Thursday, August 21, 2008

Judo for Kids: Questions answered and the good and evil drill

I get a LOT of questions from parents, often apologizing for taking my time and worried that they are overbearing parents. If you are worried about it, you probably aren't. It is perfectly fine to ask people about how to help your child. I do it all the time and I think most people do. Unfortunately, we don't live in communities with three generations of our families like a century ago, so now we have to ask people on the Internet.

Two really common questions are:

1. How do I get my child to be tough? Judo is a tough sport. Ronda is tough as nails and my nine-, ten- or eleven-year-old is not that tough. Should I be worried?

2. How do I help my child get better at judo.

Answer: Does your child cry easily? Is he or she too shy to talk to other children? If so, your kid is just as tough as Ronda was at 10 or 11, which is why I put her into judo.

Development is a graduated process. I say this all the time. Ronda swears I put her in with giant monster black belts when she was younger. Actually, her first tournament was a novice division, white and yellow belt girls. She won by all ippons. Her next few tournaments she also fought in the 11-12 year old novice division. Because she is left-handed and came from swimming so she was already in good shape, she won a lot in the novice divisions. When she was still a white belt she had probably won a half-dozen tournaments by all ippons, so I put her in the 13-16 open division, where she came in third place after losing to two, older purple belts, both of whom won the Junior U.S. Open in their weight divisions that year. Ronda cried in the corner for half an hour after she lost.

Success breeds success. I did NOT move her up into the open divisions until she was winning in novice. Then, I had her do both the same tournaments, so even if she lost a couple of matches, she came home with a gold medal and a bronze one. By the time she was no longer in the novice division, she was winning the open division for her age group regularly. One answer to making your child tougher is to gradually increase the challenge level as he or she meets each one.

There is a LOT more I will write about in the next few posts.

This week's Sneakerdoodle Zebra Judo features a matwork combination drill that Julia and I call the Good and Evil Drill. I stole this from Jim Pedro, Sr. who taught it at a clinic years ago. I already did this combination - well, the last three steps anyway - but the way he broke it down into steps for teaching was a great way to teach little kids and beginners. Oh, by the way, I do know that the pin at the end is kami shiho gatame, I made a mistake, yes, I feel shame, no need to write me and rub it in.

We have a couple more videos that were Julia's ideas and after that I will do a couple on drills I did not steal from anybody but made up myself. Ronda will be home by then, so maybe we will get her to do the Chokey-chokey song and drill.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for passing along your personal experience regarding our young martial artists. Personally, this read was a relief to me and I am looking forward to the follow-ups!

When is the first Sneakerdoodle Zebra Judo camp for kids? Will there be a Pokemon seminar included?

Unknown said...

mom i am NOT singing or doing anyhting on video for the internet. the most i will do on zebra retard judo videos is play mario cart in the background

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Sneakerdoodle Zebra Judo camp - awesome! I love it! I am SO setting that up.

AND we will have a Pokemon seminar, plus maybe some Wii classes during the break.

As for the Internet ones, that is going to be in the title when you get back

(Now with Ronda on the Wii in the background)

Stephen said...

I still want the DVD!

Please keep these up.

Anonymous said...

OMG.. your cockatiel was loose and flew on the sofa, and then I saw your cat jump up on the sofa at the end of your video. Please tell me your bird is OK!

BTW.. as an instructor, I'm enjoying these videos. They give me great ideas for my class. I'd love some judo games if you have some.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

When we got Alisa the cat, for Jenn's 4th birthday, it was because we needed to do something about the mice at our place in North Dakota and we didn't want to use poison or traps around two very small children (Ronda was two). She was a good mouser, but now that she is 18, almost 19 years old, Kenny the Cockatiel is very safe from her. Alisa won't even eat dry cat food these days, much less a bird. Now Beijing (the cat, not the Olympics) is a different story. My niece once rescued Kenny out of Beijing's jaws and claws. Thanks to Samantha's quick response nothing was hurt but Kenny's dignity, and his trust in catkind.

Stephen said...

BTW, are there any videos/DVDs that you recommend or like?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me know your bird is OK. I'm an animal lover, and was a little alarmed.

Keep up the Sneakerdoodles vids. It's not just the kids who are learning from them, it's the instructors getting creative new ways to teach the kids. I now look in on your blog every day. You're giving terrific information. Thanks.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Videos I like - these are my personal picks and may not be shared by anyone else, but this is what I would recommend

For beginners or anyone teaching beginners. Mike Swain has several videos out. He had a five video set that was really reasonably priced. One was on counters and combinations that I particularly recommended, another on matwork, and I think the other three were hip techniques, foot techniques and hand techniques. At one point we sold them and kept half the money for the USJA development fund. I sold every last one including those I intended to keep for myself.

Two other videos by Mike Swain I recommend are Basic Judo and Basic Grappling.

For more advanced players, i.e., those who have been in judo a year or more, I recommend these two:

Hayward Nishioka's Get a Grip - old and the production quality is not great but the information is

Jimmy Pedro's Grip Like a World Champion. Professionally produced, if you get it on sale the price is reasonable and the information is very good and very up to date.