I am jealous.
My business partner, Dr. Erich Longie, mentioned that he had just come from a book party. He, and several other friends, all met at Dr. Carol Davis house to discuss the book they had all read, Rebuilding Native Nations.
I was upset. Why do my friends never have a book party? I have at least one bookcase in every bedroom, the living room, kitchen, hallway and even one of the bathrooms. I have books. And, I have friends.
So, let's have a book party. I know many people who are interested in judo. There is the large group who genuinely want to improve, realize that the world is a big place and there is far more of just about everything, including judo, than they could ever possibly hope to know. I see a lot of those people as they are always at camps, clinics, extra practices. There is the small minority who think they know it all, Erik Erikson's bitter old men (and a few women) who have failed in those final psychological tasks of stagnation versus generativity or integrity versus despair. I try to avoid them and they hide from me like they're vampires and I am garlic factory. Then, there is the other large group of people who have the same attitude as the first about learning but who are prevented from a lot of opportunities by circumstances. They either work a lot of hours, or inconvenient hours that prevent them from attending clinics and camps, or they live in rural communities and other areas where there is not a lot of judo within a convenient distance. I don't see near as much as I would like of those people.
I am talking to the last group, primarily, because I am falling into that these days. Work has attacked me lately and I have been at judo exactly once in the last week. My plan, is to pick one book, read it over the next few days and comment on it here. I picked Steve Scott's book Coaching on the Mat based on the scientific criteria that it was the first judo book in the house I laid my hands on. I was going to read Ron Angus book, Competitive Judo again but I could not find it. This means that either I lent it to someone who did not bring it back (if it was you, fork it over), or it was left lying around the house and the housekeeper put it under the bed with is what she does with all things laying around she does not know what to do with.
I am afraid to look under there. The last time I did spring cleaning was in 1997. I am pretty certain that the objects under the bed have mutated, organized their own government and formed a standing army.
So, read Coaching on the Mat. I just read the first couple of chapters. I normally skip through books just reading what I want. If I was to do that, I would have skipped to the section on Drills. However, since this is a book party (what, you weren't paying attention?) I am going to start at the beginning and read it all of the way through. So far, the best two ideas I have read are his statement that athletes can overcome bad facilities, inadequate funding and a host of other deficits but it is nearly impossible to overcome bad coaching. The other point he makes with which I agree is that the coaches are really what make any sport survive. We could have the best offices in the world in our national organizations with the best computers for mailing out membership cards, the best referees, brand new Zebra mats, and without coaches to teach new people the sport, it would all die.
I have to head out to work. I'll post more on the book as I read the rest.
CONTINUING EDUCATION - The best time is on the mat but you can't always be on the mat. Get some good judo books and DVDs and when you get home from working second shift, watch or read them.
Judo reunion ! If you did judo in the Midwest during the 1970's and 1980's think about going to the judo reunion in July. Vickie Daniels and others set up a website for the reunion and old judo stories.