Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Judo was abysmal at Crystal palace

Kent International Judo Championships

The last time I competed in Judo at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre was in 1983 since then I have concentrated on IBF Judo and promoting, teaching and competing in Sombo Wrestling as well as introducing CombatSombo, Belt Wrestling and Combat Wrestling, so when I had the chance to see a top international Judo competition at the Palace I jumped at the chance. The reason for going was simple two of my student’s one being my son had entered this event, with the BJA now allowing Judoka to hold their license as well as anyone else’s, several of my Young Judo Club/Sittingbourne Judo Society members took out BJA membership and had their grades ratified, therefore could enter this event. In truth Judo was not the reason they entered both lads have been selected to represent GB in the World Sombo Wrestling Championships and in my son’s case John had also been selected to compete in the World Kurash Championships and this standard of Judo would give them much needed quality competition. Both did not expect to win medals but just have the benefit of competing against top class athletes, Danny at 21 years had only competed with the smaller organisations and John at 33 years had not competed in a BJA event for 16 years but they need not have worried Danny out of 4 fight won 2 on Ippon John out of 6 fights won 5 on Ippon (most probably the best Ippon performance of the day) which gave him Bronze, a full report can be found on
On arriving at Crystal Palace I noticed nothing had changed in the 24 years since I was last there, the same old mats, the terrible tiered seating, the nauseating smell of the swimming pool, the drab interior, no comfortable seating, plastic beakers for you beer. This was acceptable 25 years ago but today NO if you want attract people to Judo you need a user friendly building no wonder most BJA events are held in other venues and I would suggest if the Kent International is to continue they use another venue. The tournament was very well organised and was finished around 3.30pm the organisers deserved a medal for that and the referees wearing Polo Shirts (something the IBF and Sombo have done for several years) was an excellent idea it made the event less pompous and officious. The Judo itself was abysmal as was the refereeing to be quite honest if this what top level Judo has come to I am not surprised people no longer wish to do the Sport/Art. This was my initial impression but I have not seen this level of Judo since 1983 so things I am told have changed so let me explain what I saw, most of the competitors were on the whole evenly matched something that did not happen in my day, they were all very fit and very strong but seemed to be limited on techniques. In fact it seemed that the only technique being performed was that horrible drop knee Kata Guruma, a technique which you would have been disqualified for using in the 80’s. This one technique has changed the look and practise of Judo, I am surprised that Judoka do not have a permanent stoop in their back the amount of time they spend bending over, ban this technique and you will have Judoka standing upright. In the 70’s and 80’s you had Judo superstars like Adams, Jacks, Radburn, Starbrook, White etc who in the preliminary rounds were performing some devastating spectacular throws which excited the crowd as the competition drew to a climax obviously the matches became more tactical. During the day I only saw one Ippon with a Standing Seoi Nage only 2 Ippon’s with Uchi Mata, 1 Ippon with Haria Goshi (performed by my son) and 1 Te Guruma, there may have been more but that is what I saw, the point I am trying to make is that the event was mundane not spectacular.
With regard to the refereeing I will state something’s I saw that I thought were wrong and hopefully there will be a top IJF referee out there to put me right.
1) No penalties were given for wandering of the mat in my day this was a Keikoku offence.
2) Throwing someone on their stomach was awarded as a Yuko in my day there was no score
3) Both players are allowed to fight outside the area and score in my day this could have led to disqualification
4) If you rolled on your back you lost by Ippon, in my day to score an Ippon your opponent had to land on his back with force and impetus
5) If you attacked from your knees and the technique was unsuccessful you were allowed to keep fighting from your knees to score, in my day if you attempted to throw with a drop knee technique and you where unsuccessful Matte was called if you continued you were penalised
6) Injury call, my son was deliberately kicked in the inside of his leg on the second time he was kicked he complained to the referee. The referees huddled together and then the centre referee warned my son that if he complained again he would be disqualified, I am sure the only reason he was not disqualified was because he was losing and the refs thought it would make no difference to the outcome, it is a pity that John got the hump and threw his Dutch Opponent with an Ippon Haria Goshi. Plus in this age of litigation if my son had been kicked again and had a serious injury could he sue the referee for negligence? The first duty of any referee no matter what sport is to protect the player from injury and insure fair play, it could be the referee was inexperience and did not realise this.
7) In my day if a referee scored Yuko, judge scored Koka and the other judge scored Waza-ari the middle score stood as opposed to giving no score.

There were several other things which were of a minor nature but I would like to hear someone comments, I am quite aware people will say I am old and living in the past but can I say that in the 70’s and 80’s there was a lot more people doing Judo and we had ome of the most successful international Judo players in the World. So has Judo improved or should we return to the Judo of yesteryear?

Martin Clarke 8th Dan

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Technical Grades at 16?

The IBF appointed a panel of Black Belt to revamp the Junior and Senior Judo Grading syllabus, one of the panel suggested Technical Grades from the age of 16 years what follows is Colin Carrot 3rd Dan panel member feelings on the subject:

I personaly don't believe you should be able to get a technical dan grade at 16, and would set the minimum age requirement at 30. Surely a 16 year old who does not compete, cannot have the full understanding of a technique. For example, to perform o-goshi either text book style, on the move, or even in randori, is completely different from trying it in competition, where your oponent does not want to be thrown and at the same time is trying to counter you.Therefore, does this not make the competitor more skillfull?If this is the case, then surely the two players should not be the same grade?However, an understanding of the sport, in all its forms, can come with more experience. As you advance in years, you look at things differently and understand why things work, as opposed to excepting that they work because the book tells you they do.Colin.

PS The minimum age was agreed at 30