First and foremost, I would like to inform you that this is not a journal about my World Championship experience, this is a follow-up report based on the 2009 World Championships from my point of view, as a spectator, coach, former competitor and judo enthusiasts.
I made the 2005 Judo World Championships team for the United States but was unable to compete due to personal funding restrictions. It was an absolute joy to attend as a coach and enjoy several days of judo.
The first thing that I really noticed about these 2009 World Judo Championships is the professionalism that has been added to the sport. To be honest with you, I love it. Right now, even at the draws (bracketing for the weight classes), everybody is asked to be dressed formally. I think this is fantastic. If we are going to call ourselves professionals, we need to look like professionals. I really enjoyed the professional atmosphere of the draws. Also there was no yelling and screaming and everything was done in an orderly fashion. Sometimes being dressed appropriately makes people act appropriately.
I also really enjoyed watching the coaches during the event. Everyone had on either a suit and tie or their country’s official warm up suit. It was very orderly.
The one thing that I really was impressed with was the punctuality of everything. Things began on time, buses left on time, arrived on time, and the food services were on time. It was a great experience. Mr. Marius Vizer and his staff/committee have done all of us great service in terms of professionalizing the sport. It allows young children, even at the domestic and national level, to now look at the coaches in each of our home countries in a different light.
I also like it because it, in a subtle fashion, speaks to the importance of a coach. Now I don’t have to worry about being at a National Tournament and having some young player ask me to sit in their chair for the finals or semifinals. If I didn’t come with the appropriate dress, I can’t sit, and that player truly recognizes the importance of a coach, which does wonders for the coaching profession and allows us to really be placed in a professional light in front of the judo community.
Okay, now I’m going to be honest. The reffing was very good. Here’s where I’m going to be honest. The reffing at the Cadet World Championships WAS NOT at the level at which one would expect, but at the 2009 Judo World Championships it was good. There are always some “bad calls”, biased decisions, etc.,. but overall it was good. I’ve been at tournaments where the conversation afterwards was about the refereeing. There were no such conversations which I was a part of at this tournament.
“The New Rules”
Okay, okay, okay.
The biggest conversation of the week was the new proposed rules by the International Judo Federation which will be tested at the 2009 Junior World Championships.
Here is my OFFICIAL STATEMENT. This is not a conversation that I’m starting on forum so that people can have a discussion. If you want to read that you can go here >>> http://judoforum.com/index.php?showtopic=39957&st=0
My OFFICIAL STATEMENT IS THIS: I am a coach. The rules are the rules. I will coach and let those who make the rules, make the rules. I don’t mind discussing the rules, talking about the rules and even poking fun at some of the rules in jest, but the rules are the rules. I will play by them abide by them and win within the set parameters. I’m a coach. Are the rules good or bad? Not my job to get into such a discussion as a coach. As person that also has a business that provides judo educational and combat sports educational materials to thousands of persons in different countries, I don’t mind having that discussion to let my patrons know that I am actually on top of the new developments in the sport. As a coach, I coach. That’s that. I have no time to complain. I’m spending my time trying to prepare.
The other day I was on the plane and I asked for a beverage. I was declined. I asked again later and was told that the cart would be coming through shortly. The third time I asked, I was acknowledged with some huffing and puffing and an attitude which was not commensurate with the purchase price of my ticket. Therefore, I immediately got on my Blackberry and constructed an email document, which I sent to the airline as a complaint.
Why am I telling this story?
Well, because, if I feel strongly enough about something, I will write to the person or persons in charge directly. Otherwise, I will just converse about it and go about my way. I DO NOT FEEL STRONGLY about this rule change enough to sit down and write a letter to the International Judo Federation. If you do, I would suggest you write them a letter, if not, just get the stuff of your chest over a beer, or on a blog or on a forum to have a discussion. As far as I’m concerned I don’t have any problem with the IJF. They have done some wonderful things for many countries and individuals that many of you probably have no idea about. They are growing judo in many areas and trying to expand the delivery of our product, which is judo, in the homes of more people. Their marketing strategy and plan is similar to Obama’s Healthcare plan. It may work and it may not. Who knows? The key is that doing nothing is not an option. The way which has been selected is “the way” for right now. It’s our sport, we have to embrace it and keep moving. That doesn’t mean that we can’t bellyache about, but it does mean that we have to bellyache and then get over it and get on with the business of doing, promoting, teaching and training judo.
Those are the facts.
This weekend I have a course called The Anatomy of a Judo Match. I’ll be teaching. I’d love to have you there >>> http://rhadiferguson.com/The_Anatomy_of_Judo_Match.html
THE ANATOMY OF A JUDO MATCH COURSE
September 05th from 8am-10am EST
September 06th from 8am-10am EST
September 7th from 9pm-10pm EST (Q&A)
So, as I said….as for me. I’ll be teaching (…..and stirring up a bit of discussion which is good for business).
The Judo At The
World Judo Championships
The Judo Was Absolutely Fantastic!!!!
I saw some spectacular stuff. The Mongolians have perfected the use of Morote Gari in competition. The Japanese teams did very well, but the men did not come away with a World Champion, however a young woman from Columbia became the World Champion.
Teddy Riner, who is really an outside linebacker in the National Football League – he just doesn’t know it yet, is absolutely phenomenal. His understanding of the gripping game at that age is awesome. The best gripping match that I witnessed was for third place in the 100kg weight class when Japan was competing against Kazakstan (or Ukraine). It was outstanding. They stood toe to toe and the Japanese player was just dominating him. For individuals that understand kumikata, it was a sight to behold. Jimmy Pedro and I talked about it later that evening over coffee while discussing the release of his Newaza Coaching Program in 2010.
In terms of the newaza…. I would have definitely like to see more time in newaza. I just think that matte is called way too early and sometimes it’s called in the middle of moves developing. The refs are not allowing the individuals to actually fight on the mat which is what newaza is. And, the development of a move can have many steps or just a few, if the steps which are being displayed are not part of the ref’s mental schema then matte is called because the referee has no clue at that which he is watching.
And once again…. “The eyes can only see what the mind can comprehend.” So what we have are frustrated fans who have been educated via youtube, and UFC and MMA and jiujitsu, the gracies, etc.,. who can see things that the refs seem to be missing. As a black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu I can tell you that it’s frustrating to see matte called when a young man is trying to adjust his sankaku triangle to make it tighter. But it happens.
The Best Judo Player
At The World Championships
Without a doubt, and hands down, the 66kg Mongolian and the first Judo World Champion of his country Hashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar – http://www.judovision.org/?p=5583
This dude is a stone cold BEAST!!! And has the cardiovascular conditioning of Lance Armstrong. He beautifully displayed the current direction of judo which is the grappling, wrestling and gripping techniques along with excellent positioning. I don’t think that he will fare well when and if the current rules are enacted; but nevertheless, it was a privilege to see him in action at the World Judo Championships.
Attending the Judo World Championships as a coach was an honor and a privilege. It was an honor to coach the athletes of the Bahamian Team. They did as well as could be expected at this level of competition. The World Championships are the equivalent of the SuperBowl (for those that need such a reference point). I’m not really exactly sure how I am going to get the athletes in the Bahamas to this level soon. It is going to take some time. A lot of time and a lot of money. Whew!! Right now we have to make a decision if we want to put all of our eggs into one basket and support a few players that we think have promise or if we want to utilize our human and financial resources to grow judo and build a base so that we can have a group of athletes to select from for 2016. It’s tough because everybody wants to win right now. Heck, I know I do. But the reality of the situation is that winning right now is possible with an unlimited budget, but with some of the financial constraints in place its not and right now its just not wise to put all of the money into one or two athletes when the Bahamas is looking to be a force to reckon with in 2016. Watching the young woman from Columbia gave the young folks from the Bahamas some hope. Her victory let them know that it is possible to travel and train and to achieve excellent in the sport while coming from a small island.
I truly believe that 15 year old Cynthia Rahming has what it takes to be a World Champion, but that’s a discussion for another time.
The Cuban Coach
When I saw him the first question that he asked me in spanish was, “Did you see me in my coat and tie?”
We laughed! Even he was happy to be in a coat and tie.
Speaks great English. I was really surprised. I’m kinda of embarrassed that I don’t know Japanese now.
Absolutely fantastic coach and it was a pleasure to sit down and speak with him.
Probably the coolest dude in Judo today. He introduced me to his wife and kids. They are cute lil’ buggers.
Cool cat. He seemed very frustrated after the Worlds, but is taking it all in stride and is looking forward to getting back to training. I think he has some more good years in the tank, but he knows as all athletes know, that the tank is getting low. I just really think that this dude has an Olympic Medal in him. I hope that his country invests in him and gets behind him. He’s a superb athlete and a freak of nature. He just has to get in the groove at the next worlds or Olympics and get in that sweet spot that we affectionately call “the zone”.
One freaking tough dude. And pretty funny too.
I finally got to meet Khabarelli after all these years. He and Robert Van De Walle have been my judo icons.
Lesson of the World
When at the world championships, do not go to the museum. Watch the World Championships.
Best Throw of the
I’m not sure but I remember the 73kg player from Russia Isaev throwing somebody like he was in the WWE. It was phenomenal. I do know this…..over 50% of the matches were won by ippon and that is some exciting judo.
I also know that without the koka, there are more golden score matches :-/ (bring the koka back). 3 more minutes of misery is not worth it.
Go here >>> http://rhadiferguson.com/Martial_Arts.html <<< and get every gripfighting product available. If you are going to play judo at a high level YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT. Don’t think you are too good for it. I spoke with Ole Bischoff…Olympic Champion Ole Bischoff and he purchased the Grip To Win Audio CD Series that Jimmy Pedro and I did together, so please understand, this is good top notch quality information.
If there is one thing that I can tell you…. it’s this. Judo survives or dies based upon you… the reader of this email. If you don’t invite people to practice your sport, as you invite people to visit your church or go out for drinks, the sport will die. You are the best salesperson for judo….YOU.
Invite your friends to practice. Invest your dollars in tournaments and products so that the Judo industry grows as a whole. Train, travel, and fellowship. Visit BJJ clubs and ask them to visit your Judo club.
If you are an instructor, create classes for beginners and those that want to compete. If you don’t have anymore judo knowledge to teach, get it or at the worse case, create a conditioning class to prepare students for elite competition. I have several clubs all over the World using my workout as a conditioning class. You can use it too if you like, heck, its free and doesn’t cost anything >>> http://www.TheBodyWeightWorkout.com <<< Just with that alone you can create another class or Judo conditioning class in the morning and better prepare your players and generate more dollars for your dojo.
Grow the sport! Grow the sport.
Don’t tell me about what the IJF is doing. Tell me about what you are doing.
We can all sit back and complain or we can work to grow the sport.
As for me…….I’m working.
>>> http://www.rhadiferguson.com/bodyweight/Training.html <<<
As always, I appreciate your support.
Rhadi Ferguson, Ph.D., CSCS
BJJ Black Belt
World Class Strength Coach