Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Big Fun at Hajimie Judo Club Fun Day

Some of our Big Judo kids with their medals from this weekend's Judo fun day organised by Hajimie Judo Club.  Well done to the kids and well done to the organisers too!

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Australia Update

Medalists at the Illawara Restricted Kyu Competition.  Noah did well,  Blue belt gets Gold, awesome. 

Restricted kyu competitions are a great idea.  We used too have them in New Zealand but can't remember one for a long-time. They are a great opportunity for people to gain competitive experience and feel the thrill of victory.  I notice that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions are organised by grade. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Big Judo Old Skool in Pukekohe

A nice photo of Tracey back on the mat after a maternity break. Tracey is another of our awesome female Judo instructors and tonight I was thinking about how nice and 'old skool' we are at Pukekohe.

Some readers will remember doing Judo in little clubs based in school halls, scout dens or church halls. Once upon a time there were lots of little clubs like that. Mats down dojos were rare so we all had to work together putting the mats down and lifting them up after training. It was hard and you had to be committed. 

In fact Nellie and I started at Mount Roskill Judo Club in 1982 before going to University and tonight I was feeling a little nostalgic.  

It was awesome to see senior people like Tracey, Todd and Geoff who like sharing their knowledge so much that they never moan or complain about putting out the mats.  Instead its all about teaching kids and other adults Judo. Even if the set up is a little basic the 'old skool' Judo principles of bravery, service and Judo excellence were being put into practice.  

Todd, Geoff and the big kids. 

Tracey and Geoff with the beginner kids class

I guess my reflection from tonight is that isn't a flash dojo that makes a good club but rather good people.  At Big Judo we are really lucky to have a great group of people who love Judo and are keen to help others learn.  Even if we don't have a mats down dojo in Pukekohe we certainly have a good 'old skool' approach and plenty of happy kids (and some happy adults) learning good Judo.  

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Big Judo Kid Training in Sandringham

We had another nice Saturday in Sandringham this week.  I am back from Sydney and it was nice catching up with the kids again. One of the things that we are most proud of is the way that everybody pitches in and helps with the instruction. 

This Saturday we had Nelly help out with both kids classes.  Normally she focuses on the seniors, but we believe it is really important for the young female Judoka to have a connection with older female players in positions of authority.  So its wonderful to see her on the mat with the kids.

We also had Dave Mair on the mat.  He provides lots of great technical advice and really helps the rest of us deliver better quality Judo.

Awesome to have such a nice session after visiting the two big guys in Sydney.  They are getting stronger and tougher and behind them we have a strong family working together to build the next generation. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

BIg Judo Classes

Ben was in Australia this weekend and the kids must have known because they showed up 'in numbers' at Sandringham. Nelly took the class and worked them hard out.

Meanwhile in Australia Ben caught up with Noah and Jacob who are having a great time in Sydney.

The guys are doing us proud training hard, being polite and humble and making the absolute most of being at Zenbu.  It made us all proud to get such positive feedback.  Especially when we have lots more kids coming through behind them!

Friday, 1 March 2019

Good 2019 Sydney Open Photo

Nice photo of Noah in action at the Sydney International Open.  Next step Melbourne.  Then Auckland in May.

Big Judo Workshop Two 2019

This Friday Matt Rowley came and sheared technical knowledge with our young Judoka. It was a good night we had small group of our young people that are interested in developing their throwing technique learning from a really good instructor with excellent technical Judoka, 

Big Judo's focus is developing a strong base and this was another brick in our foundation, well done kids and thanks heaps Matt.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Sydney International Open 2019

Jacob and Noah both had there first taste of off-shore competition last weekend in Sydney.  Tony, Shaun and Oliver went over and supported them.  No medals but great experience and Tony said he had an awesome time with Ivor and Morgan at Zenbu.  Cool weekend.

Bummer about the stink photo. It was the only one the crew took that we could use! Oh well I'm in Sydney next month and will try and get some decent shots.

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.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Big Judo First Central Kids Muster for 2019

Training on Anniversary Weekend was always going to be a little sketchy but we still got a good turnout for our first kids session of 2019.  Its awesome to be starting the year with good crop of reasonably experienced kids. Makes the hard work of the last few years worth it! 

On Tuesday we muster the team at Pukekohe.  Lets hope that we get an awesome turnout there too!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Big Judo First Post of 2019

Get back on the mat. Adults are back. Small class but still a few on holiday.

 Next week kids start. 

Big news this year is that we are firing up adults at Pukekohe again. We have recruited some good  adults from Pukekohe in the past. Now with a group of young adults ready to move into the adult class and few old Judo players we could be really going place this year. And we are really hopeful that the we will increase our numbers, get more competitive adults and most importantly deliver more Judo in the 'Deep South' of Auckland.