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, Bsc. EJU Level 5 - Block 1, Day 2.  

Hello everyone!
Hopefully there are a few more readers after my lecture today on coaching Digital Natives. But more on that later.

Today, we had two Judo practical sessions/lectures. One with Patrick Roux and one with Jane Bridge. Two people who I wish I could fight like they coach.
What they were trying to get across, in two separate and quite independent lessons, was simple, elegant and stylish Judo; all based on fundamental principles.

I think yesterday I wrote about how I enjoyed watching Patrick's Judo in Randori. Something that struck me today is that his Randori style is the same as what he is coaching/teaching. Which is less common than you think after you see such a good example of it. Patrick's session was very much about fundamental body movements and good posture. Things we talk about but he showed well and demonstrated even better in his Randori.

Jane's session. (Did I mention I really respect/admire Jane?). Working again on fundamentals, body movement and simple things. Footwork and posture, applied in the correct way to the correct situation. Specifically, sode tsurikomi ashi from heavy jigotai, both player pushing one another. Using good footwork and a good turn of the body to unbalance your opponent and throw them. IN THAT ORDER.

Both Jane and Patrick display and coach the sort of Judo I would like to do. More accurately, the sort of Judo I would have liked to do when I was young, lithe and supple. No really, there was once a time when that was at least mainly accurate. ;-)

I envy the players training in Bath. Between Jurgen, Patrick, Yuko and Jane they have the most amazing opportunity to train. Mike is doing a great job at creating an environment of excellence, the coaches and others involved in Bath are pretty darn impressive when you look at it from a more isolated view.

On that subject I am really chuffed that a fellow Kiwi is now training here in Bath whilst doing their PHD. The last time I saw them was in Derry at the Commonwealth's and the change is readily apparent, strides ahead of where they were IMHO.

We also had our second lecture with Lisa about planning. And planning here we are talking large scale performance plans, not athlete planning. The project/assignment we have to complete is a plan for a project. So we need to basically do a business plan for something Judo related. So pick a pet project and develop a professional plan to develop and deliver it. Harder than it looks and I must say, it really highlights how talented those people who do this in our sport are and how big a debt of gratitude we owe them.

The other lecture today, was my Keynote lecture on "Coaching Digital Natives". I think it went well and that people got something out of it. I am presently uploading the slides to and once it's been processed and I have checked with the Uni it is ok, I shall make it public. The slide deck ended up being 48MB, it's 12mb as a pdf without videos!! I tried to keep it pretty high tech given the topic and I hope people found it interesting and that they took something away that might help. A few people spoke tome afterwards about setting up blogs for their clubs and so forth, so that is great!

To everyone reading this who attended the lecture, please do email/comment and tell me how you found the lecture. As we all know feedback is key in learning, so let me know where I hit the mark and where I missed it. Tell me what bits you found most relevant.

To those same people, thanks for your attention and questions and comments, I am not a professional public speaker, but you were a good audience in my book.

I have to give a big thank you to Alex for his time last week helping me put this together. His IBM/Cisco corporate perspective/experience really helped me keep the presentation on subject and relevant I think, cheers mate!

As always, if anyone is looking at the Web and Judo, please let me know.
I am happy to help explain things, setup things, etc etc.

Okay... well till tomorrow !


P.s. presentation attendees, here is the link to our EJU Degree group on Facebook.

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University of Bath, Bsc. EJU Level 5 - Block 1, Day 1. 

Hello all, and welcome back to my blogging about my experiences participating in education at the University of Bath. As with previous years, during my FdSc. (EJU Level 4) course, I shall endeavor to record on this blog my experiences, reactions, thoughts, opinions, etc.

Hopefully, someone out there will find it interesting and worthwhile to read. Please do let me know if you read this blog. I'd really appreciate hearing from you.

So, if you have been following this blog for a while, you'll know that last year I graduated from the FdSc course here at University of Bath. After considerable thought and consideration (primarily in regard to family holidays and better uses of my 20 days leave/vacation per year) I signed up for the Bsc course that follows on from the FdSc.

Today was the first day on this new course and it is great to be back on campus and my brain realised about lunchtime what it had to do. :-)

This year the staff at the University has grown and iin the Judo specific side of things we have the great privilege to have Jurgen Klinger back again. We are also fortunate to have the two new fulltime tutors here. Patrick Roux and Jane Bridge.

Jane Bridge (7th Dan) is a former World and European Champion, and has been living and coaching in France until recently. Patrick Roux (6th Dan) is World and European medalist, he was also the French Junior national coach. Both Jane & Patrick were involved in the highly respected French Coach Education system.

Jane I have met before and have the utmost respect for. In part because of her obvious abilities but also because of one gentleman she brought to Bath previously who worked for the team she was coaching in France. He was not a "Judo Man" as such, yet had considered quite deeply Judo performance and developed physical conditioning approaches based on his views. The fact that Jane looked outside of the obvious, was for me a great endorsement of a coach who is willing to think "outside the box" (If you'll pardon the cliche).

Patrick, I have not met before, but hear nothing but good things about.
Watching him on the mat tonight in the randori session, I suspect that all that I have heard is true and am looking forward to learning from him.

Today's lectures started with a low-key discussion session with Patrick and Jurgen about Modern Performance. It branched in part into a discussion about the divergent streams in Judo, Education and Elite/Olympic sport.

In the afternoon, we had two "hold onto your hats" here is what you've signed up for sessions. Lisa Bradley took us for the first of many lectures on finance, then Mike Callan started us thinking about the 12 month research project we will be completing as part of the Bsc course, ulp! The discussion about qualitative vs. quantitive research was great and although I had planned/assumed I would do quantitive research, I am tempted (in part by Mike's bringing up of the podcast) to consider a qualitative project. That said, I am a geek, so quantitive is definitely more in alignment with my personality and abilities I suspect.

This evening I participated in the Randori session, which was good and obviously part of the World Masters preparation. As with the Hampshire Champs, my recovery is actually pretty good, but my ATP system is nearly non-existent. So, I end up in a randori unable to execute technique because physically I am exhausted. Frustratingly, a minute or two off the mat and I feel okay again and my frustration grows becuase I am unable to physically achieve what my mind/spirit wants to do and knows it should be able to do.

University of Bath is a ghost-town at the moment, as it is the Easter holiday, so nothing is open. Not even the student bar, which as you can imagine is dreadfully upsetting for me. ;-)
That said, it gives me more time this evening to polish my keynote lecture for tomorrows delivery. The lecture is on "Coaching Digital Natives" and I hope that people will find it interesting, after I have delivered I shall probably post it on slideshare or on this blog, as well as on the university Moodle server.

It is great to be back and I am reminded how lucky I am to be here.

Till tomorrow!


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World Judo Masters 2008 Training - Week 32/48 

Week 32, or the week when things went wrong... again.

So last week went well and ended with me fighting in my first competition for eight years. As you could probably imagine, I was a bit sore afterwards. Unfortunately, I discovered this week I was more sore than I thought.

It would appear that I have damage to my right knee's medial meniscus. :-(

It does not seem to be a tear (phew), but rather wear and tear. However, damage is a bad sign. And will require me looking after it carefully from now on. Fairly common injury in both Judoka (I am told) and runners. ( A retrospective case-control analysis of 2002 running injuries ). So being a Judoka and running, and running whilst heavy; it is probably not a surprise that my knee is given me pain.

( )

The problem with the meniscus, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, etc. is that they do not have good bloodflow. This means that when they get hurt, they can't get the materials to repair as quickly as say a muscle. So injuries will take longer to recover from and may never be recovered from.

As a coach, you need to understand this and be aware that a seemingly minor injury in the knee, ankle or elbow needs to be treated seriously. More seriously perhaps than a more visible injury than a black eye or arguably even a bone fracture.

As a coach, one of your primary objectives is to help maintain high performance over the long-term, not just the short term. Meaning you need to minimize the impact injuries may/will have on your athletes.

Here in the UK, we are at the closing stages of the "Six Nations" Rugby Union championship. You quickly notice the news stories at this point in the proceedings are often about who will be fit enough to play. In Judo it is the same, if not worse as it is an individual sport.

Here in the UK, hopes for Judo gold lie heavily across the (recently injured) shoulders of one Craig Fallon. He apparently suffered a shoulder injury last year, much the same way that Graham Randall injured himself between winning the World Championships in Birmingham and the Sydney Olympics. Many years ago I watched Steve Corkin of my own New Zealand bow out of the Olympics when his damaged knee blew out during his second match. He destroyed his first opponent, who knows what position he might have reached that day, if his knee wasn't busted.

So, I'll be looking after this knee. I took this week off training in part by plan and partly because my knee started playing up. Fortunately, I have just come to the end of the "endurance" phase of my planning and this week was a "transition" stage before I go into a strength phase.

So the next few weeks will be strength. Specifically, I'll stay upper body primarily as this is a weak area for me at the moment and it will give my legs (knee) a break and that will hopefully help the knee recover.

Anyway, it'll be an interesting couple of weeks, I may be quite sore as I hope to relearn the ancient art of pull-ups, push-ups, push-press and more. Joy!

( Exercise clips from )
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Mr. Bean at a Judo Class. 

Here is a video I was sent via Facebook.

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World Judo Masters 2008 Training - Week 31/48 + Hampshire Closed. 

Hi everyone, a very sore and tired post for you this Sunday evening.
This week I trained quite well and finished the week by competing in the Hampshire Trials/Hampshire Closed Judo Tournament. I shall cover that at the end of the post, but first my week in training.

Monday - Judo at Paul Jones School of Judo in Basingstoke.
Tuesday - 3.3 mile run (33 Minutes avg pace 10mins/mile)
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Judo at Gosport Judo Kwai.
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 6.25 miles (1:10 avg. pace 11:13min/mile)
Sunday - Hampshire Closed Judo Tournament.

So this week training went okay, not amazing, no bad points really. The mileage is not up to my target, but it was countered by the competition. I will however need to work out how to fit more runs in so they are shorter, else the saturday run will get well over 10 miles. Judo-wise, I felt pretty good, especially on Thursday. Admittedly that was because I was pissed off and maintained a fair level of controlled aggression throughout the Randori. This helped maintain my work rate, as did Pete's verbal prodding.

Hampshire Closed.
Those of you who have been following the blog know I am following a periodized preparation plan for the World Masters in Belgium at the end of June. To date, it has been primarily aerobic development as I have been trying to develop a base and get my obesity under control. :)

So as last week was the end of my Endurance/base phase I had scheduled in a competition as a "blow the cobwebs out" test. And boy that it surely was! Although I had only three fights, I am destroyed! That said I was really pleased with my recovery between fights. An indication (I hope) that my Aerobic fitness is okay (for a fat bloater).

Unfortunately my Anaerobic systems are knackered and my upper body strength is low. But, that is basically what I expected. next week I move into a new phase which is a strength phase so that problem will be addressed.

The great thing about a competition is that it keeps you honest and gives you a reality check. The reality of my situation is that I am seriously out of shape and need to get my match fitness up.

The biggest problem I had today was that I was not moving enough or attacking enough (let alone well). The reason for this was that I didn't have enough strength and fitness to participate fully in my matches.

Doing the competition highlights the deficit and it is quite amazing how how a five minute Judo match is roughly equivalent of probably 30 minutes running at pace, more if you factor in the pain afterwards.

The big difference is the Aerobic vs. Anaerobic energy systems, Judo is tough as it needs both. You need awesome ATP systems for bursts of effort, but a match is five minutes so you need aerobic. You need great recovery between fights also.

Compare that to distance running, where you need Aerobic and well Aerobic.

Anyway, it was awesome to fight again after what about 8 years without fighting in competition. The best thing was I won!! LOL it's great to win even if it's a fluke of the draw and numbers etc.

I actually recorded myself for the podcast ( and as soon as the server comes back up (They had a technical failure and the servers been down) I shall upload it so you can listen to my quick thoughts in between fights.

Next week I am in Vietnam on business, so not sure how the training will go, but hopefully there is a decent club in Ho Chi Minh city. Anyone know of one?


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