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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If it's broke... fix it! 

So, regular readers will have noticed I whinge alot about the state of the BJA website and as per my last post, about the rubbish clib list system they have on their website.

So... I decided to do something about it!

So I can introduce to you all "DojoList".
DojoList is a small piece of web based software that allows you to easily create a list of Dojo. It runs on pretty much any webserver and automatically does the following:

* Store the list in a open XML format
* Store the list in KML format for GoogleEarth.
* Show the list in HTMML
* Show the list as an embedded map

DojoList is Open Source, which means that you (yes you) can use it for free. You can take the software and install it on your own server. You can change the software and make it match your specific needs. Did I mention it was free?

I have licensed it under a AGPL license, which states all this in legalese, but the summary is that you need can use it pretty much as you like, but you need to share any improvements you make back to us/me.

Now, you can find the software at where you can grab it via Git if you are technical. I'll create a .zip file soon for the rest of you.

If you want a test drive, try it out at where I have a test installation running. Please take a look and let me know what you think of it. Specifically, I'd like to know what is missing for you. If you had it installed it yourself, how would you use it? What would you need?

If you like the software, and would like some help let me know. I would love to help you get it running. I'd like that as it'll help me test the system further and make it better and better.

One less excuse for the BJA or you to not have a list of Dojo.

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Finding a club and a visit to Eston Grange Judo Club. 

Last night I had a great time visiting the Eston Grange Judo CLub in Middlesbrough (BJA Northern Area, England).

I have always loved visiting new clubs and it gives you an opportunity to see new things which is vital as a player and as a coach.

In Eston Grange I learned a nice new Ne-Waza turnover variation that I didn't know before. It was simple and effective, and something that would still now be on my radar had I not taken the time to visit a new club.

To the credit of the club, it was welcoming and friendly. If you are in the area I can recommend the club to you, they were very nice! If you are in Middlesbrough I can recommend you pop along to ESTON SPORTS ACADEMY on a Monday night and give it a go.

And now the bad news....

The BJA website is still a fail.
Here I am away from home, looking for a Judo club and it is still not easy enough to find a Judo club. Especially if you do not know the area.

I to be fair have a dreadful sense of direction and knowledge of geography, but I looked in the wrong "area" for a club before a friend corrected me and pointed me at the northern area section of the BJA club list.

And it got worse not better from that point. Once having got to a BJA area list of clubs, you can not narrow it down any further than that! So the only way I could find Middlesbrough clubs was to search through the list for Middlesbrough.

This is bad as I don't know what the surrounding towns/villages are called. Also the list has no info on where the club is I had to call/email the club to find out where they actually train.

The problem being that if the club had not called me back I would not have gone to Judo last night. And I am not your average person looking for a club. I was on a mission to visit a club. Would your average parent or player looking for a club have the extra time to contact a selection of clubs to find the closest one?

Also how do I tell what sort of club it is, no "Kitemark". No indication of level of training. No indication of prices etc.

Come on BJA, that website project of yours that we keep getting told is coming has so far delivered very little.


(P.s. I suppose I should disclose that I am actually working on an online Dojo listing system)
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Sir Martin Sorrell "The Digital Revolution" at IOC Congress. 

IOC Congress 2009
I have just finished watching Sir Martin Sorrell speak at the International Olympic Committee Congress in Copenhagen. His talk was on the digital revolution and is from his perspective as Chief Executive of a worldwide marketing company, WPP.

The talk itself is dry and very corporate, but the underlying message is one that we in sport need to understand and get ahead of the curve on. Especially we Judo people.

For me the talk was in a way great ego-boosting stuff.
Sir Martin Sorrell basically validated everything I shared in my "Coaching Digital Natives" talk.

The perspective was/is very different but the message is the same. The world has changed, young people are different and if you/we don't change; you are doomed to obscurity.

Since I gave the first Digital Natives talk back in March 2008 things have moved on a bit. For example, the BJA have started getting into the fray this year. They now have a facebook page (in fact that one in addition to my ORIGINAL BJA facebook group), BJA Youtube videos and a BJA twitter account.

They are taking babysteps, but every journey starts somewhere and to use another analogy its better to come to the party late than to miss it all together right?!

So, back to the IOC congress; I suggest you visit the IOC page and its videos. The talks are long, very dry and high level corporate... but if you have an interest in the future of sport, it is must see stuff.


P.s. Huge thanks to for giving me the "heads-up" on the IOC congress video stream.
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What a difference a a few weeks makes... 

Last weekend the British Judo Association (BJA) hosted the biggest event the hold, the GB World Cup. A mere few weeks after the 2009 World Judo Championships in Rotterdam.

And wow what a difference a few weeks can make.

I sit here contemplating the massive difference in internet based content the BJA created over the weekend and compare it to the complete lack from the further away, but more important World Championships.

Now, due to other commitments I could not attend the competition, but the BJA did a quite amazing job of keeping me up to date. Especially amazing given the way the world champs got covered.

The BJA was twittering ( ), updating the Facebook page ( ) and also updated the actual BJA website too ( )!!

Now... as any regular reader of this blog will know, I have been an outspoken critic of the BJA and especially of the BJA internet presence. In fact I get accused of "bashing them" on many occasions.

But this week I have nothing to complain about, scary I know, but true. The BJA did a really great job of sharing information from Birmingham on the web, pretty awe inspiring given the state of the BJA internet presence to date.

Which is why I sit here writing this web post. I felt the need to confess to being impressed by the efforts of the BJA, and given my constant berating when they get it wrong, it is only fait that I give them credit when credit is due, don't you think?

So, I hope you will all join me in applauding the BJA for the fine first steps into the modern internet!

I hope that the weekend exposes them to how todays internet works, about how tools like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and web pages can bring the membership closer to the association.

I hope the success of the weekend encourages the BJA to use Twitter more, to encourage the staff (and the association) to share more online. I'd hate for it to go quiet at BJA HQ now, for the weekend to be an anomaly rather than a new direction for them.

It was such a good effort on the weekend, build on it, bring us with you on the journey. If you bring us with you we'll follow you and support you. Leave us in the dark and expect the pitch forks and torches to come and eject you from your castle.

Finally, well done to the athletes of the GBR team of course!
Their fine performances of course gave the BJA something positive to talk about. I wish I could have been there to shout for you, but as it turns out you did well without me! ;-)

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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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