Sunday, November 9, 2014

Judo and Education

“The three objectives of physical education, fighting and spiritual growth are expressly sought in judo. By practising judo, the student will be able to acquire the benefits of physical education, become versed in methods of combat, and concurrently nurture their intellect and morality.” (J. Kano)

This quotation is from one of the oldest lectures given by 29 year old Jigoro Kano, on 11 May 1889, which considered the contribution of judo to education. I think it is as relevant to consider this today in the second decade of the 21st century.

The traditional terminology of sensei has been replaced in many cases by the term, coach, or trainer. In some western European countries, there is a distinction made between a judo trainer and a judo teacher. In other cultures the term coach is used as a catch-all. The characters that make up the word sen-sei, 先生 are often translated as “one who has gone before”. This is a particularly relevant translation, if you consider the martial ways, or budo, as a path. So your judo sensei, is one who has trodden the path before you.

If we think of this from the perspective of the sensei, we are guiding our students along the path of judo. Along that journey we are told that our students will become versed in methods of combat and also nurture their intellect and morality. So I suggest that our role is to keep them safe along the journey, lead them the right way, and help them in the attainment of the three objectives of a physical, intellectual and moral education.

There are plenty of resources for the judo teacher to help them become a better physical educator, and to help them teach methods of combat. There are books, and videos, about a huge range of topics, all relating broadly to helping create a better physical specimen. There are also countless examples of resources of a technical and tactical nature, all designed to help the coach teach methods of combat. In my experience, most coaches spend most of their preparation time in this area, essentially focusing on the physical education side of their role.

There are much less resources which help the coach to lead their student toward an improvement in their intellectual or moral education. I consider these aspects below.

Intellect, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as; “The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract matters.” So perhaps the coach could help the student develop an ability to look at things objectively. That’s about being impartial, not being influenced by personal feelings, but just considering the facts. In the combat of a judo match, this is really important. It really doesn’t matter what your personal feelings are about the last waza-ari, or if you thought it was only yuko. The process of randori encourages you to be honest with yourself, about your strengths and weaknesses, about what will work and what won’t, rather than what you would like to work.

At the Judospace Educational Institute, in our work with coaches, we challenge them to be objective in their coaching. To coach what they know will work, rather than what they think will work. We call it Evidence-Based-Coaching. So we try to develop the reasoning and objective understanding of the coaches, we try to develop their intellect.

What about morality? What’s that? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s the “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.” So as judo coaches, leading our students along the way, we need to help them understand the differences between right and wrong. We do that every day in training, when little Jimmy hits little Joey, we tell him it’s bad. When little Susie is kind to little Sarah, we tell her it’s good. We try to set standards of behaviour in the dojo. We don’t tolerate bullying, we don’t tolerate arrogance or rudeness.

These behaviour standards are what help us teach the moral educational part of judo. If we allow the behaviour standards to slip, if we tolerate a little bullying, for example, then we are not guiding our students along the path of judo. We could simply be teaching any other form of combat training. The moral educational aspect of judo is at the heart of what makes judo “more than a sport.”

At the Judospace Educational Institute we are proud to work with the European Judo Union, whose motto, is Judo – more than a sport.

The International Judo Federation, define World Judo Day, annually on 28 October. I suggest you help your students find out why it’s on that date. The IJF encourage us to focus on the moral aspect of judo, by theming the day around a moral principle, this year was Honour, and next year will be Unity. I encourage you to build on the lead given by the IJF and the EJU, and to take moral education into your dojo. 

Do it by encouraging standards of behaviour. As you drive to the dojo for your next class, in addition to thinking about how to improve the students uchimata, think about how you can improve their behaviour. By helping them to take responsibility for their behaviour, you are helping their moral education, helping them to become valued leaders in society.

If you are interested in this approach to creating effective and efficient judoka, who are highly proficient in methods of combat, have developed their intellect, and have a strong moral compass, then we would love to hear from you.

Good luck to you and your student along the journey.

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Quote is from: KANŌ, J., & BENNETT, A. (2009). Jigoro Kano and the Kodokan; an innovative response to modernisation. Bunkyō-ku Kasuga, Kōdōkan judo institute. p 7.

Main photo is Anto Geesink after ippon was called in the final of the 1964 Olympic Games Open category, demonstrating his nurtured combat skills and morality.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Perfect Storm - Leadership for Performance

I admit it, I’m a bit of a geek. I love analysing data and I’m especially fascinated by applying theories & models to real life situations. Is this a bad thing? Well it would be if I wasn’t acutely aware of my ability to make peoples eyes glaze over, before rolling into the back of their head.  So I’ll keep this brief, here is one of the models I used for leading teams to deliver performance.

(Guest blog by Darren Warner, Olympic medal winning coach, and Judospace Performance Advisor. Follow Darren on twitter at @createautonomy )

In 2007, I was lucky enough to be part of UK Sports Elite Coach, a three year leadership programme for GB coaches. Lucky? I say lucky because at this stage in my career, I was unsure on my leadership style.  I considered myself a good coach. I had confidence in my coaching philosophy, and clarity in the model I worked within. But how did I Lead? 

The Tipping Point
For me, it was the seven days I spent in Wales with the Leadership Trust, paid for by UK Sport, as part of my development.  The Leadership Trust thrives on setting tasks, where the debrief consists of the group telling the task leader how their leadership made them feel.  At times, it was brutally harsh, but dispersed with leadership models throughout the week, it struck a great balance. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has a spare £5,000, or someone else has…

Forming - Storming - Norming - Performing
Looking back, I think Tuckman’s stages of group development model struck a cord with me because I already felt that group development wasn’t a linear progression. Maybe it confirmed my beliefs… Sure, it was first proposed in 1965, with many further developments since then, but it provided me with a model to conceptualise and play with. That was all I needed.

The following year, in 2008 was the first time I recognised the signs of the forming-storming in a team I was leading.  There were plenty of  strong characters in the team, with many of the athletes coming from the same club and I had a feeling that this had the potential to be an explosive year.  But, I had no idea how explosive!

There were plenty of  strong characters in the team...

I’d like to say the first cracks appeared in June but in all honesty, it was more like a smash! We were on a conditioning camp in Austria when things kicked off. It started with money being stolen from one of the girls rooms and progressed with a drunken binge with six of the athletes, leading to two of the players being banned.  By the time we arrived for our high volume block of training in Japan, two weeks later, the problems were there for all to see.  There was a lot of animosity and blame, everyone seemed to have an issue with someone. So how could I make things better? I didn’t, I decided to make things worse…

Riding the Storm
Firstly laying down the law, telling them how unhappy I was with their behaviour and that for the next three weeks, their life would be hell. ‘Expect to be woken up in the middle of the night for training!’ kept them on edge, as did putting them in small rooms of six, when double rooms were available. I’d be lying if I said I had a master plan of how it would pan out.  As I mentioned, my leadership style was just developing, but I did recognise that by becoming the common enemy, they stopped hating each other.  By the end of the year, I had to look back on the Japan camp as a massive success. OK they hated me, but I pushed them much harder and got a much better reaction when they wanted to prove me wrong. 

Once we were back from Asia, there was a different feel in the air.  They’d won back my respect with their efforts out there and I used that as a way to win them back. I told them how wrong I’d been, that I realised that this team was capable of having the most success at a World Championships that British Judo had ever seen.  From that moment on, I didn’t want to speak to them about anything that wasn’t taking us closer to world class success.  We reestablished our team rules, but rather than the average session at the start of the year, where nobody seems that clear on why we’re doing it?! Everyone had a focus that this was taking us all closer to the success we craved. 

Everyone had a focus that this was taking us all closer to the success we craved. 

So that's how it started, the momentum built and anyone who has led a team to success will tell you they can feel it. Every team talk I delivered, I looked in their eyes and I knew this year could be different. I knew they wanted it more than any team I’d worked with before. So how did it end?  I’ve realised there’s only one way it could end… BRILLIANTLY

European & World Championships
That year we attended the four hardest European ranking tournaments: Russia, France, Poland & Germany. So going into the European Championships in September, we had six players who’d won 10 medals from the four events. If I compare this to top nations such as Russia (won 43 medals), France (won 33 medals) or Germany (won 46 medals) it was clear we had both a smaller talent pool and less consistency throughout the team. In fact only two members of our team had won more than one medal from the four events, highlighting we had no guaranteed medals!

2008 Major Event Medals By Nation

Europeans Worlds

Russia 4    4

Germany 4    1

France 5    4

Great Britain 3    3

Whilst periodisation played a key part to these results, I really felt the storm we’d had earlier in the year was pivotal.  The six medals were won by four players but we were 4 seconds aways from a fourth medal at the Europeans as one of the lads lost with four seconds to go in the semi-final! That said, we were also the only European nation to improve our performance at the World Championships as we achieved a silver and two bronze as opposed to three bronze at the Europeans.

So what did I take from that year? Well, every year after that I created a storm with the athletes in one form or another. Every time I felt a real shift in attitude. I became very comfortable in not being the most popular person in the room. One thing I did notice is that unlike my periodisation model, the storm never came at the same time.  

Sometimes you have to force it, other times it comes by itself. But either way don’t run from it, once you see it, embrace and whenever possible, ride it! 

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain…

Find out more about Darren's work with the Judospace Educational Institute here...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Making the weight for judo

Hungry? Losing weight for an upcoming event? Read this blog from Lauren Jackson, a judoka and Sports Science graduate. Lauren is the Judospace Communications Assistant.

It is 4 weeks before a major competition and the scales read 5kg over the category allowance, to move up a weight category or to drop weight? This is a difficult yet commonly faced scenario for judo players, regularly resulting in athletes undergoing rapid weight loss in the run up to a competition (Coufalova et al., 2013). 

Why? Because being at the bottom of a weight category can seem like a disadvantage, because change is risky and sometimes because of the social connotations associated with weight gain (especially for those more sensitive about body image, in particular female athletes). For some players this rapid weight loss is seen as something that has to be done and commonly achieved through food and fluid restriction and sweating off. Understanding the adverse effects that are associated with cutting weight can help a judo player make an educated decision about what is the right decision or weight category for them. 

Here is the key information that all judo players need to know about what happens when they undergo rapid weight-loss. Rapid weight loss has been associated with: 

1. Reduction in strength, posture, dynamic balance and perceived exertion (Jlid et al., 2013). 
2. Negative mood profiles (Caulfield et al., 2008) which have negative effects on performance (Lane et al., 2001)
3. Reduced cognitive function (Labadarious et al., 2007) which will threaten performance and increase injury risk.
4. Side effects such as dizziness, tiredness and headache (Dolan et al., 2011; Labadarious et al., 2007)

Rapid weight loss has been associated with reduction in strength, posture, dynamic balance and perceived exertion.

The results achieved in training are sacrificed for the sake of weight loss. The negative experiences of the cutting strategies can put a player off competing in the future and an accumulation of these factors will increase probability of drop out.

Extreme weight loss methods have been passed down through generations of judo players that have developed from a cultural rather than scientific rationale. I will consider weight loss through dehydration in a future blog. Those judoka attempting weight loss over a few weeks through diet and exercise should consider the following:

Is weight loss the right option?  Players should only attempt weight loss if they are carrying useless mass, i.e. they have sufficient body fat to drop the required amount of weight. Scenarios in which excessive fat may accumulate include as a result of a habitual energy imbalance (the player consumes more energy than they use up) or during injury when a player is less physically active. Younger players should not be attempting weight loss due to weight gained as a result of growing.  

When weight loss is the chosen option it requires analysis and manipulation of current diet/training.  Manipulation should acknowledge the following:

  1. Weight maintenance is achieved by energy balance (energy intake matches energy expenditure). Athletes with a moderate to high training volume (more than 3x40 minutes per week) will require +2500kcals a day (Leutholtz et al., 2001). The first thing to consider is whether the player is over consuming and if so to what extent, it is of importance to stop the player from eating excessively to prevent unwanted weight gain.  Energy demand is mediated by activity level, size and muscle mass – if you are unsure about the correct energy demands all changes to intake should be small and gradual.
  2. To lose weight there must be an energy deficit (energy expenditure must outweigh energy intake). Aim for weight-loss effects from the smallest amount of deficit then when a plateau is reached total intake can be reduced further, (e.g. about 100kcal/day every 2-3 weeks) this will keep weight loss gradual. High deficits should be avoided as they increase the breakdown of lean body mass (muscle) rather than fat-loss (Garthe et al., 2011) and create hormonal adaptations to combat fat-loss (Trexler., 2014).  
  3. For athletes completing above moderate levels of training a diet with a higher carbohydrate and protein intake is recommended however too much carbohydrate or fat in the diet may be causing unwanted weight gain. For athletes, as intensity and volume increases as does carbohydate and protein intake. (Kreider et al., 2010)
  4. Frequent ingestion of protein during a deficit period will help to satisfy satiety and minimise LBM (lean body mass) breakdown (Mettler et al., 2010). This cannot be completely prevented during a high energy deficit and carbohydrate must be ingested in sufficient amount to supply the body with the optimum fuel source. 
  5. Increasing energy expenditure is another way to create an energy deficit. Additional training sessions or physical conditioning can promote maintenance of muscle during weight-loss (Bryner et al., 1999). 

It is difficult to predict the rate at which weight loss will occur, larger players will lose weight more rapidly than a leaner player – however would need to plan for more time to lose a greater amount of weight. Monitor the weight loss to help make realistic targets, think about the long term targets rather than just the next competition. 

Manipulation should be determined by the initial behaviour and physical condition of the player in addition to their previous attempts of weight loss and strategy preferences. 

Be sure to monitor the effects on the player. A change in habitual behaviour could lead to increased fatigue, physical weakness or cognitive impairment which will affect performance in training and competition and can increase injury risk.

Monitor the weight loss to help make realistic targets, think about the long term targets rather than just the next competition. 

All individuals have different body types and demands meaning there is no one answer for all players. As a coach, if you are in doubt of what is best for an individual then seek further professional help before giving any advice to the athletes.

I believe that if we want the best performance from judoka, a change in the social acceptance of extreme weight making strategies is needed. One way is through increased education of more optimal methods to manage weight for judo. 

As a coach you may be balancing the long term health of the athlete against the expectation of another medal, at what may be a minor competition.

As an athlete you want your optimal performance. Your energy balance and hydration levels are important contributors to you delivering that performance.

At Judospace we try to help the education of athletes, coaches and federations.

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Bryner, R., Ullrich, I., Sauers, J., Donley, D., Hornsby, G., Kolar, M. & Yeater, R. (1999). Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate. Journal of American College of Nutrition, 18, 115-121. 

Coufalova, K., Prokesova, E., Maly, T. & Heller, J. (2013). Body weight reduction in combat sports. Archives of Budo, 9, 267-272.

Dolan, E., O'Connor, H., McGoldrick, A., O'Loughlin, G., Lyons, D., & Warrington, G. (2011). Nutritional, lifestyle, and weight control practices of professional jockeys. Journal of sports sciences, 29, 791-799.

Garthe, I., Raastad, T., Refsnes, P., Koivisto, A. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2011). Effect of two different weight-loss rates on body composition and strength and power-related performance in elite athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 21, 97-104. 

Jlid, M. C., Maffulli, N., Elloumi, M., Moalla, W. & Paillard, T. (2013). Rapid weight loss alters muscular performance and perceived exertion as well as postural control in elite wrestlers. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 53, 620-627.

Kreider, R., Wilborn, C., Taylor, L., Campbell, W., Almada, A., Collins, R., Cooke, M., Earnest, C., Greenwood, M., Kalman, D., Kerksick, C., Kleiner, S., Leutholtz, B., Lopez, H., Lowery, L., Mendel, R., Smith, A., , S., M,, Wildman, R., , W., D, Ziegenfuss, T. & Antonio, J. (2010). ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7, 7.

Labadarios, D., Kotze, J., Momberg, D., & Kotze, T. J. (1993). Jockeys and their practices in South Africa. World review of nutrition and dietetics, 71, 97.

Leutholtz, B. & Kreider, R. (2001). Exercise and Sport Nutrition. Nutritional Health, Humana Press, 207-239

Mettler, S., Mitchell, N. & Tipton K. (2010). Increased protein intake reduces lean body mass loss during weight loss in athletes. Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42, 326-337. 

Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E. & Norton, L. E. (2014). Metabolic adaptation to weight loss: implications for the athlete. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11, 7.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Reasons for Success

Everyone wants to know the reasons for success in judo. But few conduct serious research to try to find out. This guest blog is from the Judospace Psychological Advisor, Rebeka Tandaric MS. The picture shows Rebeka with the young players she coaches at Samobor Judo Klub, in Croatia.

Attributions are the explanations we use to explain the outcome of some event.

Attribution theory attempts to explain the purpose and consequences of different interpretations used for success and failure. Attributions can affect our future expectations, emotions, performance and effort. They also include beliefs about control we have over the events. They don’t have to be actual causes because they represent the perception of the one who makes them.

We make attributions because we want to explain, understand and predict our own as well as others' behavior or we are trying to justify, feel better or make a better impression. 

Understanding previous successes and failures allows us to better prepare for new challenges and increase the likelihood of successful outcomes in the future. That's why attributions are extremely important in the sporting context.  In order to develop and enhance the individual's ability as an athlete it is necessary to understand and explain their successes and failures in the past. The perception of athletes in this process is particularly important because it determines the way they will behave in future situations.

Recent research made on the Croatian athletes from three martial arts (judo, karate and taekwondo) explores the reasons which they think have led to their most successful and least successful performances in the competition. The study included 154 competitors who were between 16 and 33 years old. 

For the most successful performance in competition, 32 % of the reasons were related to good physical preparation. In addition, 10% of the reasons were related to happiness, having a good day, good rest or some other similar reason.

The rest of the reasons that have led to success ( 58 %) were related to the different components of mental preparation: 

  • 12 %  was related to motivation and desire to win
  • 20 % was self-confidence
  • 8 % relaxation
  • 6% concentration. 

In addition, 12 % of the reasons were simply  "psychological preparation ".

"58% attributed  their most successful performance in competition to components of mental preparation."

In case of the least successful performance, 18% of the reasons were related to poor physical preparation. Illness, having a bad day, injuries and underestimation of the opponents represented 13% of the reasons. Only one participant stated that the referee was responsible for his bad result. Fatigue was present in 6 % of the reasons.

All the rest ( 63 %) attributed reasons that can be considered as mental preparation:

  • 14 % lack of concentration
  • 13 % fear, nervousness and self-doubt
  • 11% lack of motivation
  • 6 % lack of self-confidence
  • 4 % negative mood and negative attitude
  • 4 % too high expectations.

In addition, 11 % of the reasons were “bad psychological preparation".

The reasons mentioned above gives us an insight into the attributions made by athletes which can be very useful in their preparation for competitions.  Specifically, when coaches have an insight into how athletes think and to what reasons they attribute their good or bad performances, it allows them to respond with proper feedback. 

Since attributions were associated with various psychological constructs that are known to be necessary for success in the sport (anxiety , emotion , expectation of success in the future , self-esteem , self-efficacy , emotion , effort ... ) it is very important to recognise them in time so they can be properly directed.

From these results we can conclude only one thing: 

"Athletes believe that psychological preparation is extremely important and greatly affects their performance."

This is especially true in the least successful performance situation. The question is: how much the athletes and their coaches work on this kind of preparation? Many coaches in their planning devote little or no time to psychological preparation. This might be due to ignorance, lack of time or consideration that this kind of preparation should be athlete’s responsibility. 

Physical preparation is certainly crucial on a daily basis because without fitness, technical and tactical preparation there can be no good results. However, on the day of the competition without adequate psychological preparation all this is not enough.  If an athlete who is physically in great shape  goes to the contest under pressure and concentrates on the wrong things it is unlikely that he will achieve a good result.

Athletes in our study indicated that the lack of concentration, anxiety, lack of self-confidence and motivation greatly contributed to their failure in the competition. These same constructs were important in the most of successful competition as well. 

Considering that we can conclude that it is very important to work on those aspects of psychological preparation. The only question is whether the athletes and coaches will continue to leave this part of the preparation to chance or will they actively start to work on it. Do athletes really know how to properly concentrate, reduce anxiety, increase motivation and self-confidence? All this falls under psychological preparation that can be easily trained. So really, there is no excuse and you should start to work on this immediately. 

"Will coaches continue to leave mental preparation to chance?"

So, is Rebeka right? As a coach, will you leave the mental preparation of your judoka to chance, and keep working hard on their physical and technical preparation?

Why not arrange for your judoka to have an Initial Needs Assessment with Rebeka and find out which areas she would be able to help. Read about the services offered on our Psychology page..

Finally, good luck to you, your club, and your team in forthcoming, training and competition.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Principles of Judo

I share below some thoughts from a module entitled “Judo Technical Principles”, about some fundamental judo principles. In particular, the 3 principles of judo as outlined in the Illustrated Kodokan Judo, 1955 edition; the principle of softness, the principle of maximum efficiency, and the principle of mutual benefit. (I led this module as Visiting Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, teaching the European Judo Union Coach Award).

Principle of softness

We see the concept of jū, [柔] in Ju-jutsu / ju-jitsu as one of the six martial arts, or Roku-bugei, the 6 compulsory martial arts for all samurai, these are; Kenjitsu (sword), Kyujitsu (archery), Bajitsu (horse), Sojitsu (spear), Hojitsu (gunnery), and Jujitsu (hand to hand).

柔, is also known as Yawara. Commonly translated as softness, yielding, pliable, as in the example of snow falling on the willow tree. 

In the year 700 there was a Chinese military code in Japan, Lao Tzu's "Three Strategies", the "San-Ryaku". In this code we find the four character phrase: "jū yoku sei gō”. Another way to say this is; jū yoku gō o seisu, 柔よく剛を制す, meaning "Softness subdues Hardness" meaning that flexibility overcomes rigidity.

As we all know the techniques of Judo enable a smaller person to utilise the opponent's own power to throw him in spectacular fashion. Thus demonstrating the principle that "Softness overcomes Hardness". Indeed it is this drive to show the spectacular throwing techniques of judo that motivates many of the rule changes to international competition judo, brought about by the IJF in recent years. It could be argued that the implementation of the IJF rule changes are in fact a desire to demonstrate the fundamental principle of softness overcoming hardness, the principle of jū, enshrined in the first kanji of the name judo.

Lao Tzu illustrates the point with the phrase; 

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”

In 1922 at the age of 62, Jigoro Kano founded the Kodokan Cultural Council, The Kodokan Bunkakai. This was the 40th anniversary of the Kodokan. He chose the founding of the Cultural Council to launch the two underpinning principles of judo. By considering the date of the launch we can understand that these principles were formulated after 40 years of reflection about the principles of judo. Each of them is expressed as four word phrase.

Principle of maximum efficiency

seiryoku zen'yō, 精力善用, the maximum efficient use of power, also described as; maximum efficiency, minimum effort, or maximum efficient use of physical and mental strength. 

Jigoro Kano realised that the principle of jū alone, did not encompass all of the techniques in judo, for example, armlocks, or atemi-waza. The answer was about applying your power in the most efficient way. This underlying principle for training in the techniques of judo, can be applied to all actions in daily life.

The judoka learns to be efficient with their training, to be efficient with their time, to fit all the training around other commitments of work, study and relationships. The ideas of “not too much, not too little” that underpin maximum efficiency can also be applied to daily tasks, such as cleaning. Trevor Leggett often gave the example of holding the pencil half way up, for more efficient writing. (I had the great fortune to study zen under Trevor Leggett in the 1980s.)

Principle of mutual benefit

jita kyōei 自他共栄, or mutual prosperity for self and others, often translated as mutual welfare and benefit.

At the opening of the Kodokan Bunkakai in 1922, Kano explained that seiryoku zen'yō  was required to provide the platform for jita kyōei.

For individuals, anger, worry and conflict, are not efficient uses of their power. In fact they are a waste of power. For a society, if many people are inefficient in their power, the society will fall into decline. The most efficient use of power for a group, relies on them supporting each other, providing mutual welfare, and then the whole society can benefit from that mutual application of maximum efficient use of power. In this way when seiryoku zen'yō is applied to society it becomes jita kyōei.

Examples of jita kyōei, include; respect for others, consideration to ukes, consideration to losers, helping people who need help, and helping the world to be peaceful. 

Often some of these ways to communicate jita kyōei in the dojo, is by encouraging young judoka to follow a version of the judo moral code.

I believe that a judo club can achieve great things, and make a significant contribution to their community, by the judo coaches and teacher taking efforts to apply the principles of judo into their daily classes.

If you would like to understand more about how to coach judo to build your club, improve your athletes, and improve society, then consider following the path of hundreds of successful coaches, by registering on the EJU Coach Awards.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Judo Values

Gunji Koizumi, the father of European Judo, wrote in April 1954, some 60 years ago, about the values in judo in an article entitled, “Live and let live”. In this blog we consider the relevance of his words today.

In today’s modern society it is impossible to miss the speed at which technology, industry and lifestyles are changing. Civilisations are progressing rapidly and these developments are incessant and inevitable and can be reflected in the world of sport. So judo has changed over time. Koizumi, describes how judo in 1954 was growing into an organisation that demanded rules and regulations - far from the origins as a ‘formless form’. 

The growth in participation opens up the opportunity for differing opinions to enter the judo world. This was taking place 60 years ago and is no different among today’s judo family. People may train Judo for mental development and stimulation, recreational enjoyment and social factors, exercise and health, for self-defence, or indeed as a dynamic modern competitive sport.

Koizumi describes how these different incentives are born from urges within individuals that were thought at that time to be mainly influenced by age. He was of the opinion that at a young age judo is mainly appealing for emotional satisfaction; then at the age of physical prime our focus shifts to a more competitive nature, before at approximately 30 years, when our physical capability is diminishing, our interest shifts into that from a more mental perspective.

We believe that there are more factors at work than age in influencing an individual’s motives in judo, those of most significance being an interaction with their surrounding environment and their previous personal experiences.  A person’s characteristics and experiences along their judo path have a significant impact on their judo values; differing judo values result in differing views as to how judo should develop.  This of course means it is difficult to find the all embracing progressive solution that Koizumi deemed necessary - however it seems that 60 years ago he may have been onto something. 

How many times have you heard (or even some of you may have said) how much better judo was back in the day? That the traditions of judo must be upheld and protected from modernisation of the sport? That competing was harder back then? 

Of course, sometimes you would be right, and sometimes, you are looking through rose-tinted spectacles. It is also interesting to reflect on whether Kano-shihan was trying protect judo from modernisation, or in fact the opposite.

The fact is that there is no single answer to pleasing everybody; but judo can be inclusive of all motives, judo can provide something for everybody if everybody works to support each other. Jita Kyoei.

This does not mean to change your values to suit another, as long as you hold on to your values and learn to pass them on and promote them they will remain and be safe. It means to work as one to embrace all values born through judo, to promote the fulfillment that judo brings to anyone that seeks it. For the judoka, an understanding of this lesson may be better achieved through reflecting upon the fundamentals taught in practice. These being the importance of the body working as one to be effective in movement. If all of us with different motives work together as one to include and promote all aspects of the way, we as a judo family will be stronger. As Koizumi stated: “man is no judge of man, live and let live”. 

We ask you to think over your judo values, how you came about them and what you are doing to pass them on. We ask you to consider whether you share the respect for other people’s judo values as you do your own, even if you may not fully understand them. 

Recently we had the sad occasion to attend the funeral of legendary coach, Don Werner of Pinewood Judo Club. Afterwards Dr Callan was asked by EJU Level 5 Graduate, and England Team Manager, Matt Divall, what he had learnt from the days events. He responded;

"Good coaches teach judo, great coaches teach values. 
Good coaches build systems, great coaches build cultures."

(Callan, 2014)

As a coach are you just teaching technique, or are you building people, and teaching values. In your dojo, is judo more than a sport?

We work to help coaches shape and reflect on their values, through our delivery of the EJU Advanced Coach Award and Performance Coach Award, together with our colleagues at Anglia Ruskin University. Find out more here…

Good luck to you trying to instill good judo values to younger members of the judo family.

Thanks to our friends over at Judo Klub Samobor for the great photo.

[Ref: Koizumi, G. 1954. Judo, Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin. April. p 21.]

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Judo and Science

We found an article published in 1949, some 65 years ago, written by eminent judoka and Budokwai member Douglas Mann, entitled, Judo and Science. In this blog we consider its relevance today.

We present this to contrast our earlier blog on the art of judo.

In hearing the word “science” what’s the first image to be pictured in your mind? A man with crazy hair, a lab coat and a board full of equations? Do you welcome science as a method of learning, or shun it because of anxiety about its complexity. 

But the judoka among you are learning a science every time you step on the mat. We hypothesise, when we think about how we might throw, who might beat who, or how we could deal with a tactical situation. Randori practice is the trials and testing of the scientist; then our throws are displayed in competition, donated to the collection of others – in the same way that significant findings are exhibited and published in science.  With this comparison, Mann explains that we as judo players become the experts of our own science.

Mann goes on to state that “By painstaking, objective study of nature, man learns to control the powers of nature”, in this example Mann refers to science as an objective method of study. This can then be applied further; through study of the body we can learn to control our health and our physical conditioning for performance and through study of judo we can learn technique, tactics and develop control of our actions. 

As Mann identifies, science plays an important role in judo, he describes the scientific approach to learning judo as the study and application of biomechanical principles and the understanding and manipulation of an opponent’s cognitions. Over time developments have been made in the core sciences, leading to an influence by sport scientists in many sports. Such developments in judo have allowed us to gain a greater depth of knowledge about how our sport is evolving and about those partaking in it. 

Effective coaching requires keeping up with and driving forward the direction of sport science – in order to effectively educate others it is vital to first educate one’s self. Is this something you too feel is important in order to be a great judoka or coach? Are you utilising and making the most of resources available to you to be the best you can be? 

“In order to effectively educate others it is vital to first educate one’s self.”

Some readers may insist that judo is instead an art, as if by being an art, something cannot therefore be a science. This view is clearly flawed. One only has to consider the fibonacci numbers we see in nature to realise that, science and art are locked together. Mann recognises this when he concludes his article with a comment about the “Middle Way”. An important concept in judo and budo. 

At Judospace, our view is that coaching needs to be founded on evidence. We call it evidence based coaching. Science relies on evidence. If we are not using evidence based coaching, we must be using “guess based coaching”, at Judospace we believe that athletes deserve more than that.

We work with the European Judo Union, and many forward thinking federations to help coaches apply science into their work. Module titles on the EJU Level 4 Coach Award at Anglia Ruskin University include; Applied Pedagogy in Judo, Physiology for Judo, Biomechanics in Judo, Judo Technical Principles, Talent Development Pathways in Judo, Strength and Conditioning for Judo, Performance Analysis of Judo, and Psychological Profiling for Combat Sport. These courses are delivered by some of the top judo expertise in the world. Four members of the IJF Hall of Fame have taught on the EJU courses, (George Kerr, Kosei Inoue, Peter Seisenbacher and Neil Adams).

This Easter (April 2014) on the EJU course, Juergen Klinger, Nuno Delgado, Emanuela Pierantozzi, Yoshiaki Tsuruoka, Katrina McDonald, Bob Challis, Darren Warner and Mike Callan will share their expertise on subjects related to Judo and Science. You can find out how to enrol here.

To find out more about Judo and Science visit our research pages.

Wishing every success to you and your athletes.

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(Judo and Science by D. Mann. First published in Judo, Quarterly Bulletin, January 1949. Vol. IV. No. 4. Published by the Budokwai. London. p 33-34.)