This is the Judo blog of Lance Wicks. In this blog I cover mainly Judo and related topics. My Personal blog is over at where I cover more geeky topics. Please do leave comments on what you read or use the Contact Me form to send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

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Back to the grind stone! 

Hi, all, so I am back to training after the Christmas break, and it hurts!!!
Last week I started with a couple of road runs, and tonight I got along to Paul Jones' place in Basingstoke. It hurt!

The downside to getting older is that you seem to lose fitness faster and it takes longer to get it back. I have just got back from training and am knackered! During the session I was sweating and puffing like a made thing!


On the plus side, last week i managed to get the podcast back on the air again! Last week I posted the first episode on the second series last week. Shoot on over to and have a listen.

Also, I did some work on the website over christmas and once I get the user authentication in place it'll be ready for some user testing. Let me know if you'd be interested in trying it out. As I've said before is a way to track fights you have and earn ranking points as a result.

One of my hopes for the system is that it shall provide a mechanism to give ALL people who do Judo a chance to compete against people. The ranking system will hopefully allow you to find people of your level to fight with.

I find it really difficult to understand the people who came into Judo later than I did. I loved competing and going to Judo competitions. I'd like to think that will allow people who don't do the formal competition thing an opportunity to compete.

Anyway... I must away!

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Malta International Judo Open 2008 

Hi All, I got this through and thought I'd help promote the Malta International Judo Open 2008. It is 8th and 9th of March 2008 in Malta (of Course).
Take a look at the website:

You can email for more info.
[ view entry ] ( 2461 views ) permalink related link update. 

As some of you will be aware, I have been slowly but surely building a new web project over at which is a Real World Judo League.

The simple idea is to create a system where you can challenge and record the result from fights with people. That simple. The system will track the results and rank the users based on the well developed ELO system, as used in Chess and XBox Live, etc.

With some help from Dirk over at I have got the basic framework complete. I am now able to create users and fights, record results and the ELO system is working too. WOOT!

Next steps is to put a proper user authentication system and add some polish, after which point it will be ready for some Beta testing (it's already ready for Alpha testing if you are interested in helping getting this up and running).

Once the basic system is up and running, I'd like to implement multiple leagues. So you could create one for your club, your town, your county, whatever.

It is great to have got past the first hurdles and get a working prototype done. It has been a longtime coming I know, but it's getting there.
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Base Training for Judo. 

In this post I would like to discuss Base Training for Judo, by which I mean the basic training you need to do to develop a base upon which you can build. In running base training is typically the long slow runs to develop ones aerobic capacity and lactate threshold.

But what is the Judo equivalent? What do Judo athletes do for the equivalent stage? In this post I want to explore that and a principle I plan to apply/experiment with over the Christmas period whilst Judo clubs are shut.

Obviously, Judo athletes do what everyone does. And by this mean running and weights, low intensity, long duration sessions. But... training should be sport specific shouldn't it?

So... what can we do as Judo athletes and coaches?
Here is the idea I have been considering, Nage Komi sessions (yeah I know not real radical, but stay with me).

Let me explain, in previous posts I have mentioned the lack of metrics in Judo training. When I run, I count my miles (over 200 miles since February!!) but when I go to Judo what should I be counting? Uchi Komi, Ippons, what?

Here is my proposal: Organise a long, easy, Nage Komi session.
Now I am talking about a session that is JUST throw outs and probably 60-90 minutes in duration. To monitor the intensity I propose/suggest wearing a heart rate monitor and keeping your heart rate in "Zone 2" (60%-70%) (Calculator). Now, you'll be keeping your heart rate low and throwing into a crash mat. To keep your heart rate down, you'll need to take it pretty easy.

I am suggesting throw outs, not Uchi Komi, there are two key ideas behind this.
Firstly, borrowing from running here the idea of running efficiency. In running the more miles you do, the more effecient your running technique/style becomes. Long runs develop an effecient way of running. My idea here is that the same applies in Judo, the more you throw, the more efficient the throw (should) become.

The second idea is that in Judo (at least based on my observations of my own and others training here in the UK) we do very little throwing compared to "other" things. There is gripping, uchi komi, breakfalls, posing, groundwork, etc etc etc. Which is odd given that throwing is what we all want to do... I think?

Now runners by comparison run, alot. Swimmers swim, alot. Cyclist ride, alot.
Judo athletes should do Judo, alot! Judo athletes should THROW alot!

My Application:

As Christmas and New Years are upon me, the Judo clubs are closing, so I/we need to adjust my training to address this. I am planning a cycle of "Base Training" (you'd never have guessed), so here is what I HOPE to do.

1) Run more
2) Have long Nage Komi sessions.

Stay tuned and I'll let you all know how I get on and what works for me and what does not. I would really appreciate you views also.

Finally, let me just say, this post is all personal opinion and based on my ideas not scientific research. Maybe there is research to support my ideas, I shall probably have a search through the journals and see what I can see. Let me know what you have seen.


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Dr. De Mars on make or take. 

Dr. AnnMaria De Mars over at has written an excellent post titled "Do You Want to Make Players or Take Them?" which is all about the difference between coaches who want to "grow" players from newbies and those who want the "elite".

It is a great article, go read it.
If you don't know AnnMaria won the 1984 world championships and is heavily involved in the Judo scene, not only through her role within Judo in the USA, but also via and her own section on and as if that is not enough, she is parent and coach to Ronda Rousey who this year alone has won gold at the following events:
2007 British Open, London, England
2007 World Cup Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2007 US Sr. National Championships, Miami, Florida
2007 Pan Am Games, Rio de Janerio, Brazil
2007 US Open, Atlanta, Georgia
2007 Finnish Open, Vaantaa, Finland

I too have seen those people who just want the cream of the crop and don't want to "waste their coaching" on kids. It is, I think, partially a natural desire to work with elite players and part culture and part other issues.

I too dream of sitting matside as my player throws their opponent for Ippon in an Olympic Final, I'd like to coach a mat full of the best talent in the area/nation/world.
And that is great and all good, what is not however, is if you don't want anything to do with grassroots, kids!

I'm not saying those few coaches who are coaching the elite should stop and start a kids class. But I hope that as with the example of Chuck Jefferson in the post those coaches would happily give as much effort and benefit to a group of six year old beginners.

My concern most of the time is that there is a cultural bias within Judo organisations against the grassroots, against kids coaching, against recreational Judo. This, despite kids and non elite players being the lifeblood of Judo.

Too often we get a two-faced response from Judo organisations. There is acknowledgement of the importance of kids/club Judo, yet all the time and resources (including money) goes into the elite programme.

Sure medals means funding and prestige and that equals resources for the masses. And, it's a sport and we all want to see gold for our nations, clubs, etc. I don't want to sound like I want to kill off elite Judo.

Thats said, at what point does there become an imbalance? At what point should a governing body say "Hey instead of pouring money into the top 1%, lets pour it into kids?" Instead of paying the best coaches to coaches the elite players how about paying the best coaches to coach kids?

Again, why is it that all the coaching systems I have seen, they are about going "up" to elite level coaching? I am a EJU Level 4 coach, I have spent the last 3 years studying coaching at elite level. Not a single session on kids Judo. Like I say, that's good, I want to help people "seek the heights" as was the motto of my high school.
But is that indicative of the problem? The "low level" coaching awards are basically about coaching kids, the high levels about coaching elite players (in theory). Maybe that should be tipped on it's head? Highest level for the shortest players?

Or better yet, a coaching system that encourages/awards coaching at elite player level, recreational player and kids levels. I'd love to see the day when a country's highest coach is solely involved in coaching kids entering the sport.

But... I am not going to hold my breath.

Thanks again to AnnMaria De Mars for continuing her terrific blog!
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