Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Big Judo's Secret

Big Judo's secret is its strategy.  We care about people and about Judo. Big Judo isn't about one instructor its about motivating experienced Judo players to invest time and effort in teaching. We develop the little people and they grow into our own elite.  The first generation left home this month.

Taking time out to teach a kid to tie their belt can be a pain when you are running a class. But it demonstrates to that kid that you care, that we look after each other and that everybody matters in this Judo family.  Values that in a time they may be transferring to the next generation.  .

Big Judo in Australia

First photo of Jacob and Noah at Zenbu with Morgan and Ivor Endicott Davies at Zenbu Dojo in Australia.  The guys say that they are having a great time and learning lots already.

Nice to see the first international outing of the famous Big Judo hoodie.  Maybe there'll be a Big Judo Sydney one day!  Jordan you listening.

But seriously, a big thanks to Morgan and Ivor whose help we really appreciate.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Big Judo's Next Generation

Jacob and Noah, our top young players left this week for a long trip overseas. Behind them is another generation of kids developing their Judo.  In a few years they may return and other people will follow them overseas.

Big Judo has always been about strategy and sustainability. We spend lots of time developing our people, focusing on growing them so they are braver, service focused and interested in good Judo.  From big kids classes come good adult Judoka. 

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Sad to See Two Good Guys Leave

Big Judo fare-welled Jacob and Noah today.  Two great guys and key parts of the Big Judo story.  These two are the first of Big Judo's students to start with us a beginners and get to the point where they are winning competitions in New Zealand.  The next step is overseas to complete their apprenticeships.

At Big Judo we won't tell you how awesome we are, or that we are the font of all Judo knowledge or that we are the only coaches able to take to you 'all the way'.  We are pretty realistic.  If you want to be good at Judo you need to get overseas and put yourselves in really tough environments.  You need to find good dojos and great instructors.

That's our aim with our top students, to get them to the point where they can go overseas and be exposed to the best current Judo. We train with that aim in mind and structure our club fundraising to support this goal.

Jacob and Noah are off to train at Zenbu Dojo in Sydney with Morgan Ivor Endicott-Davies for the first part of 2019. Mid- 2019 they will go to Japan for a bit of a holiday then up to Britain. 

Maybe they will comeback maybe they won't. We sure hope that they do, but they are young men with the world opening up for them through Judo; and who knows what will happen. We do know that they are staunch Team Big members and will always remember us where ever they are.

So good luck guys. Its sad saying good-bye but we are really, really proud that you are taking this step. See you soon.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Reflections on Carpentry, Musashi and Becoming an Old Fogey

I used to laugh watching my instructor Rick 'fussbudget' around restoring old furniture.  Often on work lunch breaks I would wander over to his shop in Queen Street to say - Hi.  Then find myself standing round in his basement as he worked away on some old piece of furniture sanding and gluing,  Fixing broken bits and slowly rebuilding salvaged furniture. 

When I was young I thought it was pretty funny. It was such an 'old fogeish' thing to do.

Now, I am doing it.

And the interesting thing is that I am starting to see why Rick liked it.

Woodworking is a great analogy for the martial arts. Creating a a beautiful form in this craft also takes time and repetitive practice paired with a long-term vision of what 'could be'.

You must learn as you go and,  like the martial arts, experience teaches best. Sometimes you stuff up and have to figure out how to fix what you have broken, resisting the urge to give up or walk away. 

And like the martial arts there's often pain. When you skin your knuckles, jam you fingers or cut yourself on an old nail, it hurts and again you are faced with that urge to give up and walk away.

Slowly, with long effort the true beauty of the object being built or restored takes shape. Bit like in martial arts.

Its no surprise then that the classic samurai text on strategy Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings explains the principles of strategy using a carpenter's work as a metaphor for strategic leadership.  Musashi describes how a carpenter needs to know their apprentices, material and tools and bring them together to maximize economy and efficiency and produce a fine product. 

A lot like coaching.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Big Judo 2019

We mustered this week and are really happy. 2019 is going to be a big year.  We have our first young people off overseas.  Jacob and Noah leave for Sydney this month. After spending some time training with an allied club run by a top ex-Olympian there they will travel to Japan then on to England. 

It's sad for us coaches but one of the tough things about Judo is you that if you want to really get good you need to travel and spend time overseas. Six weeks or a month here or there doesn't really work  At Big Judo our whole aim to develop people and to help them to achieve their potential. 

So paradoxically we are most successful when our people are leaving!  We are very proud though and hope that they have great time. 

Noah and Jacob with Don and Nelly at the Nationals last year. 
At the other end of the club we had a great start to the year.  We have lots of kids at both dojos and our adult class trained well through the break.  Most important,  We aren't starting from scratch this year,  We have good depth and lots of experienced kids and adults.  

Tracey and Geoff at Pukekohe.  
And kids are important. Some clubs take the easy option and focus on competitive players neglecting the kids.  Its understandable, teaching kids is hard and takes real commitment.  But at Big Judo our strategy is to go the other way. We focus on attracting kids to Judo then developing them.  

Most important though is that we have real depth in the instructor pool.  We have a really good group of committed instructors.  We are especially proud that with Tracey back from maternity leave we have two really experienced female instructors. Nellie and Tracey were both good competitive players and  add to the culture of the club helping to create a safe supportive environment for females.  

Finally, its great to be back and we are looking forwards to another great year at Big Judo, 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Big Judo Pukekohe Kids Muster

Pukekohe had its first night this week. We had a good turnout. The best thing as seeing Tracey back in the mat.  After a long absence it is wonderful to have her back,. We had lots of kids and like town it is fantastic to be going into the new year with a group of more experienced kids.