Tag Archives: World Judo Championships

World championships 2015 – Team GB

Well, it is fair to say I feel strongly about our performance in the world championship, not just this year but every year. I have attended every world championships since 1999 with the exception of this one in Kazakstan and I feel world championship performance is good indicator of our performance at the Olympic games. So where do we sit?

I have  reported in detail on our performance at previous world championships and my disappointment in no secret. In 2011 we had our worst world championships since 1969 and things have not improved. In Chelyabinsk in 2014 we took four athletes, Ashley McKenzie, Collin Oates, Sally Conway and Natalie Powell, they won four fights between them (two for Ashley and two for Colin). It is fair to say will did a little better this year – we took double the number of players which is good. We won 9 fights in total so I guess our performance hasn’t really improved (it is still roughly 1 win per athlete) but we did get a 7th place. Lets be honest though, a country with a great tradition in this sport and a great budget should not be happy with this result. So what’s wrong? Well the truth is no one knows, if they did we would fix it! But here is some options based upon my personal opinion.

Is it the athletes?

I think the athletes should and will take responsibility of their own performance but I don’t think we can blame the players at all because it is inconceivable to me that any one of them didn’t give 100% and even if one or two didn’t then that wouldn’t explain why the whole team didn’t perform. So as far as I am concerned this is not about the athletes unless you believe that it is their fault for not all moving to one central location and i’ll discuss that below.

Selection policy

There has been a lot of discussion about British Judo’s selection policy for this world championships. Many feel it was too harsh. I think there does need to be a selection process and it should be difficult to qualify, for many years we have sent teams that are too weak for this level based on the fact the player was British number one, there does need to be a balance between the money we’re prepared to spend to send people and their actual chance of medalling. That said there are players who I feel should have gone – Danny Williams, Owen Livesey, Frazer Chamberlain, Gemma Howell, Nathan Burns and Andy Burns all come to mind immediately (of course there are others). Whilst I disagree in general with self-funding maybe this would be a solution here. I think there needs to be a very different mind set in terms of selection, it should be more of a “send them if I can” rather than “send as few as possible”. I also think it is inexcusable for someone who has met the criteria to not be sent!

I certainly don’t have all the answers in terms of selection policy, I don’t think it should be a free for all but at the same time I feel there was a huge injustice in the selections for this world championships. If someone is qualified for the Olympics or within range of qualifying send them, don’t hide bullshit politics behind policy and pretend it is all transparent!

Pre-world training camp

Prior the the worlds British judo run a pre-training camp, they did the same before the Olympics. I have never attended a whole one but I have been to the odd day of some of them and I have always looked at the training programmes for them. My general impression is that they seem good and whenever asked players seem to say they feel ready for the competition and preparation was good (maybe just the standard answer!). Whilst I generally have a good impression of these we maybe should question them, after all the players we send to the world championships can compete on that level. All (most) of them we sent this time had GS and GP medals so there has to be some reason for the performance and they don’t have these pre-camps prior to GP/GS I believe they train at their own training centre.

I’m not saying it is right or wrong, just that we need to consider it.

Centralisation

Well… the premise of centralisation is that you can pool your support services (doctors, physio etc) and that there will be more training partners (because everyone is in one location). My understanding is that after Rio everyone will have to move to the British Judo centre of excellence.

Personally I am not a fan of centralisation for this country, we should remember that this is a system Nigel inherited rather than created and is enforcing what UK sport are forcing us to do (I do not know whether Nigel is a true advocate of centralisation or not but certainly in his current role he gives the impression he believes in it). We should also remember that UK sport are enforcing centralisation because this is what was sold to them in the previous Olympic cycle (maybe even the one before) by performance directors and the then CEO.

My personal opinion is that centralisation will kill British judo and arguably already is. I would be interested to know if anyone knows of a western country where centralisation is working? Please comment below if you can think of one, I would genuinely like to be proved wrong.

I do think however that one good thing to come out of centralisation is the England Performance Pathways and AASE, I wouldn’t say they have been developed because of centralisation but the fact the the BJA is now more focussed on the pathway and the pathway is led from Walsall is good (it is led from a performance environment rather than some office where no-one actually does judo).

British judo in general

Lets be honest, our issue are much bigger than only getting a 7th at the worlds, we could have an all singing all dancing centre of excellence and we’d still struggle because what is happening below that is far from excellent. Our coach education system is far from great, our competition structure lacks, well structure! and our referee education is awful, I mean we’re worried about one 7th place at the worlds, how many referees qualified? All of this needs urgent attention. Furthermore our former chair (and therefore our board) have just allowed us to embarrass ourselves and lose a European championships showing just how disjointed with are from the EJU and IJF.

I know I sound like like a constant cynic and in honesty I am not, there is some great stuff going on but it is hard to sit by and watch our “performance management group” allow this constant repetition of poor performance. It is not fair on the membership and most certainly is not fair on the athletes.

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World championships 2014 – Technical observations

2014-08-29 11.08.35

This post is about the observations myself and Glenn made during our trip to the world championships in Chelyabinsk. On the last day we sat in a cafe and discussed our observation and what we feel needs to be worked on within our training group (obviously some of these have not been included). Later that day we saw a blog post by Oon Yeoh that basically said pretty much exactly the same as what we had said, non-the-less here are our observations.

Edge play

Without a doubt there were a lot of shido’s given out by players not understanding the edge rule or not being able to use the edge to their advantage. I think years ago players could hugely use the edge to their advantage and eventually this will start happening again. There has been cries by coaches and officials to “fight int he middle” and i personally think this is a little naive, what athletes should do is understand the rule and use it to gain advantages, this doesn’t necessarily mean by forcing shido, the edge is a powerful tool for gaining the correct reaction to throw your opponent.

Ura-nage

There were a lot of ura-nage variations, this happened across both genders and all weight groups. There is no evidence as to why this is happening more frequently but my guess would be that because of the new rules players are turning in for an attack when slightly more compromised than before because it is hard to dominate with the kumi-kata but this is just a guess. Obviously there is also the removal of leg grabs and maybe techniques such as te-gurma  might have been used before.

Sode-Tsuri-Komi-Goshi

This was a very common technique, not really sure why but personally i think it is because of the new rules around kumi-kata and not being able to break the grip with two hands thus athletes are breaking the grip by turning in or have the sleeve already pinned.

Uchimata sukashi

A lot of the tradition kind of uchimata sukashi where the opponent avoids the uchimata and then steps across for a harai-goshi  or  tai-otoshi  type technique. There was also a lot of what might be described as the “ride and roll” technique. I would argue this is possibly due tot he reasons outlined above.

Completing the armlock when the opponent stands up

Despite the rule changes allowing the application of a ne-waza  technique once the defender has got to their feet and ippon rarely happened once they did. I feel this is generally because athletes hadn’t really figured out yet how to maintain the ne-waza  or how to get the opponent back to the floor once they got to their feet rather than the referees not giving enough time. This was most obvious in kansetstu-waza  and in particular juji-gatame. 

Shido game

Shido has pretty much always been the highest scoring technique in modern competitive judo and the rule changes do not seem to have changed this. Obviously there are now a lot more reasons to be given shido and some players have a great understanding of the “shido game’ and can really manipulate the contest. I would say possible the best player at this is Pavia (FRA) and this is not to say she doesn’t throw big, because she does! In fact i would argue she uses the shido game to make sure she can achieve the big throws.

Referees not as strict?

I am going to get some videos to highlight this point because i think it is very important. Although the referees are strict they are nowhere as strict as many of the referees in the UK, maybe somethings are simply missed but actually a lot of the time they basing their decisions on the philosophy of the rules rather than a black and white statement in the rule book. This is a big problem for us, we do not have referees operating at this higher level and therefore the manner in which the rules are being applied is not being filtered down to the national refereeing structure. This failure by British judo to get referees at this level is affecting the entire performance of judo in the UK and our international players often end up fighting a completely different type of contest here in the UK. The rules are about creating better judo not just using shido’s  and hansoku-make  all the time.

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Filed under Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Coach Education, Coaching Judo, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo, PhD

Heading out to Paris

Saturday I will be heading out to Paris for the 7th International Association of Judo Researchers symposium. The event is looking good with presentations that cover a wide variety of topics.

The history of Dan system for female Judo
Presenter: Associate Professor Noriko Mizoguchi. Shizuoka University of Art and Culture. Japan

Gunji Koizumi
Presenter: Dr Mike Callan. Anglia Ruskin University. England

History of International Judo
Presenter: Professor Michel Brousse. l’Université de Bordeaux 2. France

Dr Shigeyoshi Matsumae
Presenter: Professor Yasuhiro Yamashita. Tokai University. Japan

Disabled people and the Potential of Judo
Presenter: Professor Takeshi Nakajima. Kokushikan University. Japan

Specific Exercise Testing in judo athletes
Presenter: Ms Elena Pocecco. University of Innsbruck. Austria

Modelling judo grip contest and simulations
Presenter: Professor Michel Calmet. Université de Montpellier 1. France

The performance of Explosive Muscular Actions of the Lower Body in Judo Athletes

Presenter: Professor Luis Montiero. Lusofona University. Portugal.

There will also be around 30 poster presentations. Anglia Ruskin has representation in the presentations from Dr Mike Callan and two posters, one from me and one from Janaina Magalhaes, who is a student on the EJU level 4 coaching award. Janaina is presenting on ‘O Soto Gari: the Role of Renrakukuwazas to this Major Throw’ and I am presenting ‘A temporal Analysis of the u48kg Women’s Judo at the 2010 World Championships’.

I’ll write more about the conference and, of course, the world championships when I am in Paris 🙂

 

If there are any of the presentations you’re particularly interested in let me know by commenting below and i’ll blog as much info as I can.

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Filed under Coach Education, Judo, PhD, Women's judo