Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Banned Technique - The Old Loure

Not blogged for a while happy New Year ........but a thread on the BJA website amused me recently about banned techniques and the new IJF rules ..... I then had a mad few minutes and the following is the result.......rant or madness or a marketing opportunity you decide....

If you look at modern judo the move is to the 'sport', talk of techniques now banned being forgotten, some argue these banned techniques should remain part of the sylabus. advocating is that the Martial Art side of Judo isn't forgotten, and yes there are techniques that are dangerous ...but there are in all combat sports - will we see arm locks go because if done badly or applied to fast can cause serious injury for strangles .......

This one incident got a very effective throw banned – why because someone at World Level did it wrong .......

So kani basami became illegal in contest now Latts has gone and even Classical upright Kata Gurma, we have to throw off the belt not arm around the leg. Given this was one of the first throws Kano put in his syllabus so have we severed a link to the past?

There are people coaching in the UK who spend hours daily looking at judo, reading researching planning and developing many professional coaches who teach these techniques to appropriate students, but with competitions and grading is there enough mat time to do it properly?

These techniques should not be taught willy nilly they are taught to students who have attend a level of understanding where learning the technique improves and enhances the judo......

We are possibly creating a situation where we will end up with a number of judo coaches who remember the Old LOURE, the mysterious banned technique ...students will flock from near and far to learn the mysteries of the Kawazu-gake and Daki-age, the Kanibasarmi and the Kata Guruma...the gyaku-hishigi and the kubi-hishigi, any kubi-kansetsu-waza....the tate-shiho-hiza-hishigi or the ashi-kansetsu-waza.....many popular in MMA or I have cave will travel ...........

Isn't that one the teaching practices that Kano was working against ...the mysterious hidden techniques only discovered after years of paid for training with a master ...only to find the mystery technique doesn't suit your body or fighting style? But if we forget these technique it is what we will create......... but like anything a little knowledge can be a dangerous many times has Tate- shio- gatame become tate-shiho-hiza-hishigi.....without a student knowing the transition when the legs are many referees can spot the difference?

Rhetorical question ... how to become a hermit and find a cave...............if you build it they will come................could I get funding?

Back soon


Monday, 10 August 2009

Creativity in Coaching 1

I am very much into coaches being creative and thinking outside the box. if you ever get to see my warm ups for a childrens class you will know what I mean.

Often coaches teach the way they were taught, they don’t recognise the need to teach in different ways to different pupils.

I had the following on You Tube clip recommended to me by a tutor at Bath University, Andy Hibbert. Take 20 minutes to listen to it, it is informative and very funny, I will post my comments on it in a few days but please listen and apply it to your life, be that coaching or interacting formally with children.

Hope it works and will come back to this ver soon


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Wild Horses

I haven’t posted for a while but have been thinking about lots of things in relation to Judo, Martial Arts and Sport in general so I thought it was time to pull this blog out, it is smoothing I have been thinking about for a while.
I love reading and have read a number of books on Genghis Khan in recent months. I am drawn to the basic brutality of the Stepps in Russia and the hardships face day to day. In a world of hardship the punishments they had for breaking rules were even harder.

The idea of a man being torn limb from limb, imagine having a rope tied to each limb, and then these ties to horses, the riders then take the strain and your body is lifted from the ground. You feel your body stretch in four opposing directions, limbs, muscles and sinews stretch and slowly tear. It is agonising you know you can’t fight it – eventually the limbs are ripped from your body and you die in excruciating pain.

Go from that to Wimbledon where last week the LTA have their championship and most British players get knocked out in the first round. This prompted the British Minster Minister for Sport to make comment along the line of If you don’t win you shouldn’t get funded
So you want funding you have to perform, so the athlete has one rope tied to one arm – Perform or don’t get funded, a policy from GOVENERMNET imposed on British sport. It is one of the cornerstone of Elite funding in the UK.

Some sports forgo much grass roots funding and focus on Elite performance – examples Sailing and Cycling and produce results and get more money. They did this by a centralised training centre – a performance institute. So other NGB’s adopt this.

So to the opposite leg we tie a rope of centralised training.

Then funding comes along for the use of Strength and conditioning, Sports Scientists nutritionalists, all have to be ‘approved’ by the NGB, another rope another arm. Can you imagine one of the best sports psychologists wanting to work with your Olympian – only to be told if he did his funding would be cut – because the psychologist wasn’t on a government list.

Then the NGB say we know best and will manage all events and you go where we say train and compete when we say – the fourth rope. Imagine a centralised performance system where 30% of the Elite players choose to stay in their own training centres and face funds being cut.

Now in some sports say cycling and sailing all the riders of the horses are told to ride together at the same speed in the same direction – toward performance success, they get there pull the athlete – who has to work to keep up, doesn’t always get it easy but is in one piece with Olympic success. At Bejing only one cyclist didn’t get a podium finish and that was due to a crash in the final!

However some sports in this case Judo the players don’t know who are riding the horses and those rider just seem to do their own thing – and the potential talent of the athlete isn’t utilised as the athlete and their chances of success are torn to pieces.

Think about your sport and the athletes you know – how many waste time fighting the system and how many try to change the system?

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Drugs In Sport 2

Following various comments on My Drugs In Sport post I have decided to continue the chain of thought this morning.

Given the death and the speculation around the death of Michael Jackson this week I want to talk about addiction. We often think of drug addicts as ‘Crack Heads’ or Heroin Users, the guy who smokes a joint of weed ever night, but it goes beyond this.

The speculation is MJ became addicted to prescription pain killers following the Pepsi hair incident, something that he stated to use as a crutch and it is this small piece of the world of addiction and drugs dependence I want to discuss.

Am I an addict? Am I addicted to adrenalin....I need to get a good buzz every week, be that through training, Windsurfing, a judo competition or performing on stage. I am dependant on tea – I can’t function in the morning without a good strong cuppa, and I don’t drink Alcohol but anyone who has seen me study knows the amount of diet coke I drink.

I am an aware of these things – I know I have an addictive personality but I manage it – I don’t find myself needing to feed these beyond what might be deemed ‘normal’ or high usage. Everybody in my opinion has an addiction something you can’t do without, it might be a daily routine that just makes you feel right........think what’s yours.

How many players do you see strapping a joint to support it during rehabilitation who then 10 weeks latter are still strapping it or putting on a knee brace – just in case. If it is needed this long it needs medical and rehabilitation work.

I know a former international who now takes an anti-inflammatory over the counter medication before competitions – just in case! I know a number of young players who at 16 are taking creatine supplements – way beyond the capacity of their bodies to process – because they have been told to by coaches. When they change coaches they DONT change the supplement programme.

All these actions could be explained as ‘athlete routines’ all of them could become additions and dependence. As coaches we need to manage them, my son has eczema and a number of allergies – it was recommend by a doctor to try a cod liver oil and vit supplement for 3 months. Now to ensure he took it we have given it to him at breakfast – as part of a routine, after the first month we ran out we got a replacement but it was a different brand and didn’t taste right for him so we went back to the original – as we enter month 3 he will only take the pills at the same tie otherwise its not right.

We are on the verge of it becoming a behaviour and a habit – it may be good it may be bad, we know because we miss days ‘ by accident’ and he doesn’t complain, but this could so easily go the other way if he was not being monitored.

So in Sport in general there is lots of drugs misuse, and dependence – and it’s not all steroids and high performance stuff. Te scary thing is many people don’t know they are doing. Take supplements many surveys have shown up to 20% of off the self products are contaminated with ‘banned’ substances.

In the past we have had high level cases or drugs tests failed due to Green Tea, high caffeine levels etc, but next time you with your team look around – who always straps up, who is taking medicine – just in case or I don’t want to get A or B........think about who is dependent on artificial stimulants to enhance performance. It might not be illegal but as coaches and players what should we do, what are the ethics of you as a coach, as a player. When does enhancing training become an athlete’s dependency issue?

I don’t have the answers, an those I find often lead to more questions but I welcome you comments on these few badly articulated thoughts.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Sailing for Black

Todays blog is a mix match of thoughts, I have an number of things on my mind at the moment some I have blog written but its not yet appropriate to post yet.

One of my other loves is sailing, and a close family friend Alex Sizer is currently part a team all set to break the record of circumnavigating the British Isles in a sailboat. See the full story here:

So best of luck Alex and co.

I am off next week to Bath University for more coach training – this time the UKCC level 2 in Strength & Conditioning for Sport. It amazes me the number of coaches who assume because they are qualified to teach a job class they feel they can advise athletes on everything from nutrition to conditioning training. I hope that following this I can set proper well developed strength and conditioning programmes for my players, and do so knowing they are right not what I think is right.

Talking of my players I have just achieved what I believe is the aim of all participation players, I have just had two players who I taken from total beginners to their 1st Dan. One made national start up squad and then 12 months ago moved from the school I teach at, so had to advise remotely, the other started in the same class on the same day. I have taken him around over the past 12 months doing theory events, gradings and competitions. From a group of 6 boys at 14 who finished a 10 week beginners course 2 now are now Dan grade in 3 years and 8 months.

For a participation coach this I feel is eth point you know you have done you apprenticeship. Having spent years assisting and working different classes, to manage a player from white to black I feel is the ultimate goal.

The interesting thing is that I have only been able to do it because I acknowledge what I don’t know and get other coaches to come and teach techniques I might not do but suit the player, also to send him away to classes and coaches to develop different skill sets.

I suppose we should run coach education courses on knowing when to ask for help and knowing our own weaknesses.

Just a few thoughts.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Developing Judo

Today’s Blog is based on a chain of thought I have been developing over the past week given a few facts I came across whilst researching a job application. Some of the points I have made on the BJA Forum

It is based on Judo in the UK but will resonate in many countries

Interesting that in a recent survey by I think it was Sport England or Sport UK they assessed that there were over 100,000 people did judo in the UK but the BJA as the National Governing Body only represented 20-25% of them. A fact acknowledge by the BJA CEO- Scott McCarthy and the board of directors.

So the NGB represent directly the minority of participant – but are the largest single body. To which several of eth other larger groups, BJC, AJA and army forces associations are affiliated.

Recent funding funding from Sport England has been secured to develop the participation in Judo which should mean the BJA working with ALL Judo providers whether they like it or not. But the only figures they can track effectively are their own membership.

I believe there is nothing stopping other bodies being commissioned by Sport England to do participation development in Judo.

Then add the Government introduction of National Standards in Coaching - the UKCC level 1 and 2. Those in Judo have been developed by the BJA and currently these are only delivered by the BJA.

Many sports use Level 1 as a way to get parents into coaching, and level 2 as eth basic level for a club based coach. The BJA have set high levels of grade as a prerequisite for eth courses and introduced a competency test or assessment for non BJA judoka. The cost of this test – at LEAST £ 200.

The UKCC qualification is universal for ALL judoka to create a national standard regardless of organisation. You could argue the BJA are preventing that by making the competency test too expensive.

I have heard that the BJA have been questioned by the UKCC over the £200 min they charge to asses non BJA Grades re their standard in Judo (competency test). I believe the phrase they used is excessively high. Anyone got any input on this?

If this were to be true isn’t this the sort of thing that just alienates people or feeds their fears.

Bear in mind it is £ 20 for a technical Dan grade and most good coaches/examiners could assess you level of Judo even if you didn't have a BJA grade in 20 - 30 minutes. After all you do that with every visiting Judoka at your dojo.

Imagine what would happen if others started to deliver the UKCC level 1 or 2 in Judo, which in theory they could do with the right assessors and verifiers etc.

So on one hand the BJA is being funded to develop Judo in the UK. On the other they have a coaching system – designed to bring in National Standards that is not going to do so as it is cost prohibitive to non BJA members.

How to engage with other non NGB organisation in a productive manner?

The question is you need to acknowledge them, but how do you engage with those on the middle ground whilst avoiding the extremists and the loopy loonies who will react against anything?

If we are to trying to engage with other groups shouldn't we be consistent across the board?

As a BJA member I do Judo, I do Sport Judo, I do traditional Judo, I do Kata based Judo ( badly) I love Judo as do many others – I am happy to help develop judo and if anyone needs marketing help and advice for a club or group I would be happy to help.

Help Judo grow do you bit.

Mussings for the day.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Division and Participation

Today I want to look at the divisions in Judo

Interesting that a lot of the conflicts of opinion are in relation to traditional judo. Kano would be the first to admit that judo evolves. Modern 'sport' judo or Olympic judo has come about because of changes in society that Judo has reflected.

Judo is one of the most adaptive of sports responding to cultural and political and economic pressure. Examples - the move to sport was due to the treaties past WW2 when martial arts were not allowed. The affiliation/ return to co-operating with the BJA, of BJC and AJA to the BJA was part in order for there to be British Team at the Olympics in 1964 then 1972.

Judo was radically affected by the break up of the Soviet Union and we are the first International Sporting organisation to change qualification procedure to the Olympics because the global economic situation.
Judo absorbs moves and ideas from the cultures in which it practices, but those who try to re imbued it with traditional Japanese values misunderstand where Kano was going and therein lies the problem.

Judo has progressed due to conflict – a person grows up in a club wants to coach, the coach doesn’t want him to as he’s not ready – he get frustrated leaves sets up his own we have 2 clubs not 1 doing judo. Similar situations have seen the formation f organisations – the BJA was the first in Europe and then leading to the formation of the IJF, we tend to do that a lot in England – codify sports.....But when someone doesn’t like you rules they do their own thing – BJC is a classic example – its formation was a reaction to the BJA

This can help the sport grow.

Various forums and blogs have discussed the World Judo Alliance. My personal opinion is it is a bit of a con. THE advertising standards in the UK would be aghast to see that this ‘world’ organisation is not even represented or have clubs in 5% of the countries doing judo at the Olympics
I believe the World Judo Alliance are a bunch of individuals who don’t know where they are going and someone wants to make money out of it. However there are some key points they address that are worthy of not in terms of support to clubs and coaches and these are things the BJA are doing – but what you do with 6 clubs or 18 clubs is a lot easier to talk about than what you do with a National Governing Body.

The key issue in the England over the next 4 years is participation Sport Englands plan to Grow, Sustain and Excell.

We a have to ask ourselves do we want people to be doing judo – in whatever from Kata, BJC AJA, or BJJ or a private company doing schools judo or do we want the whole of the UK to do just BJA/EJU/IFJ judo.

My personal opinion is you get them doing judo then you get them to find the best club to suit them, and eventually if they are informed enough to see if BJA is better for them or some other organisation.