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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.

Connecting the Dots

Posted: February 27, 2018

Recently, as part of a continuing education program I run for my assistant coaches as well as for outside coaches I mentor, I sent out an article entitled Preparing for the Attack: Hardening the Target, You. I asked the coaches to read the article and be prepared to talk about it the following week. I thought the article was relevant since it addressed among other things the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act), combat, psychological control, and reality based training.


There was one small problem with the article, however. It was written by a weapons expert for self-defense purposes. Within a few days, one of the coaches called me to complain. He told me that he had started to read the article, but gave up because it didn’t mention Judo specifically. Furthermore, he had better things to do than read something that was not geared toward Kodokan Judo. I must admit that I was shocked by his unwillingness to read something that might make him a better coach, especially since the article was only a little over two pages long.

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