Saturday, November 17, 2018

Judo in Chile and the World Judo Federation

Not that anyone asked me, but since that has never stopped me before, I’m going to give you my opinion on judo in Chile and the World Judo Federation. Keep in mind that this is based on one tournament - the Chilean national championships, which I watched today .

First, the good impressions:

1.The competitors get major points from me for attitude. I saw lots of attacks, lots of ippons both throws and pins and only saw 2 stalling penalties out of all of the matches.

2. There were a lot more counters than you'd normally see in tournaments in the U.S. You don't see a lot of counters at U.S. tournaments and at this one in Chile I saw a few successful counters and quite a few more attempts.

3. There were quite a few throws for ippon.

4. People were generally quite nice, both competitors and referees. I was just some random old lady off the street who didn't speak terribly good Spanish and they didn't know me from Adam. Still, everyone I asked was perfectly polite and willing to take their time to answer my questions.

What I think could be improved

I saw no grip fighting, literally, zero.  

Nobody blocks a high grip- which might be related to the counters, since if you have a high grip and come in off balance you are more likely to be countered. However, if you have a high grip and can bend your opponent that prevents him or her entering a lot of throws.

Matwork is rudimentary.

Not only didn’t I see a single choke or arm bar, I didn't even see a single attempt. I actually asked one of the black belts waiting to compete if chokes and arm bars were not allowed at this tournament. He said, no, they were allowed and maybe I would see some. I didn't.

While there were some turnovers, and more turnover attempts into pins, they were not very deliberate. If you've read Winning on the Ground (what do you mean, you haven't?) , you know I'm usually the one for hitting hard and fast when the situation presents itself, as opposed to Jimmy's 47-step moves, so for me to say the matwork needs more deliberation is really saying something.

There were no matwork combinations. I didn't see anyone try a half-nelson. No one tried to do matwork from the guard, either as offense or defense.  The only defense was to pancake out.

On the other hand, generally both players tried to attack when on the ground, instead of one just laying there and trying to wait it out until the referee stood them up, so that was good.

World Judo Federation

As for the World Judo Federation, I don't know exactly what their rules are but there certainly were far less penalties called than in the typical judo tournament. That's a good thing. They let the players compete without stopping the match a lot to tell them they couldn't grab here or don't touch the leg.

I did see one player grab the leg and nothing happened. I asked a competitor who told me that was legal.

From watching, it reminded me of Freestyle Judo. I went to the freestyle nationals a few times and there were very few penalties called and the players were a lot more aggressive, in a good way, with less vying for grips and more attacking than the typical judo tournament. I'm not being a hypocrite here when I just criticized the Chilean players for not grip fighting. I think you can overdo it.

My recommendation would be if you are into freestyle judo you might want to check out their Panamerican Judo Championships next year and give it a go. Probably USA Judo would have a cow but if you are doing freestyle judo, USA Judo obviously isn't dictating your life.

You know what would help you if you went to South America? Spanish! AzTech Games can help you brush up on that high school Spanish you forgot.

Truth: Our games were developed for teaching kids math and some are bilingual to so kids who English is their second language can play, too, but about 10% of our users are people wanting to improve their Spanish - including me.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Positive Lessons from Judo Con

I learned a lot at Judo Con in Kansas City last week. It was a really positive event, with 54 people from 12 states and Chile (me) in attendance. The limit was supposed to be 50 attendees, with a focus on club leaders interested in improving technical skills, growing their martial arts programs in both size and quality (shameless plug, for example, by focusing on academics as well as athletics). However, there were a few young blue and purple belts who wanted to come and how can you say no to kids who want to do judo, so they slipped in for the technical sessions.

I learned a lot about marketing and social media from the sessions James Wall and Lester Martell did on how to recruit martial arts students. One lesson that really stuck with me was this quote from James,

"Every new white belt I get is a precious little nugget. I take care of them, polish them up like gold. Do you know how much time, effort and money it takes me to get a new student into my school? Take care of those new students! Don't take them for granted."

He's really correct, not just for judo, but for business in general. How much do we take care of our new customers versus just going back out there looking for more? I could go on quite a bit but you could listen to the Judo Chop Suey podcast for a lot of detail.

The biggest takeaway for me, though, was a personal one. Several times during the weekend and thought,

"I am surrounded by good people."

Usually, when I go to a judo event there are mostly good people there but some who are complete assholes or plain out frauds. We all know them, the people who have an eighth-degree black belt and flat don't know much judo.

At this event, every single person was either someone I had known for many years and knew was a hard-working, intelligent, honest person doing the very best he or she could to make the world a better place in their own way.

This is your reward for being a good, honest person - you get to be around people like yourself.

If you're all about pretending to be a ninth-degree black belt, you aren't going to get on the mat and actually roll around doing arm bars with us. No one on the mat was there to impress people. We were having fun. I grabbed Caitlyn, Madelyn, Sandi and Julie at various times and said, "Hey, let me try this move on you."

It's not often that I've been in a group of this size and thought to myself, "I can see being friends with every single person in here. These are the people that help their neighbor with a flat tire, take the time to talk to a kid who is having a bad day. They are also people who, regardless of age, keep learning."

I felt very privileged to be there.

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