This is the Judo blog of Lance Wicks. In this blog I cover mainly Judo and related topics. My Personal blog is over at where I cover more geeky topics. Please do leave comments on what you read or use the Contact Me form to send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

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On the community of Judo... 

The last post about the World's and the BJA got a fair bit of traffic (Hi everyone). Some was negative, some positive.

This evening, I have catching up with the various things I am supposed to be reading; books, journal articles, blogs, etc. In my reading I came across a quote from the creator of the PHP programming language.

PHP, for those less geeky than me is a programming language really popular on the web; this blog runs on software written in PHP. As do many many of the sites you visit everyday, including the BJA website,, etc.

Rasmus Lerdorf created the language and was recently interviewed and the following leapt out at me:

"...When they felt that they now owned a slice of PHP, they started getting defensive. Instead of complaining to me about things once they got ownership, and power, the whole atmosphere changed. And it got a lot more fun as well, because I didn't feel like it was just me against the world any more; now it was a real team effort...."
(from ... ?artc_pg=2 via ... h-php.html )

This struck home to me, given some of the discussions that have arisen as a result of my blog post. If you replace "PHP" with "JUDO", it pretty much sums up my reaction to some of what I see in the Judo world everyday.

An issue that the BJA has in my view is this; the community is pretty negative about them. By which I mean the grassroots clubs (and yes I am generalising here) don't feel they have "ownership" or "power" in their own organisation. They do not feel (and again this is just my opinion) that they "own a slice" of the BJA.

This extends to the performance programme.
There are a small minority I suggest that feel they are part of the BJAs performance programme. Which as Rasmus' quote suggests may be the cause of a lot of problems.

Today I watched a motorcross display from a professional motorcross team, the number of times I heard the rider commentating saying that without us they could not do the tricks was quite amazing. We were just watching, but they took the time and effort to try and make us feel like we were part of the team. They are partly right, would any of those guys do those stunts if everyone was booing or just not there?

Now, what about in a Judo context? Do the British (substitute your nation here) Judo Association make a genuine effort to make the average Joe feel like they are part of the performance team? A part of the administrative team ? If you are reading this, do you think your NGB makes the club coach in the back of beyond feel like he/she is an integral part of the Olympic team programme? Do they even try?

I am going to presume the answer to the above is no from here on in ok. So if we accept that getting the general public onboard with your programme has value, how do you do it?

That of course is the million dollar question!

So, in an effort to provide some solutions as well as finding flaws, here are two ideas I think are worth considering.

1. Start Conversations.
You want to start talking to people about what they think. Start creating ways of helping people b*tch and moan at you. And don't ignore it, listen and reply.

The Judo community is fascinated with Judo. Talk to them, find out what they want to know, what they know. What do they think? Do they agree or disagree with you?

If you disagree, then make sure both your perspectives are voiced, listened to, understood. Identify where and why you disagree, identify where you agree, build on the areas where you agree.

2. Don't Broadcast, Share.
Press releases are a necessary evil, suitable for trying to get your story on the radio, TV or in the paper. They are NOT suitable for talking to your community, your members.

Don't blast a corporate message at people, share the goals, the plans, the people. Share the day to day grind, get people on your side by letting them share the experiences you are going through.

Don't hide bad news, don't succumb to the temptation to only tell people about the good things, to try and "spin" everything. It is dishonest and people hate that.

Please do let me know what you think of these two simple ideas. I reply (eventually) to all emails people send me ( ). So agree or disagree, let me know.


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