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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British Interservices Judo Competition 2007 + RWJL thhoughts. 

Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend the Interservices Judo Competition at the British Army PT college in Aldershot.

The event is one I have been to before both when hosted by the Army as in this case and down in Portsmouth when hosted by the Royal Navy. The event has always been one of my favorite Judo competitions. Unlike most events, the interservices has many many years of history and rivalry between the RAF, Army and Navy. The Team fights are the highlight and I always enjoy the competitions.

I enjoyed the event and the Navy did well despite having the smallest team there. The lack of players meant that the other teams had quite a few occasions where the Navy was unable field a full team and gave away fights in the team events.

The interservices is a great event that I think other tournaments could learn from. The team format is excellent and having both Dan grade and Kyu grade works well. Dan grade is actually brown Belt and up, separating the more advanced players from the lower grades is excellent as it gives the lower grades something worthwhile to compete in, where they can win fights for the team.

Mike, over at has been talking about hosting a competition and making it a team event, I hope he does as the more I look at the format, the more it makes sense to me. Another friend of mine helps run a team league here in the UK for juniors and it seems to work well as well.

One of the nice things about the Interservices is that the levels are fairly well matched. One of our Navy players has only been doing Judo for 4 weeks, yet managed to win 2 of his 4 fights. That is awesome!

Working on the WWW.RWJL.NET site/project has had me thinking about this sort of thing. The idea behind the RWJL is to allow us all to find people in our ability range to fight, the idea is to use the ELO ranking system to sort players by their results.

My idea is that you will be able to visit the site, find your name and next to you see players of your approximate ability. The ELO system basically gives starting players a standard base score say 1500. Then you get points for wins and lose them if you lose a match. The interesting thing is that it is not a fixed amount you gain/lose, the amount changes depending on how far above/below you the other player is.

What this does, is reward people who win fights against players who should beat them. It gives them a smaller reward for easier fights closer or below their level. The ELO system "should" prevent people picking on "newbies" or fighting below their ability all the time. It is a mature ranking system used primarily in Chess, but also in adapted forms in other areas including XBOX Live.

Progress on the RWJL is progressing slowly but steadily and with increasing pace. I am using the CakePHP framework, which I have not used in the past, so it has been a learning curve. I have however almost got it sorted in my head (associations are still not quite right in my head) and have not prototyped the majority of the basic code, except for the ELO ranking itself.

I foresee something "Alpha" getting finished over the Christmas period, so if you are interested in helping out with testing it, let me know.

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World Masters Training, Week Summary 15/46.  

Hi all, life is about ups and downs... this week was a down.
This week for a variety of reason I did no Judo till this evening (Sunday), which is a bit rubbish. I do now have a "suitable" excuse, except feeling a bit rubbish all week.

Which raises an important issue for coaches.
Emotionally/psychologically all players will reach a point like me, where they are just "not in the game". A state where they don't want to train any more, not because they are bad people, not lazy, no unmotivated.

As a coach, you need to be aware that players will have this occur to them and how you and they deal with it will be important to how the player develops. How you deal with the situation is going to be different in each and every case.

Personally, I believe that how you deal with the situation is entirely dependent on quality and type of relationship you maintain with your player. Generally, I would recommend being accepting of the players demotivation and be aware that it will be a short-term situation.

It is unlikely that adding your negativity to the situation is going to assist your player escape from this state.

Now is the time to adjust your training micro-cycle, perhaps with something radically different and fun? Maybe, just a break all together?

You may also want to consider some longer-term changes to your training programme. Although these sorts "downers" are to be expected, they may also being brought on by faults in your training programme. All training programmes's are fluid things, you need to be adjusting them all the time, raising the intensity, or lowering it. Varying it to best suit your player and their current condition.

One final thing I'll add is that the "downer" may not be a result of your training training programme at all. It might be their work/personal life causing it. Again, it depends on your relationship with the player and your approach to coaching how you deal with that; but that's a whole kettle new of fish. :)

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World Masters Training, Week Summary 14/46.  

This week I have had a pretty good week, with some "dips".
Monday I headed along to Paul Jones' session, which I love attending. The club has a very close family feel which I feel very welcome in.

Tuesday, I headed out for an evening run, 4 miles, 45 minutes.
I probably shouldn't have gone for the run and my left leg in particular became quite sore early on and felt rather weak afterwards (and sore).

Wednesday was a rest day.

Thursday I went to Gosport Judo club and enjoyed myself, with the exception of catching a knee to the shin of my left leg (which was sore from Tuesday). OUCH!
Mick changed the format of the session a bit and we did quite a bit of Uchi Komi in threes, running from one partner to the other. It was pretty long and intense so physically challenging, just what my unfit body needs! :)

Friday I did nothing.
Saturday, I have been for a five mile run (58 minutes). My left leg held up pretty well, except for about half way where there is a slow bit/rest. My left leg was really weak and felt like it might collapse. I picked up the pace in the next interval in the session and everything was okay but it was a bit scary.

Sunday I'll be resting.

In the past few of weeks, I have been noticing the lack of throwing in my Judo and that of those I train with/around. As some will know, I trained in Japan when I was younger (over a decade ago) and there all I saw and felt was people being thrown all the time.

Here I see lots (way too much often) grip fighting, followed by some half hearted attacks, but very little full attacks or throws.

Now, I am as bad as anyone else I might be insulting here, probably worse as I have a "poachers" style. I tend to foot sweep people who give me an opportunity through error. Of course this means I tend to plod about on the mat waiting for them to do something first.

What I have been observing though is that people don't try to throw enough, and I suspect it is affecting their development. Players practice a lot of their gripping and less of their turning in for attacks, but if you were to count the time spent on all the training you I think would find that genuine attacks and actual throws are a tiny minority of the time spent in training.

Given that a vast majority of our time is NOT spent on throwing, it is hardly surprising that we struggle to throw people. I know I am trying to increase the number of quality attacks I make in a session and want to try make all my attacks actual throws; as in throws that end up with my partner on the floor.

What have others observed, what would be the percentages in your training sessions?

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Congrats MIKE! 

Mike over at has just had another daughter, "Aysa Marie Darter", who joins the Judo world!

Congrats Darter Family!
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World Masters Training, Week Summary 13/46. 

Well, this week I started upping the training load.
Monday I attended Paul's session and it was good, I did rather knacker my little toe which was, literally, a pain!

Wednesday, I did a 4 mile run (45 minutes), which was in the evening and in the rain. You might think that it was horrible, but I really enjoyed it. It's been a while since I've been running at night and t was really enjoyable. I felt strong all the way around, even on the uphills.

Thursday, I went down to Gosport Judo Club again and three of the crew from Paul Jones' Monday class came down from Basingstoke and did some training. It was terrific of them to come down, Paul suggested they come down on Monday and some did that was great of them.
It was in part a return trip as Pete came up to Paul's Monday class a couple of weeks back. It's one of the great things about Judo, the openess, I have never come across or heard of a club where you couldn't go along for a train.

Also... I don't think I ever trained somewhere where I didn't learn something. You can train with the absolute expert instructor on a specific technique for years and not "get it". Then do a single session training with someone else who through their unique way of doing things, you can suddenly get it.

The only downside to Thursday's session was that by a combination poor discilpline in terms of sleep and maybe the run the night before, I felt really tired.

I missed my Saturday run due being in London visiting a good Judo friend.

Anyway, as i said last week, I think the load has been too low, so this week I tried to add a midweek run and am hoping to stick to the Monday/Thursday Judo sessions as both are reasonably demanding physically. We'll see how it goes.

I'd just like to thank the guys from Basingstoke for coming down to Gosport, and to Gosport for making them welcome.

Till next time,

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