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6/25/12 6:12 PM
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judom
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OCJudo,

I agree with you that in Judo, the whole commercial mindset is not encouraged, in fact it is actively discouraged. That is quite true.

Even though I have been training Judo for almost 20 years I never thought of teaching Judo to make money, even though I could. Many former competitors teach Judo, but nobody makes money from it. That is definitely the state.

I have few friends in Europe who have very successful Judo clubs (say about 100 adults and 150-200 kids). The pattern is roughly:

1. They are former A-level international Judo players. Some are current national team coaches as well.

2. Children and Adults practice in different classes.

3. Adult classes are centered around hobby players, but occasionally real competitors come.

4. Children classes are structured for fun, but also for competitive Judo. So 50/50. Lots of competitions, camps, etc.

5. Unlike what you said, the training is quite long and frequent for children. And even for adults, a typical class is at least 2 hours.

6. The clubs have AWESOME training halls: top level Olympic style HUGE halls. Many are where national players train. Some are even connected to the judo federation allowing them to rent the space.

7. For adults, there are usually many former competitors and some are still very good. There are also few that compete in Masters division.

Still, there is very very little marketing. But somehow people find the good clubs. In Europe that is a little easier than USA where there are huge distances.

One interesting point is that BJJ marketing does not work well in Europe. I've seen it fail time and time again. Somehow the whole MMA connection does not help here. And its too close to Judo and people don't see what the advantage of training BJJ is over Judo.

Another general point that I've seen discussed and I don't know how it is in the U.S.: Judo is an Olympic sport and that helps it hugely in Europe. The governments fund all kinds of clubs, coaches, tournaments, etc. For instance, I've heard from reliable sources that the funding for the French Judo is about 170 million euros per year. That is just to develop Judo in France. I don't know how much the U.S. government pays U.S. Judo.
6/25/12 7:49 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/25/12 9:22 PM
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 Hi judom,

The United States government does not pay any NGB money.  The USOC does. It is its own 501(c)3 established under law by the Ted Stevens Act.

According to the 990 filed for the year 2010,  The USOC funded USA Judo for $613,414 in cash and $29,711 in non-cash assistance.  While some other sports receive much higher funding, when you look at how many people are part of USA Judo  vs how many people are part of USA Wrestling, the funding is much higher per member.

Keep in mind that much of that funding is earmarked to be spent as the USOC wishes. If not used for the purposes earmarked, the money goes back to the USOC.  The USOC itself does not receive much funding from the government and nearly all funding comes from licensing, donations and other sponsorships.

I've thought long and hard about the disconnect between parts of  Europe and the USA, and here is one of my conclusions.  The further down the road a country is in converting citizens into consumers, the faster the decline in judo participation.  Let's look at the 3 largest examples. We already know about the United States.

Think about Japan for a moment.  Judo has been in a deep and drastic decline for nearly 3 decades at this point.  It started from such a large base and its still much larger than most places, you just don't notice it.  But the Japanese do.  On a percentage basis, its much larger than in the USA.  The decline in budo participation was so severe that Japan enacted a law that required school aged children to participate in a budo art in their school.  My bet is that it will fail in converting many practicioners over the long haul, and there has been some backlash from parents about the requirement.

England has shown no growth in judo participation for quite some time as well, and the politics of it all is even worse than in the United States.

As wealth is created in other parts of the world, so will choices that will be available to consumers for their money.  The sport of judo might have some advantages at this point, but eventually as each society gets wealthier, the proponents of judo will have a more difficult time gaining mindshare and participation rates will go down.   Here's another headwind.  In many countries you will also have budgetary considerations and the largesse that the government has poured out upon the citizenry will be reduced.  Austerity is the new word on the sovereign stage.

While it would be nice to have large training halls, top coaches, low cost and government footing the bill, it's not going to happen in the United States.  Never.

I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. I'm just trying to tell you what hasn't worked in the USA, and what is working.   There is a roadmap for success that has been used by many other martial arts in this country. It seems the closer the judo school is in using it, the more successful they are.





 
6/25/12 9:32 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/25/12 9:43 PM
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 judom,

I wouldn't trust that 170M Euro budget figure.  I tried to find the French Judo Federation financials but they were not on the website.  Let's put some perspective on it.

The USOC gave a total of 66M to all of its NGB's in 2011.  The USOC spent a total of 191M for the year and had revenue of $250M.  I find it doubtful that France would give nearly 3x the amount of money to one NGB than the USOC gives to all of them.  If they did, they would be the worst investors in the world because look at how many medals that the USOC buys for their money vs France.

Here's a good example.  USA Track & Field got $2,722,111 from the USOC in 2011.  Did France really give 60x as much money to the French Judo Federation?

The French Federation claims to have 587K members who participate at 5700 clubs.  That is nearly $300 Euro per person or $30,000 per club. It doesn't make sense.  It might be closer to $17M Euro which would be believable, but I would still be extremely skeptical. 
6/26/12 11:04 AM
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Outkaster
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Chocolate Shatner - Outkaster, I would agree that WE consider TKD to be a joke. Many of the serious martial artists in the world also consider TKD to be a joke. BUT, the average person who isn't there, and is looking for a martial art to enroll their kid in, doesn't. They look at the following:

fun
looks cool
talks about anti-bullying
talks about physical fitness
talks about martial spirit


then, and only then, after loads and loads of the above, does it mention that it is also an Olympic sport. Judo seems to market itself on the opposite.


I came up in the late 1970’s when MA schools and the whole business of Dojo/Dojangs was not that old in most East Coast states. You would see Karate, TKD, Kung-Fu Schools, and some Judo Dojos but that was about it. Originally there were a bunch of bad ass Koreans that I trained with. They came to this city in the early 1970’s and TKD was all they knew. Some went to Upstate New York, Pittsburg PA, and Toronto CA and opened up little schools not even speaking any English. These guys used their hands fighting wise which was rare because they had to compete with the Karate schools in the region that were emerging. The schools were small and not places where you could “get a black belt in a year” It was a lot of stand-up arts that lacked ground work or ne-waza type training. When I started training the Kung Fu craze was dying out in the late ‘70’s. Bruce Lee had passed so there was not really anyone martial arts community could get behind other than maybe Chuck Norris but he was more of a figure for the 80’s. Then the Ninja boom came in the 1980’s, probably about 1981. Most of us knew what happened then. Marketing got big in the 1980’s because people were selling their schools as “black belt schools” and a lot of ridiculous marketing was used to get people in the door. They used TV shows aimed at kids like the power rangers and teenage mutant ninja turtle for recruitment. Point fighting became big and Steve Hayes continued to make money off the Ninja craze, I had never heard of Judo schools doing these types of things. We never ever heard about Judo because people traveled in a different circles but I knew it was taught at a local college.

The thing I appreciate about Judo is that there seems to be a tight community and a lot of people know each other all over the world. Getting that feeling of community into a marketing campaign is tough though. I’m not sure how it could be done? MMA, and BBJ was not around and even thought of really in the old days.

I know because I was there and lived through all these changes. The martial arts were evolving but a lot of people were not paying attention or evolving with them. With the UFC, it changed things for a lot of people, and now like other things people decided they can, or are able to make money off of it. One poster said above that there is a bunch of BBJ schools in his area and that seems to be happening now. You’re lucky to get more than one Judo school in an American city. I have heard of BBJ schools charging $250 a month for Tuition. Would people pay that much for Judo, probably not unless it was the flavor of the month like MMA.

Now in my forties it is a different game and some of the Martial Arts are shells of what they once were but it seems Judo has been consistent with some rule changes. It’s interesting because we have a small Judo class that has an attendance of 3-8 people a class. On the other side, 40 people come to an MMA class. I was talking to some instructors about it and bottom line Judo is hard, could that be a reason why it is not as successful as all the TKD and sport Karate schools? I’m not sure?...

6/26/12 7:24 PM
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judom
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OCJudo,

Now that I recall what that person said better (he is a current national team coach), the France number includes all funding from anything Judo related: this includes all fees that people pay to train, what the government pays, etc, etc.

I agree with you on one thing globally about Judo. I've been to many countries: USA, UK, Switzerland, France, all over Eastern Europe, Canada, etc, etc.

In general Judo even in Eastern Europe is severely under-marketed. It is pretty set in its ways and it definitely caters towards the 'more competitive' portion of people.

Many coaches secretly also want kids that will seriously compete in Judo, and they are not too interested in training adults 'for fun'.

I completely agree that Judo should adopt the BJJ-style marketing schemes to attract more people. BJJ has clearly shown the way in how to market and how to spread an art.

Its funny, just today I went to Judo practice and on the way out of the Dojo (we are in a building with many other sports activities), I noticed a HUGE group of people doing Karate, perhaps 50-80 people.

I looked a little closer and noticed how different the population of Judo vs. Karate was: the Judo guys were all relatively young and into competition. The Karate people had many women, older people and small kids.

Then I looked around a bit more and noticed that in the whole building there were many pictures and maps of Karate, etc and it was easy to sign up, etc.

At the same time, I did not find a single 'ad' about Judo. If you didn't know, you wouldn't know people train Judo there.

Its pretty crazy. But at the same time Judo coaches secretly enjoy that 'selectivity': they are not getting paid and so they want to work with more quality players in their minds. And few are interested in teaching beginners.

I have to say, I teach classes once a week to beginners and my purpose is to attract many of them to Judo. But many more advanced Judoka hate teaching classes, especially to beginners.
6/26/12 7:26 PM
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judom
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Also, many people are severely scared of falling. I've seen many people come and watch practices and I asked them why they don't join Judo and they say: it looks too rough with all these throws.

At any rate, I agree Judo has a global problem. Somehow the thinking globally is: if the person is really interested in Judo he will find a way to find us, and if he is not, then we don't care about them. This is thinking that is just not smart in this century.
6/26/12 8:13 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/27/12 1:00 AM
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 Falling is the number one fear that I  heard from potential students, and most difficult objection I found  to overcome.  I made sure that we had multiple crash pads at the clubs.  The current dojo is not a floating floor but I had two inches of padding below the mats and its built onto a platform.  The footing is nice but its also a fairly easy fall to take. Even still, its a scary proposition for people, and I wasn't always able to convince them.

When Juan was teaching at Gracie Barra-Costa Mesa,  Mike Buckels the owner and BJJ coach built a floating floor.  Kevin Howell who owns The Jiu-Jitsu League in Long Beach where Juan currently trains in BJJ and  where hehelps with the tachiwaza also built the floating floor for the students.  How many judo schools do that for their students? Not many.  But then we get back to the discussion of being professional and commercial vs hobbyists.

$170M for the whole judo economy in France makes sense. That works out to about $300 per person.

Funny that in your country that it's young people gravitating to judo.  In the USA, there is a gentrification going on in the sport.  Its proponents are getting much older.  Take a look at the small crowd at the Sr. Nationals and then go to the BJJ PanAms or BJJ Worlds.   Average age is much lower at the latter.  I was watching either the Miami Cup or the Sr. Nationals online either last year or the year before. It was a weird setup where there were maybe one or two rows of chairs surrounding each mat. In this one match there was only one old gentleman who had one of those walker devices sitting in the row watching the match.  All I was thinking was "Gonna see alot more of that in the coming years". The Masters competition at the Sr. Nationals and the US Open is larger than the elite divisions. It's been that way for some time.

Here's another big hurdle that is faced in this country.  For a very long time, judo has been kept alive by the volunteerism and other support from the Japanese-American community.  It's probably also why judo has failed to gain popularity, but again I digress.  But what happens as the 3rd and 4th generation who are growing up now move further and further away from their roots via intermarriage and simply because their roots are more firmly established in the USA?

For the most part, the coaches are not getting paid in our country as well.  That's why I believe that they also want to focus on their "quality" players.  It's their reward to say I made so many so and so champions.  This is another reason why it doesn't matter at the NGB level what they do.  If judo instructors don't want to run commercial clubs that are easily accessible, what difference does an NGB make? What difference does any marketing make when you get right down to it?

The only way judo will become more popular in the USA is if someone in whom instructors trust, shows them a business model where it is possible, and they go out and do it.  How is the judo club hidden in the community center and the only judo school within 10 miles going to compete for students when they have classes two days a week, for about 2-3 hours each, when everyone in town drives past that strip mall where they see  a martial arts studio every single day; and they can practice within a few blocks of their house at times convenient to them?

Here's a personal example. I would pay for my grandchildren's judo lessons.  I'd pay for my son's as well. Not a problem.  But my own sons won't make the drive.  They'd rather pay good money for the kids to train right down the street from them. Two of my sons are training Muay Thai and a little BJJ.  Paying good money for it, and guess where the girls will be training?

I cannot over emphasize the convenience element.  The judo community simply does not make it convenient.


   
6/26/12 11:59 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/27/12 12:50 AM
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 Outkaster,

Your post brought out an excellent point that I want to touch base on.  You mentioned the TKD instructors who were a bunch of badass Koreans.

In the mid-60's when I was a child training at Yonezuka's in Cranford, I believe he brought the very first TKD instructor to the United States.  His name was Ki Chung Kim. He was a national champion in Korea. TKD was full contact there. He was the real deal.

My father who was already a black belt in judo, started also training with Ki Chung, along with a bunch of other Cranford black belts.  His practices were intense, and he definitely impressed my father with his technique and how hard he trained.  There were a few great stories about Ki Chung, none of which I remember very well other than the first time he went into a karate tournament. It was point karate, and Ki Chung who didn't understand English too well at the time, didn't know it wasn't full contact. His opponent threw a punch and kiai'ed and Ki Chung kicked him right in the chin and knocked him out.  He doesn't realize he just got disqualified, and Yone has to try to explain the rules after.  He makes some comment about in Korea loser gets carried out, not the winner.

Anyway, the class never builds because nobody wants to deal with this crazy Korean.  I think Yone finally talked to him about toning down his classes.   It must have worked, because I know he was still teaching back east when I left NJ in 1984.  Another thing.  The Koreans learned very quickly what works in the USA.

Think also about Yonezuka.  He was the captain of the best collegiate judo team in Japan at the time (Nichidai) he was in college.  Jerome Mackey brought Yone, Shiina, Shimamoto, Ozaki and a couple others I'm forgetting who were Nichidai teammates over to teach in New York and New Jersey. It had to be the best time to be training in the tri-state area ever.  Those gentleman were simply unbelievable in ability, and to this day Yonezuka is still my hero.  He was as close to perfection in judo that I ever saw.

If they trained their students as hard as they trained at Nichidai, they would have failed.  Yone had some great competitors come out of Cranford, but he didn't let them interfere with building a very nice business over his lifetime.

So, judo can be hard, but it doesn't necessarily have to be too hard.  Besides, the judo practiced at the recreational level is not harder than high school football or wrestling practice. Its much easier for the most part.  What judo school wouldn't want the starting football or wrestling lineup in their school?  If given the choice to have those students but having to throw out their current membership, many instructors would do it.   Elite level vs Elite level, you can't tell me that the average +100K judoka is a better athlete than the 275 pound linebacker who can run a 4.8 40 yard dash.

So why do some judo instructors say that "judo is too hard"?  I think the first reason is because if it's too hard for others and they do it, it makes them feel superior.  Secondly, it's easier to blame the potential student than to blame themselves.    
6/26/12 11:59 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/26/12 11:59 PM
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deleted. double post.
6/27/12 10:36 AM
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Outkaster
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OCJudoTrngCtr -  Outkaster,

Your post brought out an excellent point that I want to touch base on.  You mentioned the TKD instructors who were a bunch of badass Koreans.

In the mid-60's when I was a child training at Yonezuka's in Cranford, I believe he brought the very first TKD instructor to the United States.  His name was Ki Chung Kim. He was a national champion in Korea. TKD was full contact there. He was the real deal.

My father who was already a black belt in judo, started also training with Ki Chung, along with a bunch of other Cranford black belts.  His practices were intense, and he definitely impressed my father with his technique and how hard he trained.  There were a few great stories about Ki Chung, none of which I remember very well other than the first time he went into a karate tournament. It was point karate, and Ki Chung who didn't understand English too well at the time, didn't know it wasn't full contact. His opponent threw a punch and kiai'ed and Ki Chung kicked him right in the chin and knocked him out.  He doesn't realize he just got disqualified, and Yone has to try to explain the rules after.  He makes some comment about in Korea loser gets carried out, not the winner.

Anyway, the class never builds because nobody wants to deal with this crazy Korean.  I think Yone finally talked to him about toning down his classes.   It must have worked, because I know he was still teaching back east when I left NJ in 1984.  Another thing.  The Koreans learned very quickly what works in the USA.

Think also about Yonezuka.  He was the captain of the best collegiate judo team in Japan at the time (Nichidai) he was in college.  Jerome Mackey brought Yone, Shiina, Shimamoto, Ozaki and a couple others I'm forgetting who were Nichidai teammates over to teach in New York and New Jersey. It had to be the best time to be training in the tri-state area ever.  Those gentleman were simply unbelievable in ability, and to this day Yonezuka is still my hero.  He was as close to perfection in judo that I ever saw.

If they trained their students as hard as they trained at Nichidai, they would have failed.  Yone had some great competitors come out of Cranford, but he didn't let them interfere with building a very nice business over his lifetime.

So, judo can be hard, but it doesn't necessarily have to be too hard.  Besides, the judo practiced at the recreational level is not harder than high school football or wrestling practice. Its much easier for the most part.  What judo school wouldn't want the starting football or wrestling lineup in their school?  If given the choice to have those students but having to throw out their current membership, many instructors would do it.   Elite level vs Elite level, you can't tell me that the average +100K judoka is a better athlete than the 275 pound linebacker who can run a 4.8 40 yard dash.

So why do some judo instructors say that "judo is too hard"?  I think the first reason is because if it's too hard for others and they do it, it makes them feel superior.  Secondly, it's easier to blame the potential student than to blame themselves.    



You have good point’s basically the schools around here had to tone down training in the 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s because they wanted to attract students. That would be a little difficult as Judo is hard on the body and requires a lot out of you, more than TKD ever did for me and here’s why. Striking arts can basically be taught and practiced alone if need be. With Judo other than training fit-ins or footwork you have to work with a partner because your controlling yourself and the other person. Learning that is a lot of work and people are generally lazy and would rather go to a sport karate school wear a t-shirt, belt and gi pants and train. Watering or dumbing down of the Martial Arts got people rich but had a negative effect on the Martial Arts schools. Judo is the hardest thing I have ever done.

I think the instructor meant Judo was hard and our BBJ/MMA guys did not want to train that hard because of taking falls, and these guys consider themselves to be badass. We have tons of guy’s doing no-gi training. Personally it’s boring for me but because of the MMA craze everyone gravitates to it.

When Judom mentioned Judo has a global problem he was right from what I can see in my experience:

‘Somehow the thinking globally is: if the person is really interested in Judo he will find a way to find us, and if he is not, then we don't care about them. This is thinking that is just not smart in this century”

I agree with that statement because you can’t base a business plan or run a school successfully on that type of thinking, not if you want to make money. I think that also maybe the reason schools are run out of recreation centers or YMCA’s is because of that thinking. That was a model a lot of other Martial Arts did in the 70’s because the high-level almost multi-level marketing was not done then. The old storefront schools are kind of gone. I learned on a second floor tenement downtown in the 1970’s. The trick will be how to get people in the door, practicing Judo, making it attractive to new people, and to be able to pay the rent. Judo will have find a way to be marketable if it wants to get out of the Church basement.
6/27/12 11:25 AM
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Jumbo Reverse Shrimp
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Edited: 06/27/12 11:25 AM
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 Judo is apparently too hard for the average person looking for a hobby, especially since a lot of dojos don't  have sprung floors. 
6/27/12 1:11 PM
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Mit
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Jumbo Reverse Shrimp -  Judo is apparently too hard for the average person looking for a hobby, especially since a lot of dojos don't  have sprung floors. 
It's true and a lot of bjj guys don't like to get thrown. I show a fair amount of judo takedowns when it's my turn to teach bjj(judo brown, bjj brown) and the guys always approach it with lots of apprehension. Except the guys that have wreslted.....they love it.

I even make em do old school break fall exercises to get em used to falling but it's still hard. Phone Post
6/27/12 1:14 PM
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Spartan79
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Well I'm off to try BJJ for the first time at a new club tonight . It's a Carlson Gracie club which means a aggressive top style apparently ? Its 10 pound a class so that's double my judo class. Let's see how I get on! Phone Post
6/27/12 5:39 PM
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Spartan79
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Really enjoyed the class despite now sitting up A n E with a suspected cracked rib. Don't belive any of this BJJ blues owning Judo Black belts. I had no problems with blue belts and always have problems with my judo instructor on the ground. That being said I felt they broke down the subs a lot more, and I feel I have a better understanding of what I saw. Good club and it was fun. The best thing was there was loads of men to roll with. Lucky if we get five on the mat these days at judo. Phone Post
6/27/12 7:41 PM
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judoblackbelt
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Probably the best discussion I have read on this forum in a long time. The insight is much deeper than what I know. Thanks.
6/27/12 8:37 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/27/12 8:44 PM
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 judom,

We both have stated on this thread we've seen some bad judo curriculums out there. I  just want to show what I think is a great example of a non-profit club doing outstanding work in teaching judo. The club is Tohkon in Chicago.  Here is a link to their website.  I'll say it upfront, instead of at the end of my post.  I believe that Tohkon must offer the best value of any martial arts studio in Chicago. 

www.tohkon.com/

Doug Tono was a very good competitor with outstanding technique.  Though I've never trained with him, people in who's opinion I trust have said he is an excellent coach.  Here is one of the things I love that he is doing.

On Mondays and Wednesdays they have what is called a Fundamentals class.  On the website, you can see that they have that class planned out for one year in advance. You need to scroll down to class schedule and click on the fundamentals link.  www.tohkon.com/jump.html

How great is that? How many dojos do you know in the States have taken that kind of initiative?  I would bet my life savings that the number that have are dwarfed by the number of instructors who just walk into class and wing it.

Wouldn't you make more of an effort to get to class if you knew that you were going to do something new?   I think I would, and I imagine most parents, kids and adults would too.  You will get a quality judo education at Tohkon.

I've been to so many clubs where the parents come and sit and watch their kids do the same routine for 3 months in a row.   Adult classes same thing. So who cares if you miss a day or two of that?  Then the day or two becomes two weeks...two months....quit because they aren't learning anything.

Tohkon also has a women's class that makes sense.  It's taught by female instructors.  It would be better if they had it more than once a week, but that's one of the pitfalls of the model.  But at least they are making the effort to appeal to the more than 50% of the population that have been dismissed by so many in their instruction.

If Tohkon had better hours of availability, I see no reason why they couldn't be as big if not bigger than any other school of martial arts in Chicago.   The value they could offer is too great.  Starting at 8:00pm is going to be too late for many adults.



 
6/27/12 11:52 PM
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Mr Mike from NC
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Scared of falling? I started Judo at age 40 and, still have issues with taking fast, hard falls from Ippon Seoi Nagi, O-Goshi and, Harai Goshi. I'm a special ed,. teacher and, have lot's of study and, practice teaching everything from how to tie shoes, buckle a watch band, complete math algorithms, etc. I've come up with ways to help overcome my fear of falling and, it's helped, but I think I need much more practice. Problem is that I'm only a green belt and, my view is respected, but the Senseis go with that they know. My ideas are involve breaking techniques down into safe, basic movements and, working your way up. For Seoi Nagi, the fear partly involves not seeing where you will land when you go over/or to the side of Tori's back. Make sure the uke can do a good Zempo Kaiten and, go over exactly how he'll need land safely. Use a crash pad and, have a Tori go threw with the entire throw up until Uki starts to fall of the back and, bring him back to his feet. Once he's comfortable, do some controlled throws on a crash mat. Make sure Uki is landing properly.
Perhaps several weeks/months of dedicated ukemi for novices would help. How great would it be to have 10/15 paying adult customers learn to overcome their fear of falling and, being thrown? Compare that to the relatively few students who have great sport potential who often get most of the attention. I've seen a fair number of adults who come, find it's too hard and, leave. Judo is partially about Physical Education and, we can teach you Judo!
6/28/12 12:45 AM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/28/12 12:48 AM
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 Mr Mike from NC,

It's great that you are participating in the discussion because instructors need to hear your voice.

What is the mat situation where you practice?  Do they just put the mats down on the gym floor or do you have a permanent floor?  How about crash pads?  I just want to clarify because it sounds like they do use them in your post.

I'm not convinced that several weeks/months of ukemi is the answer.  In a perfect world, I think you could be correct.  However, I think that it would be too boring, and you would probably not enroll the person if you told them that would be their first few weeks of training. 

I think the first trial lesson the student has to come away with thinking they learned something useful.  Think about it for a second.  If he walks into a Muay Thai class, he might learn a few things about punching.  He walks into a BJJ school he might be shown an armbar.  If he walks into the judo school and learns how to slap the mat, how well does that compare?

 If I was the instructor  my approach would be to make sure that when they are thrown, they are thrown clean when they are just beginning and they are learning ukemi.  Allow only brown belts and black belts to throw them, preferably on crash pads in the beginning.  As their body gets stronger, and they get more confident about their surroundings and falling skills, it should hopefully alleviate some of the anxiety.  In a way, it's the same principle as you mention in your post about working your way up.  Getting thrown wrong only reinforces their fears, and lots of beginners will throw them wrong.

Does that make sense to you, and would it be an approach that could help alleviate your fears?
 
6/28/12 9:19 PM
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Mr Mike from NC
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Edited: 06/28/12 9:24 PM
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Thank you. My school actually has 4 schools in different locations. The main one is inside a shopping center and, has it's own space. Small, but the floor (which is a gymnastics mat on plywood over several layers of foam rubber) is pretty nice to fall on and, they have two crash pads. The head Sensei also teaches my school and, we have a platform of 28' by 32". The bottom layer is car tires and, we have 2 X 4's screwed into two layers of plywood. There is a hodge podge of mats over that, covered by a huge, nylon tarp. We don't have any crash pads. As a poor dojo, we are buying long sheets of crosslink foam (think of the Dollumur/Swain mats without the covering, or segments) They are 1.25 inches thick and, fairly nice to fall on. 2" would be better, but those are more expensive. Within several months, we'll have the floor covered entirely of those mats. As long as they are taped together, they don't move and, the trap stays put. The tarp actually gives nice footing. The dojo is in an old building without heat and, a leaky air conditioner. There is also no hot water! At most, we have 12 students on the mat. The main school generally has 20, although half are black belts. The kids classes have been nearly as big, but recently have been poorly attended. The focus is on competition. We have two brown belts, but they have only been at it for 3/4 years. Both compete frequently. Out school probably looks poor in the eyes of many parents and, the local TKD schools have hundreds of students, with multiple ways of making money.
6/28/12 9:46 PM
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Mr Mike from NC
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Edited: 06/28/12 10:01 PM
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I think you make at point about Ukemi being boring. Perhaps an adult would benefit from starting with some good newaza skills, like how to pin and, submit an opponent? They could learn Osoto-Gari, or Seoi Nagi step, by step, then practice it on the Sensei, or a brown belt. They would practice ukemi until they were ready to land themselves and, they would be thrown only by brown, or black belts, first on crash pads.

Have you read the article called "A Young French Judoka Talks about his experience in Japan?"

http://www.judo-voj.com/contents/reiho.html

He mentions that there are over 600,000 Judo players in France, but "more than half of newly accredited black belt holders quit judo every year."
Another interesting quote:
"Why, in France, are there very few high level judo practitioners over 25 years of age who are not competition players? My conclusion, after one year of living in Japan is rather simple: in France, they practice high level judo and judo for children, but they have never thought of judo for adults."

He talks about the Kosen phenomenon. It seems that at the beginning, colleges started Judo teams, but because Judo hadn't yet pervaded Japanese society, the students came in without any combat experience. They found that it took too long to get them ready for shiai, but they were able to become competent in Newaza skills in much less time. My sensei says that students come to him hoping to learn Tachi Waza and, don't think of Judo as a ground art. But, NeWaza might be a good way to bring in adults. The French Judoka agrees.
6/29/12 1:54 PM
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JoshuaResnick
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this is just an awesome conversation to read...

BTW, I just went and visited Chuck Jefferson's Judo club in San Jose, CA and without a doubt do I think he is going to be successful to whatever degree he chooses.

The one issue he has stated is that when starting a new club you do not have any experienced kids to show the new kids how to do anything. Which, unfortunately, means that the only model they have to emulate is you--the instructors. Everything you try to teach, everything you want them to do, everything they need to learn they have to emulate an adult. Within a year, though, this problem will be solved.

What Chuck has done definitely makes me think about doing something similar someday-- but finding the exactly right place to do it is key. He is renting a "room" in a much larger facility. they provide locker rooms and a clean, busy environment for people who want to be fit. Chuck does whatever he wants in his space and has to do his own advertising. He is growing-- the night I was there alone he gained 2 new students.
6/29/12 5:54 PM
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OCJudoTrngCtr
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Edited: 06/29/12 9:54 PM
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 MMNC,

I have not read the article, but I will, and thank you for the link.  There have been others who have made the case to start adults with newaza first, and build the students from the ground up.  I think there is a lot to the argument.  OCJTC has not gone that way, but  Juan Montenegro teaches a very balanced program at OCJTC.  Most nights there will be a 50/50 split, but it can go 75/25 either way depending on the mix of the class.

One of the big differences I think that separates Juan from many other instructors is that he is equally competent in newaza and tachiwaza.  Many instructors will tell you that they are, but the reality is that statement is not true.  They don't have too much to teach in newaza, and often it is very static.

To his credit, Juan remains not only an instructor but a student as well. He trains in BJJ at least once a week, and he attends a lot of judo campsl.   He was pretty damn good in newaza prior to his BJJ training, but now that he understands that game better, he's also able to bring in elements of BJJ that complement judo training.   His tachiwaza and transition game is very good.

Here is a video of him doing a demonstration at Fight Zone USA  (now The Jiu-Jitsu League)  a few months shy of his 50th birthday.  I believe his tachiwaza is fantastic, and not many guys his age would demonstrate as well.   www.youtube.com/watch

Interesting observation re: French judo where its kids and elite competitors.  I've thought long and hard about the gap between kids and adults for more than a decade.

More than that, I tried a lot of things to see if they would help close that gap.  Reading this thread, one might think that I'm not fond of the non-profit model.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is that I supported a non-profit club in a big way, in addition to financial contributions to all of the 3 national organizations, a Yudanshakai, and many other projects that I thought would benefit judo.  The SEC considers me a sophisticated investor, but if you based it on the return of my judo investments, I would not look so smart.

There proabably isn't a theory about improving judo or it's visibility that I haven't tried.  One example.  You know how people say judo clubs need to advertise?   I funded a campaign where I put ads in the 3 closest high schools, and the 3 closest colleges for the school year and a multi-month campaign in  very popular advertising circular. The ad was created by a marketing person who worked for a major brand that did it gratis.   Total cost was close to $10,000 for the campaign (edit. My wife says it was closer to $7K as it would have been $10k but we didn't take an ad in the big local).   Total return.  I believe we got 1 student.

But if we don't pay attention to adults and teenagers, there is little hope of the sport growing.  Let's use my family again, as an example.

My father started judo in the late 50's after a car accident put him in a coma for 6 weeks and his doctor told him never to box again.  He took up judo instead, and fell in love with the sport.  He had 4 children, and all 4 of them had to practice judo, whether they liked it or not.  Out of those 4, only me and my sister continued with it.  She did a good part of her training in Germany where her husband was stationed.   Out of my sons,  two of them stayed with judo until they were brown belts.  Neither of my sister's daughters stayed past orange belt.  But regardless, my father starting judo at 18, led to another 10 people just from his family who tried judo and 2 who stayed with it for a long time.

How many of us would love to have each of our current students bring in 10 students over their lifetime?  Based on how bad I did in generating interest from an advertising campaign, it would be worth $70k in my bad advertising. :) 

That is what happened simply because my own father loved the sport and forced his kids to do it.  What sport do you think all those fathers and mothers who are training BJJ are going to put their children in?

And that is why listening to gentleman like yourself is very important.  Because if we don't listen, we'll keep missing growth opportunities.

  
7/2/12 4:44 PM
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judom
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Mike,

In general, where I trained (one of my coaches was Japanese for a very long period of time), we did A LOT of randori.

In fact, he often said you cannot learn outside of randori. And he said: the best Judo comes when you are tired. Typical practice for us was: 6-7 randoris on the ground to warm up and 12-15 randoris standing. At least 2 hours of training. I found it is during randori that you really get better.

OCJudo,

I saw the curriculum you mentioned. That is great, but I don't think having one is required.

The best thing is personal attention: feeling that you make progress.

One of the greatest wrestlers in the world John Smith said:

"The biggest problem with student athletes is when they stop learning in a program. When a student stops learning they start taking steps backwards".

And learning in Judo is hard as hell: all these throws are not easy on the body. It is for that reason that it is even more critical to have personalized attention, to have clean presentable dojo's, to have clean presentable web sites, etc. So that students feel that they are learning, that they are making progress and that they are part of something that is good, someone that cares about THEIR progress, not only the progress of competitors.

Judo is still wildly popular in Europe, but I don't expect that to be for long if they do not adapt to the current market conditions.
7/2/12 4:45 PM
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judom
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btw, tomorrow I am going to Judo class again and again i will go by the Karate dojo that takes place at the same time. I am going to count this time how many people are doing this no-contact Karate vs. Judo.

I suspect it will be 25 vs. 80 or something.
7/3/12 9:31 AM
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Outkaster
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25 vs. 80? wow if we could even be that lucky!

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