Hi Medo, Hi DougNZ.
It is kind of you both to write an open, honest and accurate challenge to what I have written. This is what a forum is for, debate, challenges and further kaeshi waza.
Please remember several points when you read any of my posts. First point is my hypocrisy. I am so free with advice yet so often cannot yet take my own medicine. I have such high expectations of you guys and gals but am so hyper critical of myself. Second point, I was past 'my sell by date' over a decade ago. For two weeks now I have not even been able to stand on a tatami as I cannot bend my Right knee? In reality I no longer warrant a place in these debates. Judo is a doing, contact activity, physical. Sure that is the half the other half being intellectual BUT there is a need for both criteria to be in balance. never mind. To the point.
Medo, I truly and honestly know exactly how you feel. May I illustrate with a tale? I inherited a dojo in 1970 by default, the teacher just no longer appeared? I was a very young sho dan. I had a peer who was around 10 years older who also had a dojo. You could say we grew together in judo.
Point is my peers judo was highly questionable and he made the fatal error of never bothering to learn judo yet always teach it? Long story short....Come grading time I had bleed to get my ranks. My peer was GIVEN them. Why? Well he taught in a very affluent part of the city had a massive luxury dojo with well over 100 pupils and a waiting list of double that plus to try and accommodate such numbers he opened a second dojo!
Every time I passed a dan rank my peer went up to the same? How could this be? He had yet to learn the randori no kata I needed to gain a 1st kyu?
Point is financial. I had at the most 40 pupils, he bought to any association well over 200+ members also tatami and a staff of parents wiling to cater to any visiting sensei to a very high standard. To this very day this person is still teaching judo and is still clueless even about the most basic concepts.
Medo, you can turn the tables. Club visits are a great way for your pupils to get some free practice. Think about this. I used to visit other dojo every night of the week, EVERY NIGHT. Some of those dojo where 'hard', no teaching just shiai for two hours. Some of my pupils would decline to visit some of those 'hard' clubs while others loved them. NON of my pupils ever declined to visit my peers dojo in fact they requested that be the dojo we practice at? Why? Well on the way home the talk would be how good my pupils thought
they where as they at 5th kyu where scoring two ippons on my peers 2nd kyu! Throw for the first ippon then ne waza for the second.
Over the years when we visited my peers dojo some of his pupils would enter the dojo and not bother to even change into gi. Did the parents or pupils themselves ever ask why they lost so badly when we visited? I cant answer that as my peer provided a 'service' to his club members that was staggering. They would hold parties and summer events, go on visits to other towns for the day. This guy was a truly nice chap. His pupils where educated and their parents came from professional back grounds.
I guarantee you could not prize a pupil away from my peer with promises of gold. My pupils suffered all the usual bumps and sprains even occasional broken clavicle. Not his. How can you bruise what you don't use? To add possible insult to injury my peer earned more in a week from judo than I earned in a month after spending 12 bloody years at university qualifying and practicing my profession! TAX FREE..........Jeez man. ingenious.
There is more. Come yudanshakai meetings my peer had far more weight in what he said than I did. This peer broke many rules, we would sit at a meeting where my seniors would be blustering away ready to sack this guy. My peer would walk in, LATE, and make such a 'genuine' apology promising to never break said rule again, he took the wind out of the sales before the bloody boat even left the shore!!!!! Brilliant psychology, better than my professors had taught me at uni!!! This guy was not only untouchable he made a fortune and was dearly loved by all? I was the bad guy!
Still more............this peer had the financial capacity to invite any top sensei he wanted and he did. He had them stay at 5* hotels and dinned them etc No association would ever dare sack this peer. Me, they tolerated as they needed some one (idiot) to show the kata and teach the techniques? Bitter? I could have turned milk sour just by looking at it.
Medo. Don't ever sell your soul and lower your thoughts to allow your neighbours to affect your mind. YOU can sleep at night with the knowledge that you and your pupils are a family and a family that practice kodokan judo and has 'value' in terms of kodokan judo. You cant BUY that.
Will it chaff, you bet BUT with time I hope you will realise the misery these self appointed kancho and Shihan live under. I truly and sincerely believe when these self proclaimed Gods of budo have a quite minute and reflect inwardly they realise who and what they are.
I so often question what I am doing and question my own knowledge base. I would not swop places with those guys, not for all the money and titles in the world. As a side note I have been very busy of late making more and new enemies in the budo world by refusing further rank! I cant fg win! Never could and never will. " Who does Hanon think he is, why cant he take the rank like the rest of us". Because I I I I have to wear it not them. Fk off!
Make friends with them and visit their dojo with your pupils as often as you can. Your membership may not grow but the difference in judo will shine out for all to SEE. I know of whom you write. I can imagine just how you feel. Don't waste another second of you time allowing such people to occupy your thoughts. Sorry for the lecture, I mean well.
Doug. Hi, I knew your point would be raised. I again need to ramble. I enjoy hi-fi and audio visual, technology blah blah. I window shop at every opportunity I have. I see shoppers looking at a wall of 100 TV sets and so many of them will be looking at the price. Some obscure make like Winyong its 55" screen yet' only' cost 500.00€, the Panasonic or Sony 40" is twice the price! Outrageous. Guess what set goes in the car...........they will get what they paid for. Worse, many will be happy with their Winyong 55" while any average person will get a headache after watching that crap screen after 5 minutes. Some of the techno sold is actually water proof until it gets wet!
Point is choice. Nothing to do with innocent victims. I have heard the sales staff point out the differences, I have spoken to some of the shoppers myself and still they make their
choice. They are not innocent they don't need protecting they are exercising their right to choose how they spend their money. There is an enormous moral dilemma here also. What right do we have as so called legitimate judoka to dictate where and how another person learns their budo?
It is even more complex than just simple choice. Many and I mean, many of those so called innocents are not innocent at all, they know from the start or very soon learn that the quality of budo they learn is questionable
. Point is many of these
desire a black obi, don't want nor would accept the work to earn
one so go the easy root. Add to that the social activities and social life that these small associations have and again you could not prize them out of that situation with explosives plus why should we even try.
let us take the UK as a pure example. IF IF there are 20 of these independent associations in the UK and the top brass are all kohaku ranks lets say 30 questionable high ranks? is that such a damaging blow to judo considering how many tens of thousands there are in Uk judo dojo? The options to allowing freedoms of choice are what? Do we want a European police state more than we already have? We don't have a nannie state here we have a near police state. Compromise. I have no answers other than to agree that democracy is crap but its the best we can manage?
Continue to teach your judo, stay the course, make a physical difference in your teaching. By all means compare but never let than comparison lower your standards, use the comparisons to aim even higher. Above all keep this sort of politics well away from your dojo and pupils or we will become even worse than those WE refer to as charlatans.
Truly last tiny point. These independent dojo, if they are performing a community service by keeping kids of the street and adults out of the bars and teaching policies like non smoking even though the ranks may be odd buit are they not providing a worthy social service within the community? Its not judo as we know it OR IS IT? Think about that also. What was is the man himself wrote, "Mutual welfare and benefit". There is nothing more mutual with benefits than most of those independents.
Nice to chat with you again. Very best wishes to you both and thank you for your dedication to budo. Our thanks is not said enough to you young chaps who give so much to those you teach. Teaching judo is now harder than it has ever been. You have my respect.