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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Impact of the invasion of Ukraine on Judo 

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is making itself felt in Judo.

International Judo is very strong in Europe and Russia in particular is a very influential one. At London2012 the Russian men were incredibly dominant.

Ukraine have a strong Judo pedigree too. Georgie Zantaria and more recently the powerhouse that is Daria Bilodid.

The EJU is commonly called "the engine room" of Judo; and the Russian involvement there is strong. Not least of all the President Sergey Soloveychik who is Russian.

And perhaps most contentious right now, Vladimir Putin is/has been involved in Judo both as a competitor in his younger years and as an ambassador and honorary president since being President of Russia.

It is hard for many of us in the Judo family as we have Judo friends in both Russia and Ukraine. And obviously the IJF and EJU are not involved in the invasion.

However... the times when sport and politics did not mix are decades past. Judo as a sport is dragged into the current situation and with our strong Russian connections it's been very complicated I am sure. It's way above my level of involvement of course.

The first real impact was the IJF cancellation of events in Russia. Followed by the suspension of Vladimir Putin as honorary president and ambassador. And most recently... Russian athletes will no longer be able to compete under the flag of Russia and will be allowed to compete under the IJF flag and anthem.

The EJU has also cancelled events in Russia and Ukraine. And president Soloveychik has resigned his position as president. Further impact has been the suspension of sponsors of the EJU by Russian businesses.

These are the superficial, visible, technical impacts.

The deeper impact is still being felt and will continue to be felt. Many Judoka will lose their lives and lifestyles. Some will be made refugees and facilities and opportunities for athletes in both countries will be negatively impacted.

Those of us watching from a distance will not be able to imagine the horrible situations that people will find themselves in.

I wish all the wider Judo family peace and good will and hope this terrible situation ends as rapidly as possible.

Stay safe my Judo friends!

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Come back Judo!! :-( 

It's February 2022... and this site has been gathering dust. And whoah what a time it has been as a Judo coach.

On March 16 2020, I closed my Judo club due to the COVID pandemic. This what shortly before the nationwide "lock-down" here in the UK.

And just short of two years later the club remains closed as the latest wave of virus starts to fade and we hope the last.

Unfortunately, my club has as small dojo with pretty poor ventilation. So, unlike some clubs we have not re-opened. I am particularly cautious; so have been taking it very slowly in regard to returning to the tatami.

I have not traveled for Judo since the Tel Aviv competition in 2020.

If you know me at all, you will appreciate how much this is a change in my life. I started Judo as a child and has this is the longest I have ever been off the tatami.

Currently I am building a software application to run Kata Competitions. It has been an enjoyable side project; I shall be open sourcing the code once it's a bit more developed than it is now.

Other Judo projects are still ticking along or being refreshed at the moment. One of the drivers to write this post is that I am refreshing many of my broken sites. got a complete rewrite (Judo news website). is running quietly in the background (Judo training diary). got re-written into Elm (World Ranking list app).

My Webservice::Judobase library has had a little attention and it's been nice to assist researchers trying to improve our art and sport. I also used it to calculate an estimate of the IJF World Tour carbon footprint which was interesting.

I did some live streams during the lockdowns. A couple of experimental "Watch Party" events which were a blast to work on.

So it's been surprisingly busy; especially when layers on top of managing a development team as we went into lockdown and transition to remote work. I more recently changed company and am working on new challenges.

Anyway... I hope to keep working on some of the neglected projects, I still think of reboot the podcast; we shall see.

Stay tuned... say hello.

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An update for mid 2019 

Hi everyone!

So things have been super interesting Judo speaking. Since I last wrote (September last year 2018) I have been doing a lot of Judo and experiencing lots of changes.

Since I last wrote I have attended a bunch of Judo competitions:

* Bahamas World Junior Judo Championships
* Perth Oceania Open
* Dusseldorf Grand Prix
* Baku Grand Slam
* Hohhot Grand Prix
* Lausanne SPOT Conference
* Minsk European Games/Championships
* Budapest Grand Prix
* Zagreb Grand Prix

And I'll soon be off to Tokyo for the World Championsips and IJF congress.

I am amazingly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with amazing people and experience the collaboration with my IJF family and the local Judo families.

Since December I have been involved in running the website. This is a big game where you choose a team of 14 athletes for each Judo competition and are given points based on how your team performs. Try it out! It's a little hard at the moment as match fixing regulations mean we can only open events after the draw.

From actual doing Judo perspective... the club grew and changed and morphed and I enjoyed it. I did not get to do enough Judo myself; but that is the cost of being the coach I guess.

This year after 9 years unfortunately we have lost our venue and the generous support of Solent University. So currently the club is closed as we look for a new opportunity.

It is a time to reflect and decide what comes next.

Recently, whilst away in Budapest I discovered the former World Champion Craig Fallon had passed away suddenly.

His funeral has just happened here in the UK and the entire Judo community is mourning, myself included.

I hope he is able to Rest in Peace and that all those affected by the loss of this champion are being supported and will grieve and recover and take the positives from Craig's life forward and use the good memories they have of him to be greater and to be a positive change in the world.

RIP Craig!!

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Exploring the Itsutsu no kata 

For the past few weeks in the club I teach at we have been exploring the Itsutsu no kata.

I do not know the kata, so the process of teaching it has been one of joint exploration. What do I mean?

What I mean is that in each session, we delve a little deeper into the kata together. Rather than having an expert tell us what to do, as a group we are discovering what to do.

We are getting the movements and mechanics now, and each week we understand a little more and read a little more. So as well as the footwork, we learn a little of the history.

As well as the angles, we discuss the application and interpretation of what we are doing.

Having a small narrow dojo, we are adjusting and that makes it more difficult but also easier in other ways; as we physically can't do it perfectly. So we don't worry about "perfect"; we focus on better than last time.

As we dig deeper we watch more video; both people doing the kata and people teaching the kata. Again, as we don't know the kata well we are identifying the differences between how others do the kata.

We see timing differences, directional differences, "emotional" differences. The emotional side has been interesting for me to observe; each pairing puts emphasis on different movements.

As ever kata is proving educational and enjoyable. If you are not doing kata in your club you really should give it a go. In our club we all do kata, not just high grades. Exploring Judo via kata for me is key not just for experienced judoka.

Give it a go!
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Tokyo2020 Judo QUalification starts soon!! 

May 25th 2018, is a key date that every national programme has a huge red entry on the calendar.


Because the 25th of May 2018 is the day that qualification begins for the Tokyo2020 Olympic Judo competition.

The qualification period then ends on May 24th 2020, at which point we will know who will be competing at the biggest Judo event in history.

Qualification is also being used for the new Olympic Judo Team event, so teams wanting to win a medal in that will need to ensure they have enough athletes qualified to make a team entry viable.

There will be a little under 400 Judo athletes in Tokyo and as we have seen in previous games; the ranking list position is key.

Unlike previous years, the top 18 men and top 18 women are direct qualified, then the continental quotas, then "wildcards".

And again, the host nation Japan gets 14 athletes. The past three Olympics have different dynamics for the qualification as a result.

For London2012, the hosts benefited immensely by the 14 host spots in terms of getting athletes into the event. Brazil for the Rio2016 games were a strong Judo nation, but not as much of a powerhouse as Japan.

Japan will be able to enter 14 athletes, no matter where they rank. So it will be interesting to see what athletes compete where and how often in the qualification period.

As with other cycles, it will be a fascinating 2 years, with every win being vital and positioning around that 18th spot hotly contested as we get closer and closer to the games.

For Judo addicts like us (if you are reading this, I'm assuming your are a voracious Judo reader) this is a special time, every event has importance and can be hotly debated and explored.

To all the athletes is the WRL, I want to wish you all the best of luck! I look forward to watching all of you in the run up to Tokyo2020.


Extra reading:

Tokyo 2020 Qualification Rules via the new IJF website.
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