Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Channel 4 hosted a programme on LADIES SUMO I watched this expecting to have a good laugh at all these FAT WOMEN waddling about in SUMO THONGS I suppose you would call me a voyeur. How wrong I was I was enthralled with the programme and was quite impressed by the improvement they Ladies made in a short time, Coach Steve Pateman I knew as reasonable 4th Dan Judoka he once visited my club some 20 years ago in them days he was u95 kilo. He has put on some weight since then mind you so have I, many years ago he was featured learning SUMO and attending the 1st World Amateur Sumo Championships in Japan, I am sorry to say the programme did not do the Sport justice. I thought the Ladies done extremely well and watching the World Championships was exciting and interesting.
SUMO to me is the very basis of Wrestling, for those who taught for any length time you will know the first thing any new student will do is to try and push his or her opponent and we instructors teach that natural instinct out of them. It seems to me that SUMO has taken what comes natural and harnessed it to become a very efficient method of Combat.
If you get the chance to watch this programme do so can I say well done Ladies, Channel 4 and Steve Pateman keep promoting SUMO, one question I would like to know can Channel 4 do a the same for SOMBO.

Do not forget the British Open Sombo is on in March we hope to have a team from Mongolia go to

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It is to expensive

Its that time of the year again where Judo Clubs ask for membership fees and look at their pricing structure and of course prices will rise mainly because of external factors. Now the moaning starts you are too expensive, why should we pay that amount, you should not charge kids, who gets the money need I go on. I have singled out Judo mainly as the one Combat Discipline the public think should be offered free of charge or at a very low price. Most Judo clubs are run by well meaning amateurs who give up their time free of charge and they run their clubs on a shoe string with little no help or thanks from the parents and this is my point LOYALTY.
My own club is 50 years old this year and we are one of the more expensive NO that is not quite true we expect payment in a more business like manner i.e. monthly or by Standing Order this makes us look like we are expensive. Yet when my mother and father started the Young Judo Club member paid 3D (that’s an old 3 pence about 1p of today’s money) if a member pays by standing order they can be paying as little 84p making members pay this way guarantees an income and the club can plan for the future. Another reason we charge this way was because of an incident that happened many years ago, the club was going through a bad patch membership was down so we approached parents of ex Junior Judoka, only those youngsters who had a lot from the club i.e. won lots of medals, been taken to comps home and abroad which in most cases was subsidised by the club, those who had become an extended member of your family, we asked if they could help support the club in its hour of need? The reply was "what for we paid our fees" do you not want to see other children get the benefits yours had? Reply "that’s not my problem" and so on, so the majority of the public see Judo as just a commodity, a commodity they do not like paying for.
The above is not always the case many of our instructors are people who done Judo as a child and came back as an adult, they realise the benefits of Judo and how important it is in producing better human beings. So when you get that winging parents complaining about prices and how you as an instructor should be thankful their child comes, look down at the Childs feet see how much his designer trainers cost, ask them about their expensive holidays, big screen TV etc, etc and they moan about a few quid educating their child. Because it will be the instructor giving up his or her time to fund raise, give up his or her weekends for courses and competitions, be out two or three times a week need I say more and they will be doing it long after the whinger has left who most probably leave without even a Thankyou.
Remember charge to much you will called elitist do not charge enough and you devalue you and Judo

JUDO is it a Sport?

In the last year BJA policy to other Judo/Budo groups has changed and it is now possible for my Club, which incidentally is 50 years old this year, to belong to the BJA and the organisation I head (International Budo Federation UK). Several of my coaches have taken gradings and coaching certificates with the BJA because of his the club now receives various publications from the association, which I find very informative. In the January issue of MatSide, Sue Dawson’s letter does bring up some interesting points, which I would like to comment on. She is quite right in saying that Judo needs competition the educational system in this country over the last 10 years has let our youth down in particular the attitude to competition generally, so called educational experts are convinced that Sports Competition is bad for children, Judo is one of those disciplines that buck that idea in my opinion for the betterment of the youngsters. Yet I totally agree with the BJA that they should encourage more theory in the grading, I also applaud them for upping their standards for Dan Grading’s I refer to the increased interest in Kata, but to have a totally separate technical grade with out competition for Juniors I believe is a mistake. The only true way to understand a technique and improve its skill is for it to be used in a practical way and under stress i.e. contest. I am not suggesting children should be forced to enter competitions but they should be made to compete in a grading. After saying this I cannot agree with Sue that the majority of children want to compete on the contrary the majority want the opposite they want as do most adults to train once maybe twice a week in a purely recreational manner, this I feel is a very modern day attitude I know from my own experience that in the 70’s and 80’s this was not the case, I remember taking a 100 competitors from my club to the Herne Bay open but if Judo is to survive we have to adapt to today’s people as long as we do not drop standards.
One thing I do disagree with her is that she maintains Judo is a sport not an art, many years ago myself and the late great Geoff Gleeson founded an organisation called the “Academy of Coaching” sadly this is now defunct, the aims of the academy was to promote the Art of Coaching and attracted top coaches from all sports as well as leading figures from the arts and entertainment world one of the reoccurring topics was “Can Sport be Art” this caused a lot of heated discussion for and against with no real outcome. I expect what Sue meant Judo is not a Art in the terms of Martial Art, Judo loosely translated means “Supple Way” Way being a path or an ideology which to follow, Judo’s founder Jigaro Kano maintained it was an educational system a way to make better human beings. Sport is just one aspect of that education but it is not the be all and end all, those who treat Judo as a grappling sport like Sombo Wrestling, Kurash etc do not have long time in the discipline, I have been in Judo for 52 years starting at the age of 5 if it was purely about competition/sport I would not still be a Judoka. As a young man my only reason for doing Judo was to win medals and beat people, luckily enough I was at a period of Judo that insisted when taking a grading I had do all aspects of the discipline, as I grew older I began to understand a lot more and that what makes JUDO so superior to Combat Forms and Sports, Judo is a unique discipline and it must remain so.
Being an ex competitor I am still interested in finding ways to improve our countries competition standards for many years our IBF Holland have implemented No Sutemi Waza, No Kubi Nage, No drop Knee Seoi, No leg grabs I have always resisted implementing them in the IBF UK as I felt this was a coaching issue i.e. badly taught technique but I have to admit Dutch IBF Players do have a better rate of Ippons with throws and they have a lot more members, at last years IBF Nationals the Senior were staged before the Juniors who had to watch and the standard of Junior matches was the best I have seen for many years!, for over 10 years we have run the occasional Judo tournament where the only way you can go into Ne-Waza is for one of the players to make a scoring throw this produced some good Judo but was not popular with coaches who felt interfering with rules was not a good thing? On April 22nd at Sittingbourne the Young Judo Club will be holding there 50th anniversary Judo Championship entitled the “Old and the New” Seniors will compete under old rules dating back to the early 60’s and Juniors will compete under new rules i.e. score with a throw before entering Ne-Waza, a demonstration of Nage No Kata will demonstrated in honour of YJC co-founder Nobby Clarke 6th Dan 1927-1990 who was the first person to bring Kata to Kent, Ju No Kata will be demonstrated to honour Margret Clarke 4th Dan who performed this Kata at the Royal Albert Hall in 1964 and was considered at the time to be one of the leading exponents of that period. All associations are welcome. For more info go to, or Swale Martial Arts Club, 127 East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent. ME10 4BL