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Judo Solutions

Police and Military Judo

Back in the early 1980s I decided that I wanted to learn a martial art. It wasn’t for fitness reasons, I was already fit playing badminton, it wasn’t for something to do, I already had a healthy social life. It wasn’t either a simply desire to learn something new. I wanted to be able to defend myself if the need ever arose. The choice of Judo above the others wasn’t a difficult one for me. Kung Fu had been popularised by the television series of that name and karate clubs abounded where I lived, but my research told me two […]

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Eternal Truth of Judo

I was fortunate enough, many years ago to stand in front of the aikido legend John Waite, who graded me in Tomiki Aikido in a drafty hall somewhere near Clapham Common.  I’d heard of John Waite. I knew that he used to be a judo practitioner. His home dojo had been the much-vaunted South London Judo Society and he had learnt his judo under Kenshiro Abbe, amongst others. Waite had attained the grade of 5th Dan in Judo before devoting his time to aikido, rising up the ranks of that art also. There are only so many days in the […]

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Traditional Judo: What it is Not

My Last Judo blog, while being generally well received did take some criticism from certain quarters, who seemed to be wilfully misinterpreting my point. One individual who went online to attack something I did not say even admitted that he had not read the entire blog – such is the sectarian attitude of some Judoka. The blog had been about the race to gain spectators for Judo, something that I feel has a negative impact on our activity, but along the way it had been turned into a one-way war of words about ‘traditional’ Judo. The Aunt Sally that I […]

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The Growth of Judo

Ever since the days of the old JudoForum, there has been public debates about what Judo authorities and organisations can do to make Judo more poplar as a spectator sport. The anguish has been plain, the debate long and the ideas varied. As public debate moved into the facebook era, the number of threads that talk of glamming up Judo and what needs to be done to attract more viewers has not diminished.  Why? As a Judo enthusiast, somebody who has been practicing for 37 years, I am not in the slightest bothered about TV viewing figures, nor do I […]

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Mutual Learning in Judo

Judo is all about mutual learning. There is a misunderstanding that it is an individual activity, but it most certainly is not. One of the many benefits of joining a judo club is the ability it gives for interaction with other human beings. It is an understandable mistake to think that it is all about the self. I watch people of all grades trying to perform randori, when they are actually engaged in some kind of shiai: they haven’t understood the mutual benefit aspect of Kano’s Kodokan Judo. Neither, actually, have they understood that by engaging properly and respectfully in […]

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The Banned Techniques of Judo

WHEN Judo For All was first established, I was tasked with opening up negotiations for us to affiliate to the World Judo Federation. During that process JFA held a course at the Sobell that was attended by Alfredo Vismara from Italy. Vismara Sensei and JFA Head Coach, Sampson Sampson, Sensei had a meeting there that I was privy too. It was a remarkable coming together of two great Judo minds. Neither spoke the other’s language, but clearly they got on, enthusiastically discussing the way forward for our nascent organisation. One of the subjects discussed was the rules of judo contest […]

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Discipline in Martial Arts

Whichever way you look at it, discipline is a key part of Judo: it is a key part of any martial art and indeed, in reality it is an essential element of life. I’m not talking about obeying orders, military style, rather it is about having a degree of control and responsibility over your own actions. It ranges from not eating the extra biscuit that will contribute negatively to your health, to fighting demons such as gambling and drink and even basic control of your own body. Many parents bring their young children to Judo lessons quoting the desire for […]

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Keeping the Traditional Judo Philosophy

WHEN I left the British Judo Council, as a 3rd Dan, I was concerned that I was cutting myself off from a wealth of Judo knowledge. I left because, in my eyes, the organisation had lost its way in terms of being an independent organisation based on traditional Kodokan Judo. Instead it was moving toward closer ties with the British Judo Association in terms of wanting to concentrate on the sporting aspects of Judo. I had and have nothing against the combat sport of Judo, I think it is an essential element of Kodokan Judo: it is, however, just one […]

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Modern grading systems in Judo: does it produce better citizens?

I recently read a Facebook entry by a judoka who had witnessed a poor dan grading contest with the BjA. The poster was suggesting that since his organisation no longer has contest for grades until shodan, the quality of the competition had decreased. The comment raised, in my mind, some interesting aspects of grades in judo. My understanding of the BJA change to non-contest kyu grades was basically that it worked for the French, so perhaps it might work for the British. The idea is that contest experience is gained with full participation in kyu grade competitions. Yet this has […]

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Judo as a Pedagogy: Part 2

In my last blog I briefly mentioned a person who wanted to criticise grades that had been given to young people that he felt were not worthy of the belts they wore. Such criticisms are rife in martial arts, but they show a lack of understanding of exactly what grades and the grading structure is about and what it achieves. The individual I alluded to seemed to think that everywhere, across all grades, there should be a standard and that standard should, inevitably be established by the organisation that he was a member of: it should be rigidly observed. It’s […]

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