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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What to expect from in 2009. 

Hi everyone,

Christmas is over, and the calendar is firmly into January now. As such, I wanted to write a quick post to let you know about some of the ideas I have for this website and the blog for 2009.

1. More content.
The site has been neglected pretty much entirely except for this blog. At the end of 2009 I replaced some sections with the shops, which was a bit of a short-term measure.
One of my aims for 2009 is to add a lot more coaching resources and tools to this site. So I am thinking guidance for teaching and coaching. Tools to help your planning etc.
Some of this will be in the blog, but also some will be in the form of static pages.

2. More discussion.
Recently I have been toying with the idea of starting a semi-private forum or discussion list via this site.
Basically, I love debating Judo ideas. But I am increasingly selective about who I want to argue with. Perhaps it is because my favourite person to argue with (Daniel Lascau) is no longer available to me as he was when he attended University of Bath with me. :(
What I think I have in mind is a discussion list by invitation only. So I invite some coaches I respect, they invite others and it grows that way.
I also think a wiki on this site might be cool.

My thinking is that I want to make more of the content on this site an amalgamation of coaches ideas and views. So that the content is from a group of coaches and not just me.

So we might discuss a topic in the discussion list, then edit a Wiki entry together. The discussion might be viewable (maybe) and the Wiki would definately be viewable by everyone/anyone.

I think it has great potential, to help coaches converse and also to leave a legacy of great Judo content for other coaches.

3. Real world event(s)
Building perhaps on number two I would love to have some real world events organised around this site. So may be a coaching weekend? Meetups at tournaments? Workshops? Seminars? Lectures? Courses?
I am very blurry on this one. But would love to do more of what we did at the EJU seminar in 2008. Where we held a unconference, where we discussed a Judo topic and tried to create something out of the discussion. Even though that had mixed results, the experience really gave me a buzz and I just love the idea of doing some really unorthodox events via this website.
What do you think?

Well... those are the three big ideas for for 2009. I really REALLY want your feedback on them, drop me an email to and let me know what you think please.

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Developing a sense of urgency. 

One night last week and all day today, I have helped out in a warehouse, packing boxes for Christmas. It has been an interesting experience which I think has a direct application to sport and to Judo.

On the first night, we had a specific number of boxes that needed to be prepared, to ship the next morning, else money would be lost. We had limited people, limited time and a big job to do.

The result was a sense of urgency, we had lots to do and we all had to work hard and fast to get the job done. We literally worked until our fingers bled!


Today, was a different situation. Much to do, but not the same time pressure. More people and less boxes. There was no real urgency as such.

The result? Most people worked less quickly.

Interestingly, two of us were working much quicker than the others I observed. Myself and one other guy were preparing boxes at about twice the rate.

Watching the other guy, he looked like he was in a hurry, I suspect I did too.

We had an internal sense of urgency. Inside our minds, we generated a feeling of urgency, despite there being no real urgency. The result was we worked harder and faster than our colleagues.

John P. Kotter has written a book about this phenomenon, unsurprisingly called "A Sense of Urgency" ( Amazon UK, Amazon USA ), which covers generating a sense of urgency in a business context.

From a sporting/Judo perspective, I think the concept has two key areas of application.

1. Talent Identification.
As coaches, look for the players that can generate that sense of urgency naturally. Look for the players that do their Uchi Komi harder and faster than there peers.

2. Create the sense of urgency yourself.
Create situations that cause this sense of urgency. Donald Latumahina suggests the following strategies:

* Set a challenging goal with a deadline.
* Set a challenging deadline for a goal
* Set a minimum time to work on something
* Make yourself accountable
* See yourself to be in the losing side
* Be aware of potential danger

One I see and use all the time with kids is the third one, setting a minimum time to work. Tell kids they only have two minutes to practise a throw before demonstrating it and they'll work, try it.

The fifth idea is pretty great too, Bill Gates of Microsoft has applied this. Try randori where you say that one of the partners is down by Wazari and they have to get it back. To add more "pressure" give them a time limit.

So do your players have a sense of urgency, do you develop it in them?

Try it and let me know how you get on.

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What would Kano Jigoro have thought? 

In my last post I mentioned a change in the rules of Judo regarding coaches being allowed matside. I also started threads on and the BJA forum.

A weird thing happened, people started debating not the surprise rule change, but the nature of what Judo is.

A majority of the loud voices on the for example held that it was correct to ban coaches as Judo is all about one on one combat. There are also comments about it being demeaning to the players to have someone shouting instructions at them. and having people shouting matside is against the spirit of Judo. People suggest almost that Kano would be up in arms about the way Judo looks today if he were alive.

It is an interesting debate and one I recommend you join in and enjoy.


I have a blog and as such have a vehicle to state my own views in more detail and I am about to do so. :-)

My take on the "What Kano would think":

This is such a touchy subject and one people get very emotional about, myself included. So I shall attempt to tread carefully.

What Kano would have thought is not what you say it is!

Sorry but it is not, the spirit of Judo and our ideas on Kano Jigoro are different in each and everyone of us. My ideas on the spirit of Judo is based on my years in Judo, on the lessons and ideas I gained from the coaches and players I have met along the way. Increasingly it is based on the reading and research I do as part of my Judo specific degree and the people I interview on the podcast.

Your view of what Judo is all about is different to mine, I am happy with that.

Personally, I think those who talk about Judo "as Kano intended" are often mistaken. My view is that Kano was a radical. Lets face it he created Judo in his early 20s!

Not only that, he took a collection of important traditional Ju Jitsu and rebranded it Judo. He did amazing things in his life, one was Judo.

Kano (I understand/believe) instituted competitions in the Kodokan. So I am not sure I agree with people who say he was against Judo as a sport. He was also a fan of the Olympic movement, more than that he was a member of the IOC! Which again leads me to not be sure he would hate the idea of Judo being a sport.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Kano was pushing for Judo to be a sport or for it to be in the Olympics.

Kano also I understand, let others run the Kodokan whilst he was doing his various other works. He was a busy man and left the running of Judo to people he trusted.

We can perhaps extend this to today, and say that the people he trusted, picked people they trusted and onwards to now. So in a way I could see Kano taking the attitude of "this is what people want, so this is what it is".

We do not see Kano running Judo like the old school Ju Jitsu schools and keeping control firmly in his own hands. This makes me think that perhaps he felt that Judo had a life of it's own.

Now if I go further, I might suggest that Judo was like a child. And maybe Judo is not turning out quite how Kano envisioned it.

But do we hate our child because they become a sportsman rather than a philosopher?

No, I choose to believe that Kano would approve of young men and women pushing their own limits through the sport of Judo.

I choose to believe that Kano would approve of the fact that Judo is done almost everywhere on this little planet of ours.

I choose to believe that he would see that as more important than it remaining exactly how he may have imagined it to be.

Kano did not live in our times, his attitudes changed during his life and would be so amazingly different if he were alive now, that I don't think it is fair to suggest he would have wanted Judo to remain as it was.

I choose to believe that Kano would have been on the web, on twitter, on facebook. I wonder that if he was alive today if maybe he would have founded Wikipedia? Or just run a really great blog.

You see, I think that Kano might have liked to see the development of coaching and matside coaching. I think he would have liked to see two people working together so that they could beat an opponent. That seems alot like mutual benefit in a way to me. Also a lot like maximum effeciency.

I also choose to believe that Kano would have wanted us to respect the past. That he would want us to do Kata and participate in Judo with and without competition.

I choose to think that Kano would want us to embrace the new ideas, not hide from them. I beleive he would want us to develop and change Judo (as he did).

You can see I use words like "I choose", "I think" and "I believe". I do not want to suggest that I know what Kano would have liked. I want to suggest that I would like him to agree with my perception of Judo.

Your views on what you think Kano would believe are perfectly valid. But they are not facts, they have no weight. They are only your ideas. Just as mine are only my ideas.

But that is the wonderful thing, we are able to have different ideas, to practice Judo in different ways.

What I do not like is people saying that the competition way is wrong because they think it should be done their way.

Of course my saying that, makes me guilty of the same crime. ;-)


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IJF to ban coaches matside? 

* UPDATE * December 12 2008, 5pm
We are going to try and put together a podcast on the subject this coming week. The format will be 90 second segments of high profile people stating their opinion. If you are such a person, or can involve such a person, please contact me!

Hello all,
I have received today what looks to be an authentic IJF communication from a Judo friend who I trust. The letter does not seem to appear on the IJF website, so I am making it available here:
Coaches at IJF Events_ENG
If it is not visible to your please visit ... -EventsENG

The content of the letter is also pasted at the bottom of this post.

The main message is that from January 1st 2009, coaches shall not be allowed matside.

No this is a pretty dramatic change and to announce it in mid December is a bit off I feel. I have not seen this subject debated anywhere publically either.

This is a change that needs debating and consideration as it affects players directly. Some athletes want coaches matside, this rule potentially puts those athletes at a disadvantage. Is that fair?

Please read the letter, consider the point, spread the news and talk to people about this rule. If you agree, tell someone official. If you disagree, tell everyone official you can!

Please also discuss this topic online:

Tris has also blogged about it (Tris' Blog).


International Judo Federation

Attention to:
IJF Member National Federations

Subject: Removal of coaches from tatami’s border during competitions

11 December 2008

Dear Sirs,

The founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, wished when he created judo in 1882 to set up an educational

Our mission today is to sustain his will. It comes to survival of our sport in the world where
competition is growing among various sports participants. We must also be attentive to the
presentation of judo which must remain a discipline included in the Olympic Games.

The image we give of judo, especially at major events with important media attendance like
Olympics, is a reference for all current and future judo participants.

An athlete is alone against his opponent in a fight. In the educational concept of judo, the role of
coaches is to prepare his players for this autonomy. We must reserve for a Judoka the decision-
making and ability to manage this confrontation.

Mainly for this reason we made a decision to remove coaches along the tatami from 1 January
2009. A specific location will be reserved for them in the competition hall.

Some outbursts on coaches’ side have also hurt the image of our sport at the Beijing Olympics.
Unjustified and continuing criticism against referees had undermined our refereeing in public and
media’s opinion.

We hope for your help in our mission so that judo continues to set a good example for every

Sincerely yours,

Jean Luc Rougé Vladimir Barta
Project manager Head Sport Director

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The networked student/Judoka. 

For a while now I have been following the Twitter and Blog posts of a lady called Sarah Stewart, a midwife and Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand (although she is British originally).

Midwifery and Judo are similar from what I perceive, technology has not really pierced the way it is taught yet. But it is starting to.

Sarah's Blog is a good read and I recommend it even though it has no Judo content. ;-)

In a recent post, she talked about connectivism and the networked student. I like what she had to say, hence this post.

In the post she shows this video

Which if you can't see it is here:

If you are a Judo coach, you should really go read the post over at ... dents.html

It is well written and very interesting, just replace the word student with Judoka and you'll do fine! :-)

I also recommend taking a look at this post ( ... ation.html ) which covers an evaluation of the online course she has been teaching, really interesting stuff.


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