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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A comparison between two Judo events. 

So, recently two Judo events were held, the 2008 Senior British Trials and the Heartland Team Championships. I thought I'd compare and contrast, in my own entirely biased way... so don't expect this to be a stunning endorsement of the BJA. ;-)

So I shall start by making it even more clear that I am biased. The Heartland even was organised by Mike Darter, the man behind which was and still is the inspiration for my own podcast. Mike's an innovator and the BJA is a large organisation.

I should also state that I did not attend either event, the Heartland event was in Oklahoma City in the USA. The British Trials in Sheffield, here in England.

What I shan't be comparing is the differences between a team event and individual competition. Nor between British Judo and American Judo. It is also not about number of players, quality of players, etc. Although, argueably the British Trials would be a bigger/better event in each case. As there were current Olympians at the trials and (I think) more players and more mats.

But, lets look at some other things; more in my area of fascination.

So lets start off with the website:

Easy win for the Heartland event here, they have a website; as far as I have been able to find the Trials do not. Although you could argue that the B.J.A. website is the website for the trials.

Now... I am going to say that the BJA site is the Trials site.
So it's late sunday night and the amount of information available of the event is.... Zero.

If we compare this with the Heartland event. Live streamed video. Full results, Free team photos and professional photographer covering the whole event.

So, shall I compare anything else.... do you think it is worth it?

No... neither do I.

So this is basically the point of my post.
Mike and his colleagues managed to put together a far superior presence and (most probably) more enjoyable event than the much larger BJA. Now Mike is self-funded, the BJA has lottery funding, membership fees and of course revenue from elsewhere such as their Merchandising efforts (lets not discuss that! Ask me one day about the new clothing line the BJA have put out yeah?).

Mike vs. the BJA.
David vs. Goliath.

To be honest, it is an unfair comparison. Mike is a innovator, the BJA is a bureaucracy.
That said... the BJA should (in my opinion at least) be able to do better than Mike. I suspect the issue here is that the BJA (probably) didn't even try and put a web presence together. They are far from digital natives after all. And to be frank they probably farmed the organisation off on an area committee.

So why am I bothering to piss off the BJA by comparing it to a small event on Oklahoma City and saying that the small event was better??

Because I think that it is important to highlight that the BJA should be doing better on the web, I have (many times) bemoaned the BJA website failings. In this day and age, the BJA needs to be properly engaged with it's "customers" aka "members" via the web.

The internet is the place we look for information, entertainment, news, etc. It is where we find things, its where we stay connected, especially if you are a young person like the majority of the BJA membership.

Mike put together his event and integral to it was the website.
From before it had a name, he considered and started planning what he could do online. Then he bought a domain, got a logo madeup, put a site online. THEN he secured a venue, got entries etc etc.

Consider for a moment the monumental difference in approach here.
The website in Oklahoma came before almost everything else, it was/is a key component of the event. Contrast that with the website-less British Trials.

I would like you to Google both events for me. Come back and in the comments (or via email) let me know what you find. Tell me what your reaction to the Heartland Team event is. Tell me how many people will visit the Heartland site and see the videos? How many people will gain from that, get a positive experience, tell a friend, enter next year?

Let me know please. BJA folk (and I know you are lurking out there, not commenting on the site) let me know why one guy in Oklahoma City can kick your butt?

So, off you go folks, see what you can find on both events, come back and tell me what you think. To get you started below is a video from Mike's site. It's hosted on a free web service which makes it easy for me to share it here, nice huh!

P.s. Thats Mike in the third image, on the right. ;-)
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Norwich Premier Judo Club gets a new home! 

My colleague at University of Bath and fellow EJU Level 4 Judo coach, Nigel Thompson made the news yesterday, when his club secured new premises.

The Judo Club has seemingly been chasing the building for quite some time. So it is excellent news. Hopefully it means Nigel gets a permanent mat area and will be able to do great stuff there.

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More thoughts on an Open Source Judo system. 

here are some more thoughts on what I think would be a brilliant project, an Open Source Judo software package.

Platform: Web based, with formatting for iPhone/Mobile.

. Members DB
. Class register
. Fees
. Contest management, entries etc.
. Contest scoreboard
. Contest draws
. Contest results
. Coaching programme management (Class plans etc)
. Athlete programme management (Periodisation, testing, etc)
. Grading records
. Syllabus management
. Communication. Newsletters, PR, social networking etc
. Rankings
. Calendar management
. Grading management
. Certification management (coaches, officials etc).
. Education - provide tools to teach for certifications, classes etc.

. PHP (it is the "working mans" language) large developer base.
. CakePHP - Good solid MVC Framework.
. MySQL or XML. how to store the data and at what cost? Avoiding a DB "might" improve portability??
. OAuth - For authentication between installs
. XML - Data transfers, Data exprts, etc.

. OPEN - Open Source, so we can leverage a large pool of talent and it can benefit all Judoka. Also open standards so XML, JSON, RSS, etc.
. Federated - Make it possible/easy to share data between isstallation where relevant
. Secure/Private - Ensure all sharing/federating is done securely and that the users know its being shared and control it.
. Modular - Make a core and then create modules. So a club will have a set of modules, a tournament a different set, NGB another.
. Multi-lingual - Judo is a global sport so we need to support languages from the start.

As it seems to me, the idea would be to build a core system, that allows modules to be simply added and removed via the system. Federation and user management would be in the core app. Functionality pertaining to the activities of a club, player, coach, NGB, tournament organiser would be included in modules.

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Judo Podcast CDs  

Hi All,

I have created some CDs for podcast episodes from starting with the first series. They are available on

This is the first time I have used Lulu, so I'd appreciate any feedback.

By the way I found a book on Judo games on Lulu also, looks interesting, anyone have it? ( )

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Draft article on referencing for your consideration. 

Hi everyone,
below is a short draft article I am writing for a Judo coaching course, I woudl appreciate your opinions/comments on it. It is a very early draft so your polish would be much appreciated.

What I am trying to do is explain why writing with references is important and worthwhile, I think I am missing the mark at the moment, do you agree?



Judo coaches are entrusted with educating their students, this is a responsibility that we should treat with great seriousness.
What we tell students is taken as fact and should be exactly that; yet how do we know or show that what we say is fact and not an old wives tale?
Referencing... that's how.

Referencing is the discipline of showing where your information comes from. Rather than just saying that Judo was created in 1882, you need to say where you you learnt this little fact.
So where did you learn this fact? Who said this?
This source of the information is your reference, you need to "cite" your reference in your writing and then list all the references at the end of what you write.

By providing these citations and your reference list, you show where your information comes from. You show where you learned, you provide a path that another coach could follow.
This could be so that they could check your facts, or simple so they have a better understanding of your train of thought. Of course, it also gives them a good reading list should they want to learn more about the areas you are writing about.

It is also good manners and an important way of showing respect for the people who have provided the knowledge that you are sharing.
It is also important academically to show what is your opinions or findings and what is the work of others. You do not with to steal others works, referencing others works in your work, shows this.

How to cite a reference:
Now this is slightly tricky as there are a variety of methods of referencing. There is the AMA method where a simple number in superscript is added to the text and the number refers to the source listed at the end of the document. At the University of Bath (on the Judo courses) we are using the APA method. In the APA method we need to include in the text of your work the name of the author(s) and the year the source was published. At the end of your document you list all your references by the authors last name.

Now to cite a reference that said that Jigoro Kano founded the Kodokan in 1882, you might cite of of the many books that include this fact like this:

Jigoro Kano founded the Kodokan in 1882 (Kashiwazaki & Nakanishi, 1992)⁠ .

or better yet you might cite several sources, which adds more weight and authenticity to what you are stating, better yet, you might phrase what you are stating as their opinion after all they might be wrong, you would do this as follows:

Jigoro Kano founded the Kodokan in 1882 according to Kashiwazaki & Nakanishi (1992)⁠ and this is supported by other authors (James Pedro, Jimmy Pedro, & Durbin, 2001; Sterkowicz & Maslej, 1999; Villamon, Brown, Espartero, & Gutierrez, 2004)⁠.

As you can see, you can use the authors name in the text and just put the publication date in brackets, you can also put a collection of authors together.
At the end of your document you then need to list all the references, something like this:

Kashiwazaki, K., & Nakanishi, H. (1992). Attacking Judo (p. 136). Ippon Books.
Pedro, J., Pedro, J., & Durbin, W. (2001). Judo Techniques & Tactics (p. 192). Human Kinetics.
Sterkowicz, S., & Maslej, P. (1999). An evaluation of the technical and tactical aspects of judo matches at the senior level.
Villamon, M., Brown, D., Espartero, J., & Gutierrez, C. (2004). Reflexive Modernization and the Disembedding of Judo from 1946 to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 39(2), 139-156. doi: 10.1177/1012690204043458.

You can probably tell by now that to wrote in this manner takes time and energy. The easiest way to make your life easier is to maintain a database of your references and use that database to write your citations and reference list. There are several products that can do this, including the build in system in Word 2007. T system I use and recommend is a free software package called Zotero.

Zotero consists of two components, a plugin for the (also free) Firefox web browser and extensions for Word or Open Office, that adds the citations and reference lists to your work. having the software in Firefox is handy as it is often from the internet you shall find academic papers. of course you can add books or other non electronic references by hand. Once the information is in the database, you are able to access it from buttons within Word or Open Office.

The process of installing these software packages I shall show in a later post. But it is pretty easy, so please do visit and try it for yourself.


As a coach in the modern day and age, the time has passed when you could simply say something as a fact without stating where you learned what you are saying.
You are able to cite all sorts of sources, such as videos, lectures, workshops, DVDs, CD-ROMs, Websites, etc.

Hopefully this article has helped explain why referencing is so important and why it has value to you, your colleagues and your students.
I look forward to seeing more Judo articles that are referenced and to following the clues (citations) you leave behind so I can understand your thinking even better.


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