Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions - A Day (make that two days) Late

The new year is a time for reflection on life, both one's own and life in general.

Life is good - but busy - which is why I am getting to my New Year's resolutions on January 2nd (uh - make that the 3rd now).

I usually try to take things one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once.

I feel like that these past two weeks. It was lovely to see my family at Christmas, encouraging to meet all the dedicated coaches and parents in Springfield, Mo and Granite City, IL. Last New Year's Eve I was in Las Vegas watching fireworks at midnight. This year, I was on the Santa Monica Pier. Both times, I had worked until past 11 p.m. on one report or another that needed to get done. Last year it was for a project on training staff how to care for people with disabilities and chronic illness. This year it was an on-line course for ethics training for tribal leaders. Still, I did managed to unchain myself from my desk long enough to get out and see something besides my computer as the new year rolled in.

My New Year's Resolutions
  1. Focus on the USJA/ USJF West Coast Training Center. This is not only a joint project between USJA and USJF but we have also recently been working with California Judo, Inc. Above is a picture from a camp we had last weekend. It was great. I can't wait to do it again. The players we have coming are the kind of people who make everyone glad they are involved in judo, whether it is as athletes, coaches, parents or donors. This is worth my time.
  2. Start my new business. Actually, I already did. Within one hour of the new year, I had registered The Julia Group with Dun and Bradstreet. I am now in the Central Contract Registry, registered on e-grants and mid-way through the ORCA process. (This is a database for government contractors and, despite the name, has no relationship whatsoever to whales.)
  3. Quit stressing. I have been worried about how successful my new business will be - I am going to offer on-line courses for people who aren't well-served by traditional offerings - high school dropouts, people entering college with skills below college level and just generally people with an attitude not appreciated in education. As you might imagine, I can empathize well with the latter. I already have three paying clients and I have started a successful business on nothing but a handshake and built up a million dollars in contracts once before, which explains why no one is worrying but me. As Ronda commented, "You're married to a rocket scientist. I don't think anybody in this family is going to be eating out of a dumpster any time soon."
  4. Schedule time to enjoy life. I know that scheduled spontaneity sounds like an oxymoron, but knowing myself, that is the only way I am going to go to museums, the beach or Ben & Jerry's. Thank God for my kids. If it wasn't for Julia dragging me out to play baseball and buy ice cream from the ice cream truck, I'd probably never leave my desk. I really intend to do this, just like sales people have a quota of the number of calls they made, I am going to monitor the hours I just screw off and do nothing - read a book, watch TV or ... well that's the problem, I have done it so little there is not much in the "or" category.
  5. Disentangle myself from the commitments I don't enjoy. While this sounds selfish, there are enough options to work for pay, for the community, that I do enjoy that it makes sense to select those I enjoy that most and which benefit the most people. I get so tired of that idiotic refrain from people chanting at former (and current) athletes as a justification for why a person MUST do something for them, "You need to give back to your sport." While that is true, there are many choices in ways to give back. I think the camp this weekend, the clinic in Springfield, the training center, Growing Judo e-magazine, are all ways I give back. Someone else may have a different way of giving back, like hosting a judo website or organizing a tournament. That doesn't make them scum and me a saint, or vice versa.
  6. Learn to reflect. Over the holidays, I was lucky to visit Laura, my friend for the past thirty-four years and we got to discussing our lives in general. I have never been one of those people to keep a journal, a diary or reflect on anything really private because - well, the reason is private and I am not going to put it on the Internet. I know it all goes back to working 12 hours a day and doing judo on the weekends. It all fits together for a reason I am not going to tell anyone.
  7. Learn more about judo. Come hell or high water, I am going to watch more judo DVDs, read more books and attend more clinics - clinics by other people, not me.
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Have a plan, for crying out loud! On the long list of things that drive me crazy are people who want to win the Olympics or give up school, work, their love life or anything else for judo and then their plan is

"I think I'll look up a judo club in the Yellow Pages."

Okay, well maybe that is a slight exaggeration but the truth is that ...the path to least resistance is NOT the road to success. ..Have that tattooed on your butt if you need to but figure it out!

Here are some questions for those of you who want to improve your judo in 2008.
  1. Have a GOAL. A specific goal. NOT , "I want to improve my technique," but something you can measure, like I want to win the USJA Winter Nationals or throw someone with harai goshi. I would suggest not having a goal that relates to points, because those aren't that correlated with being good unless you have twenty times as many as your next closest competitors. You can place in a point tournament if only one other person shows up and he/ she isn't very good.
  2. Break your goal into short term and long term. If your goal is to win the USJA Nationals in December, 2008 your short term goal might be to win a local tournament by March. Your next goal might be to win the state championships.
  3. Focus on a goal that is not too far off. If you are 14, winning the Olympics is a decade in the future. It's too easy to fool yourself that you are making progress when you are not.
  4. Relate your training plan to your goal. If your goal is to win a local tournament it is - what is that word I am searching for - yes, stupid - to move to Japan to get better. All kinds of people win local tournaments training right here in L.A. If you are failing at your goal, admit the fact honestly. Don't say, "I have better judo than him but he keeps beating me." If you SAID your goal was to beat him, not to get better technique than him, then you are failing at it and need to face facts.
  5. If your goal is to win the Olympic Trials and you are training at the club around the corner because it is a five-minute walk from your house and you can only train three times a week because you have to work 40 hours at Taco Bell to make your car payments and tuition - you are -what is that word - yes, stupid - to think that is the right choice. I bought my first car after my first two college degrees and winning the senior nationals and U.S. Open.
I would say more but my niece asserts that I cannot possibly have more to say about judo that I have not said thirteen times already and she wants me to take her to karate (I have promised not to diss karate and she has promised to clean her room so no more will be said on the topic today). However, if there are still El Pollo Loco wrappers in her room tomorrow, look back here for a major litany of all of the ways in which I think judo is better than karate.


Anonymous said...

Ciao AnnMaria could you tell me the difference between USJA and USJF
There are Dojos doing kan-geiko in America?Grazie Greetings Ric

Dr. AnnMaria said...

The USJA and USJF are both local organizations that support judo in the United States. Each does a junior nationals. The USJA does a senior nationals in the winter also.

The USJF has regional organizations called yudanshakais that organize tournaments and events and raise funds for judo.

The USJA also has tournaments and clinics, and raises funds for judo but they do so on a national level. The USJA has several camps in the summer around the country.

Both are really good groups. They do function a little bit differently. The USJF has been around longer so they tend to be more conservative. I would say they make fewer mistakes than the USJA but they also make progress slower. I have been on the Development Committee of both organizations and I like them both.