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Judo America San Diego

Defiant or Incompetent?

Posted: February 27, 2018

Every now and then, I stumble across a concept that is so obvious that I wonder why I hadn’t thought of it myself.  Last week, I read that a good portion of a student’s non-compliance to directions is caused not by his defiance, but by his incompetence: the student misinterprets or doesn’t know how to follow directions.  Honestly, it had never crossed my mind that incompetence could be the root cause of not being able to focus or follow directions.  ADD, ADHD, yes.  Incompetence, no.

We take it for granted that a student knows how to “cut it out”, or “focus”, or “pay attention.”  Sometimes he does, but sometimes he doesn’t.  The truth is that he’s probably not been taught how to pay attention or focus.  In this case, the teacher is partly responsible for the student’s being incompetent.  While we have exhorted our students to not do this and not do that, often we have failed to provide them with specific, concrete, sequential, and observable directions that will enable them to overcome their incompetence.

If your junior class is anything like mine, you have kids who stare out at space, play with their toes making sure all ten are still there, pick their nose, or talk and play grab-ass with their next door neighbor.  Although we are told kids are capable of multi-tasking- kids can apparently read, watch TV or listen to music, and do homework all at the same time- my experience indicates that they suck at learning Judo when they are multi-tasking: in other words, when they are not paying attention because they are counting toes, picking their nose, or messing around with another child.

Physical Education Gets No Respect

Posted: February 27, 2018

According to Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Education is the process of creating a sound mind in a sound body.”  Mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a healthy body), a famous Latin quotation, supports that concept.   Yet centuries after these pronouncements, what’s the first thing that gets axed or limited, or is used as a form of punishment when a child falls behind in his schoolwork or grades?  Extra-curricular physical education.  In other words, sports like Judo.  And the reason for sports taking such a big hit is that in spite of all the positive information available regarding the value of participation in sports, physical education still gets no respect.


Team sports tend to fare better than individual sports.  Parents are less likely to withdraw a child from a team sport practice or season because there is an acknowledged responsibility to the rest of the team members.  Individual sports are altogether a different animal.  The reasoning goes something like this: if my child doesn’t participate, it’s not impacting anyone but my child.  Of course, this is an utterly silly notion when it comes to Judo because, although it’s an individual sport, Judo still takes two to tango.  So, not only does your child suffer when being taken away from Judo, but so do your child’s partners.

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