We need to let young people run judoFirst of all, I can't do nearly as much as I did 30 years ago. I have nowhere near the strength or speed. Yes, I have plenty of knowledge, but, especially for a lot of throwing techniques, you need SPEED to show how it should really be. You need to be able to BEND to get low enough to show how a throw should be done. I cannot do that nearly to the extent I did when I was young and neither can any of those other older instructors - they just don't admit it.
Years ago, I went to Valley Judo to watch a practice. Sus Kono is the head instructor there. He had Ross Nakamura, who was probably 16 years old, run the warm-ups. Then, he had Jason Uno, who was in his twenties or so, teach seoi nage. Then he had Ross give his take on seoi nage. Giorgio Gazzani, who was around 18, ran the randori session.
At the end of the practice, I said to Sus,
"That was great, but some time, I want to come back and see you teach."He smiled and said,
"You just did."Valley Judo Institute has grown amazingly since that day and I am not surprised.
We need to put younger people in front of the roomIt always seems such a waste to me when I go to a club where I see six or eight young black belts and one (old) person is doing all of the teaching. How are these young people ever going to learn to run a practice, teach a class if we don't let them?
When we put together the instructors for Judo Con, we made a deliberate effort to have most of the sessions led by people under age 50. In part it is to give them practice in being leaders. Also, though, it's because I, and the other people who put this event together, really want to see and hear different ideas.
There's an old saying that,
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
I'm not saying an old dog can't learn new tricks, but heck, all the young dogs HAVE is new tricks (new to them, anyway).
People my age had our chance at running the judo organizations, running judo programs. Eventually, we should step aside and let the younger people give it a shot. Maybe they'll do a better job than us. I hope they do.
Think about this now, the people who say,
"I'm going to do judo until I die."
To whose benefit? I didn't quit judo. I just agreed to start teaching again, once a week, in the fall. I'm not saying you have to bury your judo gi in the back yard. However, there is that whole mutual benefit and welfare thing. Maybe it is to the mutual benefit if you step back and let other people step forward. You had your turn.
Let the younger people give it a shot.
Maybe at first they won't be as good as you. They'll learn. Eventually, hopefully they'll be better.
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