Saturday, March 22, 2008

People Who Are Growing Judo

Happy Easter! If you are Jewish, have a nice Passover (or whatever it is next month). If you are an atheist, have fun biting the head off of a naked mole rat (or whatever it is that atheists do).

In my effort to appreciate the wonderful people who are doing a good job growing judo, I thought I would just start by mentioning the people we often don't thank or think about, in more or less alphabetical order.

Maurice Allen - member of the USJA coaching staff, 2006 keynote at the USJA Summit, head instructor at Sport Judo in Virginia, interviewed for the special issue of Growing Judo on coaching your own kid and working with us on setting up an exchange program to take a team to Scotland.

Aaron Kunihiro
who has never once in 50 times said "no" when asked to help with a camp, teach at a clinic or anything else, up to and including driving Ronda from Boston to Rhode Island for the Ocean State International so she could coach our West Coast Training Center Team. At 18, Aaron is one of the nicest people I know and is proving the prediction I made three years ago that he was going to be the next one after Ronda to rise to the cream of the crop. (You people who ignored me about Ronda and Aaron might want to think about NOT mocking my predictions in the future.)

The entire Butts family,
from Gary Butts who coaches at the West Coast Training Center after having put in 10-12 hours for the LAPD, his three gifted daughters who NEVER miss practice and his lovely wife who drives the girls when Gary has to work overtime.

Serge Bouyssou who does everything for his judo club from having 20 kids stay at his house for a camp, to running an international tournament to, when I called him at 11 p.m. to say, "I need your club for two days to host the Great American Workout in April" responded not "What the hell?" but "Sure, no problem."

Jim Bregman, who I may never forgive for coming to see me every few months when I was in Washington and talking to me for hours on end until I finally gave up and agreed to run for the USJA Board. Still, he has taught me a lot about judo, been a good friend and watched my back every minute. He also came back to the USJA in its darkest hour, after a great athletic and professional career, when it needed him and he didn't need a damn thing from any judo organization. He is a judo player, a scholar and a gentleman.

Martin Bregman who is a great referee, a good judo teacher, willing to share his knowledge with anyone at any time and another good friend. Not only has he been willing to pull me aside at tournaments and give me advice ever since I was twelve years old (yes, he is that old!) but since both of us had a spouse we loved very much die and leave behind young children, he understands a lot that most people never will (and for that, they should be grateful).

Patrick Burris
- who has never hesitated to do me a favor, from granting an age waiver for Ronda two years in a row to attend training camp at the U.S. Open, starting when she was a "nobody" green belt, to flying in from Oklahoma at the last minute to fill in for a judo clinic to being my hero when I was a teenager watching from the balcony at the Kodokan. (He did kind of look like Elvis back then.)He has always been a good friend despite those who advise him that it is politically unwise. He is living proof that there are really only two groups - those who know judo and those who don't.
============REQUIRED JUDO TIP ============================
Do matwork uchikomis every practice.
Do matwork uchikomis every practice.
Do matwork uchikomis every practice.

I said it three times because I really meant it and I am prevented from coming over to everyone's house and personally slapping you with a kendo stick for not doing it.

Seriously, most people practice their best matwork technique maybe 25 times a month and their secondary or tertiary ones 5 or 6 times a month. This is less often than they practice their favorite standing technique in a singe practice. And you wonder why your matwork isn't as good as your standing technique? THINK! And if you don't know what "tertiary" means you can look it up here. And no, it is not related to syphilis in this case. Few people get rich doing judo so you better become articulate and well-educated.


Anonymous said...

Great tip on matwork! I only wish there were more people trying to grow judo in SouthEastern Wisconsin.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

There are PEOPLE in SouthEastern Wisconsin? Who knew? Isn't that called the Badger State or something? If you called it the Judo State you might attract more judo players. Seriously, how many badgers can you possibly have?

Viagra said...

Judo is such a rewarding sport!