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, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 6.  

Hello everyone, I am really surprised sometimes by quite how many people are following my little journey towards a decent Judo education. So thanks for being with me and I hope you get something from the posts.

Today is Monday here in Bath and back to the lectures after a weekend of comparative calm. For us on the honours degree course today was a killer start back, 4 lectures in a row in the same room!

first up was a session on "Management, Theory and Methods of Communication" by Sara Hale, who took us last week for a recruitment lecture, whee she made the suggestion that employers might search FaceBook for you. This was interesting based on some of the comments I have made both on my lecture of last block and also my experiences in blogging and how what you express/share online can have negative effects.

Second was a the first of two lectures with Mike Callan. This session was on how we should proceed with the remainder of out research projects. At present I have a Gantt chart that has me completing it in May... DOH! Some refinement needed there to make the April completion date then.

The second session with mike was immediately after lunch and was on Recruitment and Selection Processes. This was really interesting as Mike spoke about the process of recruiting Juergen and the teaching fellows into Bath. Mike really gets recruitment and it is much smarter than the CV database scanning that I see in other sectors here in the UK. The whole sitting at the Athens Olympic Judo and saying "Somewhere in this hall is the next head coach of Bath" was really cool and intelligent. The idea that the person of suitable abilities and aptitude would be someone who made the effort to be there really got me, and made me regret even more not trying to get to Beijing.

Lastly we had a session with Patrick Roux on Managing the coaches/managing the plan. In this sessionwe did a lot of the work ourselves in groups. Where we eneded up covering a variety of concepts towards managing performance one might say.
After the lecture we decied how we are going to tackle our group assessment project for this module.

Lastly this evening was the Randori session.
Great to see a clutch of players from Gosport! There were something like 50+ people on the mat and the quality was as always good. I had some good rumbles, sadly the break I have had since the masters has not helped the fitness and I was decidedly purple for a vast majority of the randori! But you know thats haf the fun! What was also fun was doing a little Capoeira with Jo, reminds me i should pack all this Judo stuff in and got do Capoeira again whilst I have a hope of learning some cool acrobatics still. ;-)

Later I repeated (this time to Patrick) my feeling that a good Randori has almost the same emotional feeling to a good Roda in Capoeira. The similarities are quite scary and Patrick seemed to agree

Later I shared a few beers with my fellow students and arranged some "Noodles" with Mas, hopefully it will pay off as it did last week. Talking Judo with the people in Bath is such a pleasure, and to be frank a privilege. I get to speak such a variety of people and learn as much out of lectures as I ever do in the lectures themselves. The people I now consider friends are some of the best educated judo people around and all have unique areas where I learn from them! It is amazing to sit with a bunch of "lads" whose conversation ranges from football and beers through to the history of Judo and the various editions of books they have from the turn of the century and how certain authors influenced things in certain ways. And then of course back to the appropriate amount of butter to have on stove cooked toast. ;-)

Gosh, we have two Judo sessions (practical tomorrow so I must away to my bed!) I am looking forward very much to Emanuela Pierantozzi's practical session and her keynote lecture.

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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 5.  

Hi everyone, well here we are at the end of Week 1 of this the second residential block of my BSc at University of Bath. Feels like the week has flown by, yet I still I have been here for months although I only arrived about this time last week.

Today I did a terrible thing, instead of hitting the first two lectures of the day, I hid in my room and worked on my Methodology for my research project some more. Shame too as it meant missing out on Syd Hoare's lectures. Syd did a classroom based lecture on "Judo Strategies" and a Dojo based one on "Judo situations" which I missed. Sounds like it was full of history and some was really interesting.

Having cleared the decks of my assignments I returned to the land of the living in the afternoon with a lecture by Sara Hale on "Internal recruitment Advantages and Disadvantages". To be fair it was more of an overview of the recruitment process. Though the part covering the internal recruitment area was interesting when you looked at it with your Judo hat and thought about how "internal" Judo recruitment (for jobs) is really and how this might not be the best way of doing things as it precludes talented people outside the sport.

We looked at a actual job advert for a Judo job and rewrote the advert following the principles discussed and also talked about the role and some of the issues about how the advert related. really interesting.

Then we had Jane Bridge takinga session on tactics in the Dojo. It was a great session actually, first we had a play with soem scenarios Jane gave us on slips of paper. Looking at the situation and how we might deal with it. Things like in my case a playr who does not take a grip but either footsweeps constantly or does lots of leg grabs... how do you cope with it. The other situation I was presented was a player you was a counter specialist.

We then sat down and discussed the situations and the issues to overcome and the variables that were in effect and their effect also. For example one group were presented the scenario of "playing the edge". We all discussed how that might affect a Judo fight, how both players might be affected or use it to affect the result of the fight. For example using the edge to get a reaction so you could throw with Seoi Nage. Or with the new dynamic edge rule, how you could get advantage by attacking in a way that took you outside the area. Maybe using the new dynamic edge so you could attack outside the area, where (at least for now) most people would not expect an attack to come from.
During the discussion, we talked about a bunch of things (as you tend to do in that environment), one of the things we discussed (not sure why) was about if a coach in Judo had to be a Judo coach/player? Mixed opinions of course, but an interesting discussion ensued around Johnny Wilkinson and the process of his kicking a ball and how in ways it is not that dissimilar to the process of going from your line at Hajime and throwing. Could Judo benefit from that training that allows Johnny (or of course the legend that is Dan Carter!!!!) to kick that well, that regularly?
Could a tennis coach bring a better performance out of a Judo player?

The lecture/session was just the right thing for a Friday afternoon, especially a friday where we all had this large and important assignment to get in. I really enjoyed having a little run about and losing some tension by doing a little practical. Then the discussion was really great. Everyone was positive and receptive to discussing scenarios, a real pleasure to bounce ideas around with people. Jane did a great job of delivering a relaxed session that we all enjoyed, perfect level for us I thought.

Obviously I was not the only one doing assignment work at the expense of lectures as the numbers were pretty low all day. In fact I think you had to work pretty hard to see a Judoka at times walking around.

So... with that assignment out of the way I am free to turn my attention to the two pieces of work we have to deliver/hand in next week and start on some of the other ones also. That'll keep me out of trouble over the weekend i am sure.

I hope to spend some time prectising watching Judo fight and describing what happens this weekend. This serves two purposes, first it will help me for the assessment next week where we have to observe a fight, then 20 minutes later describe the fight to someone covering styles, gripping methods, tactics and strategies, probably giving some ideas on how both players might have acted that would have affected their performance/result.
It is also good praqctise for the 2008 Olympic Games Judo being held in Beijing, as with i am helping to try and cover the action on

Anyway... it is Friday night and I am... heading to bed! It's beena long hard week in ways and I am knackered, so off to bed for me.
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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 4.  

Well I should call this entry case of the disappearing Kiwi, day four here at University of Bath was kinda frustrating. It all started well, but went pear shaped shortly after breakfast.

Rather than get to my first lecture, I got sidetracked helping other people try and get some video footage usable for a presentation they are doing next week. We then had two tutorial/study time slots, one before and one after lunch. I was able to spend quite a bit of time knocking my methodology for my research project into shape with the odd interruption.

At the end of the study time after lunch I was with a fellow student reviewing one anothers assignment, I hurried up to my room to grab my Judogi but got nabbed on the way up by several differents sets of people. In the end I only managed to get to my room 15-20 minutes or so after the dojo session had started. So being late already and having a 5 minute walk to the dojo, I sat down in my room and worked on... you guessed it the methodology.

Later I worked on the assignment till about 6:30pm, then popped out for a bit of food, then... yes... i worked on the assignment again. At a about 10pm I popped down to the bar and spoke with someone who had visited my room around 7:30. Sadly he had spotted me checking my word count and told me what it was when he was there, which was ever so slightly less than what it had been when I left my room. Obviously my editing hopefully means the text is better, but frustrating to spend that much time on something and have less to show for it.

Whilst out in the evening my disappearance from sessions/dojo/lectures was noted. :(
Friday is looking as bad for absenteeism, the methodology is the base upon which my research into attack rates, scoring and victory in elite Judo will be built on; so I am perhaps overly focused on trying to get it right.

This obsession is both because I want to get it right and because it needs to be in on Friday and I want to get a reasonable grade to go with the ok grade I got for the literature review.

Oh well... next week looks a bit more civilised for me. :)

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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 3.  

Hi Everyone, day three of the block and a good one too.

The day started with a key keynote Lecture with Yves Cadot on the life of Jigoro Kano. It was very interesting, being based on Yves' PHD thesis the lecture was based on scientific principles... i.e. Evidence.

So hearing the story of Jigoro Kano's life based on eveidence was really a treat. Unlike much of the "History" we learn via word of mouth, Yves' histry of his life is based on written records and in fact agreed with much of the "received opinion" on Jigoro Kano's background.

I was also fortunate in the evening to met Yves having a coffee and was able to ask him some questions about the relationships between Jigoro Kano and Funakoshi-Sensei of Karate and Ueshiba-Senei and get answers based in written records, not legend.

Something that was of interest was Yves' opinion that Jigoro Kano never wrote anything for or against Judo being included as an Olympic sport. Though some of the other writings of Jigoro kano could be interpreted as indicating that perhaps the "sport" aspect of Judo was not what he wanted. Specifically Yves' spoke about how very near the end of Kano-Sensei's life he wrote about wanting to hold courses to improve the way Randori was being practiced.

Now, perhaps this is all based on Yves' biases, but it was refreshing to have a discussion about Jioro Kano that was based on evidence rather than legend. Too often I hear people use phrases like "Kano siad..." or "Kano thought..." which is not referenced to a specific piece of evidence. Perhaps it is being on the course and developing a more scientific method that makes me appreciate it?

The keynote was followed by a session with Mike Callan on "Managing Information" which was primarily to help us prepare for one of our assessments. It was good to examine management structures and relate them to Judo examples.

The afternoon was primarily tutorials and I was able to get my laptop working again, :) I was also able to spend some time working on the methodology for my research project. To that end I had a tutorial with Mike Callan and was able to discuss the direction and logistics of my project and that helped me get it heading in the right direction.

The evening as always was an opportunity to chat with the other people on the course and learn from their acivities and opinions.

As you'll have been able to detect from the words so far, I enjoyed Yves' lecture somewhat. Sure it was histry and that can be a hard subject to maintain focus on over the duration of a lecture. However, I found it really interesting and meeting him in the afternoon/evening was even better as I had the opportunity to ask and discuss aspects of Judo that only someone who had dedicated such effort to researching could answer, Yves has indicated that he is willing to come on the podcast and share some of his evidence based history of Jigoro Kano; I am really looking forward to capturing that in audio!

So all in all, a working laptop and a producive day and a excellent keynote made for another good day in Bath. Oh and winning the sweepstake was good too! :)
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University of Bath, Judo BSc. Block 2, Day 2.  

Hi everyone, well I am posting this a little late due to problems with my laptop, note to self: Do not install Sophos on my laptop again. Anyway... so here is a quick summary of what we did on the second day here on the BSc course.

The day started with Patrick Roux covering an Introduction to Managing Information, where he covered the assessment assignment. This was followed by Mike Callan talking about Managing Performance and strategies to develop structures for elite performance.

After lunch Mike Callan gave us a lecture on doing our methodology report for our Research method. We went through a variety of methodology sections of some academic papers, helped quite a lot in getting a handle on what the assignment we have to do should contain.

After a short break we had a really interesting keynote lecture by Jean Fournier on mental preparation. It was quite heavy going in spots, but fascinating! Really interesting how important mental preparation and yet it is not part of any coaching system I am aware of in Judo. Jean showed a couple of really great applications Junior Judoka which highlighted that including mental skills in a Judo syllabus would not necessarily be difficult.

One physical exercise for relaxation and/or activation was the "Spaghetti game". basically this is where you would get kids to tense say their arm, so it is entirely rigid. Like dry spaghetti. Then get them to make their arms go relaxed and floppy like wet/cooked spaghetti.

The other exercise that I really liked was the idea of incorporating mental rehearsal/imagery training into standard Uchi Komi. The class does say a set of 5 uchi komi then they do a 6th uchi komi in their heads.
Such a simple yet effective way getting them started on the mental preparation.

One of the things Jean mentioned was that like anything in Judo, mental skills need to be practised BEFORE the event. I extrapolate that to say that like throws, people could/should be starting of doing mental preparation early on (as kids or yellow belts).

Anyway... last of all we got our grades back from the April block.
They were okay, I am quite happy that the Literature review got both a good grade and good comments. Fills me with a little more confidence writing the methodology that I have an idea of what I am doing. the other assignments were either about what I had hoped for or in fact higher, so I am pretty happy. :-)

Anyway, I am actually typing this on day three, and I should be working on assignments right now, so I had better go...

Oh P.S. I have added Keith Morgan's Quest for Gold blog to the feed after AnnMaria De Mars blogged about it.
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