Posts Tagged ‘judo’

Developing our Younger, Heavier, Judoka

February 23, 2010

I have been asked recently by a governing body, my thoughts on cadet & junior weight categories and I thought I would share them with you as well.

It had come about that in the +90 kg category at a tournament, two 15 year old judokas, one weighing 93 kg and the other, more than 90kg heavier than the first (that would +150kg), found themselves in the final. The fight ended with the lighter fighter being severely injured when the bigger of the two lost his balance and collapse on the former’s knee. That player has seen 18 months of surgery and rehabilitation as well as a loss of this crucial development time. To the other heavier fighter, as he is a really nice lad, a blow to his self-esteem and confidence.

Now, my question here would be: How can this happen in these days of Child Protection and Duty of Care? Coaches are constantly reminded about weight control and there have been incidences of charges brought against coaches for weight loss by their athletes of 1 or 2 kg. I am not condoning this practice at all or making light of what may seem like to some, a little amount of weight. In fact, I am wondering as to why this line of thinking, ie: weight control is not extended to the heavier weights? Is it not as dangerous to have a 90kg differential between players as it is to have, let’s say, a 44kg player combined in a weight with 48kg players which is frowned upon by the Federation and is written as a rule not to be broken without explicit permission from the parents and athletes.

I have never been a fan of weight control in the lower age brackets as this is a part of their development and they must learn to conquer the challenges that they face as they climb the weight category ladder. It should be encouraged that a player who is starting to be regularly 2 kg over their category to be in the next weight higher for health and development reasons. More often than not, do we lose our athletes to this unnecessary stressor of keeping a weight. This is where National Squad Systems come into play but I’ll come back to that another day.

My answer to this is, that there should be heavier weight categories added as studies have shown that the average weight of our younger people has risen considerably over the years. In short, kids nowadays are just bigger. We should be looking at the possibility of adding u100kg and an u120kg to the u90kg already in place for the males, and possibly u78kg and u90kg for the females. You may be asking now what about a +120kg category. My answer would be, do we really want a plus category for the sake of one or two people and their safety, health and mental well-being? This should not be encouraged in my opinion and there has to be a cut off point in name of health & safety. Our sport is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world and it would be irresponsible to encourage weight gain so as to fill a category.

Federations and the IJF with the Continental Unions have a responsibility to their younger players and their development across all the weight categories. I am hopeful that they will look upon this example, look at their respective LTADP’s and reassess this in regards to the overall development stages of the younger, heavier athletes in this day and age.

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An IJF New Rules Update by Neil Adams

February 4, 2010

The New IJF Rules – Out of hand?

January 24, 2010

I was hoping to have a video blog ready for all of you, but as it happens, we have been faced with some “technical difficulties” and won’t be able to publish it until early this week, so I appologise for that.

I thought, however, I would make a few comments on the New IJF Rules. I do have an editorial coming out in the next Matside (at least I hope I do…).

Yesterday I was a part of a presentation by our (Belgian) referee, Franky De Moor, who is now a part of the EJU Referee’s Commission. (This is handy, to say the least!) Not to mention that he is a damn good referee, one I hold in high regard.

The presentation consisted of possible scenarios and the possible outcomes of certain manoeuvers. My video that I have coming asks and demonstrates some of these and I was able to present them to Mr De Moor for his opinion.

One of the main things that came out in the discussion was about the Hansaku-make penalty which gives everyone the reason to sit up and take notice. I asked him how this was going to be played and will the referees on a whole be “trigger happy” with the penalty? His response was that direction from the IJF was that “when in doubt, do not give the penalty”. Well that’s great for a referee of his standing and understanding of the game, however, my fear is that not all referees are going to adhere to that advice. The fact is, they are not.Talk from Korea and the Masters event was the penalties were quick to come. Another interesting fact, was that Day 2 of a competition can and will be played differently from Day 1. By this I mean, for example, if Shidos were not given out enough on Day 1, referees are then given the directive to deliver more Shidos. Ok, that might be a little strong….be more aware of situations that warrant Shidos. So if you fight on Day 2, find out what the new directive is for that day. You have to do your homework, people!!!

Then we spoke of the “Grey Areas”. What’s absolute is: no touching below the belt except when countering or used as a combination. The grey areas then, for me, would immediately be: when countering an opponent you must wait until the throw is in full motion, which with someone like Inoue or Koga is 1.5 seconds too late! The instinctive reaction of someone about to be thrown often results in a hand blockage on the hips or leg which is now an immediate Hansaku-make. Inoue would have loved this! He wouldn’t have even have had to do the throw, just a little hip twitch!! Already some big throwers are taking advantage of this.

The grey area with combinations is the amount of force and movement needed from the first attack before being allowed ie: not severly penalised, to carry-on into the second technique. This is where the interpretation will differ greatly and I forsee many champions losing first round on this grey area alone.

Another area I brought forward in the conversation was that of cross gripping and gripping of the belt. I’ve been to 2 presentation now on the New Rules and the first one said, one could only counter their opponent by taking the legs if the attacker had cross-gripped onto the belt. (You following me? Got it your mind?) The 2nd presentation stated that attacker only needed to cross-grip onto any part of the jacket and /or belt thus allowing the opponent to counter by attacking below the belt. Whew!! Two different referees, two different interpretations. Hmmmmm.

Now listen…I’m all for the new rules….I hear you, you’re saying, “What? Adams are you crazy?”. Maybe, but I’m all for bringing Judo upright again and it does sound like it’s happening. They do need to iron out these grey areas quickly to create constistancy as well as consistancy in tournament results. It is going to cost some athletes valuable qualifying points.

Then there’s the Shidos!!!! Yikes!!!! We have already seen the tactical use of the Shido. The French, Korean, Japanese and the upright fighters of the world are pulling in the head and when the opponent pulls away to create space and to get their grip, otherwise seen as positive Judo, they are now getting nailed with Shidos for non-combativity or defensiveness. It will have to evolve that the strong armed posture is looked on as a defensive posture if they don’t attack as well or we are straight back to a non-throwing, defensive posture sport which defeats the ultimate goal here and the reasons for these new rules. At least we had some big throws with leg grabs and kata gurumas. This is does not make for “made-for-TV” sport!

The implementation & interpretation of the New Rules are what is key here. To make the referees consistant as well as the understanding by the coaches and athletes solid, there needs to be constructive communication, open minds and clear directives. I hope this comes sooner rather than later.