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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Open Source Development for Sport and Judo 

Last week I posted a job description for a Community Manager for Judo ( HERE ). It has been interesting to watch the statistics and read the emails that came as a result.

For those of you who didn't realize, the role does not (yet) exist, but it should.

communities already exist
Those of you who know me, or read the blog frequently will know that I believe strongly in open source and in community development. What people often do not realise is that I believe what works in IT also can work in Judo/sport. In fact the reasons it works for IT are the reasons it will work for sport and for our sport, Judo.

Open Source is a collaborative process where interested parties contribute to a project to create something greater than the sum of all the contributions. In the Judo world we see this all the time. A Gold Medal is the product not of one man or woman's efforts but of years and years of contributions from the people involved with that player.

In a wider view, the Judo and sports associations are again typically not the effort of one person, but of a group of like minded individuals.

I doubt many of you reading this are disagreeing with me so far, it is common sense; if we work together we achieve more than if we work independently or worse against each other.

So why do I so often see Judo (and sport) tearing itself apart?

The easy answer is "politics". Another common answer is "self-interest". But for me these are excuses not genuine reasons for the problems we encounter. In the world of Open Source it is the same, people have their own agendas and also politics has an effect. Yet Open Source is dominating the online world in ways that are quite staggering.

My desire is to see Judo be a leader and adopt the methods of successful open source projects and grow and excel in a similar manner.

For me this extends beyond methods but down to values and beliefs, the Judo world could do worse than to read the Open Source Initiative website (

For me, the magic of open source happens when people with different objectives and needs meet and help one another. For example a developer is nothing without users and vice versa. In Judo coaches are nothing without players to coach. NGBs are nothing without members.

One of the key components of open source communities is the efforts taken by those involved to meet the needs of the other parties involved in the project. I love the inclusive nature of open source. If you are a programmer, then you can contribute there. If you are a user you can test and give feedback. You might contribute a logo, or some documentation, or simply encourage people. People find niches for other people and for themselves that help grow the community and the projects.

Often this happens naturally, people with a shared interest and understanding of the open source values will start working well together. But often and increasingly ina formal roles, a person will help guide people to their place in the community and help them contribute positively.

This is the community manager role, and it is the role I would like to see Judo and other sport start considering and hiring people to do.

Within Judo it is needed urgently I think. I watch the Judo community here in the UK, in the US and world wide and the opportunities for us are amazing. Yet they are being missed as people are working in isolation or often against each other (either by choice or simply because they don't realise they are in conflict).

Here in the UK I probably have the best vantage point, and I would challenge the Board of Directors and management of the BJA to consider seriously the idea of hiring a community manager. That said, I think the EJU and IJF have a great need for this sort of role also.

For me the community manager role in Judo is vital for our survival and growth. I talk Judo with people everyday and everyone is working hard on great projects. The BJA itself is pursuing a vast number of great projects and (despite what some may believe, or believe I believe) they are trying to make the Judo world a better place.

What they are doing very badly is engaging with their community. They are failing to appear to be transparent and the servants to the members and the member clubs. The communities faith in the BJA is stretched to breaking point and now is coming when the community will have had enough.

It is not because the BJA are "evil", it is not because they are doing the wrong things. IMHO it is because they are failing to be participating members in the community they are the governing body for.

I feel that one salary (out of the almost 80 paid employees) should be to engage with the Judo community and act as a hub between the BJA and the Judo community. This person (and yes I am angling for the job!) would be an advocate for the members and member clubs, a voice inside the BJA from the membership. They would also be an ambassador for the association communicating what is happening to the members and making sure that the right people on both sides of the fence are aware of and working with one another.

The Judo Community Manager needs to be someone the community will trust despite their being paid by the BJA. They need to believe that this person will not just "tow the company line" but will genuinely work to express their views at HQ.
Equally, the BJA needs someone who will work with the community to ensure that the community understands what the hard working staff of the BJA are doing and help them understand why things can't always be the way they want.

I have posted in my previous post a job description, I hope someone in the BJA looks at this post and that one and considers it seriously.

The open source methodology and the community development model is now well established in the IT world. Some of the largest and most successful businesses in the world rely on the methods and result of open source development.

Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, Facebook and virtually any business you care to mention either are users of or are contributing to the code for open source projects. This includes the BJA itself, their website is written in a Open Source language. Their email newsletter delivered via open source mail servers. Their computers all have open source software in there.

The sport itself is open source, nobody owns Taio Toshi. We pay no royalties to the Kodokan to use Judo or to share it or to change it. The BJA/EJU/IJF etc have been collaborative communities from their inception, Judo is open source and can grow by borrowing even more from the open source software community.

The first step they need to take is that of hiring a community manager to help ensure that everyone in British Judo finds their place and their way of contributing to the sport that we all love.

Come on Loughborough, give me a call... I can start on Monday.


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Judo Community Manager Role Advertisement. 

Judo Community Manager

Job Advert: Judo Community Manager

Community Manager

Organisation Information
The organisation is a National/Continental/International governing Body for the Martial Art and Sport of Judo. Looking to promote all aspects of the organisation and of Judo the organisation is looking for an individual to act as a hub between the community and the organisation to assist in the delivery of the goals for participation and performance Judo.

Job Description
We are seeking a Community Manager to work with in a cross-departmental manner to supports a community of Judo participants, Judo coaches, Judo volunteers, organisation staff and stakeholders from outside of the direct Judo community. The Community Manager will communicate across a wide variety of mediums ranging from face-to-face visits to clubs through to online websites, blogs, podcasts, forums, social networking sites, online video etc.
The Community manager will be an advocate for members of the community, working to bring ideas, opinions, concerns from the wider community to the attention of the staff and volunteers of the organisation.

The Community manager will act as an advocate for the organisation and for Judo in general. They will communicate the objectives and activities of the organisation to the wider Judo community.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
Analyze how the Judo community interact and develop the best ways to engage and communicate with our community. Improve interactions between the organisation and the community to help meet the goals and objectives of the organisation.

Communicate the needs and expectations of all related departments to our community of Judo participants, coaches, volunteers and professionals.

Engage with the Judo community to assist the tasks of the organisation's staff and volunteers.

Roles of the community manager

1)A Community Advocate:
As a community advocate, the community managers’ role is to represent the Judo community members. This includes listening, which results in monitoring, and being active in understanding what coaches, players, referees, volunteers, parents, teachers, etc. are saying in both the organisation provides mediums but also via other mediums such as external websites and in dojo situations. Secondly, they engage the community by responding to their requests and needs or just conversations, both in private and in public.

2)Brand Evangelist:

In this evangelistic role (it goes both ways) the community manager will promote events, products and news to the community by using traditional marketing tactics and conversational discussions. This will involve using the organisation's own mediums (websites, magazines, forum etc) as well as external opportunities such as FaceBook, external websites, external events and club visits.

3)Savvy Communication Skills:
The community manager should be very familiar with the tools of communication, from forums, to blogs, to podcasts, to twitter, and understands the language and jargon that is used in the community. This individual is also responsible for mediating disputes within the community, and will lean on advocates, and embrace detractors –and sometimes removing them completely. Importantly, the role is responsible for the editorial strategy and planning within the community, and will work with many internal stakeholders to identify content, plan, publish, and follow up.

4) Gathers Community Input:
Community manager is responsible for gathering the requirements of the community in a responsible way and presenting it to the organisation. This may involve formal product requirements methods from surveys to focus groups, to facilitating the relationships between internal teams and the community.

Given the seniority and importance of this role, the community manager will be given a budget to manage and a large amount of autonomy. As such they will need to exhibit the high levels of dedication and self-management skills are a must.

The community will at all times work to enhance and protect the reputation of the organisation and will behave at all times in an appropriate manner.
Required Job Related Skills and Experience
Degree level education
Prior experience managing online communities
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Judo Black belt (1st Dan) or above
Ability to effectively speak in front of large groups
Ability to maintain objectivity when dealing with emotionally charged situations
Excellent knowledge and experience in web communication mediums, blogs, forums, podcasting, video, social networking etc.

Hours and compensation:

The community manager's role will involve flexible working hours, and working environment. The community manager will be based from home, and will be expected to travel considerably to interact with the community and with the organisations staff and volunteers.

This is a fulltime role 37.5 hours per week, however the community manager will be expected to work some evenings, weekends as required.

The community manager will receive a salary and package comensurate of a senior management role with anti-social hours. Consideration will be given for the public facing nature of the role and the impact this will have on the community manager's life and shall be compensated appropriately.

The community manager will be expected to attend the organisations key events such as AGM, large tournaments and ceremonies. They are also expected to attend community events such as workshops, club training sessions, competitions and the like.

All applicants should send their CV to and be prepared to make a presentation to a panel as part of their interview process.

Judo Organisations please contact should you wish to hire a community manager.

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Transformational Coaching Programme 

I am really happy today!
Today received a letter from the University of Bath saying I have been accepted onto the "Transformational Coaching programme" with Brian Ashton, former England Rugby Union, Head Coach. A man I have met several times now and have the utmost respect for.

Below is a small outline of what the programme is all about:

I shall, over the next 27 months, be mentored and participate in a series of 9 interactive coach workshops, underpinned by a guided e-learning programme along with 14 other coaches.

The objectives of the programme are to:
• To educate coaches regarding the developmental aspects of elite performance
• To provide development opportunities for emerging coaches to develop the skills and knowledge needed to
coach effectively in a high performance environment
• To produce a coaching environment that better equips athletes to move into elite programmes.
• To create a ‘community of practice’ in the South Wet that will support the development
of the next generation of emerging high performance coaches
Subjects covered will include:
• Understanding the role of the coach: De-constructing & re-constructing coaching
➤ Coaching power
➤ Practice & Praxis
➤ Role play
• Support services
• Knowledge and its use
• How we come to know
• Coach-athlete interactions
➤ Teaching and learning
➤ Ownership of learning and performance & athlete responsibility
➤ Communities of practice
➤ The teaching environment & learning experiences
• Philosophy: Principles of performance
• Physical communication
➤ Presenting the problems in your sport
• Game sense

The programme is run by the South West Talent Development Centre, a joint initiative between the University of Bath and Sport England.

Transformational Coaching is a professional
development programme for coaches. Led by Brian Ashton, the University of Bath’s Director of Coaching and employing
his philosophy of doing Something Completely Different, the Transformational Coaching programme is designed to
develop capability as opposed to just teaching the ‘best way’ or providing ‘good practice’. The course aims to increase
the effectiveness of coaches in understanding and creating dynamic high quality training environments that nurture
emerging performance athletes by equipping them with the tools to accurately identify and effectively deal with the
barriers to performance.

This makes up for several knock-backs i have had lately! Shame in particular I didn't get a certain coaching job as I think the Transformational Coaching programme and that role were a perfect match. Ah well!

Looking forward to the first session in July.

Wanna know more? Here is the PDF about the programme!
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So as you'll know by now if you have been following the blog, I believe in online. My talks on Digital Natives, this blog, the podcast, Facebook, twitter it is all important to us in the Judo world.

With this in mind and with the motivation of the community section, Mike Darter and I sat down together (virtually at least) and created a website that I think of as a cross between FaceBook, Twitter and Blogging for Martial Artists like us Judoka.

Today I created a little video introducing the site, which is below for your viewing pleasure.

For those of you that get this via newsreaders or email, here is a link to the video on YouTube:

The site has been up only a couple of days, so please do check it out and let us know what you think.

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EJU rolls out new site, bring on the community! 

So the European Judo Union has rolled out a shiny new website over at

Looks okay to me, all pretty standard, until you see the community tab. It is Beta, but it is a big move and one I knew was coming and welcomed!

The EJU is attempting to host a community of Judoka. It is a bold move for a non technical organisation with a mainly non technical audience. I can't wait to see what happens.

The immediate highlight from my perspective is the ability to host a blog on the EJU website!! Cool, they even have RSS feeds, so I am excited as I look forward to adding EJU hosted feeds to

The language issue will be an issue, I may need to advance plans for other language versions of PlanetJudo faster than planned to keep up.

It is a big step into the internet age for a Judo organisation. There is STILL no RSS for the news or results, but maybe that will come soon too.

So head over there and check it out, sign up and explore. I have signed up and shall explore and possibly write more about it as I find the best its!

So big "Well Done" to the EJU for the new site and for trying something really cool.


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