Thursday, April 17, 2008


Since the BJA have opened their doors to other associations, members of the Young Judo Club (Sittingbourne Judo School) have taken out BJA membership taking gradings, coaching awards and entering competitions with some success. Although I am not involved personally with the BJA administration, I do hold a BJA license and as my students are part of the organisation I do take an interest in what the BJA are doing, this brings me to the BJA Syllabus for Grade Promotion.
The first thing I noticed they have returned to the 6 Kyu grades rather then having upper and lower grades, I preferred the latter and some years ago the IBF accepted this system something we will not change. I also noticed that they have copied the system we have used for 20 years where they can examine at Club level up to 1st Kyu, this better for the students and puts revenue into the club.
What I do not agree with is that there is not a competitive element i.e. contest to the grading syllabus to 1st Kyu, I strongly believe to understand Judo technically and philosophically you need a contest section. Contest helps to develop your mind and body plus you get a better grasp of the techniques you are learning. If Judoka do not enter Competitions where will our future Olympians come from, with the restrictive of how you can grade you can only go up one grade at a time and have to wait 3 months between successful gradings the earliest you can obtain 1st is 14 months, there seem to be no allowance for exceptional athletes or players crossing over from similar sports i.e. Sombo or Kurash. A couple of well known names of the 1970’s were Dave Starbrook Olympic Silver I believe he gained his 1st in less the a year and Vass Morrison was the same ( I hope I got that right). The B JA seems to go from one extreme to another one moment there is no theory for gradings only contest now it has changed completely the other way. I understand why they are doing it because society has become soft and weak and with Judo in decline they have rightly so tried another direction they may be right and we have to water down Judo and I am most probably wrong as I see no deed to drop to the lowest common denominator, maybe it time that we all tried to climb up the pit rather then slide further in?

On the Syllabus itself it seems quite reasonable with the exception of the throws in the 6th Kyu syllabus, the one thing you learn when teaching beginners is that they are afraid to be thrown, so teaching Tia Otoshi in my opinion should be first throw taught, This throw teaches the student to turn their body, it is an easily controlled throw which can be done slowly and is what Geoff Gleeson called a Roller throw your opponent rolls around the leg and does not fall heavy. I have never taught De Ashi Baria to beginners but can see that it can teach the basics of Judo if you must teach a Hip throw surely it must be O Goshi but I would prefer O Soto Gari an easily controlled throw with out heavy landing or should I say can be. The three Tia Otoshi, O Soto Gari and De Ashi Baria can easily linked to form combinations and even counters.

I will admit syllabuses like these are common but learning by ROTE which this is ,does not encourage spontaneity. Improvisation and individual talent all the credential that make a champion.,my grid system (Discovery Method)I developed years ago where every Judoka was treated as an individual was better but it was highly complex for the low coach to master and sadly my on IBF Membership rejected it.

My article is not meant to offend but just a method of throwing a couple ideas about hopefully some one will come back with constructive criticism

Martin Clarke 8th Dan

CRB Checks more expense for the Volunteer Coach

CRB Checks more expense for the Volunteer Coach.

When the Criminal Record Bureau was first formed my organisation the International Budo Federation applied to become a Registered Body at a fee of a few Hundred pounds. Recently our registration has been withdrawn because we have insufficient numbers last year we registered just under 100 people. I have complained stating the following , “I do not see what numbers have to do with matters it is no more expensive dealing with a small organisation like ourselves then it is dealing with a larger one or is just about putting money into larger organisation pockets so they can create more bureaucratic places for their staff”

My main complaint is that when the IBF organised CRB registration there was no charge for Volunteers this is the reply I received “ With regards to your coaches having to pay for a CRB check through an Umbrella Body, I can advise you that as long as the position applied for meets our definition of a ‘volunteer’, then the resultant Disclosure will be processed free of charge. However, I am aware that there would more than likely be an administrative charge levied by an Umbrella Body. Therefore, it would be advisable to contact a number of Umbrella Bodies to find the one that is more suitable for your requirements.” That admin charge can vary from £15 up to treble figures per Volunteer.

Being a Volunteer Coach in NU Labour Britain is becoming a very expensive hobby, gone are the days when you can be a well meaning person who wants to help out coaching a few kids to give them something to do. Before you can you can coach today you have to do the following:

1) Attend a Coaching Course in your sport cost vary from a few pounds to hundred of pounds. The recently formed United Kingdom Coaching Certificate want everyone by 2012 to have a UKCC award. To obtain an Assistant Coach award, where you literally assist a coach, is expected to cost in the region of £250 a Level 1 Coach could cost a £1000 . At the moment this will not be a legal requirement but with Gordon Brown signing up to the EU Constitution there is nothing stopping the EU making it a legal requirement.
2) Once qualifying you have to attend Annual refresher courses
3) You will need a CRB check cost is mentioned above
4) You will need to attend a Child Protection Course annually
5) You will need a First Aid certificate
6) You will need to up to date on the rules of the sport
7) You will need Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance

All of this because a person wants to help young people, everything listed above are good ideas my main problem is the cost, under Nu Labour we have seen a steady erosion of discipline and respect from young people, drugs and alcohol abuse is running out of control, our young people are being brought up with no ethic or morals. Sport has ben proven to help combat all these problems, so the government should be paying all those Coaches and helpers or at least pay for these various courses, anyone who gives up their time to help young people should be helped and encouraged. Before some politician say it is not cost effective I would disagree producing better young people with high morals and ethics will pay us back many fold.

My organisation the IBF/BCSA has now decide because of the extra cost and complaints from our Volunteers ( who have threatened to resign on mass because of the CRB’s decision) that a CRB check is recommended not compulsory. It took a lot of persuasion in the first place to get our Volunteers to apply for a CRB check as most considered insulting that you are considered a threat to children until you receive a CRB check GUILTY till proven INNOCENT.

To finalise our friends at the CRB tell us that it not a legal requirement to have a CRB check but:

Quote from a letter from the CRB

“Turning to your comments that you will now not insist on your coaches to undertake a CRB check unless the funds are available, I should explain that neither Part V of the Police Act 1997 nor the Exceptions Order 1975 to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 makes checks compulsory. However, there are other pieces of legislation which make checks mandatory, for example it is compulsory for childcare organisations (as defined in the Act) to undertake checks of the Protection of Children’s Act (P0CA) list and List 99 for those working in regulated positions. Furthermore, there is a statutory requirement on care providers who are planning to employ a care worker in a care home or through a domiciliary care agency to check whether that person is included in the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (P0VA) list.”

Does the Children’s Act affect Sports Organisations?

Martin Clarke
President IBF/BCSA UK

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ten girls from the Bedford High Hellcats attended the British Schools Individual Championships in Cardiff on April 29th. This was a very well attended competition with about 350 entries further ionfo can be found on

The BSJA is a very strange organisation it offers really good Tournaments but keeps them a secret or can this just be the Kent section. I have yet to be sent information on any Kent Schools event even though I have asked on many occasions, one would have thought they would have welcomed more competitors. When I taught in Schools and was Chairman of the Kent Schools Judo Association and founder of the Swale Schools Judo Association I had several British Champions and I also remember Craig Scott and Marcella O'Hare being Internationals with them both of these are now in their 40's. If any of you young Judoka get a chance to compete in these Schools Event I am sure you will enjoy the experience.
Martin Clarke 8th Dan IBF UK President