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.

Paying the bills

Exclamation mark Blog by Lance Wicks



BJA failure at what should be job one! 

So yesterday I was in Macclesfield, just south of Manchester here in England on business, and brought a Gi with me "just in case". After checking into my hotel, I decided to try and find a club.

Step 1. Call the British Judo Association.
Unfortunately, their "telephone service" operates 9:30 to 4:30, so being 4:45pm it was too late to get anything from them.

Step2. Visit the BJA Website.
So I fired up the laptop and tried the BJA website. So, the link to find clubs is that small button down on the bottom right corner of the front page. The worst place on any website to put things. Top left people TOP LEFT!!!

So when you do that, you get a map of the UK.
Now, I know my knowledge of British geography is a bit ropey, being foreign and all, but I struggled to work out what sub region Macclesfield was in. it's North West by the way.

So that gives you an long list of clubs from the region, hey did I mention that the Northwest region is quite big and that I don't know my way around? There is no search function and if I am alittle honest, I know from previous experience that the lists are not exactly 100% up to date anyway, but anyway.

So after much scrolling up and down and running town names through google maps, I worked out I was in Cheshire and that helped a bit. But basically the BJA site was of completely no use and of course no phone number of use.

So I eventually searched for the North West association and found their site which was MUCH MUCH MUCH better, it has a google map and everything, which gave me a good indication of where the clubs near where I was, were. Could be improved, say using the cool prototype Yonah on the showed me a while back and I forwarded onto the BJA more than once, with no response!

Step 3. Try the BJC website.
So having found the BJA rubbish, no suprise really, I tried the BJC website. The BJC is the "other" association here in the UK. Getting bigger all the time I gather. Now their site was not intuitive to find a club, but once I found the non-visible link the list itself was much better than the BJA's, it has a decent search system and was pretty good. Still not as good as the NW Area site.

Step 3. Try
Latsly I tried Neil's website and the club database there. which I should mention is what the prototype Yonah did was designed for. I was quickly able to get to the UK and the Cheshire and a brief list of clubs, one of which was relatively nearby, Crewe. Sadly no Judo on that night, but I found the info quick.


The point here:
What is the point of the BJA?
What is the point of the BJA website?
What are people who visit the BJA website looking for?
Does the site deliver?

Now, perhaps I am a minority case, someone who does not know their geography that well. Perhaps some people like the idea of looking at an ugly, out of date list of random details?

Personally, I feel that the BJA's purpose and the websites purpose, is to get people into Judo clubs.

Now,obviously having read the tirade above, you can tell I think they are failing in this role quite badly. All that other stuff on the site could be hidden away behind a link to say... "other stuff..." and there could be a simple interface to an accurate easy to navigate (in multiple ways) a database of clubs, sessions and dojo locations.

A search, that pops you onto a map, with the clubs shown on the map too. Click on the icon for a club and see all the details. All easily done and done for free using Google Maps for example.

Also, rather than spending all the money of supporting a secret forum and yet more paid employees, etc. How about setting up a 24 hour (or at least extending into the evening) telephone service where you could call up and a human could tell you where a local club is and maybe tell you a little about Judo?

Let me know what you think?


[ view entry ] ( 2189 views ) permalink

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!

[ view entry ] ( 2076 views ) permalink

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.
[ view entry ] ( 2146 views ) permalink

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.


[ view entry ] ( 2163 views ) permalink

<<First <Back | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | Next> Last>>

Powered by Simple PHP Blog Get RSS 2.0 Feed
Powered by PHP 4.4.9-8+hw0 Get Atom 0.3 Feed
Powered by Plain text files Get RDF 1.0 Feed