Wednesday 16 December 2020

Reflecting on Two Important Moments at Big Judo


Tonight Big Judo had two significant moments.  In Epsom, Noah Wallis graded to Brown Belt passing a significant milestone in his Judo career. Nellie was at University Dojo to support him and Noah graded  in the same place Nellie and I received all of our grades. 

Noah started at Big Judo as a kid. He has matured in our dojo and is now a powerful fighter. Noah's grading tonight has wonderful symmetry because,  100 kilometres away at Big Judo Pukekawa we were also supporting Tracey with her end of year grading.  

Both events speak to Big Judo's philosophy and strategy for building strong Judo. In Epsom we were supporting and celebrating the success of a powerful young competitor.  In Pukekawa we are building the next generation and helping a fine coach teach good Judo. 

The success of both events made us all very proud. Well done Noah and Tracey you are both awesome.  

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Big Judo Youngsters Growing Up


Last week I noticed how the little kids were suddenly starting to get big!  Or am I shrinking? 

The young guys in this photo started training with us as eight to ten year olds and are getting bigger and stronger everyday. It is awesome to watch them develop,

At Big we are all looking forward to next year and a competition programme that is not so impacted by COVID. 

The cool thing is that sitting behind Noah Wallis are some pretty capable youngsters and here at Big Judo we are keen to see them on the mat.  Roll on 2021!

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Women in Judo - The Next Step?


Nellie with Noah a Junior Men's -81kg champ and silver medalist in the Men's - 81 kg. This year Noah won the Men's - 90kgs at the Auckland Open.   

Recently, Judo celebrated the 40th anniversary of women being able to compete at the World Championships, 

This event is cause for celebration and reflection.

We now see women athletes competing regularly and we have women coaches on the mat. But before we 'pat ourselves on the back' it is important that we don't think the fight for equity is over.

The key questions now are about women and their involvement in elite coaching. 

Admittedly there are women that run 'womens' teams but do we have any elite female coaches running squads or with responsibility for mixed national teams or tours?

I honestly don't know but one of my proudest achievements at Big Judo is recognisng that Nellie (my sister) is actually a better competitive coach and letting her lead our competitive programme. Big Judo is produces some good male competitors under Nellie's watch. 

More importantly we are gaining a generation of young men maturing that are used to seeing a woman in a pre-eminent position. Not a 'womens' coach but a competition coach.

Nellie is pretty exceptional but possibly her work at Big Judo is pointing towards a future in which female coaches are fully accepted and recognised by being selected to lead mixed teams, squads and tours rather than women just coaching women. 

It is a big step and there will be lots of people out there who will roll out the 'tired old lines' about women's Judo not being as competitive and women not being able to coach 'mens' Judo.

But my experience is that Nellie seems to be doing OK so maybe it is time to encourage more female coaches to step into leadership positions.