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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Base Training for Judo. 

In this post I would like to discuss Base Training for Judo, by which I mean the basic training you need to do to develop a base upon which you can build. In running base training is typically the long slow runs to develop ones aerobic capacity and lactate threshold.

But what is the Judo equivalent? What do Judo athletes do for the equivalent stage? In this post I want to explore that and a principle I plan to apply/experiment with over the Christmas period whilst Judo clubs are shut.

Obviously, Judo athletes do what everyone does. And by this mean running and weights, low intensity, long duration sessions. But... training should be sport specific shouldn't it?

So... what can we do as Judo athletes and coaches?
Here is the idea I have been considering, Nage Komi sessions (yeah I know not real radical, but stay with me).

Let me explain, in previous posts I have mentioned the lack of metrics in Judo training. When I run, I count my miles (over 200 miles since February!!) but when I go to Judo what should I be counting? Uchi Komi, Ippons, what?

Here is my proposal: Organise a long, easy, Nage Komi session.
Now I am talking about a session that is JUST throw outs and probably 60-90 minutes in duration. To monitor the intensity I propose/suggest wearing a heart rate monitor and keeping your heart rate in "Zone 2" (60%-70%) (Calculator). Now, you'll be keeping your heart rate low and throwing into a crash mat. To keep your heart rate down, you'll need to take it pretty easy.

I am suggesting throw outs, not Uchi Komi, there are two key ideas behind this.
Firstly, borrowing from running here the idea of running efficiency. In running the more miles you do, the more effecient your running technique/style becomes. Long runs develop an effecient way of running. My idea here is that the same applies in Judo, the more you throw, the more efficient the throw (should) become.

The second idea is that in Judo (at least based on my observations of my own and others training here in the UK) we do very little throwing compared to "other" things. There is gripping, uchi komi, breakfalls, posing, groundwork, etc etc etc. Which is odd given that throwing is what we all want to do... I think?

Now runners by comparison run, alot. Swimmers swim, alot. Cyclist ride, alot.
Judo athletes should do Judo, alot! Judo athletes should THROW alot!

My Application:

As Christmas and New Years are upon me, the Judo clubs are closing, so I/we need to adjust my training to address this. I am planning a cycle of "Base Training" (you'd never have guessed), so here is what I HOPE to do.

1) Run more
2) Have long Nage Komi sessions.

Stay tuned and I'll let you all know how I get on and what works for me and what does not. I would really appreciate you views also.

Finally, let me just say, this post is all personal opinion and based on my ideas not scientific research. Maybe there is research to support my ideas, I shall probably have a search through the journals and see what I can see. Let me know what you have seen.


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Dr. De Mars on make or take. 

Dr. AnnMaria De Mars over at has written an excellent post titled "Do You Want to Make Players or Take Them?" which is all about the difference between coaches who want to "grow" players from newbies and those who want the "elite".

It is a great article, go read it.
If you don't know AnnMaria won the 1984 world championships and is heavily involved in the Judo scene, not only through her role within Judo in the USA, but also via and her own section on and as if that is not enough, she is parent and coach to Ronda Rousey who this year alone has won gold at the following events:
2007 British Open, London, England
2007 World Cup Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2007 US Sr. National Championships, Miami, Florida
2007 Pan Am Games, Rio de Janerio, Brazil
2007 US Open, Atlanta, Georgia
2007 Finnish Open, Vaantaa, Finland

I too have seen those people who just want the cream of the crop and don't want to "waste their coaching" on kids. It is, I think, partially a natural desire to work with elite players and part culture and part other issues.

I too dream of sitting matside as my player throws their opponent for Ippon in an Olympic Final, I'd like to coach a mat full of the best talent in the area/nation/world.
And that is great and all good, what is not however, is if you don't want anything to do with grassroots, kids!

I'm not saying those few coaches who are coaching the elite should stop and start a kids class. But I hope that as with the example of Chuck Jefferson in the post those coaches would happily give as much effort and benefit to a group of six year old beginners.

My concern most of the time is that there is a cultural bias within Judo organisations against the grassroots, against kids coaching, against recreational Judo. This, despite kids and non elite players being the lifeblood of Judo.

Too often we get a two-faced response from Judo organisations. There is acknowledgement of the importance of kids/club Judo, yet all the time and resources (including money) goes into the elite programme.

Sure medals means funding and prestige and that equals resources for the masses. And, it's a sport and we all want to see gold for our nations, clubs, etc. I don't want to sound like I want to kill off elite Judo.

Thats said, at what point does there become an imbalance? At what point should a governing body say "Hey instead of pouring money into the top 1%, lets pour it into kids?" Instead of paying the best coaches to coaches the elite players how about paying the best coaches to coach kids?

Again, why is it that all the coaching systems I have seen, they are about going "up" to elite level coaching? I am a EJU Level 4 coach, I have spent the last 3 years studying coaching at elite level. Not a single session on kids Judo. Like I say, that's good, I want to help people "seek the heights" as was the motto of my high school.
But is that indicative of the problem? The "low level" coaching awards are basically about coaching kids, the high levels about coaching elite players (in theory). Maybe that should be tipped on it's head? Highest level for the shortest players?

Or better yet, a coaching system that encourages/awards coaching at elite player level, recreational player and kids levels. I'd love to see the day when a country's highest coach is solely involved in coaching kids entering the sport.

But... I am not going to hold my breath.

Thanks again to AnnMaria De Mars for continuing her terrific blog!
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World Masters Training, Week Summary 16/46.  

Not alot to report here sadly.
I didn't do alot (okay any) training this week for various reasons, except for a 3 mile run on Saturday morning.

Christmas, work, lazy... 'nuf said.
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A new Judo blog in the community! 

Today I came across Judo-the-Blog which has been on the net since November seemingly. I have added it to PlanetJudo already.

It is associated with (and possibly written by) Jan Snijders, the Dutch Olympian who (and I quote the site here) is a well known Dutch judoka. During his active competition period he has participated in all major contests like the Olympic Games in 1964. Jan Snijders became amongst others European Champion in 1962 in Essen. Nowadays Jan Snijders is Refereeing Director of the European Judo Union but still also teaches judo in Oirschot, Bladel, Deurne and Gemert Netherlands). Not to mention being an 8th Dan.

The site has a Science slant, so I look forward to reading more on the site.
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Judo - The Open Source Martial Art and Sport. 

Judo is "Open Source", awesome, great, what the heck does that mean Lance?
What it means is that Judo is open and we share and grow as a community, the quality of the sharing detrmining the quality of the sommunity and that in turn the quality of the Judo.

Judo, unlike traditional/historical arts does not have "secrets" or as you might call it now days... "proprietary". It is in part the reason Judo was/is the most popular and wide spread martial art in the world.

Being open and having a strong community is the path to success, keeping to yourself is the road to failure, both for you and for us all. One of the best examples of this open source method succeeding is University of Bath, here in the UK. I consider myself fortunate to be involved with the programme there and it has been showing results for all involved.

In Bath, Mike Callan has assembled a cohort of players and coaches and scientists who are pushing forward Judo there and in the UK, and it's all open and if you had the gumption to, you could copy the setup yourself and Mike would probably give you more help than anyone else.

In Bath, I attend a course where I and about 60 other Judo coaches visit for two weeks, twice a year. We study, we train, we chat, debate and argue. We learn from one another and we and Bath benefit.
Mike has build a "community" around Judo in Bath. this community shares and works together both for Bath and on individual projects. This is exactly the same sort of community that people talk about in computing.

So... How have you contributed to your Judo community?
Me, I have done Judo research, I've coached clubs and players and teams, I have helped my colleagues with their studies. i started the Judo podcast and Planet Judo and all the other sites. i have done websites for my friends in Judo and chatted over many a beer with people about what they are doing in Judo.

What are you doing? What could your role be? maybe you are a conditioning coach? maybe a business person with the ability to bring in sponsors. maybe you are a physio ora artist or and accountant? maybe you are just a motivated parent? maybe your contribution is beiing a green belt who makes a black belt work hard? maybe you are the Dad how brings players to events?

we can all contribute, and we all should.

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