Wednesday, June 17, 2009

To the men & women in the arena ...

At first I started to write this response to a friend about the toxic rhetoric flying around, but then I decided to share it. People need to hear about the very much good news that is happening in the USJA.

These are the changes in the USJA over the past three years, a trend that continues this year:

The USJA has grown in membership and financial stability.


Below is what Gary Goltz, Jim Bregman, Jim Pedro, Sr., Lowell Slaven,George Weers and I and many others have worked to accomplish, which has contributed to this improved functioning. Others with whom I am proud and fortunate to be associated include Paul Nogaki, who has organized the coaching clinic at winter nationals and the camp after junior nationals, Roy Hash who hosts the Texoma judo camp, Neil Ohlenkamp who runs the Judo Forum, Deb Fergus who works tirelessly for the All-Women's Tournament and Fight Like a Girl Camps, Mark Hunter who organizes joint workouts hosted by the USJA and USJF in Ohio, Joan Love who is chair of regional coordinators, Serge Boussyou who organizes the Mayo Quanchi camps, Bill Montgomery who is a major support for our coaching program.

These are accomplishments that anyone in the USJA can point to with pride and to which I believe our improved membership and financing can be directly attributed.

  • We have a cadre of regional coordinators around the country who organize events including joint workouts and clinics.

  • We have a camp after junior nationals every year, open to all ages.v
  • We have added a second on-line magazine

  • We have a USJA forum on-line.
  • We have a USJA facebook.

  • We have a volunteer Chief Operating Officer.

  • We have a volunteer web master.

  • We have a coach certification program with a consistent curriculum. In the past several months coaching clinics have been offered in Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island, North Dakota, San Diego, Los Angeles and Texas. Upcoming clinics are scheduled in Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, San Diego, San Francisco, Nebraska and Sonoma.

  • We have a joint program with the USJF for sponsoring events, including a Winter Nationals, National Novice and Brown Belt Championships and an upcoming joint junior nationals.

  • We have been able to provide camp scholarships for USJA award winners and junior national medalists.

  • We have established a training center, funded through donations, in southern California.

  • We have a development fund used to support camps and clinics everywhere from Michigan to Mississippi to Louisiana to Los Angeles.



Theodore Roosevelt said:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

I hear a lot of those critics but I don't hear anything from them other than criticism of other people. I would ask those critics to first point to something that exists now that did not three years ago that they were in some way involved, other than the "Save American Judo from AnnMaria" campaign.

I believe our members want to see positive action. They want to see us be the men and women in the arena rather than the critics.

I'd like to thank you all who are working to support the USJA and judo, from Keith Worshaim in Mississippi to Ed Thibideau in Arkansas to Chuck Wall in Virginia to Vern Borgen in North Dakota and the thousand others who want to see action and results rather than hear criticism and spite. If I didn't mention you by name, please don't feel you are appreciated any less. I know you are not doing it for the appreciation but rather out of the goodness of your heart.

Thank you for being you.

JUDO GAME ==============


Stolen from Ana Hankins of Kouhaku Judo Club in Corona ...

We went to the Nanka Shorai practice last weekend run by Ana Hankins, formerly an outstanding competitor from Columbia, now a judo instructor. She did a lot of judo drills and games. One of my favorites involved having one person in the middle with one finger on the mat, bent over turning around in a circle. The rest of the group moves around in a circle (teaches moving correctly, not crossing your feet). On hajime the middle player runs around the circle throwing each person (teaches to throw while moving). At matte, a new player moves into the middle and they start over.

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