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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Emotional Content... not anger! 

Hi everyone,

This week has been great, Judo is back in full swing at the Alresford Judo Club and at the HMS Collingwood Judo Club. As I’ve mentioned before the cultures of both clubs are quite different. Alresford is Juniors only, with a focus on the wider elements of Judo; for example this week we covered Taio Toshi and the idea of emotional content within Judo matches/fights.

By this I am referring to the famous quote of Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon” where he is working with a student and says “Emotional content; not anger”. This is very true of Judo IMHO. We as Judoka have this great opportunity to release stress etc by fighting hard amongst ourselves. The anger of a hard day at work, annoyance from teachers or parents is fuel for the engine that drives us in Randori/Shiai. In the Monday session I was trying to express this to the kids, explaining that they were very lucky that in Judo they have a way of expelling the “cross feelings” that everyone gets sometimes.

I told them that I (unlike their teachers or parents) actually want them to bring that energy to the class and express it physically through their “fighting” on the mat… and only on the mat! Of course I didn’t encourage them to beat each other up. The message is that I wanted them during Randori to be using the “emotional content” to attack with energy and purpose, rather than limply moving about and sticking legs in the way.

Wednesday’s session with the Navy people at HMS Collingwood is a very different affair. They are all seniors/adults and due to being in the military all of good fitness (especially if we were to compare them to the general public I suspect). Also, they have a competition focus; which affects how I design the programme there. We spend less time on the history and cultural elements of Judo and most of our time on Judo as a Game/Sport.

At the end of May they are competing in a competition; so we are focussing on what they need to do to win at that event. This is quite different to helping people to perfect their technique, learn techniques or understand the culture of Judo; or try and develop people through Judo physically and mentally. Those are elements of Judo that presently at the club we are not working on; we are working on winning the fights at the end of May.

This is entirely different to trying to teach them great technique, strategy, tactics, etc. This is about preparing people to win. Sure, those things if you have them will/might result in a win, but they are not pre-requisites to winning in Judo necessarily. Winning is about scoring more points than your opponent… that’s it. To score points you need to throw your opponent, or hold them down or make them submit. You don’t need to have perfect technique to do this necessarily.

So the session focussed on the players own Judo, what they felt was their successful waza, when then worked backwards and looked at their kumi kata (grips) and how these need to integrate together to be successful. Rather than prescribing how they should do things, they worked on their own techniques and found their own solutions. I tried to help, but mainly it was the player and their partner working out what felt right and what worked.

Later in the session we had Randori in which we focussed on using what we had been working on. What often happens is that players start a fight following “the plan” then part way through start improvising and that can be disaster. So as coach, I tried to watch for this, then if they strayed off “the plan” I would encourage them back to what they had been working on.

This week I have been taking a break from “Judo Geekery”, by which I mean I am not writing any code this week on www.dojolist,org or (or anywhere else) as I have put quite a bit of time into the DojoList code recently and had a heavy blast getting the Planet Judo iPhone application completed and submitted to the App Store (still pending review from Apple).

I also knocked out my first 5 mile run in far too long this week, on Tuesday evening. It was nice to get back to a level that I haven’t been at for quite sometime. I know there are differing views on running for Judo; especially distance running. But personally I think running has a valuable place in Judo training… and lets not forget I am not a Judo athlete in peak fitness. Running for me is as much as calorie burn as cardio-vascular development. It has little to do with my Judo fitness, other than my general fitness.

Lastly, this weekend I am really looking forward to visiting my EJU Degree colleague Mark Conway’s new dojo! I’ll be taken a session I think along with some other guests. Mark has had a permanent dojo in/near Harlow for sometime and this is a new permanent place. I am hoping to learn about how it all works as I’d like to do similar things down here in Hampshire (see ). I’ll have my video camera and my audio recorder with me, so hopefully will post some stuff online afterwards.

If you are attending, please say hello! Be sure to check out their website too at


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