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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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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