British Judo Grading, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Judo at home, Judo Clubs, Judo training at home, Judoka, Online, Opinions, Training at home, Uncategorized, YouTube

Will Tokyo Olympics be Cancelled?

Thursday 7th May 2020 I ‘launched’ Judo Chat – which is a live YouTube show (essentially me just chatting about Judo topics). In the future I will also look to have guests and be taking your questions to the live show. 

Now I will be honest, you can tell it was my first attempt and I was not clear and to the point as I had visioned, but there is still some useful stuff in there. I talked about 

  • How Covid-19 was affecting clubs and coaches
  • What I advise practicing at home for Judoka
  • Online Judo gradings (very briefly)
  • If Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in 2021

Now as I mentioned it was my first attempt and I think these will definitely get better over time (just like these emails ;-)) so please check it out and let me know if you have any topics you would like me to cover in the show. 

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Classes, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Judo at home, Judo Clubs, Judo training at home, Judoka, Online, Physical Training, Training at home, Tutorials, YouTube

The number 1 resource for Judo training at home.

Are you a coach wanting your Judoka to train during Isolation? Or maybe you are a Judoka and want ideas for your training sessions? 

There is a solution! 

I work with a lot of Judoka all of who I want to help with training over this period of isolation – The keyword is help in this instance. This is unchartered territory for all of us and on our young developing athletes, it will be tough both physically and more importantly mentally. 

I could sit down and write 100’s of programs for each individual, but there are a few problems with this such as timescale, compliance, each individuals home schedule, equipment available, mental wellbeing, being at different training levels and pure workload (for everyone). 

So I decided to create an online training platform, due to time constraints this is content is very raw at the moment. That said it still has; 

  • Aerobic Training Sessions
  • Bodyweight sessions 
    • Upper
    • Lower
    • Core
  • Agility sessions
  • Judo Drills
  • Training resources

Over the coming days and weeks I will be looking at adding to the current session content and; 

  • Resistant bands
  • Battle Ropes
  • Kettle Bells
  • Judo resistant bands

By putting sessions online and allowing my players the autonomy of selecting their sessions this should create a better compliance or buy into the sessions. Why? Simple, they can pick sessions that; 

  • match their ability.
  • work with their time constraints.
  • suitable for the space that they have.
  • they have similar equipment.
  • reflects how they are feeling. 

This is one place my players can go pick what session they would like to do and get it done. They can then record it, adding it to their training diary. At the end of this isolation period, they can look back and see how much they have done, feel fitter, stronger and know they have used their valuable time to good effect. 

This is not just a problem for me but a problem for everyone, coaches and players alike. 

So I have made this an open platform for all clubs and players, completely free. People can comment on training sessions add and some suggestions. 

I am also asking S&C coaches, nutritionist, judo coaches for content that will help you. I will add as much content as I can to this course for you to use at your convenience.

I hope this helps. All the best with your training and remember this is a positive space. Please respect all users.

All the best Vince

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Judo Clubs, Judoka, Online, Physical Training, Squat, Tutorials, YouTube

The #1 exercise you can do at home to improve your throwing.

Do you feel like you do not always execute your throws with enough power? Do you collapse halfway through your throw? Do you pick up niggles and injuries often and not sure why? 

If so I feel your pain and annoyance. But do not despair, we can improve even away from the Dojo!  

Judo is a dynamic sport which requires many different physical skills, and this period of isolation makes practising Judo tough! But there are still ways to make improvements even at home with little to no equipment. 

  • Create more power for your throws.
  • Improve your body mechanics. 
  • Reduce your chances of being injured. 

Currently, there are so many things we ‘could’ be doing but what is the one exercise that could make a big difference? 

Squats, above everything else. I think squats are so overlooked throughout Novice to Intermediate Judo – Children and adults alike.  

The squat, the back squat more specifically, is one of the most common exercises for developing lower limb strength, and is a prerequisite for development into more complex lifting techniques – for example, clean and jerk and snatch. Although your average Judoka is unlikely to progress onto these more complex lifts they are very relevant to Judo, replicating the generation of power required to perform throwing techniques and commonly form an integral part of an elite Judo athletes weight training program. 

As a training tool, a good squat can be very versatile, developing power/strength/endurance, improving coordination and provide a gateway to more complicated training methods, all of which will improve your Judo. 

Purely on the benefits listed above, it is worth considering adding a regular squat routine into your training.

A technically good Back Squat is required in the Functional Movement Screening (FMS). Although no studies are specific to Judo, a low score (poor score) in FMS has been linked with increased incidence of injuries in professional American football players (contact sport with high impact scenarios similar to Judo) firefighters and military recruits. This suggests a technically good back squat could be a marker for reduced injury risk for the athlete.

Functional Movement Screening (FMS) – Is an injury screening tool that was developed to assess global patterns of movement. Consisting of seven functional movement assessments: deep squats (DS), hurdle step, rotary stability, stability push up, active straight leg raise, in-line lunge, and shoulder mobility. 

Functional Movement Screening

FMS is not a tool to test people who are currently injured or have pains, it is a way of observing possible limitations to an athlete and should only be used to guide good practice or investigate further.

5 Common mistakes during a back squat: 

  • Feet too close together
  • Heels off of the floor
  • Not going deep enough (half squats)
  • Knee valgus (knees moving inward towards each other)*
  • Rounding the back

*Knee valgus affects males and females but is more common in females as their hips become wider through puberty and should be monitored. 

Squatting Technique

Techniques such as Seoi Nage (all standing variations) require a strong structure and the lifting section replicates a squatting type movement once the opponent’s weight is drawn on to their back. But in all honesty, every technique would benefit from an improved squat. 

Form checking; you can check your form easily on your phone, film yourself doing your squats from front and side profile.

Now, if you are anything like me you will want to get some weight on the bar and squat heavy! When I retired from Judo, I trained Power Lifting and loved it (I also loved eating), but I definitely would not recommend this for anyone untrained (not regularly taking part in resistance training). Start with just bodyweight squats, and there are plenty of variations of squats you can add in and develop.

Regarding your Judo training, you will receive the biggest benefit from squats if you are achieving full range of motion. Take your time, we seem to have a lot of it at the moment. 

Once you have mastered the squatting technique you can easily add repetitions, weight and more importantly introduce it into your Judo drills, techniques and home training. 

Deep Squat to throw – Your aim


You want to:

  • Create more power for your throws.
  • Improve your body mechanics. 
  • Reduce your chances of being injured. 

This is not going to happen overnight, this is going to take consistent work, but a good squat will 100% improve your ability to do Judo. 

I hope this gives you something to work on, please feel free to share this with anyone who you think could benefit. 

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Coronavirus, Covid-19, Judo Clubs, Judoka, Keep Active, Online

7 ways to try and keep your Judo club active during Covid-19 lockdown

Want training ideas? Check out Free Online Training. – Coming Soon.

During this difficult time, it is going to be so hard for Judo clubs and it’s members and as time goes on it is going to get even harder. 

Over recent weeks we have seen Judo clubs become more active on social media (which is great). But I thought I would take a moment to write down some of the ways my wife and I are trying to keep things running as ‘normal’ for our club and it’s members. 

Judo players are mentally strong and resilient people, we need to adapt to the situation, and we need to keep reminding people of the amazing benefits of Judo. Most importantly, this is a temporary situation, remind your members that you will be back on the mat! Granted none of us have any real time frame for this, but this is not the end of Judo and we will win this fight.

Over the last few weeks at FFJudo we have moved our service online! We are very much still in operation and the response has been good so far. Of course, we have had members contacting us that are facing financial difficulties that can no longer afford their monthly membership fees. In these cases, we are suggesting suspending payments with an automatic reactivation date of 3 months away for example, rather than completely cutting ties with us. 

So the message is that we are still offering a valuable service, we are just delivering it differently, for now. We all know there are huge benefits to continuing with Judo, physically, mentally and emotionally, especially whilst we are all more or less in lockdown.

What is the service we are now providing?

We have chosen to invite all of our members to join a private Facebook group. This has been a huge success and we have had a really good engagement and interaction within the group so far. So as well as enjoying some great Judo content the group is acting as a support network and social tool for our Club members. 

The main reason we decided on a private group is so we can continue to offer value to our paying customers. If we just post all of the content on our public Facebook page, we didn’t feel we were offering value to our paying members. The private group has allowed us to market the content in a way that they feel valued (which they are) and looked after.

SO the nitty-gritty of what are we posting?

Firstly we think it’s really important to have a schedule for your posts, rather than just sticking odd random bits up now and then. We have published a weekly timetable for our members so they can factor Judo into their new daily lives.

We have categorised the content as follows:

Discovery or Educational tasks

Live Facebook

Watch & Learn

Challenge day

Creative tasks

Judo Games

Goal setting

Here are some ideas to start with for each of the categories:

Discovery or Educational tasks;

  • Competition checklist
  • History articles
  • Terminology/Judo words
  • Gradings. We plan on recording footage for at least all of the Sho grades, maybe Mon grades too so we can start working through gradings after Easter. Assessments can be done via video sent in or Facetime/Zoom
  • LTAD education
  • Word search/Crosswords (easy to create your own, just google it)
  • Interviews
  • Nutritional advice/recipes
  • Personal hygiene & Judo, what to wear on feet etc

Live Facebook/Zoom etc.;

  • We have chosen to do live classes 3 times a week
  • Judo based with or without a partner, with a training dummy or using a teddy for Newaza hold-downs you do need to be creative and mindful of limited space in people’s homes
  • Judo fitness such as circuits
  • We haven’t tried a watch party but I guess there is scope to have a group discussion about a pre-recorded clip

Watch & Learn;

  • Pre-recorded Judo tutorials
  • Judo Youtube channels such as Vince Skillcorn
  • IJF 
  • Fighting Films
  • Neil Adams
  • Travis Stevens
  • P.E. with Joe
  • Yoga online
  • International Judoka- Facts, links to clips

Challenge day;

  • Tie your belt
  • Wrap your kit like a Judo player
  • Press up challenge most in 30s
  • Sit up challenge most in 30s
  • Squat challenge most in 30s
  • Press up clap challenge
  • Teddy bear hold down, how many hold-downs in 1 minute
  • Blindfold belt challenge
  • How many Judo turns
  • Judo kit race, getting fully dressed from kit being wrapped up
  • How many Shrimping challenge most in 30s
  • Fastest time to do 10 squats, 10 press-ups, 10 sit-ups. Could have different levels (10 for bronze, 20 for silver, 30 for Gold)
  • You can add a nomination into your challenge where members can tag a club mate to do better!

Creative tasks;

  • Bake a Judo treat- Cupcakes/biscuits
  • Song/Rap/Poem
  • Draw a Judo picture (found 1 youtube clip to follow)
  • Design a Judo poster
  • Draw your Judo coach

Judo Games;

  • Press up football
  • Left stance, right stance
  • Land and sea
  • Evolution of right stance left stance inc different postures such as up on toes, sumo
  • Newaza positions (starfish, turtle etc)
  • Cut belt in back of trousers

Goal setting;

  • Scheduled for every Saturday. We have created a weekly goal setting card with categories- Judo goal, Family goal, Fitness goal, Helpful goal, Fun goal

Additional fun/motivational posts;

  • Mindset, motivational & mental health posts/quotations
  • I love Judo because….
  • Introduce yourself to the group (Name, age, something we didn’t know about you?)
  • Throwback Thursday- old photos

In addition to the above post ideas, we have scheduled every members Birthday to be acknowledged with a GIF post.

I’m sure between us all we can come up with loads more great ideas…

A few takeaways: 

  1. Your members come to Judo for you the coach, for their friends and the community, by moving things online you can still provide these things for them. 
  2. They are not expecting Fighting Films quality production, but they will be expecting value for their money in these uncertain times. 
  3. They will give you some time to develop and build your content online, but they will want you to communicate with them. 
  4. Parents have been asked to work from home and be a full-time teacher, they need some respite and you will be a welcome distraction.
  5. There will be people who don’t want to engage, don’t want to pay (or cannot afford to pay), but there will be so many who do want to be a part of your temporary online dojo! 

There is no getting away from the fact that some members will not be able to afford to pay fees at the moment, but many will! We need to be confident in the service we are still providing and help our members through this horrendous situation. We are more than just Judo teachers, the children and families have ‘bought in’ to us as individuals and as a Club, they want to still see us and engage with us.

If we play this right it could be an opportunity to interact with the members in a new way, learn new things about them, and a chance for them to build camaraderie amongst the group and actually to come out the other side a stronger entity feeling like we have conquered something together.

Don’t give up, find a way to make it work, stay in touch with your members, keep progressing. We are lucky we have so much technology available, to help us stay in touch and deliver content to everyone. We don’t need to shut down, use the time wisely, set goals and achieve them still.

Good luck and feel free to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from the information! 

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