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Where’s the Skepticism within our Judo Culture?

Posted: February 27, 2018

Whether you call it Judo culture, or mentality, or mindset, one thing that’s clearly MIA- missing in action- in our sport is skepticism.  In other words, most of us are meek sheep following some leader who is often misguided, ill-informed, or just simply lost.  We keep marching to the tune of our Judo Pied Piper almost never questioning whether what we are doing makes any sense. Even when it does dawn on us that what we’re doing is crazy, there’s almost no attempt to discuss issues and remedy our lot.  Chalk up this behavior to our traditional hierarchy that instills in the lower ranks unwavering (and unquestioning) respect for our senior ranks.


A few days ago, I was discussing with my good friend Bill Montgomery, Chairman of the USJA Coach Education Committee, why we were having so much trouble getting American coaches to accept new training ideas and pedagogy.  I wondered whether there was a special genetic trait that you needed to have to accept change, or whether skepticism and willingness to change were teachable behaviors.  Why was it so easy for Bill and me to reject traditional dogma, while others struggle or refuse to change?  After all, we all come from the same traditional background.  Needless to say, we don’t yet have the answer to that question, but we’re working on it.

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