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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University of Bath, FDSC, Year Three, Block One FInished. (almost) 

Hi all,
well the block is over except for two assignments that need completing over the next two weeks.

I'm really tired and happy to be home where I spent the afternoon with my twins.

Thursday was an interesting day, handed in my assignments then waited and waited to do my practical assessment coaching an Olympic Power Clean. Hopefully I did okay. :)

Thursday night saw the traditional official social, which was a buffet and a Karaoke. Not really my cup of tea, I am a dreadful singer and all too aware of it. It was rather quiet I have to say.

Not a lot on Friday morning, mainly people handing in their assignments and getting on the road. We did watch a little of the European Champs online however. The SMS payment method for the video stream didn't work sadly (at least in the UK).

The GB players all lost in the first round, which is a shame. Of course the course is quite international so some folk were still sitting with crossed fingers when I left.

All in all the block has been good, but not great like previous blocks. Struggling to know why it's been disappointing. I think it has been the series of niggles rather than anything being wrong particularly. Perhaps, it's just the nearing end of the degree getting us down a bit? Or perhaps it's because as new year students have started we (the first cohort) are getting less attention than we got in the past, perhaps we are less pampered? Lindsay who looked looked after us in the first year seemed to be at every lecture, everyday. This year we've been seen anyone except the lecturers themselves. I dunno, it may well be just that the workload has increased and we just plain have to work harder and as such the enjoyment has lowered.

I was really happy with one of my assignments this time, particularly because I expanded it to meet the word count. :)
I think it is probably the single most complete assignment I've done. I think all the referencing is well done and relevant, and that the idea I was trying to express got across and was worthwhile.

Anyway... I was happy with it.

So I have two more 1000 word assignments to get done in the next two weeks so shoulder to the grindstone!

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TeamBATH at the BUSA Judo champs photo gallery. 

By the magic of facebook I spotted a online gallery of the TeamBATH judo players in action at the BUSA champs.

Some great shots in there.

heres the link ... /index.htm

What I notice is this, there are a heck of a lot of Bath people there. A Mike, Barry, Juergen, Hidemi, Matt, Katie, Katrina etc. show don't appear to have judogi and are simply there supporting the athletes.

Excellent, I've been on national team trips away with less support than that. Perhaps the gallery is a visual representation of the power of TeamBATH. Lots of players, lots of support. A big team working together and supporting one another, how do you beat that machine?


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NZJF Presidents newsletter featuring.... me! 

Not sure how this slipped under my radar, but the little report I did on the course in Bath was included in Harry O'Rourke's presidents newsletter at the end of last year.

Here it is: ... age746.htm

Includes the team photo from the first year of the course.

Take a look.
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FDSC, University of Bath, Year Three, Day Eight. 

Almost there for another block.
Today was mainly assignment work, with the two assignments being due in Thursday & Friday I think most everyone spent today working on assignements.

That said, we had a Keynote from Malcolm Arnold (UK Athletics coach, coach to Colin Jackson and others). I found it really interesting although it is a little disheartening in ways. Mainly because he talked about the financial pressures on athletes. As in the pressure from getting paid to attend races. Not the pressure Judo is used to in that we have no cash.

His view was that winning Olympic gold opened doors (financial) to athletes. He is right in his sport, but sadly I don't think that it is true for a majority of the world when it comes to Judo. Winning an Olympic Judo gold I struggle to believe is going to "set you up for life" in a majority of countries.

I do believe it opens the doors to an easier path to the upper echelons of our sport. Which has a degree of financial reward, but I don't consider it the same direct link to financial reward that winning the 100m brings. Not a lot of Nike gold Judogi out there like Michael Johnson is there.

Nick took us for a Strength & Conditioning lecture on Endurance training. Which was interesting and relevant to Judo. What Nick does well is relate it back to Judo with some form of understanding of the sport of Judo. He also keeps us on the straight and Narrow in regard to being sports scientists not just Judo instructors.

The afternoon was purely "tutorials", which is code for GET YOUR ASSIGNMENTS DONE ON TIME!!!

Quiet evening meal, everyone focussed mainly on assignments, which is a shame. A few people have commented to me about how much less fun this block has been when compared to other ones. Even though, for example the first block was so busy it put my head in a spin.

One of the strengths of the course is the (WARNING Trendy business jargon ahead) "networking" opportunity the course provides. By that I mean that I get to sit around a table in the evening with a group of Judo luminaries and everyone shares their opinions and views. They talk about what they are doing, what they have planned etc.

It is a really powerful and useful situation. Shame this block it's been subverted by the need to get some work done. It also makes the general fun level lower.

Not wanting to whinge about it though, because I have been putting the effort in to have a few beers everynight. :) It's a dirty job but someone has to do it!

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Year Three, Day seven - FDSC Sports, University of Bath. 

Hi all, Year Three, Day seven in the bag.
Interesting day, finishing well with good conversation over a quiet drink with friends is always a good thing!
The social element of this course is probably the one element I find the most rewarding and enjoyable, if there was a way of formalising it and making it a compulsory part of the course that would be great. I have some of the most creative and interesting dicussions about Judo over a drink with the Judoka on the course.

We started the day with a lecture Jeremy which was interesting, Juergen had us second. Talking about preparation for Judo athletes and specifically about the importance of the final preparation for competition. By this we are talking about the last few weeks leading up to the big competition. We discussed how to push the athlete to produce the physiological responses neeed to get the peak performance. He covered really well how to measure and manage the process, really interesting stuff.

The afternoon, was considerably different to the morning.
Rather than lectures we learnt a little about the big project for the summer, a conference.
As some will know I have been bouncing that idea around with other people out there independantly of the course, specifically with the idea of how we might to a USA/UK conferenceon Judo. It sounds like the conference in July/August will be primarily an academic (read little practical Judo) event, focussed mainly on performance analysis and metal skills in Judo. With a debate (by the second year students this time) on Video replay asssistance for referees in Judo competitions as a big event within the conference.
Sounds really interesting, although personally I have my concernes abouut the project. perhaps because the ideas I have been batting aorund with people are a bit more risque and inovative perhaps? The great thing about arranging a conference is that after last years debate in 4 days ( ) adventure we know we can pull a winner out of the bag. So people are thinking really big. We have a pretty tight team in ways now and I know we could put on a cracking event. In ways the context of it being an assessment project is a massive restricting and impediment as we are limited to a single day and we all have to make poster and oral presentations on a a limited range of topics.
I would really like to see it progress outside of the limitations of the course and into a proper independant conference where new ideas can be presented to a really broad audience. On a slightly different but related note, it was looking like a bit of a disaster till Mike explained his thinking on it all, I know I had the wrong end of the stick and was getting aggitated about how orgainising a conference fitted into my personal endeavours to get my grades up high enough to stay on for the top-up year.

Each of us by the sounds of it will need to present a conference poster and a oral presentation.
I suspect mine will be on the research I did at the Commonwealth champs (almost a year ago) as it was all about performance analysis. I may also have found a way to get more commonwealth competition data to do comparison work with my data, which would be really great and may be the spur to write up the full academic research paper I have been wanting to compltete for a year now! :) The oral presentation is scarier of course as I don't have an immediate awareness of what I'd like to present on. also because I am a hopeless public speaker! :(

Last thing we had another session on the "Garage Gym" with Wayne Lakin.
Being outside was a bit of a killer as it was not that warm and standing around in the cold watching someone talk about working out with was always going to be a hard sell.
The great thing about the "Garage Gym" is that is is aimed at a low socio-economic group. It's conditioning training on a really tight budget. It is also a really good bit of team building I suppose if you incorporate it into a team/dojo environment. I do have my concerns about it though. It's kind of like looking at Laurie Mexted's tackling sheep to train to be an All Black rugby player. really inspiring and fun, quite nostalgic, but.... and you knew a but was coming didn't you.

But... in the Judo context is it really a productive use of time?? I think the garage gym is great, wish I had had one. I didn't of course, so I went to a weight gym and worked out with a qualified instructor in the presence of a bunch of massive guys into weights. I also did a bucket load of Judo. The argument I suppose for us as Judo coaches is not, is the garage gym good. (It most definately is and in the Rugby context I see it even more so) Thequestion is I suppose is it the best use of a young Judo athletes' time?

All that time they are out there chucking tires about they are not doing Judo.
Maybe that's necessary because there are not Judo sessions available? Maybe (and I don't believe this myself) Judo does not deliver a thorough enough physical workout?
So... should we as Judo coaches and administrators be investing energy into the garage gym or into making sure there are more Judp sessions available? Into ensuring there are conditioning Judo sessions. (i.e. sessions for physical workuts rather than technique work). There is also the argument I suppose that the technical level of most Judo athletes outside the dominant countries is just plain lower than that of the coutries winning the golds. So is encouraging the less skillful players to get stronger/fitter a good idea over say putting time into their technique and the systems in that place to develop technique? There is a view in both directions of course and I know where I sit, where do you see your area? Technical or strong or both? Do your players need to be better technically or physically or both?

I can definately see the garage gym in a dojo situation, it's a great tool and fits nicely with some of the older Judo dojo images I have in my head.
Great fun, hard work, etc.
In fact I see it as a great component for old fashioned (feeling) dojo. Or nice shiny new dojo trying to recapture the feeling of the "sawdust and canvas" days. Thats probably my concern; that the garage gym reminds me of the canvas, sawdust and Judo suits made from coal sacks days. As those who know me will know, I think that was the hey day of western Judo, when a "judo man" was something really unique and special in a way that is difficult to articulate. The Garage Gym reminds me of that and although personally it appeals like you would not believe, I worry about it's relevance within the context of elite Judo sport. Does it have a place in the world of sport science that Judo is trying to survice in?

Answers on the back of a postcard please. :)

P.s. I finished my 2000 word assignemnt today, which I think is probably the single best piece of work I have done to date. Loads of refrences and I've had great assistance with teh report from my lecturer and from fellow students and colleagues further a field. yet again, I have to say I am realy trying to drag my grade average for this year up high enough so that I can stay on for the BSC top-up. It has killed some of my podcast plans as I have been spending lots and lots of time in the library and on the laptop, but I can't express how much I want to continue at University of Bath and continue to take part in this amazing course! (I am such a fanboy of the course it is not funny!)

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