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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Nothing to do with Judo... 

Okay, this post has nothing to do with Judo... directly. I do however run a podcast about Judo ( ) and the short video blog I have embedded below (about Rugby Union) certainly grabbed my attention and may be the model for future Judo related projects.

Oh... whilst I am talking about the podcast, here is a little advert for the next "episode" that I shall be posting on Friday 23 April.

On Friday I shall be posting a podcast entitled "Interview with 3 world champions" which features Kosei Inoue, Jane Bridge and Loretta Cusack discussing their careers.

It was a keynote lecture at the University of Bath on the Level 4/Foundation degree course. Which as I have mentioned before is a unique and wonderful opportunity for anyone serious about their Judo. Applictaions for next years intake are open now. There are students from all over the globe, so there is no excuse not to apply!


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Eating disorders in Judo and our responsibilities as Judo coaches. 

In Judo we compete in weight classes and this according to the medical profession places the athletes under our care at increased risk of eating disorders and the associated health risks. As Judo coaches we have a responsibility to be aware of these risks and do everything we can to prevent our Judo athletes from suffering from the damage that these conditions can cause.

Judo players we all know will lose weight to make it into their weight category, the “dirty little secret” in Judo has always been that we turn a blind eye to weight cycling, and the unhealthy methods of weight control we allow athletes (especially young athletes) to use. This is not helped by the fact that many of the big names in world Judo have or are doing it.

Judo players will use methods such as starving themselves, not drinking, self-induce vomiting, sauna and use diuretics to name a few methods. All these methods are associated with eating disorders. Judo athletes attitudes towards eating have also been shown to be unhealthy.

A study in 2007 sadly identified that coaches and athletes were big pressures on athletes to lose/control their weight (as opposed to the normal population who feel more pressure from society, tv etc.). So my take on this is that we as coaches need to do all we can to ensure that our athletes do not feel pressure from us or from the other athletes you are involved with.

Of course the catch 22 is that there is a valid reason for the pressure, missing your weight will mean you miss the tournament. Being in a heavy weight category puts you at a weight disadvantage. There is also old wives tales about power to weight ratios that ignore the negative effects of radical weight loss.

We should all be aware of the dangers of eating disorders, I have put some links at the bottom of this article, that will get you started. If you want to be chilled to the bone contact a professional who works with patients with eating disorders and let them scare you witless. The mortality rate in eating disorders is pretty darn high, not to forget the non-terminal health issues eating disorders cause in the short and long term.

So what can we do as coaches?

For a start, you can make a pledge right now to never encourage athletes in your care to lose weight. You must not forget that radical weight loss in obese people can be dangerous as well as in thinner people. Perhaps you can find a health professional to come to the dojo and advise athletes on how they might healthily change their weight? Perhaps if you are weighing athletes anyway for category decisions institute a rule that young players can never go down in weight? Perhaps as well as monitoring weight you can monitor BMI and body fat to ensure that they stay at healthy levels.

You need to talk to your athletes and explain that the unhealthy weight loss methods of the last are not to be done by them. No starving themselves, no saunas to lose the weight, none of that stuff.

You could get in experts to advise athletes as to what weight category they will be able to be in with healthy eating. Get professionals to advise young athletes what size and weight they can expect to be when they are fully mature, then plan for your athletes to go up the weights to this target, making going up weight classes part of the plan.

What else needs to be done?

Here is a radical suggestion that I have discussed with a few people and would like your opinion on.

I propose we ban weight classes for players under 18 years of age.

Of course there are risks in letting the 100kg monster on with your 60kg player, so we need to find an alternative way of matching players. Perhaps we weight everyone on the day and then group the heaviest 12 players and call this category 1, then repeat with the next 12 heaviest all the way to the lightest player? Maybe we institute a proper ranking system that means that only players of similar ability fight one another? It is something we need to think through and come up with something new.

So this is our mission as coaches, protect the players as best we can in the environment we have today. Try to prevent athletes in your care from developing unhealthy attitudes and behaviours around weight and eating. The second part is to lobby our national and international governing bodies to address the issue and come up with a solution for the young athletes.


(“Anorexia & bulimia,” n.d.; “Anorexia - Eating Disorders in Athletes - Anorexia Nervosa,” n.d.; Byrne & McLean, 2001; “Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine,” n.d.; “CSA,” n.d.; “Eating disorders among male and female elite athletes,” 1999; Herzog et al., 2000; Johnson, Powers, & Dick, 1999; Pompili, Mancinelli, Girardi, Ruberto, & Tatarelli, 2004; Rouveix, Bouget, Pannafieux, Champely, & Filaire, 2007)

Anorexia & bulimia. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 22, 2009, from ... imia.aspx.
Anorexia - Eating Disorders in Athletes - Anorexia Nervosa. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 22, 2009, from ... rexia.htm.
Byrne, S., & McLean, N. (2001). Eating disorders in athletes: A review of the literature. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 4(2), 145-159. doi: 10.1016/S1440-2440(01)80025-6.
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 22, 2009, from ... =abstract.
CSA. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 22, 2009, from ... ookie=yes.
Eating disorders among male and female elite athletes. (1999, December 1). . Retrieved April 22, 2009, from
Herzog, D. B., Greenwood, D. N., Dorer, D. J., Flores, A. T., Ekeblad, E. R., Richards, A., et al. (2000). Mortality in eating disorders: A descriptive study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 28(1), 20–26. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(200007)28:1<20::AID-EAT3>3.0.CO;2-X.
Johnson, C., Powers, P. S., & Dick, R. (1999). Athletes and eating disorders: The national collegiate athletic association study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 26(2), 179-188. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199909)26:2<179::AID-EAT7>3.0.CO;2-Z.
Pompili, M., Mancinelli, I., Girardi, P., Ruberto, A., & Tatarelli, R. (2004). Suicide in anorexia nervosa: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 36(1), 99–103. doi: 10.1002/eat.20011.
Rouveix, M., Bouget, M., Pannafieux, C., Champely, S., & Filaire, E. (2007). Eating Attitudes, Body Esteem, Perfectionism and Anxiety of Judo Athletes and Nonathletes. Int J Sports Med, 28(4), 340-5.

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University of Bath, Bsc Block 3, Day 10. THE END! 

Hi everyone,
Well, it is Saturday as I sit here and type this up, I wanted to give myself some time to think about the experiences I have had attending the University of Bath Foundation & BSc course.

If I were to sum it all up in a single word, that word would be... AMAZING!

Since April 2005, I have been improving myself as a Judo coach and as a person by attending the course twice a year and working on assignments in between.

It is I confess a little bit of an anti-climax so far, mainly because we still have a HUGE amount of typing to do before the end of the course proper. It may also be an emotional response to the end of the course. There is no carry on course, perhaps a PHD option, but no more tutored blocks, no more lectures, no more two weeks twice a year hanging out with the best Judo people you can imagine!

This year I had the great pleasure of giving a lecture to the students just starting on the foundation degree.
The plus side for me was that it gave me a chance to meet and talk to people just starting down the path I have trodden. Which meant I tried to help them with some things I have learned and it also allowed me to meet and get to know them, a great privilege. They are just like I was, just realizing that the course is more than mere assignments, more than just throws.

It is about spending time with like-minded Judoka, people who want to improve themselves and the Judo they are involved in. It is about meeting and learning from one another and from the lecturers.

It is about discovering where you fit in the Judo world, about finding out where you can help, where your passion extends, beyond the mere physical aspects of Judo.

For me the Bath course has been a revitalization of my personal Judo.

I am a better person for doing the course, I am a better Judo Coach, I am more deeply involved in Judo and doing more to try an improve Judo.

I know more about Judo as a Sport and most importantly about how Judo is a even more important part of my life.

I also realise that performance Judo is an important part of the bigger picture of Judo.
The process of working to be the best athlete, is a process of self-improvement, which is what Judo is all about right?

I have also had the great honour of meeting many elite Judo athletes; World champions, Olympic champions, Continental and National champions. And you know what, they are some of the most amazing people you can ever meet. And you know what, they are good people and they are doing good work, they are working to try and improve the world they inhabit. Again, is that not the point of Judo according to some of the writings of Jigoro Kano?

The same is true of the coaches I have met. These are people that are totally dedicated to helping others.

I have spent the last 4 years blogging about the course and I have not tried to sell it to anyone other than through my experiences.

And here is where that changes! I want to spend the remaining paragraphs encouraging you (yes you dear reader) to apply to do the course.

The foundation degree ( ) is the best coach education opportunity you can imagine. You will learn all about Judo, from the historical origins of Judo and Kata through to the very latest techniques and training principles.

You will learn from Judo and non-Judo lecturers. You'll come out of it understanding about Judo and sport science and much more.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, then you should apply because you'll know how much I have loved attending Bath.

You will love it too I am sure.

Click through to where you can learn more about the course. You can download the application form ( ... 202008.doc ) and thats all you need to do. Hopefully you'll make it onto the course and you'll be able to grow like I have.

Some folks don't think they are of high enough level to attend, or of too high enough level to attend; this is not true!

Sign up and learn! Do it NOW!

Any questions, give me an email ( ) or contact the course leader Mike Callan ( ).

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University of Bath, Bsc Block 3, Day 9. 

Day 9, the end is nigh!

Today started with Diego taking us through a critique of an academic paper. The top bloke that he is, he brought chocolate! It was good to go through a structure to critique academic papers, we have an assignment that includes doing that so it was very good.

Later Juergen Kilnger soke with us about Player/Coach relationships. I really like Juergen and his way of looking at Judo and coaching. The lecture was good, he has a quite clear and concise view/opinion on how you should respect the players you work with.

Later still we had a lecture with Gavin Reynoldson, looking at how we need to do our assignment critiqueing academic papers. We have not had Gavin before so always good to meet a new tutor.

Last (and most enjoyable), we had our meal out together in Bath. We went to what I gather is the old train station. We had a very pleasant evening with all the students from all the 5 years. We also received certificates signed by Jane Bridge-Charlot, Mike Callan and Kosei Inoue.

Tomorrow is my final day in Bath, not quite the end as we have a thousands of words to write, but the end of the residential block. Ulp!

Nothing more to report right now, expect more melodrama and melancholy tomorrow. :-)
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University of Bath, Bsc Block 3, Day 8.  

Nice short blog today, honest, so my pals upstairs can get on with their meeting. ;-)

So yeah, “World Judo Champion Week” ™ carries on along the same vein. The day started with a Dojo session with Kosei Inoue, as the good folks from Wolverhampton ( put it, “Guess what throw we did today?” Yup, Uchi Mata!


Reviewing the photos confirmed what we saw, Kosei Inoue's Uchi Mata is pretty much identical each and everytime he does it. It is consistent, it is right, it is lovely and looks so easy. In gold they understand this, the idea that your swing should be identical everytime, you are aiming to get as close to “the perfect swing” as you can and to be able to repeat that swing over and over and over.

Inoue's Uchi Mata has that look about it. I suspect if we got the video analysis involved we could prove that his movement is the same everytime. He answered some questions about combinations and being countered and if I can sum up his answer it was/is “I Do Uchi Mata”.
Meaning that if you do it right (i.e. good movement, kuzushi, etc) it will work. Obviously there is more to it than that, but it was clear that the opinion was, just get the throw right, don't worry about tricks too much.

For me the training session was made even better by getting some 1-1 coaching from another World Champion who I have liked since I met her, Loretta Cusack. She and Mike ( started correcting some of the mistakes I was making.

As a black belt one of the things that happens often is people stop coaching you for some reason, perhaps manners. For me as someone who is not very good at “feeling” what I am doing wrong and thrives on verbal feedback, it was fantastic. It can be quite frustrating doing Judo and never getting any coaching, you make mistakes and have bad technique and people don't correct you. But you know you are doing something wrong, but need an outside perspective to describe it and correct it.

So to have some very accurate and perceptive feedback from Loretta and Mike was such a buzz. I came off the mat on a little bit of a high I confess. You would have too if you'd had just been on the mat learning from one World Judo Champion and getting personal coaching from another World Judo Champion. Those of you training with Loretta, count yourselves lucky! (And those with Mike too of course!)

The take away from Kosei's session might be perhaps that sporting cliché that the way to be great is to do the basics better than everyone else. Kosei Inoue's Uchi Mata is quite simply a wonderful plain simple Uchi Mata practised to perfection. For any players who might come across the post, if you want to be a great champion, you could do worse than to mimic Kosei Inoue and perfect your basic technique to a point it is better than the so call advanced stuff.

After the practical session I have to confess I went back to my room and had a siesta, which was much needed as I had stayed up too late the night before working, chatting, helping others, chatting, working and of course blogging. It was a bit of a worry to look at the time at 2am and realise I had to be on the mat first thing with Kosei Inoue!

After my refreshing Siesta I joined my colleagues in the University of Bath library and tried to continue making progress on my assignments for the rest of the day. I should mention at this point that it is pretty amazing to be able to ask the guy on the other side of the table you are sat at about how the Judo World Cups work and have them be able to answer accurately as they are one of the European Judo Union (EJU) Sports Directors, not to mention a British Olympic Association member and Chairman of the national governing body, cheers Densign!

Once again I have been struck by how easy it is to forget the calibre of those on the course with me. We were joking that we could almost write all our assignments just using conversation on the course as references. What is a better source of information on how the World Cup's work, than an EJU sports director?
Progress on assignments is slow but steady which is a good thing I guess.

This evening, I decided to have a play in the Randori session run by Juergen Klinger and of course with Kosei Inoue participating. Being the peak of fitness... not, I took it pretty sensible/easy. Which was good as it gave me time to observe and appreciate the work being done in Bath. It was a solid session with a consistently high work rate with good attack rates and throw rates.

The level in Bath (I think) is higher than when I first started there in 2005. The intensity of the training is higher and the technical level is higher too. I think last summer I commented on the shark like predatory nature of the players in Bath. Which I should add is a positive thing. They look for people to train with, Kosei was being asked to fight by all the players who should be asking the best player in the room. And they gave him stick! They were trying to compete with him, and not being scared of being dumped for 10 (or perhaps 11). Their ability to throw is constantly improving and physically they are fit and robust, able to work hard whilst maintaining technical ability.

Now I am back in my room, determined not to have yet another late night, and looking forward to another busy day in Bath. It is the second to last day and in ways the last “proper” day in Bath. Building up to Friday which is genuinely the last day of my time at Bath. I have no idea what I shall do not spending 4 weeks a year in this environment! I am already sad everytime I think about about not coming here and seeing the familiar faces and enjoying the debates and discussions with some of the top minds in Judo. I had a pang of jealousy today thinking of the first year students who shall be here when I am gone, they are so lucky and like I was in 2005, I doubt they appreciate the amazing thing they have engaged in.

The Foundation and Bsc courses are a unique and special opportunity for all of us lucky enough to have enrolled. You can't do this anywhere else in the world and it is an incredible educational opportunity both in terms of “Academic” learning and “Judo” learning.

One of the reasons I started this little blog way back in 2005 was because I wanted to capture for myself the university degree education experience my parents always told me I should get, and I the foolish young man I was did not pursue when I was younger. University of Bath and the EJU has given me the opportunity to achieve something that would make my late mother very proud I am sure, she supported my wanting to do Judo more than University, but in my heart I think I know that she wanted me to go to Uni. Mike Callan (via Joyce Malley) allowed me to actually fulfil my mum's dream and I am amazingly grateful for this, She missed seeing me start of complete this but I feel amazingly emotional as I write this and consider how she would feel about me sitting her today.

The other reason I decided to blog everyday I attended the FdSc and the Bsc was so that there would be a record of the course from a students perspective that would perhaps be useful to others considering attending the course(s). I have tried to share the experience “warts and all”. Those of you who have followed the blog will know that sometimes I tear into the course (or elements of it at least), so I have not just been pumping out propaganda for the course. I suspect that I am in fact one of the loudest critics.
I have a small sense of pride that I think I am in ways also the loudest voice singing the praises of the course too. I like to think that those who stumble across my posts understand the pros and cons of participating in something as long and challenging as the course(s). It has not been a easy process, I have made it harder of course at times by blogging and sharing my feelings positive and negative about the course, a wiser person perhaps would not have shared as much as I do, but that is not me, I am who am I am and as I state over and over, I “call them as I see them”.

As this final block draws to a close and I shall soon leave and have to complete a stupid amount of words in a silly short amount of time, I feel the aggravation of my peers at the way things run sometimes. The disruptions we have had this block have been maddening! For the University to mess with our course work and our learning environment (Moodle) etc. like this is bordering on unbelievable, after 12 months working on a research assignment to have the goal posts moved as they have is a knightmare! To have the resources moved about randomly on the first day we arrived was insane, we've been here 5 years almost and the Uni thought they'd just change everything on the first day... cheers for that!

I feel the stress of knowing that I need to get good grades to try and crape into a “First”, a “2-1” should be feasible, but I know that we are all trying to hit that 70% and get the first. Not helped by radical change, but as with every block and every year we shall perceiver and in the way of Judo, overcome! We are after all Judoka, we live and breath Judo, it is our lives.

After our session with Kosei Inoue, the nine of us who shall compete the BSc on July 1st posed for a photo with Kosei Inoue. I have spent 4 weeks every year since 2005 with these guys and it was an genuine honour to be part of the photo. That photo shall be framed and take a prominent place in my home where all visitors will see it, and I shall be able to with pride say who each of them was and how great an experience it has been to get to know them and share this experience with them.

Cheers Guys!


P.s. You may notice that I am finding it harder and harder to restrain my introspective reflections on the course, please forgive my sentimentality, but this is an AMAZING course, one that has changed my life in ways that I can't express.

P.p.s. Sorry, I guess I failed to keep this short huh?!
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