Saturday, May 30, 2009

IBF Multi Nation 2009

BF Multi Nation Judo Championships 2009
Featuring: Great Britain-Germany-Belgium-France-Holland-Poland
Hessisch Oldendorf Germany

Saturday May 23rd 2009

I have been attending this event for nearly 40 years and have been proud to say IBF UK have always been in the top 3 countries placed and at our peak we would take over 60 players sadly this was not to be the case this year. This year we could only field a team of 9 Judoka most will blame the credit crunch but I am not so sure if that is the only reason, it feels that the British people as a whole have lost their will to compete we have become a nation of watchers rather then doers . It was hoped that the very expensive 2012 Olympics would give sport a boost in GB I am sorry to say this is not happening.

Germany is always a nice place to visit and this was no exception to keep the cost down we used a Youth Hostel in Hannover which proved to be an excellent venue it was more like a hotel, Hannover itself is a beautiful place especially as it was carnival time with lots of fairs. John Clarke 4th Dan came out as Team Manager but he also took on the job of entertainment officer something he excels in and he made sure everyone had a good time. The down side was it took 8 hours in a Mini Bus to get there but the weather kept nice most of the time which made up for travel fatigue.

The tournament it self was in a good venue but apart from the tiered seating there was no seating for officials which if you are refereeing you need when you have a break. There were 370 entries on 4 mats but the day seemed to go for ever finishing about 8pm, the Brits first fight was at 4.30pm. Judo has gone banana’s with regard to Health and Safety with regard to age banding the youngest group was 6 years old with 7 weight cats, next was 7 & 8 year olds with 8 cat and so on in two year age bands up to 20 years of age then they became Senior. This collates to 127 categories and if the competitors were spread evenly it would be approx 3 per cat, of course this was not the case but would did happen the Seniors in some weights were a small turn out so the organisers in their wisdom decided that each senior had to fight each other twice now you can understand why it was such a long day. The IJF have decided that all major International will be on a Knockout basis the reason for this is to give the competition some dynamic and excitement and make the tournament shorter, people today do not want spend the best part of the day watching and waiting for their fighter to compete. I can remember competing in the British Open having my first match at 9am and picking up my medal at 3 am the next morning who wants that again. When I suggested to some of the foreign coaches we should have Knockout with Repercharge which would give Judoka at least 2 fights they complained it would not give the little ones experience, I replied what are kids 6, 7, 8 year old doing in an International event any way. Lets have sensible age Bands i.e. 9, 10, 11 years, 12, 13, 14,years, 15, 16 years, 17, 18 years, over 18. Clubs should run internal event s for the very young to learn about competition. The new rules I believe are good but I am surprised at the difference in one referees idea of Ippon is to an other I noticed the same at the British Open.

Our first fighter was Adam Dodds he was our only junior competitor and had a lot riding on his shoulders, already the word had gone out that the Brits could not send a proper team and Adam was just a token players. How wrong they were as our Adam smashed them to take a Gold well done an excellent display. Kerrie Penfold kept the Gold’s coming by winning the ladies u70 kilo class she is no stranger to the winner’s rostrum. Martyn Coyne has only recently returned to Judo after recovering from a serious illness which kept him out of the sport for several years, he was a very experience junior player maybe the knowledge he gained as a junior player plus his fighting spirit got him the Gold in the u66 kilo class. Lee Carrott and his brother Danny decided to swap weights with Lee competing in the u81 k class, this has to be said was one of the hardest weights of the day. Lee does attract controversy he countered an extremely good German Player to score a Yuko the German incurred the wrath of the Referee for some infringement which warranted a Hansoku Make (disqualification) this gave Lee the win but put the German Competitor out the competition as per International Rules. This infuriated the German Coach who lodged appeal after appeal asking for video evidence to be taken into consideration, something that is not allowed, I personally sympathised with the German as I felt the punishment was too hard but the decision had been made and was final. Lee carried on to the final only to beaten with a hold down but very good performance all the same. Russell Dodds also fought in this weight but was unplaced but did have the satisfaction of scoring the quickest Ippon of the day with a double leg pickup although Lee disagreed as he also scored a very fast Ippon with a shoulder throw. Brother Danny had no problem in winning the u90k class and was his first outing after recovering from an Injure.
Other competitors were Lucy Parker, Ian Parker and James Passmore, Colin Carrott and John Clarke managed the team, Miles Brown refereed, Keith Costa Coach,Dave Boulding 6th Dan and Martin Clarke 8th Dan attended as representatives of Great Britain

Next years event will be in Hastings and organised by IBF GB for his event we need a lot of referees something we are short of, Miles will be attending a course to update himself with the new rules, he in turn will train our people if you interested in refereeing contact HQ

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

British Open Judo

British Judo Open 2009

This year’s British open was held at the K2 Leisure Centre Crawley, it has been 26 years since I last attended this event the last time I attended as a competitor. I decided to attend because two of Club members from the Young Judo Club/Sittingbourne Judo Society had entered they were brothers Danny and Lee Carrott, Danny had to withdraw because of an injury his brother Lee had two fights which he lost but he found the experience worth while plus you have not been a top Judo competitor unless you have entered at least one British Open. Another reason I attended was to see the new rules and new fighting area in action plus meet old friends and some cases old enemies. The first thing I noticed was that I hardly knew anyone where were the fighters of my generation? I expect I knew about 5 people all about my age all high profile Judo Players but that was all and where were all the top Executives this was disappointment number 1. Next I was told that GB no 1 players were not participating because they were at a training camp in Brazil disappointment no 2 was I pleased that I wore my blazer with my International Badge this at least gave me free entry.

K2 is a beautiful place and big and the sports hall for the Judo was clean well lit with comfortable seats yet it was a venue like so many others which have Judo events, it did not have the Gravitas of the old Crystal Palace, the palace had its many faults and does look a bit shabby but when you walked into the CP hall with the British Open, you felt the importance of the event an occasion of elite Judo. I am sorry to say I never got this feeling at the K2 it felt that the event had been down graded to just another Judo Association event.

What of the Judo and the rule changes:

The mat area with no danger zone was a good concept as it stopped players being caught in the Keikoku trap, this was when you forced your opponent to step out of the area to receive Keikoku which was equal to a Waza-ari (3 shido’s). Once you received this it was a good chance you would lose. This gamesmanship was very prevalent in the 1970’s and 1980’s, in my bid for the 1980 Olympics my main rival was Arthur Mapp (he won an Olympic Bronze) I fought him 5 times he beat me 4 times once with Ippon with Sasea Tsurikomi Ashi, the other 3 times I lost on Keikoku for stepping out each time I was ahead on scores, I beat him once with Ippon Uchi Mata in the All England where I met Errol Carnegie in the Final where I caught him with a Keikoku step out. Letting you to continue play slightly outside the area should encourage more positive Judo, this is OK when there is a full size international mat area but in a small competition I still think we should use the red danger zone.

NO Koka eliminating the Koka I think was a bad mistake as what has happened what was a Koka has now become a Yuko, Yuko become a Waza-ari, and Waza-ari becomes Ippon. In fact an Ippon is when a person lands on his back no matter how. Sumi Geashi is not a throw to try a couple of times I saw attempts at this throw only to see the practitioner being awarded Ippon against him. Still think they should have accumulative scoring as in Sambo.

All penalties being called shido made good sense and were easy to follow

Attacking from the knees is now allowed and you can score Ippon, as a Sambo Wrestler I was used to this but not sure it suits Judo

In general I was not impressed I saw very little big throws very few strangles and Armlocks, the Referees continue look over officious with their big blazer badges, there were no superstars like in the 70’s and 80’s where were the now a days Brian Jacks, Neil Adams, Paul Radburn, Dave Starbrook etc plus the many foreign Superstars in the old days if one of these names were called the whole audience would move to watch them. The BJA organising was impeccable and maybe I am looking through rose tinted glasses on the past but Judo in my mind has changed in some cases beyond recognition not to my liking but maybe the newer generation get the buzz from this New Judo which I got from the old. I still think that rather then tinker with the rules they should look at the Gi bring in multi coloured suits and Judo Boots make the whole thing colourful .

Martin Clarke 8th Dan Sittingbourne