com)

Kano worked tirelessly throughout his life to promote judo globally. I am sure he would be delighted now to see the number of nations affiliated to the IJF. As we approach the next summer games in 2012, the fantastic new Olympic qualification system should see more nations than ever competing in the judo events.

The qualification period will start next May, and the world ranking lists give us a much clearer idea of the form of a player. It also allows for a much more accurate seeding.

So we should reflect on the vision of de Coubertin in building the Olympic Movement, and the valuable role that Kano played in that development. The judo family continues to make a major contribution to the Olympic Movement.

www.judospace.com tries to make a small contribution to that development by delivering the EJU Level 3 Advanced Coach Award.

Thanks to Densign White, EJU Head Sports Director, and Advisor to Judospace, for the image of the letter from Kano to de Coubertin.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Judo Tree

Yesterday I was coaching the Cadet National Team at the Welsh National Judo Centre. I decided to tell them about the judo tree.

I learnt about the judo tree from Norito Katabuchi from Tokai University. The eldest of three Katabuchi judo brothers.

The trunk of the tree is your tokuiwaza. The branches are your combinations into and out of the technique(s). The roots are the things that make up your preparation; condition, attitude, lifestyle, training system, etc. The flowers are the spectacular techniques that lead nowhere, perhaps a sutemiwaza.

The trunk should ideally consist of one of four techniques, around which you can base a players technical strategy; Osotogari, Taiotoshi, Seoinage or Uchimata. Some great players, actually have two or more of these techniques in their trunk.

Often, the branches will include kouchigari or ouchigari.

A player who has a tokuiwaza which is not a major technique may find that their repertoire is limited, and they struggle to develop a series of renrakuwaza and renzokuwaza around their tokuiwaza. There judo tree will be feeble and not grow in a balanced way to produce strong branches.

Think about the trees of the players you work with. I suggest that all cadet players should work hard on the four major techniques. Even if they do not use them, they will understand them, and be better able to deal with attacks from their partner.

What we do as coaches is plant an acorn. Plant it in fertile soil, feed the roots, nurture the tree, talk to it, prune it occasionally, and you will have a strong healthy tree, with a powerful trunk, strong branches and beautiful flowers.

Happy gardening.

The European Judo Union Level 3 Advanced Coach Award is delivered by http://www.judospace.com/

Monday, December 7, 2009


Yesterday I had the pleasure and privilege of coaching alongside Yuko Nakano and Alan Jones. Both legends, Alan already is, and Yuko will be soon.

We were invited to lead the Police Sport UK training camp in the Welsh National Judo Centre.

I was awestruck by the precision of technique of my fellow coaches. Both so very different in style, but each absolutely clear about the movement they were doing.

It made me think that, the confidence of knowing exactly what you are doing, and being able to repeat it precisely over and over again, is something that all coaches must strive for.

Yuko covers what appears to be basic judo, yet in a way that is fresh and original. She makes it seem so simple.

Alan, is unique, he has his own style which is crisp and clear, with no frills. He makes it seem so simple.

Thanks both.

www.judospace.com works with the European Judo Union to deliver the Level 3 Advanced Coach Award.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Judo - more than sport!

I love this new corporate look from the EJU, and their tag line is fantastic.

Judo - more than sport!

We all know it's true. Definitely more than a sport, no question about it.

We are who we are because of judo. I know that's true for me. It shapes the places we visit, who our friends are, who our heroes are, what we do in our spare time, what we do in our work time, and what our dreams are.

What is it about judo that makes it more than sport. What is it that means it's not wrestling in pyjamas? Can you define it. Can you add a little of it into your coaching sessions? Could you just spend an extra 60 seconds of the next class that you coach, trying to put it across.

I remember, earlier in my career I was lucky enough to work for the legendary Syd Hoare. Syd once told me, 'The secret of judo is like your eyebrows, so close, yet you can't see it.'

Thanks Syd.

Tell your friends about www.judospace.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Best Coach in the World?

I can remember when I was a young player having ambitions to be the best player in the world. Perhaps you did too.

As a coach, do you have ambitions to be the best coach in the world?

Try an exercise. Write down how you would know if someone was the best coach in the world. What are the criteria?

Then try writing a list of some nominees for the title of best coach in the world.

Could you write your own name on that list? If not, what would you have to do to get your name on the list? These could be your coaching goals.

What could you do today, that would take a small step towards one of those goals?

Do it.

Your players and you will benefit from the journey.

Please comment on this post with your list of top 5 all time coaches.

Improve yourself as a coach by visiting http://www.judospace.com/ the delivery arm of the EJU Level 3 Advanced Coach Award recognised in over 50 nations.

(The picture above is Sato Nobuyuki Sensei, he would make my shortlist for the best coach in the world. Photo courtesy of David Finch at www. judofotos.com)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Judo and Education

Would you expect the teacher of your children to undergo continuing professional development?
Would you expect them to be au fait with the latest teaching techniques, so that they are able to bring out the best in your child?

Would you hope that the teacher is able to educate, entrall, inspire and motivate your child to learn?

Do you expect the same of your judo coach?

If you are a coach, do you have a moral responsibility to your pupils to keep up your continuing professional development?

I have been lucky enough to work with some inspirational coaches. The main thing I have found that they have in common is that they never stop learning.

Good luck with your coaching.

(The image above is Coach Matt Divall lecturing at the 2008 EJU Children's Seminar. Matt is a coach continually striving to improve his knowledge.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

When did randori start?

'The randori of today began sometime between the reign of the 9th shogun Tokugawa Ieshige (1745-59) and the 11th shogun Tokugawa Ienari (1787-1836). The value of randori was acknowledged to a greater degree with the encouargement of the government's Kobusho (martial arts training school) established in the Ansei period (1854-59).'

Sakuraba Sensei 8th Dan, writing in Randori: History & Method (Japanese Education, Essentials of Judo). (Published by Baifukan, 1940).

http://www.judospace.com/ works with the European Judo Union to Support Player and Coach Education.