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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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 4.  

Well I should call this entry case of the disappearing Kiwi, day four here at University of Bath was kinda frustrating. It all started well, but went pear shaped shortly after breakfast.

Rather than get to my first lecture, I got sidetracked helping other people try and get some video footage usable for a presentation they are doing next week. We then had two tutorial/study time slots, one before and one after lunch. I was able to spend quite a bit of time knocking my methodology for my research project into shape with the odd interruption.

At the end of the study time after lunch I was with a fellow student reviewing one anothers assignment, I hurried up to my room to grab my Judogi but got nabbed on the way up by several differents sets of people. In the end I only managed to get to my room 15-20 minutes or so after the dojo session had started. So being late already and having a 5 minute walk to the dojo, I sat down in my room and worked on... you guessed it the methodology.

Later I worked on the assignment till about 6:30pm, then popped out for a bit of food, then... yes... i worked on the assignment again. At a about 10pm I popped down to the bar and spoke with someone who had visited my room around 7:30. Sadly he had spotted me checking my word count and told me what it was when he was there, which was ever so slightly less than what it had been when I left my room. Obviously my editing hopefully means the text is better, but frustrating to spend that much time on something and have less to show for it.

Whilst out in the evening my disappearance from sessions/dojo/lectures was noted. :(
Friday is looking as bad for absenteeism, the methodology is the base upon which my research into attack rates, scoring and victory in elite Judo will be built on; so I am perhaps overly focused on trying to get it right.

This obsession is both because I want to get it right and because it needs to be in on Friday and I want to get a reasonable grade to go with the ok grade I got for the literature review.

Oh well... next week looks a bit more civilised for me. :)

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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 3.  

Hi Everyone, day three of the block and a good one too.

The day started with a key keynote Lecture with Yves Cadot on the life of Jigoro Kano. It was very interesting, being based on Yves' PHD thesis the lecture was based on scientific principles... i.e. Evidence.

So hearing the story of Jigoro Kano's life based on eveidence was really a treat. Unlike much of the "History" we learn via word of mouth, Yves' histry of his life is based on written records and in fact agreed with much of the "received opinion" on Jigoro Kano's background.

I was also fortunate in the evening to met Yves having a coffee and was able to ask him some questions about the relationships between Jigoro Kano and Funakoshi-Sensei of Karate and Ueshiba-Senei and get answers based in written records, not legend.

Something that was of interest was Yves' opinion that Jigoro Kano never wrote anything for or against Judo being included as an Olympic sport. Though some of the other writings of Jigoro kano could be interpreted as indicating that perhaps the "sport" aspect of Judo was not what he wanted. Specifically Yves' spoke about how very near the end of Kano-Sensei's life he wrote about wanting to hold courses to improve the way Randori was being practiced.

Now, perhaps this is all based on Yves' biases, but it was refreshing to have a discussion about Jioro Kano that was based on evidence rather than legend. Too often I hear people use phrases like "Kano siad..." or "Kano thought..." which is not referenced to a specific piece of evidence. Perhaps it is being on the course and developing a more scientific method that makes me appreciate it?

The keynote was followed by a session with Mike Callan on "Managing Information" which was primarily to help us prepare for one of our assessments. It was good to examine management structures and relate them to Judo examples.

The afternoon was primarily tutorials and I was able to get my laptop working again, :) I was also able to spend some time working on the methodology for my research project. To that end I had a tutorial with Mike Callan and was able to discuss the direction and logistics of my project and that helped me get it heading in the right direction.

The evening as always was an opportunity to chat with the other people on the course and learn from their acivities and opinions.

As you'll have been able to detect from the words so far, I enjoyed Yves' lecture somewhat. Sure it was histry and that can be a hard subject to maintain focus on over the duration of a lecture. However, I found it really interesting and meeting him in the afternoon/evening was even better as I had the opportunity to ask and discuss aspects of Judo that only someone who had dedicated such effort to researching could answer, Yves has indicated that he is willing to come on the podcast and share some of his evidence based history of Jigoro Kano; I am really looking forward to capturing that in audio!

So all in all, a working laptop and a producive day and a excellent keynote made for another good day in Bath. Oh and winning the sweepstake was good too! :)
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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 2.  

Hi everyone, well I am posting this a little late due to problems with my laptop, note to self: Do not install Sophos on my laptop again. Anyway... so here is a quick summary of what we did on the second day here on the BSc course.

The day started with Patrick Roux covering an Introduction to Managing Information, where he covered the assessment assignment. This was followed by Mike Callan talking about Managing Performance and strategies to develop structures for elite performance.

After lunch Mike Callan gave us a lecture on doing our methodology report for our Research method. We went through a variety of methodology sections of some academic papers, helped quite a lot in getting a handle on what the assignment we have to do should contain.

After a short break we had a really interesting keynote lecture by Jean Fournier on mental preparation. It was quite heavy going in spots, but fascinating! Really interesting how important mental preparation and yet it is not part of any coaching system I am aware of in Judo. Jean showed a couple of really great applications Junior Judoka which highlighted that including mental skills in a Judo syllabus would not necessarily be difficult.

One physical exercise for relaxation and/or activation was the "Spaghetti game". basically this is where you would get kids to tense say their arm, so it is entirely rigid. Like dry spaghetti. Then get them to make their arms go relaxed and floppy like wet/cooked spaghetti.

The other exercise that I really liked was the idea of incorporating mental rehearsal/imagery training into standard Uchi Komi. The class does say a set of 5 uchi komi then they do a 6th uchi komi in their heads.
Such a simple yet effective way getting them started on the mental preparation.

One of the things Jean mentioned was that like anything in Judo, mental skills need to be practised BEFORE the event. I extrapolate that to say that like throws, people could/should be starting of doing mental preparation early on (as kids or yellow belts).

Anyway... last of all we got our grades back from the April block.
They were okay, I am quite happy that the Literature review got both a good grade and good comments. Fills me with a little more confidence writing the methodology that I have an idea of what I am doing. the other assignments were either about what I had hoped for or in fact higher, so I am pretty happy. :-)

Anyway, I am actually typing this on day three, and I should be working on assignments right now, so I had better go...

Oh P.S. I have added Keith Morgan's Quest for Gold blog to the feed after AnnMaria De Mars blogged about it.
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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 1. 

So here I am back in Student mode at the University of Bath.
Unlike previous years, I have been here for 3 days already because of the EJU Seminar.

The day started with Judo "Tennis" with Jane Bridge, Patrick Roux & Juergen Klinger. Judo tennis I discovered means that Jane started the session, showed somethings then passed to Patrick, who showed some things... one person passing to the next through the coaching staff and assembled coaches. It was a nice relaxed enjoyable session, and as always you learn something new and/or remember something you'd forgotten.

Next was an introduction to our Sports Specific Situational Anlysis module. Specific Jane (Bridge) explained the nature of our assessment. For the assessment we will be watching a fight and given 20 minutes to prepare a quick verbal report on the situations in the fight, the strategies and tactics employed and so forth.
Should be interesting and although it is not my strong suite, I think it'll be a great assignment to prepare me for the efforts we want to put into

Later we had our first session with Patrick Roux covering "Managing Performance". Much debate on what we want to cover for the group assignment and how to approach the problem space.
The deliverable is a website, so at least for me it is a comfortable delivery mechanism, though with the other projects and also helping deliver the debate again this year I may be a wreck by the end of this block!

It has been nice to be here as always though and I am looking forward to the next 2 weeks. We get our marks from the assignments we did last time tomorrow which will be a bit scary.
I have this unconfirmed fear that my video assignment from the previous block got messed up when I burned it to disk; we shall see. Hopefully my Literature review was okay. we shall see.

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EJU Coaching Seminar, the 2nd Children's Training Camp. 

Here I am in Bath again, though not yet for the degree course... yet.
TeamBath are hosting an EJU Coaching Seminar, the 2nd Children's Training Camp.

Though I did not participate fully, I did have the privilege of facilitating an "unConference" which is a I.T. phenomenon which I wanted to try in a Judo context. But Before I talk about that a quick summary of what the camp has included.

1. Master-class in Schools Judo with Colin Small.
2. Tachi waza session with Matt Divall.
3. Technical Teaching System with Steve Withers.
4. The unconference with me, Lance Wicks.
5. Newaza movement with Katrina McDonald
6. Judo Games with Darren (Bob) Challis.
7. Master-class with Yuko Nakano.
8. Master-class with Matt Divall.

It is terrific to see the EJU and TeamBath hosting a two day event focussed on kids judo, after all a majority of most Judo associations are junior members.

For my part I ran the unConference, which lasted all morning (9am - about 12:25).
Now an unconference is something we do in the computer geek world, without going into details a unconference is an informal meeting of like minded people within a formal conference.

The session started with "Speed Dating", in which people got 3 minutes to meet another person and learn their name, their favourite kids TV show and talk about something Judo oriented.
After 3 minutes people rotated and repeated the process. It is a nice way of getting people talking and more familiar with one anther.

Next, people broke into groups to discuss something Judo specific that they wanted to discuss. The idea being that the speed dating round had allowed them to meet people who had similar areas of interest. Then people could discuss it within the context of children's Judo.

After this a quick coffee break was had before we returned and it was decided (by the group) to try a "hack". By which I mean we wanted to try and create something in a short period of time.

What we decided to try and create was a coaching system to deliver "education" via Judo, "Judo for Life". This came from the earlier discussions where independently almost all the small groups ended up discussing the less visible/tangible things we learn from Judo. Things like self-confidence, self-respect etc.

The "hack" was to try and create a system for teaching coaches how to teach these elements. The end product was two presentations on the two groups ideas on how to deliver this.

I tried to stream both presentations, but one failed. :(
But here is the first presentation, produced in approximately 30 minutes after long and passionate discussion.

It was an experiment and all in all I think it was a success, as if nothing else the coaches in the room had a whole morning of (often heated) discussion on how Judo is more than just a combat sport. This matches the interesting interview I had with David Matsumoto over on .
It was interesting that although there was debate about how to deliver a coache education system to deliver these elements, I don't thing there was any debate about the importance; the essential-ness of these elements.

I hope that everyone involved enjoyed the experience and gained something from the discussions. I know I really enjoyed watching the development of the theme and the coming together and dynamics of the coaches enthusiasm for the discussion.

My thanks to all involved! I really enjoyed watching it develop.

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