Judoman wrote:I appreciate the everyday staff at the USJA, but I have been asking myself what it is the association exactly does for my club. Just signing off on rank certificates is not enough. Recently, I have given my club members the choice of joining USJA or AAU Judo. Almost all have gone with AAU Judo, which was a surprise. Not sure how this will play out over time, but I feel that moving away from the national governing bodies might not be such a bad thing.
Minor point ... there is only one real national governing body ... that is USA Judo ... it's a term that refers to the Sports Act ... but I think it's relevant and supports your point.
The various national governing bodies ... for judo, swimming, wrestling, curling ... whatever ... organize sports for the purpose of promoting Olympic sports in the United States.
That leaves the other two .... the USJF and USJA ... the question of "what then shall we do?" This was supposed to be resolved after "The Great Purge" by including them as member organizations but in fact they have no official control and role. So, as you note, people usually encounter them as rank-issuing organizations ... but don't forget insurance, both for members and for events. We call them membership cards and sanctions, but that is what they are ... plus a reasonable guarantee that any event will have consistent judo rules and the players involved will be judoka.
That probably leaves some cold as well ... since there are other organizations that issue sanctions, and some do not much like the IJF rules that the national groups insist on adhering to without much variation.
What else would one like such organizations to do? The answer is often something to do with money ... as in money for clubs, or money for certain athletes to travel, etc. ... and they perform this function but there is never enough to do what everyone hopes would be done. Plus, if you think about it, it's mostly a process of taking money from the many and giving to the few ... as is why don't we just keep those membership and promotion fees and spend them ourselves?
I can suggest a couple things.
One, rank should mean something. So a credible, consistent rank system is essential as the outward symbol of an active and engaged teaching system. Not necessarily a difficult, exclusive one, just a respectable job. USA Judo, as an Olympic-focused organization in an IJF that doesn't have much need for the rank concept except as a kind of vestigial organ. Their job is the sports entertainment business and the athletes that compete in those events. So it's the job of the other national organizations to take the job of organizing the overall judo community seriously.
The other part, and this is more difficult, and related to rank, it is the job of the USJA and USJF to promote judo standards, to say "this is judo, all of judo" and sometimes that happens. Sometimes I think they need the courage and credibility to say "this is NOT judo" but I don't see that happening much except when it comes to narrowing trend ... that didn't start with the IJF by the way. As noted in another thread, there is especially the need to be able to say "that is not enough of judo, there is more for you to explore, let's go out and learn it."
But that credibility can only come from an organization leadership that is both broad and wide ... not just one that derives its official opinions based on family ancestry, or how many memberships they sent to the national office in a year. It comes from a leadership that has an educated opinion ... at least a small knowledge of all thing in judo, and the type of deep understanding in at least a few areas that can broaden and deepen the judo of others. But they ain't gonna have that unless we show there is a demand, and if we don't listen as well as talk.
Our club is supporting the USJF's teaching and coaching training program by attending the local course at the end of this month at Migoto dojo. Unfortunately, due to cost and family issues we won't have representation at the national kata conference this weekend but we support the concept and will host a minor equivalent for local judoka towards the end of the year. We sanction our events through the USJF office, and discuss the rules we would like to apply. By supporting these events we receive support in return, we are in effect saying "this is good, please send more."
If we take our toys and go home when we don't like something, how does that solve anything?