Saturday, December 31, 2016

I have this to say about my daughter, Ronda

Like every mother and daughter on the face of the earth, Ronda and I don't always see eye to eye. However, there is one situation where I am pretty certain.

All of those who have criticized Ronda for taking a loss so to heart, for not just 'shrugging it off' don't understand that what made Ronda so successful is that she cares DEEPLY about winning to an extent that I don't believe the average person can wrap his/her head around.

Caring deeply about something and working your hardest to achieve it doesn't mean you make the right decisions 100% of the time. Wouldn't it be a nicer world if it did?

Those of you who want to criticize Ronda, I just want to point out a few things. First of all, I know her better than you and she is a smart, kind, talented, generous, hard-working person.

Second, I'd like to list some of her accomplishments, and note that she isn't yet 30 years old.

  • Junior World Judo Champion
  • Panamerican Games Judo Gold Medalist
  • First American woman in a decade to win a world cup in judo (and then she went on to win several more)
  • U.S. Open Gold Medalist
  • World Judo Championships Silver Medalist
  • Olympic Bronze Medalist
  • U.S. Senior National Champion
  • First UFC World Champion
  • First woman to make a million dollars in martial arts
  • Co-authored sports book of the year - My Fight/ Your Fight
  • Acted in three movies

That's just a partial list, but let me suggest that someone who has been world level athlete in two sports, written a best seller, acted in movies and made millions of dollars, all before the age of 30 has a pretty darn good track record. On top of that, Ronda has been part of the USADA drug testing since she was 16 years old, never failed a drug test,  always paid her taxes, never been arrested, never been to rehab, has zero divorces, zero DUIs and zero children. While you might think that is to be expected, look how many celebrities (heck, look how many of your neighbors) can say that.

I am very proud of my daughter.

As my other wonderful daughter, Maria, told her ,

"We love you just as much 10 minutes after every fight as we did in the 10 minutes before."

Edit: Since so many people asked me "What do you mean zero children? Children aren't a bad thing." I agree.  I have four. I meant that she did not have children before she was able and willing to raise them. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 30 Tweetup & other life events

It's a crazy busy time of year. Ten days ago, we released our first game on Steam.



That same week gamers extraordinaire Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler streamed Fish Lake on Twitch in a competition to see who could win $500 donated to their charity.



 Jessamyn won and $500 will be donated to the World Food Program on her behalf. It was pretty funny seeing her twitch stream followers helping her with the math.

Right this minute, I'm in Missouri about to head out to meet with teachers who use our games in their classrooms to get their feedback and some advice on ideas we have, like whether we should make the wolves in Spirit Lake more realistic and scarier.


Next, I fly to Las Vegas where on December 30 I will be part of the 'buy Ronda's mom a drink so she doesn't worry' um, I mean 

"Join us December 30th at 12pm for our #UFC207 #ArmbarNation & 7 Generation Games Tweetup for a chance to win Ronda Rousey autographed prizes. "
They told me to say that.


 
I'll be there at 1 pm, because it is a work day - who am I kidding, any day is a work day for me. Anyway, if you are in town, please drop by The Lobby Bar in New York casino. Maria will be there, too, and since it is a work event, for anyone who donates a game or classroom license, we will enter you in a drawing for prizes that include copies of My Fight/ Your Fight (and Maria will be there to sign it), Winning on the Ground (by me!) and other prizes.


If you are a teacher, we'll have a gift pack for you with games, stickers and other stuff for your classroom. All you need to do is show up and give us your email.

Gotta go. It's about 45 minutes to where I'm meeting with the teachers and as everyone who ever went to high school knows, teachers hate it when you are late.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jessamyn and Shayna Twitch for Charity


What's a twitch and why are Jessamyn and Shayna doing it?

For the uninitiated among you, twitch.tv is where you can watch your favorite gamers play your favorite games. A friend commented to me that was pretty lame but this is someone who watches fishing shows and golf so, yeah, just quiet down over there. 

You can find Shayna Baszler at https://www.twitch.tv/qospades where she plays games and rants about all things fighting and wrestling.

Jessamyn Duke, another fighter, also has a channel on twitch https://www.twitch.tv/whitemage01/videos/all

When Jessamyn was over at our house on Thanksgiving, I showed her the new Fish Lake we are RELEASING ON STEAM IN THE NEXT WEEK (can you tell I am excited?) and she offered to stream it on her channel when it came out.

I actually watch twitch at least a couple of times a week myself to get ideas for our games, when my own personal favorite gamer, Ronda, is not available.

My score last night was 1,950


THE CHALLENGE

Jessamyn and Shayna will both play Fish Lake on the day it comes out on Steam. (It should be this Friday, I'll let you know as soon as we get the go ahead from Steam.) Fish Lake is sort of like biathlon of video games. In biathlon you have to be good at cross-country skiing and shooting and you can't win the Olympics unless you are good at both of those. In Fish Lake, you have to be good at both playing games - shooting, canoeing - and fractions. Yes, it's an educational game.

Both Jessamyn and Shayna will receive the link for the game as soon as I finish this post. You can get it yourself on our website for $9.99 

They'll play it on twitch and I'll be donating $500 to the winner's charity.

#Gunclub charity : World Food Program - they feed hungry people around the world

#QueensArmy charity : Children of the Night provides a home, school, counseling and transportation to the shelter for children in the sex trade in the U.S.

Working on Fish Lake is why I have been barely visible the past two months. Download it for yourself or someone you like.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mostly harmless

I often think we admire the wrong traits in people. On the long (three hour!) drive from Fort Totten to Minot in the snow, my mind had a lot of time to wander, when I wasn't concentrated on staying on the highway I could barely see under the ground flurries.

 Ground flurries, for those of you lucky enough to spend all of your life in non-snowy places like Southern California, Honduras or Australia (does it ever snow in Australia? Quick! Somebody let me know!) Ahem, ground flurries happen when it is not actually snowing from the sky any more but there is a whole lot of snow on the ground and wind that blows the snow around so you have snow flurries anyway. If it blows the snow into a mound, that's called a snow drift, and the highway had those, too.
 

 I digress. I was going to talk about a couple of people I like who crossed my mind in my wanderings. I like both of these guys and since I call everyone who shall remain nameless Bob, let's call them Bob1 and Bob2.

Bob1 is somewhat successful in the entertainment business and every time I talk to him, he is telling me a story about some famous person he has been with or some other famous person he knows. Some of my more judgmental relatives (you know who you are!) might call Bob1 a name dropper and might not like him. He IS a name dropper in the sense that he always wants to make sure you know that he knows Mr. Famous who won three Oscars, a Grammy and a megaphone.

However, Bob1's stories are actually pretty interesting and always true. They're about how he and M. Famous were doing this movie in Thailand and they decided to go to ride elephants and since Bob1 had been a gymnast in college and so was Famous, after a few shots they were doing handstands on the elephant. Okay, I totally made that one up, but you get the idea and Bob1 could definitely do a handstand on the back of an elephant after three shots of Jameson, which is one think I like about him.

The thing I like most about Bob1 is that he is not only amusing but he is completely harmless. Most people think of that as not a particularly complimentary term, but I mean it that way. I've never known him to say a false thing about anyone, to do a single mean thing. He isn't rude to waiters, doesn't kick dogs, wouldn't take advantage of you in a business deal and would feed your cat while you were out of town. Can you honestly say that you've never hurt anyone?If so, you are a better person than me.

 Bob2 is very similar. Also very rich. Every time I talk to him, he is telling me how much money he has and about the new thing he just bought. For some reason, I find this hilarious. I know he does this to impress people and, again, some people might think he's kind of a jerk for that, but again, he's harmless. I AM interested sometimes in the new Lamborghini or Van Gogh or whatever he has bought himself. Not in a "oh, you are so awesome, I wish I was you" but honestly, like, "Oh, so that's what that looks like. " Or, "So, that's where you would go to buy a customized genetically modified Christmas tree shaped in your own self-image." Bob2 made his money the old fashioned way, by working, and if he wants to spend it on the world's largest ball of string, he's not hurting anyone.

Before you jump to conclusions and say, "They're not helping anyone, either" I would disagree with you. First of all, you don't know that and secondly,you're wrong. They do help people in various ways, sometimes a lot. That's not the only reason I like them, though. Plenty of people who give to charity or help out their friends are awful human beings who made their money on things like predatory loans to poor people on whom they then foreclosed and sold their homes for pennies on the dollar, or as lawyers defending those practices.

What I find funny is if you asked Bob1 why I liked him, one of the reasons he tells you might be all the famous people he knows. Not only do I not care but I don't know the difference between a Grammy and and Oscar and I don't think a megaphone is an award but I don't care. I'd be just as interested in his stories if he was hand-standing on elephants with my neighbor, Shannon, next door. If you asked Bob2 why I liked him he would immediately tell you it's because he's rich followed by a summary of how much money is in each of his investment funds and bank accounts. The truth is that one of the things I like about both of them is that they are harmless and I think that is a good thing.

And if you recognize yourself here, please don't stop working into the conversation every time you see me, "You know, I'm really rich" because I find it hysterical.  

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The meaning of life, oysters and alcohol

I've been working crazy hours for so long, sometimes I forget what year it is. It's been good, but busy. Business is growing.

You can read more about 7 Generation Games and our excitement here.
http://www.7generationgames.com/2016/11/21/you-think-you-know-what-steam-is-but-you-dont/





That's not what I wanted to talk about today. Rather, I wanted to discuss how to change your life when you feel that you are getting burnt out. This has something to do with judo but since it also has to do with advice about my daughter's fight coming up, ask me about that in January. (Cryptic, much?)

Many people feel as if the solution to burn out is to move to a tropical island, retire, take up knitting, have an affair with someone one-third their age or other dramatic flame out. Those things seldom turn out well.

I read a book on 100 things to do in your retirement and 96 of them sounded pretty lame to me. Teach a class - I already teach classes in judo, multivariate analysis and biostatistics - how is that retiring? Knit. Plant a garden. Take a painting class at the senior citizen's center.

 Write a book (done that)

https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Ground-Training-Techniques-Fighters-ebook/dp/B00BBZX5CS

 So, what is left? Actually, for those who don't have the time, money or inclination for an around the world cruise or becoming the oldest recruit in the Foreign Legion or bungee jumping, let me make a suggestion - modify your life in a moderate way.

For example, I decided I needed a new, fun goal and more time away from work. So, I decided to go on a quest to find the best oyster shooters in southern California. This combines three things I like - oysters, alcohol and going out with my husband. If bar-hopping was involved, I was willing to make the sacrifice for the benefit of research.

Day 1: Herringbone in Santa Monica. The oyster shooters are delicious and pretty cheap ($4). The service is slow.

Also day 1 : Casa Martin, also in Santa Monica - alas, no oysters of any type but they did have margaritas which were okay, and tortilla soup was good. There was also a table next to us with four guys from Australia who drank more beer per person than I had ever seen consumed at one sitting.

Day 2:  Blue Plate Oysterette, Ocean Ave, still in Santa Monica. I've walked by this place for years and they were always too packed for me to wait. Amazingly, today, they weren't full. The oysters are excellent but the restaurant only has a beer and wine license so no oyster shooters for me.

Also day 2: Water Grill - also on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. The drinks were excellent an so were the oysters. Sadly, while one can get both oysters and alcohol at Water Grill, the combination of the two was not on offer.

So far, I have learned
... you can't trust the internet as to what restaurants serve oyster shooters,
... a good restaurant to go to if you have a cold and want soup,
.... Australians can put away the beer,
.... and, most importantly, not everything has a serious purpose.

(P.S., No one pays me diddly squat for mentioning them on my blog. Some have considered bribing me NOT to mention them.)
 ----
Don't be too serious. Download Making Camp on your iPad for free. Learn and play. It's all good.
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Life from a different perspective

Last week, I was running late to a meeting so I parked at the last meter on the street in front of our building instead of across the street in the parking structure. When I came outside an hour later, there was a police car with its lights on, two cars that had smashed into each other coming around the corner - and my car! You know those accidents where one car hits another car that hits the car in front of it?

Well, this car came to a stop about 18 inches before where I was parked.

I hopped into my not-involved-in-the-accident car and drove off to my next meeting.
Lynnie the Guinea Pig
Lately, my guinea pig, Lynnie, hurt her foot. I thought it would just cost me $10 to get her nails trimmed. Instead, I ended up calling 7 different veterinarians until I finally found one that saw guinea pigs. In about half an hour, the vet took care of her and I left $200 poorer - which I'm sure many of my friends and family would be appalled I spent on a guinea pig. Yes, I could have drowned her, bought a new one at PetCo for $30 and given the other $170 for starving children or clean water or the Julia De Mars Patagonia Shopping Fund, but I didn't. She's a nice little Guinea pig and I like her and my grandkids like her. Now, she is running around like a brand new critter, so it's all good.

Next door to the one place I found that saw guinea pig emergencies (this is why I love LA - we have everything!) is the pet cancer center. There were some very sad people and some very sick looking animals. I was telling Eva, my granddaughter who came with me to the animal hospital, that is really a case that has no good outcome. You spend thousands of dollars and usually your pet dies before too long anyway. Your BEST case scenario is that you spend thousands of dollars and lots of your time caring for it and your pet lives, which still sucks because you end up thousands of dollars poorer. The people in this place didn't look unusually wealthy - just unusually attached to their dying pet.

Well, I had no intention of spending thousands of dollars on a guinea pig (sorry, Lynnie), so my worst case scenario would have been having to tell the vet, 'You'll just have to put her to sleep' , while holding my hands over my granddaughter's ears. I'd end up with a traumatized grandchild and a dead guinea pig. (This is probably the last time Maria is letting Eva run errands with grandma.)

When I dropped Eva off at her house, I parked behind Maria's car in the alley. I am not sure I was illegally parked but I'm not sure I wasn't either. After three minutes, I was back in my car no one had run into and on my way.

Driving home, I thought of how often I hear people in my neighborhood talk about  a 'bad day" and it goes like this:

    I had this meeting with an important client and the line at Starbucks was 20 minutes long. It was the drive thru so I couldn't get out and now I'm running late. A block from their office someone makes an illegal turn, I slam on my brakes and coffee spills all over my shirt! I get to the office and AS IF MY DAY CAN'T GET ANY WORSE - I run into my ex-girlfriend who looks at my coffee-stained clothes and sniffs, "Nice look for the pitch, Babe."


I hear this line a lot "AS IF MY DAY CAN'T GET ANY WORSE"  - and think,

    "Are you kidding me? Your day could be one hell of a lot worse."


Personally, I really do think quite often, "Wow, my day could have been a lot worse." I don't mean in the way where when you lose your job you think, "At least I'm living here instead of in a war zone and my legs haven't been shot off."

I mean in the way that probably happens to most of us every day. Someone easily could have hit my car - twice (that's it, I'm parking in the garage from now on). It could have been that the vet had to put my guinea pig to sleep. That coffee could have spilled all over me when I stopped at that light before the meeting.

I often remind myself, even on those running to meetings, going to the vet days,


    "You know, this day really isn't that bad."


------

You can play Fish Lake here if you have a Mac or Windows computer. Under 10 bucks and you can canoe down Rapids or hunt deer.



You can also donate a copy to a school or give to a friend.We've made about 100 revisions since our last update (for real) and all updates are always free to paying customers. It's only $9.99 . Less than ten bucks! 



If you think I'll just waste the money on guinea pigs and don't want to buy or donate our games, you can play Making Camp online here for free 

http://www.7generationgames.com/making_camp_demo/


OR DOWNLOAD HERE FOR YOUR IPAD (STILL FREE)


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Believing vs Wishing

When I was 15-year-old brown belt, I lost in the national championships to a woman named Linda Richardson. She arm barred me. I got third. I'm still pissed. Linda won the British Open that year, I think.

Actually, Linda was a pretty nice person, a very successful competitor and she had embroidered on her black belt the words:

Belief is strength.


I was thinking today how many people misunderstand that idea to mean that if you really believe hard enough that you'll win, that somehow in the middle of a match it will magically come to you and you'll triumph.

That's not believing, that's wishing.

A few years after I lost to Linda, I was 18 years old and in the finals of the U.S. Open. Diane Pierce, who had by then won the national championships at least six years in a row and also won the British Open, beat me by an arm bar. I'm still pissed about that, too, but at least she made up for it by giving me some very good advice at the time, and, years later, when I moved to Los Angeles and she was coaching, helping me a lot with my arm bars.

You might think, based on the fact that both of those losses were by arm bar, that I wasn't particularly good at matwork, lost a lot or was a sucker for arm bars. None of those things are true. I was pretty good at matwork, although I eventually got even better, and I lost very seldom.

The fact is that in both of those matches I was overconfident, because I did win a lot and both of those women were very, very good. After each loss, I tried to look at what they did that I didn't do. It was quite simple. They had been doing judo longer than me and they trained more times a week. Hours on the mat matter.

After each loss, I didn't go home and just say,

Oh, I know I can beat them, they aren't really better than me. I believe in me.

That's not believing, that's denial.

Instead, I practiced more often. I moved to Colorado Springs and then to southern California so I could have more opportunities to practice. Also, running along the ocean in San Diego is a lot nicer than running in the snow in Minneapolis or 100 mindless laps around the field house at the University of Minnesota.

I truly believed that I could beat both Diane and Linda eventually. It never happened. We never fought again. They both retired a few years after I fought them - Diane because she was much older than me and Linda because she realized there was no money in judo and went off to start a career. Although I never had the chance to beat them, that belief and the training it drove me to do led to me winning a whole lot more and at a larger scale than either of them did - because of losing to them.


We have several new students in our Gompers Judo program this year, just like every year, mostly sixth- and seven-graders. I noticed during the warm-up that a few of them had a hard time doing all of the push-ups and sit-ups. We did 20 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups in a circuit. After a 10 second rest, we'd start again. For a lot of kids, 60 push-ups and 60 sit-ups in a couple of minutes is a lot.

I told them all that they should be doing exercises at home. I don't care if you don't have a gym membership, there's no place to do sprints and you can't jump rope or do jumping jacks because you live in a second-floor apartment. Everyone can do push-ups and sit-ups during the commercials while watching TV.

If you really believe you can be an athlete, a champion or just be better, you will get up and do those exercises.

Belief makes you stronger because of the way believing makes you act. No matter how old you are.

Learn the difference between believing, wishing and denying. 

--------


This isn't a map to victory (sorry). It is from the game Forgotten Trail. Runs on Mac, Windows and Chromebook and teaches statistics and Native American history. Only five bucks!

What's that you say? I only have an iPad? I don't have $5 ? Well, then, get our free Making Camp app here.
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Seeing Further Down the Road: Why Your Parents Think Different From You



At the National Indian Education Association conference this month, I was presenting our research on 7 Generation Games with Bruce Gillette, who I met in 1990 when he was a student at Minot State University and I was a brand new assistant professor right out of graduate school. After 8 years in southern California, I had moved to North Dakota, bought a house in the country and started a new career. It was a whole lot of changes.

The conference was held in Reno, NV and the last time I was in Reno was also for a conference, on SAS statistical software in 1985. After 6 years of marriage, 5 years working in aerospace, 3 of those years in San Diego, I was getting divorced, moving to Riverside and going back to graduate school. After 14 years competing in judo, I'd just retired from competition, having won the world championships a few months earlier. It was a whole lot of changes.

Bruce is an addiction counselor, and he spends a lot of his time giving advice to young people. He made a really good point,

"Sometimes, you tell young people that their choices are going to cause them problems, but they won't listen to you. They don't have your experience. They don't always realize that, from where you are standing, you can see further down the road."

My other friend named Bruce, when I get down on myself about something I did stupid when I was young (it's a long list), will always cheer me up by reminding me,

And look how far you have come.

The point is that some things that loom large when you are young can be seen from the perspective of years as not nearly as big as you thought.

Yes, getting divorced was awful and fighting over custody was worse, but no one died, I went on to get married again (twice!), my daughter turned out to be a wonderful human being.

It was a huge shift from international competitor and industrial engineer to graduate student and researcher. There was a big cut in pay, a complete change in hours from a 9-5 job to classes and labs in the evenings and studying or working around those, plus having three children age five and under.

Moving to North Dakota living out in the country was a lot like Green Acres (everyone under 50 will have to click this link to find out what Green Acres was).

My point is, there were a whole lot of changes from point A to where we are now. There were many times when I thought,

"I can't leave this job/ man/ city / school/ club because .... "

and, yet, I did. Sometimes, I wasted time when I could have moved on to a better school, relationship, job, etc. because it seemed like it was SUCH A BIG DEAL to change. When I look back, though, many of those times, whether they were amazing or quite the opposite, were just a small part of my life. Whether it was getting a grant funded, a raise or winning a tournament, at the time I might have been furious, ecstatic or heartbroken - but a few years later, I could barely remember it and all the details that made such a difference at the time had completely slipped my mind.

So, the next time you and your children (or parents) cannot see eye to eye, think about whether maybe it is because one of you can see further down the road.


Speaking of which, you can actually walk down the pages of this map (virtually) if you play Forgotten Trail. Runs on Mac, Windows and Chromebook.

What's that you say? I only have an iPad? Well, then, get our free Making Camp app here.
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Ernie Smith: another judo legend

I have known Mr. Smith  over 40 years. At local tournaments, I would sometimes compete against his daughter, Sheryl.   When I was older, and coaching, I would often bring students to his tournaments. In between there, when I was competitor, one of his students, Belinda Binkley, was on the US team with me as a teammate. Years later, when my daughter, Ronda was competing, another of his students, Chuck Jefferson, was leading a camp she attended.

So, in short, I had known Mr. Smith as an outstanding coach. The fact that he's a fairly high level referee was to me not particularly relevant or interesting. I never really known him as a competitor.

 I knew he had trained in Japan and competed as a member of various military teams when he was in the Marines. There was never any question in my mind – or anyone else's – that he was an all-around outstanding judo player. He had been successful as a competitor, beyond successful as a coach and respected as a referee. I should also mention Delores Brody who was probably his first international gold medalist  – She was a little before my time and by the time I met her she was quite a successful professional working on her career.

Perhaps the most interesting insight into Mr. Smith's judo career, though, came in response to the question and answer segment of the event. Frank Sanchez Junior asked,

For those of you who trained in the US and were part of the military after the war, where did you find the racism to be worse, in the US or in Japan?

Now, if you aren't familiar with history of judo in this country, just let me summarize it by saying that there was a lot of discrimination against non-Asian players in America after the war. However, Mr. Smith answered,

I grew up in East Texas. For all of my life growing up, I was not allowed to eat your restaurant unless a black person owned. There were separate bathrooms, separate schools. If you rode on a bus and you were black, you had to ride in the back. Of my 21 years in the Marine Corps I spent 12 in Japan or Okinawa by choice. When I got to Japan, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I could eat anywhere, sit anywhere  – so, by comparison to what I had experienced growing up Japan was heaven.

I sat there and thought about that because a lot of the civil rights battles had happened before I was born or when I was a small child. During some of that time, my family was living overseas because my father was part of the military, so I never really experienced it firsthand. It was a revelation to me that someone I had always put on a pedestal had spent his early years being put down simply because of his race and managed to achieve so far more than anyone expected him.
 ---------
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

History in person at judo legends event

I'll be honest – not only agreed to come to the judo legends event  because Hayward Nishioka  asked me to speak and I have known Hayward two thirds of my life.  Unlike a lot of people in judo who I have known much of my life and can't stand, Hayward is someone I truly respect and value the great contributions he has made to judo.

Tosh Seino was the first speaker.  I have always known that he was a great judo player. As you can see from the photo above, he's not a very big person and yet he was very successful in competition back in the days when weight divisions were optional.

What I didn't know is that he and his family had been in the Tule Lake  concentration camp. Even though, they were third generation Americans, like other Americans of Japanese descent they were forced to leave their homes and relocated to camps.

Tosh's  father was one of the "no no boys". If you don't know what that is, let me tell you – during World War II, Americans of Japanese descent were required to complete a loyalty questionnaire. The two questions to which Tosh's  father and others answered "no" were these:

Question number 27 asked if Nisei men were willing to serve on combat duty wherever ordered and asked everyone else if they would be willing to serve in other ways, such as serving in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Question number 28 asked if individuals would swear unqualified allegiance to the United States and forswear any form of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan.

 As if, being interned in a concentration camp as a child was not enough, after the war, the family moved back to Japan. Tosh  moved back to America  by himself when he was only 17 years old. He lived with the family that paid him $50 a month, plus his room and board, for chores. Fees for the judo club for $10 a month. When he change to a new family, he only received $40 a month and so he cleaned the dojo to pay his fees.

Think about this moment. We have one of the best judo players in the country who is mopping the floors to reimburse the dojo for training him. That is a level of humility we don't see anymore.

Being a judo champion is an admirable achievement. Even more admirable, is doing it after losing everything you own for no fault other than being the wrong race. Even more admirable is coming to a country where you barely know the language, because even though it's your country, you left when you were a small child and came back in your teens all on your own. Even more admirable than being a judo champion, is doing what many immigrants do, learning the language, working a series of menial jobs and nonetheless managing to get education and  become a respected member of the community.

The judo legends event was a great idea. It was an opportunity to hear people speak who are living history. It was a reminder that there are legends living among us  and that we are very fortunate to know them.

 PS. I'll do more blogs on others featured at this event but I wanted each person to be recognized separately because they all are really amazing.

---------
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Too bad you can't come to the judo legends dinner – but here's kind of my talk

(The judo legends event is sold out, but if you had a mad desire to know what was going on there, here is the outline of my talk which Hayward Nishioka  only asked me to send him 4,182 times before now.)

These days my time available for judo is very limited. I coach a wonderful group of young people at Gompers Middle School in South Los Angeles and that is all the time I can spare away from running a company that just got voted one of the top 50 startups in the US. However, there are some people that you can't say "no" to and Hayward is one of them.

Gompers Judo

So he called me and asked,

"What are you doing on October 2?"


 I responded I guess whatever he's about to tell me. As you probably know, I am America's oldest living world judo champion. I don't want to talk about that today, though, except to say that if you personally ever have the opportunity to stand on the podium and be the undisputed best on the planet at something you should do it because it is unimaginably cool. It is even better than sex, but you have sex a lot more times so that's got something to recommend, too.

 Now that I'm old and able to reflect back on life and have 4 wonderful children all grown to adulthood I've given some thought to whether it was all worth it. What did I get out of 46 years and counting in judo? 46 years! That's pretty incredible. Amazing I'm not dead.

There have been times when I wondered if it was a waste of time. I have a doctorate, published scientific articles, founded companies and there are the 4 aforementioned children. One might think that judo has been a distraction from what ought to be bigger priorities – certainly our investors sometimes think so and ask me what I'm doing at a judo clinic in Wyoming or Louisiana instead of making money for them. Certainly my professors when I was in college wondered why the heck I was gone every weekend at a judo tournament and sometimes even missed class for something as frivolous – to them – as the collegiate national judo championships.

(Hint: You can calm our investors by buying or donating our games here.)
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 I'm going to ignore Hayward's advice to pick one idea  and just ramble on the way I think best. It's what we do in our podcast every week  and it seems to work for thousands of people. My point – and I do have one – is what exactly did I get out of almost 1/2 century in this sport?

 I started judo because I was a short, fat little girl. My brothers' nickname for me was 'Stumpy', because I was built like a little tree stump. My mother told me I could not spend my entire life sitting in my room eating and reading. Did I mention I also had super thick glasses? So one  year, she managed to get together the money for a family membership to the YMCA. She drove me there push me out of the car and said "go join something".

Then she drove away.

 You may not remember before title IX. Back then it was perfectly legal to say, "we don't allow girls in this sport or club". My choices were limited. I could run track, which if you're a short fat little girl is not a great option. I could've joined the swim team, but that was expensive and besides, if you're a fat girl, you don't really want to put on swimsuit. Judo was free if you had a Y membership. They also allowed girls. Isn't that weird? That they "allowed" girls. The instructor had a sister who had wanted to do judo and so he allowed other girls so she would have someone to train with. By the time I came along, she was a black belt. So, I was probably one of the few women in this country who was taught by female black belt early on.

 If I told you the name of any of my early instructors you wouldn't know a one. That's a pretty important point. My mother had very little extra money. I took judo for several months before I had a judo uniform. I remember that it costs $12 and there were 3 of us, me, my brother and my sister who all took judo. My mom insisted that we stick at it a few months before she put in the money to buy each of us a uniform to make sure we were serious because that was a lot of money to her. I got my first uniform shortly before my first tournament. I walked there, fought, won and walked home. I was 12. After I had been in judo a year, we could not afford another Y membership. That's when the instructor stepped in and said the YMCA would offer me a membership if I would be an assistant instructor – I was 13 years old. He knew that my mother would never accept charity.

 For the next several years, I took judo lessons at the Y. I absolutely loved judo from the very beginning. My brother did, too. We had a garage behind our house, too run down with boards falling down to park a car safely in. There was a lot of random stuff thrown in there including an old mattress. My brother and I spent a lot of time throwing each other on that mattress in the garage. We both made brown belt and then my brother discovered girls and decided they were a lot more interesting than judo.

 People always laugh when I say that if it wasn't for judo I would be in prison right now but it is the God's truth. When many of my friends were doing drugs or knocking over liquor stores, I was at judo practice. It was not that I was a better person, I was just in the right place at the right time.

 Because of judo, I met people like my first instructor – his name was Bill Shelton, in case you are wondering, a guy who had gone off to Japan in the Air Force, got his black belt, and come back to a small town where he had grown up to teach judo. I know at least 2 other judo clubs in this country, one in Missouri and one in Illinois, run by people that he taught. 3 of the people from the club had children who were nationally ranked players.

 Because of judo, I met people like Bruce Toups who not only funded a lot of my trips when I was young – because my mom could have sent me to Europe about as easily as she could send me to the moon – but who was also a really important mentor to me after I retired from competition and started one business after another. I met people like Frank Fullerton who has always stood out in my mind is the standard of integrity I wanted to meet. With Bruce, he funded a lot of my travel overseas just because he wanted to see that American flag go up when they gave out the gold medals. One of the proudest moments of my life was when I was flying back from Athens and happened to be on the same plane as Frank who turned to me and said "I'm glad you turned out to be worth all the trouble." 

When I think back on it, yes, it was worth it. Perhaps, not for the reasons that you might think don't get me wrong – winning is awesome – I highly recommend it. 

When I add it all up, what I gained from judo was from the good people that I met. Not all of them are good – some of them were pretty damn awful – but the good ones made up for them. Most of all, were the good ones who were around when I was young and helpless and needed them. Now that I've been somewhat successful and my lovely daughter Ronda has been successful as well, there are a lot of people who want to be my new best friend. The people I will never ever forget are those who when I was 13 or 14 years old and had nothing - and I was not a promising or rewarding child, believe me – who nonetheless provided me with instruction, guidance, discipline and role models and changed the trajectory of my entire life. I will never forget them. Just in case you wonder what I was doing at a  kata camp this summer – it was because Eiko Shepard was one of those people.

 That's the reason that I focus the limited time I have for judo working with young people in South Los Angeles. It's great to win a world championships but  even greater to change somebody's life.

 And that's all I know about judo.

 PS – I had my thumb replaced a few weeks ago, which is my 2nd joint replacement. A few more and I will rival the tin man. I already set off security every time I go through an airport. Anyway, I had to write this whole thing using voice to text software. So please excuse any typos. I head out to South Dakota tomorrow but I will be back by Wednesday and show up wherever the hell this thing is this weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

No pain, no gain? Not exactly

The first time I won the national championships my motivation was to prove everybody wrong that thought I couldn't do it. The last time I won the national championships, it was for practice.


Even though I competed for 14 years, I can't remember a day that I wasn't really happy to be on the mat. We had some hard practices – don't get me wrong. In fact, there was some days that I just lay on the mat after practice at Tenri  Dojo and I swear if the building had caught fire, I was so tired I would have just laid there and burned up with it. Those were great days!

I never understood people who talked about practice as if it was a chore. It was the best part of my day! I dreaded driving in rush hour traffic for 2 hours to get to East Los Angeles. Sometimes I felt as if I really needed to spend more time at work or with my daughter.  However, the actual physical act of judo itself I loved. There was never a time that I thought of it as a pain or something I didn't want to do.

I never understood those coaches who said,

"Sure, they'll hate practice but they'll love me when they win."

You spend so much more time practicing than you ever do competing, what's the point of feeling miserable for 300 days in a year just so you can feel good for a dozen?

Recently, someone asked me if you lose your reason for competing, can you get it back?

Speaking from personal experience, I don't know if you can get the same reason back but you can find a new reason.

As I said, when I was first competing my motivation for winning was to prove people wrong. I was not exactly the child who would be picked most likely to succeed. If there had been a yearbook category for "student most likely to end up in prison", I would have won the vote hands down.

Several years after winning my first national championship, I was still competing. By then I had graduated from college, bought my first house, earned a Masters degree and was working as an engineer. No one expected me to go to jail, no one made fun of my clothes from Goodwill – because I actually bought my clothes  at Nordstrom's by then because I had a job and money.

My friend, Lanny and I were talking about the last national championships I won and he  was the one who made the comment,

"I hated the people like you who won the national championships just for practice."

It was true, too. By then, my goal was to win the world championships and the nationals were just a tournament to get ready for the ones that really counted. I wanted to win the world championships  because no American had ever done it and also, to a large extent, just because I thought it would be really, really awesome to be best in the world at something. I really like judo, so that seem to good something to be best in the world that.

I'm not saying that you can't go to practice  every day, be miserable, gut it out  and still win. Maybe you can. What I'm saying is that I know for sure that's not the only way.

 PS: I use Dragon voice input software to write this blog because I had hand surgery – they took a tendon from my arm and made me a new ligament for my thumb as well as some other equally painful stuff, like sawing off the ends  of a couple of bones in my hand.

Several people have asked me if that was related to judo. I asked the surgeon and he said very likely not, that he does a couple of these surgeries a day and I'm the first person he met that competed in judo. It's more likely genetic. My grandmother had  very severe arthritis, too, and she never did judo a day in her life. In fact, she often warned me that no man was going to want to marry a woman who had a pile of sweaty judo gis  in her house. In the summer time when my gi would be  soaking wet with sweat after practice she would pick it up at the end of a broomstick  and carry it to the washing machine, refusing even to touch it.



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Monday, September 12, 2016

Critics, ass holes and how to tell the difference

I appreciate criticism. I really do. For example, we were recently green lit on Steam, which made me very excited.

 To all of you who voted for us – thank you very much! It was interesting to me that a lot of people gave specific criticisms to us about the game, and some of those people voted for us too. One of the criticisms that came up a lot was that the graphics could be better. I actually agree with this but I don't make games just for myself and we are little company and we have to set priorities. Our first priority is making games that really work to teach kids (or adults, we know some of you guys play as a stress reliever, we don't judge you – Maria says that she judges you – just ignore her).

Getting feedback that graphic seems to be the area where players and potential players think that we should expand our efforts is extremely helpful. As soon as I finish the task I'm working on now, which will be in a week or 2, my next thing is to move on to improving the graphics in Fish Lake and I'm very excited about that. I never thought that I or our games were perfect and having a group of people who play games a lot and hence have a good background to judge them point out that in their considered opinion this is the biggest priority and not, say, game mechanics or the educational component or something else is useful criticism.

Now let's turn to the people who are not useful. When someone posts, tweets, etc. about my game or just about anything else "YOU SUCK!" Or, "you will never succeed because you have X flaws" they aren't being a critic or "telling it like it is", they're just being an ass hole.

Everything has flaws. I'm writing this blog with the latest version of the Dragon naturally speaking software that came out for the Mac less than a week ago. It has some significant flaws. It has crashed Google chrome twice tonight. It doesn't work nearly as well is the Windows version that has been out longer. I could give you a long list of things that it doesn't do. However, that doesn't mean that it is a failure or no one will ever buy it. (Thank you, Ronda, for the birthday present, by the way.)

In fact, it's probably the market leader in voice to text software.


Disneyland and Disney World are super expensive and crowded. Often, the ride you really wanted to go on is closed for repairs or something.  Yet, millions of people go to the Disney theme parks because they have fun on the rides, enjoy the shows or grew up with characters like Mickey Mouse.

 Similarly, while this software occasionally puts in random letters, spells my daughter Ronda's name with an H and I have to correct it manually every damn time and other annoyances, it actually does a pretty good job of writing what I say and saving my hands.

 You don't have to be perfect in every way to succeed. You just have to be good at some things that are important.

  So, critics tell you what you can do to be good. Ass holes just tell you that you're bad because you're not perfect.

Learn from from the critics. Ignore the ass holes. Have a nice life!



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Monday, September 5, 2016

Quit blaming your parents!

I've been reading a good book, Rules for Aging, and one of his rules is

After 30, quit blaming your parents

This chapter only has one sentence. "Better make that 25".

I was amused reading this chapter but not in a completely happy way. Recently, I have run into four people who really really need to take that chapter to heart. Two were in their 30s, one in his 40s and the fourth in his 50s! All of them were blaming their parents for how their lives had turned out. Three of them had done a lot of drugs to the point where I was a bit surprised they weren't dead. All of them had done time in jail for minor offenses and had a hard time keeping a job.

The description I just gave makes them sound like complete losers but all of them had times in their lives when they looked pretty much like everyone else. They all had periods where they were sober, employed and in relationships. I can't tell you what went wrong because I don't know. What I do know is this, a big part of their problem is a failure to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

Two of them blamed their fathers and the odd coincidence here is that I had met both of their fathers at different points. Their complaints were that their dads were gone too much working and that they were never the type of people to talk about their feelings or tell their sons that they loved them.

I'm listening to this shaking my head and thinking,

Seriously? That's all you've got? Your dad wasn't warm and fuzzy enough so you're going to shoot up heroin?

No, don't even! Don't tell me how tough it was not having a dad to tuck you in at night and tell you he loved you and give you a kiss on the fore head because I don't fucking want to hear it! Your problem is that you don't realize it's YOUR problem. Your father was raised in the time that he was when men didn't do that sort of thing. He did the best he could and better than most. The fact that you didn't find it good enough for you when you were growing up is unfortunate but in no way makes it your father's fault if you decide to be a complete fuck up now. The best you could do is go into rehab. I mean that very very seriously. I presume that your father is very hurt by your drug abuse and other problems but guess what, he's older than you and will be dead eventually and you'll still have all these problems.

The other two, older people blame their mothers. In one case I did know the mom and I'd say some of what her son said about her was accurate. She never made him suffer the consequences of his own actions. You know the type. If he failed an exam at school because he didn't study she was the mom yelling at the teacher for not making the class interesting enough. If he stole money from a friend, she was the one blaming society that her son had to "suffer" from seeing others his age who had more than him just because they were lucky enough to be born to richer parents.

I didn't know the other mom but she seemed to be just the same. Even though her son was in his 50s, she would call his employer and say that he was sick when he was actually hung over. She met with his parole officer and I don't know how many other people in his life that he should have been meeting with himself.

I actually understand those moms because I know as a mother myself that you always want to help your children – even if you don't always know the right way to go about it.

What I don't understand is those adults who constantly use their parents at as the "bad guy" either to excuse their own bad decisions or deliberately make bad decisions to show "she's not the boss of me".

Here's what I have to say – Man up! Or, not to be too gender specific, Woman up!

After a while, you need to take full responsibility for your own life. Some of you, pretend you are because you are doing the exact opposite of what your parents want you to do and you think that proves you're independent. Ha ha ha ha ha – excuse me, while I laugh with no amusement what so ever because I have been in exactly your shoes. Doing the opposite of what your parents want to show you are independent does nothing of the kind. You're still being controlled by trying to prove that you're not controlled.

Try to figure out the right thing to do and then do it.

Quit being a whiny spoiled brat and resenting that you didn't have the perfect parenting. No one did. Some people had good parents who tried their best. Some people had not very good parents who tried their best. Some of you were swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.

Which ever it was, you have two choices now that you are an adult:


Make a life for yourself that doesn't suck.
Or continue blaming your parents.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Retirement in judo and life

When I was competing, I knew people who were far past their prime but still went out for the major tournaments and usually lost. These were competitors who were very good at one point but when that point passed they didn't have anything else. So they kept competing. Finally, too injured or too broke, they would limp off into the sunset and take a minimum wage job – because after all, they had no experience or education because they had spent so many years doing judo.

This is one of the things that I learned from judo, or more accurately, from watching people in judo – plan for what comes next.

Right now I'm thinking about retirement. If this makes any of the investors in 7 Generation Games nervous it should be quite the opposite. Those people who had no plans after competition often seem to sabotage themselves. They'd be doing well enough to make the national team but always seem to be injured when the Olympics came around or some other way never had to meet whatever goal it was they set for themselves. I'm convinced that was in part because they really didn't have a second act.

I only got as far as thinking about it. Part of my problem is that all of the things that people do when they retire I pretty much already done. Look at this list:

  • teach college – done that
  • write a book – check
  • conduct scientific research – done that too
  • teach judo as a volunteer – done that for decades
  • serve on volunteer boards – done that at all levels and no thank you
  • travel around the US – that's what I do for my job already
  • travel around the world – I've done a lot of that and I wouldn't mind doing a little bit more but that's not going to take up my whole year

, Now, I'm sure there are some options that I have forgotten, and I deliberately left off the ones I'm never going to do, like learned to knit or collect cats.

I've decided to at least start taking off a day and a half during the week. I prefer working Saturday and Sunday because it's so crowded in Santa Monica on the weekends. So, starting today I'm taking off Friday afternoons and every Wednesday. Usually, I'll be teaching judo on Fridays but it doesn't start until next week.

So, here's what I did on my afternoon off:
got a haircut(first time in three months)
took a nap
packed up boxes of clothes, shoes and household goods to ship to Louisiana for people affected by the floods
wrote three blog posts

Clearly, I still have some work to do on figuring how to spend time not working. The closest thing I have to hobby is getting rid of things.(If you don't believe me, ask my children). With kids who are always leaving things at my house and a husband whose hobby is buying things it's a challenge to reduce the clutter when I'm home. I shipped out 10 boxes to Louisiana today and have at least 40 more to pack up so I guess that will keep me busy for a while.

Hey, no one said I had to figure out this whole retirement thing in a day!

(P. S. I'm still using voice input software to write my blogs and still figuring it out, so please excuse any grammar or spelling errors. It also refuses to recognize swearing as real words – but that's another post.)


Since I'm Not Ready to Retire yet


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Friday, August 26, 2016

Judo tourism

There are a lot of small judo clubs in this country. I started judo at one, at the Alton YMCA. If you are at a small judo club, you may be the only instructor in your whole town. There may not be another black belt within 50 or 100 miles. You may not have anyone within 30 pounds of your weight or close to your skill level to work out with.

So here is an idea, how about if you are a black belt visiting in an area, you write or call ahead of time to the local judo club and let them know you'll be around. Now, don't take it personally if they don't jump at the opportunity to have you work out with them. Maybe they are busy or its deer hunting season or the weekend they have their fundraiser. However, they just might be very happy to have a guest instructor for a night or just someone new to practice with.

Now, here is mama annmaria's guide to not being a jerk when you are visiting

Don't ask for money! Very few small clubs have the money to pay someone who is an Olympic or world medalist to come out and do a clinic for them. If you are in the neighborhood anyway and can donate an hour or two of your time and are willing to do it that's great. If they happen to have an extra hundred dollars or so in their club budget to give you then that's great too. However, not every club does. Our judo club at Gompers never pays guest instructors other than in our vast appreciation(and we do really appreciate you).

Don't beat people up. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen visiting black belts slamming around people from the local club. I don't know what they're trying to prove in this situation. I'm not saying that you shouldn't foot sweep someone if you have the chance or that you need to lay down and let people pin you. What I am saying is that you are not proving anything if you are a 25-year-old black belt throwing around a 40 year old green belt – other than, perhaps, that you are a big jerk.

Do offer to show some technique. I'm assuming the instructor isn't an egomaniac based on the fact that he or she invited you to come. Any good instructor realizes that no one knows all of judo. Even if I know a technique I may not know it equally as well as a visitor. Speaking for myself personally, I'm always very happy to have someone show their favorite technique.

Do ask if there is anything the visiting club would like you to do. They may have a number of young teenage players who don't often get challenged in randori and just want you to work out with those players. The caution against being a jerk still applies here. On the other hand, their club may be excellent at, say, matwork but have very little knowledge of counters and want you to demonstrate a few counter techniques.

If you have a good bit of experience to offer and are visiting your great aunt in Camden, Arkansas or fly fishing in town – I – made – up, Montana or wherever you might be take an opportunity to share what knowledge you have and you'll probably meet some super nice people.

---------------------------------
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Monday, August 22, 2016

This I believe: values

I was going to write about judo tourism, but something else has been on my mind for a long time, so I guess tourism is the next post.

There has been a lot lately that caused me to think about sports, martial arts, and values – everything from the Stanford swimmer who raped an unconscious woman to some appalling behavior at the Olympics to really good behavior everywhere from the Olympics to judo clubs in Wyoming.

A blogger on mathematics has a link to his personal values that says "this I believe". His link takes you to the Nicene Creed. That's kind of cool but I thought I would give my own values.

Just to lay it out there, here is what I value. I am not really sure I learned a lot of my values from sports in general or judo in particular.

THIS I BELIEVE

1. Courage is the greatest virtue from which all others spring. I think Aristotle or some other old Greek said that. It's still true. Many people know what is the right thing but they are afraid to do it. They are afraid that other people will mock them or think less of them, they will lose their job or lose their friends. There are two types of courage – at least.
  • There is the courage to stand up for your own rights. That includes not allowing people to belittle you, to pay you less than you are worth, to not give you the same opportunities or rewards that other people get due to your gender, race, age or just because they are ass holes. This also includes the courage to stand up for yourself when you are being abused. 
  • The second type of courage is the courage to stand up for the rights of others. When your friend has been mistreated by someone do you still do business with that person hang around with them, work out with them? When you see people mistreated due to their status, be it because they are immigrants, children, waiters or whatever, do you speak up or do you just say, "I don't want to get involved"?
I am not a "go along to get along" type of person. If I see two people starting to fight whether on the street or kids on the playground, I get involved. I don't think I learned that from judo at all. I learned it from the many times in my life when I was young and helpless and bad things happened and no one stepped in. For all of the times that I wished that somebody would do something, now I'm that somebody.

2. Being judgmental is perfectly fine. I think all of that "Oh, you can't judge people", is bullshit. If you see bad things happen to your friends, and you still hang out with the people who screwed them over like nothing happened then I DO think less of you.

3. Right up there behind courage is honesty. Again, I think there are two kinds of honesty. There is honesty with other people and honesty with yourself. If you tell me something that you know is not true to delay the inevitable that I will get mad at you when I find out that you did not pay the bill or go to practice or write that program, then you are a liar. Let me repeat that because as simple of a concept as it is many people seem to have difficulty with it. If you say something that you know not to be true then you are a liar. 
  • There are lies you tell out of kindness, for example, not telling your family that you are terminally ill because you don't want them to be unhappy. I think those type of lies are between you and your conscience and in that case I really am not one to judge. 
  • There are lies that you tell to make life easier for you and you do that because you are a coward. I told you I was judgmental. Everybody is a coward sometimes. If you are a good person, those times are few and far between. If lying to make your life easier is habit you are a coward and a bad person. I try not to be either one. 
  • Then there are the lies that you tell yourself. For example, I knew someone who was sleeping with another woman. Then, he had the audacity to say that he didn't tell his wife because it would hurt her. And I thought to myself are you fucking kidding me? If you don't want to hurt your wife, don't sleep with other women. It seems like people tell themselves a lot of lies from I'm going to go back to college to I'm going to quit drinking to my boyfriend is obsessed with knowing what I'm doing every minute because he cares about me so much.

Courage and honesty are really very related because often we lie to ourselves and others because we are afraid to face the truth. If I quit that job, fire that person, get a divorce or move to Tibet like I deep down know I should then I'm admitting that what I had been doing was a mistake. Or maybe I'm afraid of what will happen when I'm a single person with a new job living in Tibet. Better to stay here working at the gym in Iowa married to Bob.

4. Never miss the opportunity to be kind. Whether it is leaving a tip or teaching someone how to do an arm bar or giving someone their first job, if you can do it, do it. I believe this in matters great and small. In fact, mostly small. If I can give someone a spare judo gi or help someone solve a math problem I try to do it as often as I can. I believe the world gets better not in massive events with millions of dollars and thousands of people but rather 10 minutes and $.10 at a time. All of those extra minutes that we spent reading to someone or running laps with someone, the dollars given to the kid selling candy bars or the poor box at church, that's what adds up to a better world. Most of it is done by people you never notice.

5. God knows what he's doing even when you don't. I realized that some of you who read this blog are atheists. That's fine. This post is about what I believe not what you believe. When I look over my life, all of the best things have their roots in the worst things. For example, getting divorced was pretty awful. However if I hadn't gotten divorced I never would have married Ron or had Jennifer and Ronda. It was pretty awful injuring my knee when I was young and it caused me a lot of pain and when it went out on me I lost some matches that I otherwise would have won. Because I couldn't do standing technique I became the best person in the world at ground technique.

6. Your family is your family no matter what. As the poem says "home is the place that when you go there they have to take you in". No one is like family but family. Now people have said in the comments at other times when I talked about this that that was not the case with their family at all. If that describes your experience I am sorry. However this post is about values what I think is important and what I believe to be true and how I think things should be.

And that about sums it up. There is a lot of other stuff, like don't cheat on your wife or don't get addicted to drugs but I think if you follow these first six caring about your family being kind not lying it pretty much covers the rest of the stuff.

I've been thinking about this a lot how much of these values did I get from sports from judo?

I got some of them from people I knew in judo and I think this is maybe the key fact about sports and values – you probably got some of your values from sports but it was from the people who coached you, who taught you and who you played with. If they had good values, you probably became a better person through sport. If they were the kind of people that believed in winning at all costs and it didn't matter if you cheated, it didn't matter what type of person you were off the mat or off the field, then you probably became a worse person.

**Please excuse any errors in spelling or grammar. I'm using voice input software for blogging while my hand is healing up.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Dining with Judo Legends (and me, too)



If you miss it this time, well, you’ve missed it forever. A dinner party with a few of our U.S. Judo greats (and me, too), organized by our very own Hayward Nishioka (that guy above). If you like judo, history or just hanging out with really fascinating people, you should check this out.

Speakers include:

*AnnMaria Demars, America's oldest world judo champion

*Hal Sharp, 9th Dan, Author and video producer

*Gene Lebell, U.S. Grand Champion, Stuntman

*Ernie Smith National Referee, Promotion chairperson USJA 

*Tosh Seino U.S. National Champion, Armed Forces Grand Champion

They will be telling their stories and answering questions, and giving us insight into our rich National and local history from the 40’s, 50’s 60’s 70’s and 80’s.

It will be held on October 2, 2016, at the Luminarius restaurant.

Dinner donations are tax deductible- $50.00 per person. Payable to Nanka Judo.

Send for your tickets to:

Teshima and Company

2215 W. 190th Street

Torrance, Ca. 90504

(310) 323-1040


Seating is limited to 100 persons so get your tickets early for this suit and tie affair.

Here are the orders, um, I mean description, from Hayward:

As we go forward in our judo it is important to know where we came from, how we got there, and what it was like for our trail blazers who pounded out the road to success in those early Golden years.

         Each of our speakers will have approximately 20 minutes in which to tell their story. This will be followed by a half hour informal forum among the presenters, and concluded with questions and answers from the audience. All this will be preceded by a social half hour of just talking and visiting with old friends before dinner.

These are some people who have really fascinating stories to tell. Some of the topics will be:

1.   What was your training like back then; who were some of your opponents, instructors, and tough guys, how many days a week did you practice, was it just judo or other things; running, weights, ect.?

2.   What type of dojo did you practice in? Was it a dojo with canvas covered over hard packed sawdust, or in a small house or room with wrinkled canvas covered mats, or community center with teachers or students who spoke a different language and had different customs? Were the floors at least even?

3.   What obstacles were encountered, like injuries, lack of practice partners, places to practice, not enough support from family, friends? Unaccustomed Japanese customs both expressed and silent?

4.   Tell of a defining moment in your judo career? When did you say to yourself, “ I like judo, in fact, I love it?”

5.    Do you think it changes a person for the better and in what way?

6.   What are some differences in judo today from judo in the past?

7.   What advice do you have for todays judoka who may be seeking the excellence that you have found in your judo careers?

8.   Give some detailed technical insight as to how to improve performance in practice or in competition.

9.   Give an example of one of your toughest matches and what you learned from it.