This book is invitation to rethink judo with the goal of developing skill acquisition and coaching in judo in a way that corresponds with individual needs and abilities, modern times, and is compatible with Western culture and its operational environment.
The book answers the following questions: What do randori and fighting consist of? How to create order in the chaos of learning? How to create the necessary freedom for individuals to learn judo in a way that suits them the best?
Technical know-how and technical teaching have always been the strengths of successful coaches. In a way, this has impaired our thinking. This single system has been so ingrained into our thinking that we have had few other ways of operating. Another asset of Western judo has always been development of physical attributes. In these aspects, we stand our ground in comparison to the rest of the world. I believe that the central problems in judo are a large drop-out phenomenon, and the lack of comprehensive understanding of fighting skills, and the underdevelopment of teaching methods that follows from the lack of understanding.
Our duty as coaches is to develop our expertise and judo itself while holding on to our strengths. Instead of constantly operating in the same way and agonizing over weak results and the small number of competing judoka in our club or country, let us take a step into a direction that combines more advanced judo knowledge with a motivated individual, judoka, and athlete, who is committed to the community and to realizing their full potential.
This book delves into a single part of coaching by introducing the ecological theory of judo skill acquisition. The theory creates a up to date theoretical base for skills coaching. First, the concept of skill is defined. Furthermore, the book will analyze what skill is in general and what comprehensive judo skill is. Next, the concept of skill is discussed in more detail from the perspective of performance and learning. Finally, to aid coaches in practice, the book showcases models for skills coaching. The objective is understanding the skills required in judo, how they can be learned most efficiently, and how to most efficiently steer the learning process.
This coaches' handbook delves into the secrets of comprehensive judo learning with the help of modern sport science. However, there is nothing secretive about this, as the information has available for quite a while. The judo culture around the world is very diverse, and Geoff Gleeson (1927-1994) already discussed similar ideas in his books during the 1970s.
"When I began to advocate the discarding of ukemi, kuzushi, and uchikomi, I was accused of being mad." Says Geoff Gleeson. He ponders a moment, then ads, "Maybe I still am."
(Black Belt, February 1973)
Competition skill (shobuho) is one of the three corner stones of judo with physical development (renshindo), and mental development (shushinho). The Latin word "competere" (competition) means striving together for the better, for us to become successful men and women, and the ability to feel pride in oneself and to benefit one's community. The focus of this book is mainly on developing competition skill in judo.
Jigoro Kano's five principles for learning and teaching judo are:
1. Closely observe oneself and one's situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one's environment
2. Seize the initiative in whatever you undertake
3. Consider fully, act decisively
4. Know when to stop
5. Keep to the middle
I'll also try to shed light on what Jigoro Kano meant by these maxims. I hope that after reading this book, you can expand your understanding beyond these maxims.
I hope that this book directs the reader to a path with no return. The principles in this book are easy to understand. While the theories behind them might be complex and multidimensional, applying them to practice is fortunately quite easy.