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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FDSC year 3, Block 2, Day 8. 

Hi all,
Well today was a long ol' day. That said it was saved in part by the fact that we had Tom Herron first thing. Tom took us on a Psychotherapy session for sport which was really good and interesting. There was a bit of the esoteric, a bit of the theoretical and a bit of practical. A good mix.

The "Darth Vader" breathing was probably the highlight. Though I suspect the relaxation interventions we all did probably helped a lot of people out more than Tom might have realised.

The workload in this our final block is bordering on ridiculous. The number of people skipping lectures to work on assignments has been going up daily. Everyday I see people who have had little sleep and have been up all night typing.

It makes me appreciate my ability to switch off and have a beer (like a good kiwi) and relax.

After Tom, we had Juergen Klinger, who was as always excellent. He has a really nice style of presentation and carries a great deal of respect. His strategies session dealt mainly with mental strategies and was really interesting.

After the lunch break we had Mark England for a keynote lecture, which was amazing. Mark is involved with the Beijing 2008 administration for the British Olympic Committee (BOC). So spoke to us about how the BOC is approaching Beijing and to a degree how they approached Athens and London 2012.

It was a real priveledge to listen to him. Organising a team delegation of 300+ athletes to attend Beijing is an amazing responsibility and he was really focussed on how what he (and the others that work with him) can help the British team perform and bring back models from what promises to be an amazing games.

Having listened to his lecture I can't wait until Beijing starts, it would seem that it will be something amazing to behold! I hope that the GBR team and of course the NZ team do well there.

If you avoid the politics surrounding Beijing it is just amazing. They have 7000 people a day working (apparently) on the venue. At some point last year Mark said Beijing was receiving/using 1/3 of the global supply of steel. Not China, but Beijing alone...amazing.

I found it fascinating to see that underbelly of an Olympic mission, I hope one day I can take what I learned from that lecture back home to NZ.

After the lecture I spent sometime with the year two students helping them get their debate rehearsal done. I am helping with all things geeky as I did last year for my year and again hosting the debate here on this site at

Looks like an interesting debate, it will be interesting to see how the vote goes. I will of course update the blof with more information on how the debate goes and the conference which we third year students are putting on which encompasses the debate ( see ).

We have discovered that Envic Galea, and Marius Vizier of the European Judo Union (EJU) shall be in attendance... ulp, no pressure!

On that topic I have my assignements pretty well done, aways room for polish, but with the time constraints we don't really have time to do that :(
But mine is done and there is a fair amount of research and referencing included, not as much as probably is required and perhaps the prose is not well constructed, but hey, when time is short you have to... as I am known to say take the approach of "if a job is worth doing it is worth doing half arsed but on time!"

So Thursday is the big presentation and debate and conference day. Ulp! I hate public speaking!

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FDSC Year 3, Block 2, Day 7. 

whoah... what a day. The pace is getting hectic over here in Bath. An amazing number of people were hiding away with fingers flying over keyboards trying to get the assignments tucked away.

I actually managed to get a day ahead of myself today and sent my Learning in the Workplace assignemnt in a day early, which is great.

Today Started gently, which sounds like a contradiction but is not. This morning we had a "Self Study" session, which basically means you have some time to get your work done whilst here. I took the time to get my LIW assigment PDF'd and sent mainly.

I also went to the printing department and picked up my poster for Thursday. It's HUGE!!! Darn it though I found a typo!!! Not irrecoverable though. But more importantly it is completed and that's a huge weight off my mind.

At 11am we Had Alan Preston, who was excellent. I really enjoyed his radial views. Much like my father, his involvment in Judo is vicarious through his sons primarily.

We had a practical Keynote lecture today also.
Wil Luschen who took a session on Judo principles, which amazingly was very similar to what New Zealand's late National coach Ben Griffiths spent many hours trying to get me to understand. really similar, any one who mastered Ben's "clickety click" half step entry to throws would have been right at home. really interesting and I had an absolute ball as it really gave me a feeling of being a younger man training with my pals and trying to learn Ben's way of doing things. I was fortunate also to speak with Wil after the session and later in the parade bar.

I spent a majority of the evening adding to the word count on my Sport psychology paper. Which is getting there.

Tomorrow looks interesting, we have Psychotherapy first, Competition strategies second, a lecture about Beijing later and a tutorial last. Plus Randori which i hope to attend in the evening, work permitting.

The course is going well, despite the fact that I (and others I think) feel that the assignments being packed into the time we are hear is a major negative. It's too cramped, there is not enough time to get the assignments produced. No time for proper research and reflection. I think many of us are hoping that as the course matures the balance of work to rest ration improves.

It is a shame that so many people are spending all there time typing rather than attending lectures and socialising with their peers. :(

Ah well....

Till Wendesday.
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FDSC Year 3, Block 2, Day 6. 

Hi all,
Well, today I got my poster in for the conference it's 2metres by 2 metre and probably rubbish I suspect.

The morning was interesting with Darren Warner showing us some of the great work he is doing within his role in the BJA. Great stuff, though I was sworn to secrecy about the intracacies. :)

Second we had Simone who was interesting (where was Simon Timson?)
Things went a bit late in that lecture and it eventually ended up with me getting my Second assignment in and getting some great help on how to get my phsychology paper written.

Last, I skipped our posters session with Mike and I actually joined the second years in a lecture with Greg Sharp on the business of sport. I found it really interesting.

This evening quite a few of us ended up in the Parade bar and some great Judo conversation were had.

Now it is time for sleep!

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FDSC year 3, Block 2, Day 5 

Hi all,
well today was the first of our deadlines, we had to get that first assignment in. I have done so and am now considering relaxing for a few hours before having a final shot at that poster, which presents my research from the 2006 Commonwealth Judo Tournament.

Today started in the Dojo, with Juergen Klinger. Who we had for "Player Analysis". Thankfully, he wisely set us a quick group activity to watch a fight between a French fighter & Russian fighter.

We had to then in our small groups, had to analyse the French player as the scenario was that one of our players would be fighting him next. Obviously then we had to provide some tactics and explain them back to the full group.

It was interesting to do, as it showed that much of what we have been learning in lectures is directly applicable to a real world Judo situation. Things like the notation systems we have looked at were valuable as it gives you a framework through which to work. Having "a system" is really helpful. We can all use our experience and intuition, but having a system I think provides a more solid base to allow your abilities to work on.

It was also interesting to see how different people and groups approached the task. One group took it from the Opponent, our group for example discussed/presented how our (hypothetical) player fought first and then applied that to the situation. We also considered the "Plan B" situation for when the strategy failed, while others spent more time on detailing "Plan A".

The more I learn about Juergen the more I am impressed by his approach to Judo and helping athletes.

Afterwards, we had an interesting talk and demonstration by Jon Moore on the Sportscode which is a great piece of video analysis software. Which got everyone's imagination fired up. It is interesting o me as I am a computer person of course and also interested in statistical analysis and simulation.

Jon covered some of the larger picture ideas around using the software for video streams etc. Which were great, but a little one sided and as he openly admitted, he is not a computer guy so I felt a bit worried that the enthusiasm for his ideas might be a little dangerous if not reviewed and considered carefully. I have asked a couple of influential people to make sure they talk to me before they look further at what they are proposing as I worry that a lot of money could be invested in better ways with a little imagination and IT literacy which I would hope I could help ensure were considered along with a purely commercial offering.

The afternoon sessions were fairly uneventful, lots of more "nuts and bolts" of getting the specific assignments we have to complete done and dusted.

It is Friday here, so many people are escaping for the weekend. I sadly am staying here all weekend for a variety of weekend. Not least of the reasons is the amount of work that needs to be completed in the following week. I am hoping to really get most of it done over the weekend.

Many of us have the impression that this block will be quite difficult to get good grades on, so I am nervous as I need to ensure a suitable grade average for the year to make it through to next year. Grades is a bit of a sore point at present as with the returning of our last set of assignments there were some fairly annoyed people, a couple of cases people were very upset with some harsh grading. One tutor in particular seems to have been "the culprit". This tutor did throw some comments into my assignments that I was not sure where they were coming from and in places I did not agree with. But, I did okay so i am not in the camp who are considering asking the tutor on the tatami for a quick Randori. :)

Anyway.... week one down, one to go!
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FDSC Year3, Block 2, Day 4. 

Hello all, please forgive me if this post comes about negative, it's not what I plan to write. But it may be what comes out as I am feeling a bit low at the moment (more on that later).

This morning we had Kat McDonald on video research, and more specifically on how to create a video analysis system. This was the subject of a 15,900 word dissertation/thesis she did for her degree here at University of Bath. So, she really knew the subject and the fact she had spent many MANY hours considering and working on it showed.

Given my interest in this area I was fascinated, and I think we were all impressed with the model she has developed and showed. I really liked the potential for the data it would collect and immediately my IT head started to see the potential to use what she has done to do some awesome visualisation and creating things like tagclouds of a players data would be both easy to produce, easy to use and powerful.

It also gave me some ideas in terms of my much neglected e-judo project and how I could more accurately model a Judo fight and do some simulation on player behavior in a fight.

Given a solid database of notation from matches, you could generate predictions on how a player might behave in a fight against another player. How powerful might that be for players and coaches. You receive the draw, then are able to enter it into the computer, it then generates a report, or if you are really clever a video or slideshow of photos of your opponent, showing say that they are likely to attack with a left OSoto in the first segment of action, then there is a say 70% chance of the next attack being Harai Goshi. And so on....

So the player and the coach could use these probabilities to prepare. Imagine the power of that in your mental rehearsal? Having a programmatically generated simulation of your opponents most likely actions!

After Kat, we visited the big coaching event being hosted at the university for SportsCoach UK. We were able to listen to Steve Backley speak, which was really good. he has obviously moved into the motivational speaking arena!

Afterwards we had Tracy Rea again, this time speaking on anxiety and relaxation techniques. Afterwards, Mike got our assignments and grades back from the last block in April.

I did pretty well, my grades are consistently improving overtime, block to block. It's not easy to take emotionally I think. Obviously, the marking can be very critical and negative comments outweigh positive ones. Which is the way of marking. But, when you have really worked hard on something any negatives hurt don't they.

I should not be grumpy, my grade average is now definately high enough to theoretically qualify to attend the BSC. top up year (18 months). But for some reason I am in a dark mood! I suppose it's because you wait so SO long to get the assignments and feedback. Maybe.

Anyway... not as negative as I suspected I might be. I suppose writing this has reminded me about Kat's lecture, which has been a highlight in many ways.

So, I think I'll finish on that positive. Lots of work to do! First assignment due tomorrow.

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