Blog Archives

Typically a longer post on a single topic or technique.

Sport & brain injury

Human Brain

We welcome the news today of the Parliamentary inquiry into causal links between sport and brain injury.

Triggered in part by the high coincidence of dementia in members of England’s 1966 football World Cup team, this is an important opportunity to make recommendations to keep sport safe healthy for all.

Concerns have long been raised about the effects of repeated blows to the head in professional boxing – these would also relate to the “ground and pound” of professional MMA, heading the ball repeatedly in football, concussion in rugby.

Judo is not immune to the effects of head injury, although they appear to be rare. Nekoda Davis recently announced her withdrawal from Tokyo selection to concentrate on her recovery from a concussion in 2019.

Our own experience of concussion and head injury is limited. We had an incident many years ago when we were based in Cosham Community Centre, of a player passing out on our mat after banging heads with another player the night before at a different club. More recently we had another player who had to take a period of mat rest after knocking themselves out at home when they banged their head. This was on medical advice and was managed in line with BJA protocols.

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Which sports bra is best?

Compression tops and leggings have become very popular to wear for all sorts of sports, and are often to be seen on the judo mat during practice sessions.

The question remains though, what sports bra is best for women? Natural inclination perhaps is to go for the compression option – this appears to the most widely available option.

This clip from a BBC programme offers some useful advice.

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A safe return to Judo

As you may be aware, British Judo hosted a webinar over the weekend in conjunction with the launch of their guidance as to what a Safe Return to Judo could look like.

We are processing this document to see what it means for us, one take away point already is that on return to the dojo all players must have a current licence/membership. This should be a given anyway, but players will be asked to confirm and this will be checked. Players will be asked to confirm they are Covid free on return to the dojo.

As already mentioned, any initial return to the dojo is almost certainly going to be non-contact, with contact only allowed between members of the same household.

At present, we do not have a date from Government as to when our sport/martial art can recommence.

If and when this is announced, any return will be further dependent on the school giving us permission to return AND class sizes being financially viable with any social distancing requirements that remain in place. Distancing requirements for indoor sports are likely to be higher than they are for more mundane activities such as shopping, due to impracticalities of wearing a mask when training, and more powerful exhalation of air during exercise.

We are cautiously working towards a return in September, but this is definitely not a fixed date.

In the mean time, outdoor training sessions will continue as previously advertised. When the use of outdoor gyms is sanctioned again, we will consider a change of venue, but until then all details remain the same.

To mitigate the impacts of us on reduced class sizes, please support us via Portsmouth Lottery and Easyfundraising!

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When can we start training again?

We have been asked the above question a couple of times.

Our thoughts below:

At the moment, all we can do is quote the BJA’s statement (British Judo Association, 2020) published on 13th May:

Following the Government’s latest updates on the current situation, whilst it is clear that certain elements of the lockdown are being relaxed, British Judo still finds itself in an unpredictable scenario whereby we do not know when we can return to our beloved Dojos up and down the country.

It is clear that we cannot return just yet.

It is possible that within a “contained” environment elite athletes may soon be able to return to training and certain sporting events take place behind closed doors. Indeed, a Government document was published 13th May detailing how this could happen. As the BBC reported (Scott, 2020), initial phases will be for contact free training.

The next phase will involve some “social clustering” within training, with athletes able to engage in contact such as “close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, equipment sharing”.

However, the protocols for this stage have not yet been finalised and will need government approval.

It will be interesting to see how this translates to reality – the March 2020 sumo tournament was held behind closed doors with precautions in place, but the May event has been cancelled following Japan’s extension of their state of emergency (AFP, 2020). The sumo community is currently mourning the loss of one of their rikishi due to Covid-19 (BBC, 2020). The UFC recently ran a tournament behind closed doors; however the New York Times reported there were numerous breaches of the protocols it had established in order to make it a safe tournament (Draper, 2020).

We must remain guided by our national association (British Judo Association, 2020):

…we are working hard behind the scenes preparing a detailed strategy and plan that will enable us to return quickly when that time comes. We are working with the Government to ensure that alongside other sports, we are returning to action in a safe and appropriate way as soon as we are able to. Please bear with us whilst we finalise this plan and please note that any premature return to sport will mean that you are notinsured.

For the sake of our sport, it is vital that you wait until the British Judo Association has endorsed the return.

The BJA recognises that how we come back may need to be a phased approach and judo itself may need to change all the time that social distancing remains the norm. They are seeking members’ input into how judo could return, at the web address referenced below.

We cannot see the club returning to the mats before the autumn term. Even if the Government and BJA do sanctioned a return to training, there may still be restrictions imposed by the school over external lettings and any additional cleaning regimes within the school may impact on the hours available to us.

There may be a possibility to run some outdoor fitness sessions (if you aren’t already sick of Joe Wicks style PE…) over the summer. The risks of transmitting the virus outdoors are reduced compared to indoors, and the children and any adults joining in are not as in close contact as they would be practising judo. Social distancing would be easier to enforce. But again we need to be guided by the BJA and the Government.

At the moment really it is still very much a case of wait and see.

Please keep yourselves and others around you safe, and if you haven’t already done so, please consider supporting the club through one of our fundraising initiatives – this will enable us to come back stronger when the time does finally come.

Works Cited

AFP, 2020. Virus forces cancellation of Japan sumo tournament. [Online]
Available at: https://news.yahoo.com/virus-forces-cancellation-japan-sumo-tournament-105537620–spt.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmluZy5jb20vbmV3cy9zZWFyY2g_cT1KYXBhbmVzZStTdW1vJnFwdnQ9amFwYW5lc2Urc3VtbyZGT1JNPUVXUkU&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADrurkG4wkg
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

BBC, 2020. Coronavirus: Japanese sumo wrestler dies at 28. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52644424
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

British Judo Association, 2020. Input into British Judo’s relaunch strategy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/british-judo-relaunch-strategy-input/
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

Draper, K., 2020. U.F.C.’s Coronavirus Plan Is Careful. Its Enforcement Has Been Spotty. [Online]
Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/sports/coronavirus-ufc.html
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

Scott, L., 2020. Elite athletes given government guidance on safe return to training during coronavirus. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/52652893?fbclid=IwAR3IFG-PodDEo3zT7bi4OGnzkWC7TpTpeeSPtPO2u2KM9qKjHAzmeEWtsEw
[Accessed 13 May 2020].

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Not the post I thought I would be writing

On the eve of the Hampshire Closed, I would usually be writing to wish our players good luck. Or to remind people that clocks change tomorrow and to not be late for the weigh-in.

But not today. Covid-19 has changed everything.

The Club is currently closed. Officially until after Easter holidays, but until at least June if we are being realistic. Personally, I think September is more likely by the time we add in summer holidays (remember those?).

We have not been able to say goodbye to John Luijken before he and his family move abroad.

We did manage to get in to clean and disinfect the mats before the school was closed. Thanks to Kev and Craig as always for their help.

The Hampshire Closed has been cancelled, as has the Southern Area teams tournament. The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021.

Thankfully as we only hire the hall on an hourly basis from the school, we are not exposed to the same cashflow risks that clubs who own their premised are exposed to. (And I never thought I would be grateful for not having our own dojo, but always something to be glad about if you look!).

If you are online shopping, don’t forget that you can raise funds for the club at the same time via Easyfundraising – use this link to register: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/courtlanejudoclub/?invite=3H5QVP&referral-campaign=c2s and we will receive an extra donation when your donations reach £5. We have 19 supporters currently – 8 of whom who have never shopped via Easyfundraising. It’s easy, free and doesn’t cost you a penny more.

Community groups are going to be vital as we go through this crisis. You can help to strengthen not only us but the wider community if you play the Portsmouth Lottery. Tickets can be purchased via this link, https://www.portsmouthlottery.co.uk/support/court-lane-judo-club

It is important that everyone stays fit and as healthy as possible – we have posted links in the Facebook group to various resources from Sport England and British Judo. No doubt some of you are working out with Joe Wicks every morning! Maintaining your physical health will help to keep you mentally healthy – again, a lot of support is being signposted towards support in this area.

To those who are essential workers, in the NHS, social care, keeping our food shelves stocked – we thank you for your efforts, stay safe, we will all do our best not to put extra stress on you.

Take care everyone, and we will see you on the other side.

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Judo and C-19

We are monitoring the situation regarding the spread of Covid-19 (the coronavirus) very carefully.

Latest guidance is that we are still in the early phases of the “containment” stage of the UK’s response to this global pandemic.

There has only been 1 confirmed case in Portsmouth at the time of writing.

Guidance from Sport England on 12th March was still very much that activities should carry on, with due regard to good hand hygiene and self-isolation if you are feeling unwell.

Domestic judo events are still running, although international competitions (Olympic qualification events, European championships etc.) have been cancelled or postponed. Our friends in France have been advised by their governing body to shut down clubs for the foreseeable future. Presumably other European federations are following suit.

If we can source hand sanitiser, we will provide some at the club. As you know, most of the shops have been victim to panic buying so this may not be possible.

However, soap and water is still a more effective barrier. Please make sure you wash your hands before and after sessions.

Guidance issued to schools today (16th March) repeats this message.

It is not feasible for us to disinfect mat surfaces every session. We believe that any transfer to mats will die out in between sessions as the virus has a short lifespan on hard surfaces.

Please make sure judogis are washed after every session.

We understand that many people are making their own decision to withdraw from activities ahead of Government advice, especially if they or members of their household have other underlying health issues, they are carers for people deemed to be vulnerable etc.

If you are planning on withdrawing from club activities, please let us know, so that we can gauge impact on the club, and plan accordingly.

Please make sure you are following us on social media (Facebook – either our Page or private group – and Twitter), subscribe to our email update service or check the website regularly for latest updates. Things are moving rapidly and these will be our primary means of communicating with you.

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Fundraising reminder

Just a quick reminder of a couple of ways that you can help us to raise extra funds for the club.

Use Easyfundraising… it’s quick, free and easy.

Simply register at www.easyfundraising.org.uk and nominate Court Lane Judo Club, or use this link:

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/courtlanejudoclub/?invite=3H5QVP&referral-campaign=s2s

Using the link above will trigger an additional £5 donation to the Club when your own donation reaches £5.

Every time you shop online, go to Easyfundraising fund and shop from their partners. We get a percentage of the nett price, with no additional cost to you! Online shopping has already £470 in donations for us, from partners such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Dunelm, Regatta.

Installing the Easyfundraising app on your ‘phone makes it even easier to support the Club on the move!

Buy tickets from the Portsmouth Lottery

Purchasing tickets from the Portsmouth Lottery means we get 50% of every ticket price, with 10% going into a charitable causes grant fund.

To buy a ticket to benefit the club, visit:

https://www.portsmouthlottery.co.uk/support/court-lane-judo-club

Buy a ticket now and you could win a Fitbit and Google Mini, as well as being entered into the weekly draw to win up to £25,000.

Currently we have sold 1,696 tickets raising £848 for the Club.

Why your support matters

There are a number of reasons why we value your support with our fundraising.

1. Most urgently, current numbers and mat fees do not quite cover the cost of hall hire. To give you an idea of costs, the total income from Easyfundraising to date does not cover the cost of one month’s hall hire.

2. To support the coaches. The club coaches continue to be unpaid, and fund their own coach development and revalidation.

3. Our mats are getting old. The 2×1 metre mats were purchased more than twenty years ago. The 1×1 metre mats were second hand from the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Whilst none need replacing yet, they are showing signs of wear and tear through constant handling. It would be prudent to start building up a mat replacement fund. At the last estimate, it would cost circa £5,000 to replace the current mats.

4. Ultimately, to have our own dojo (training hall), and be masters of our own destiny.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

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Learning from success and failure

I am a huge advocate of learning from experience. I have previously advocated the use of training diaries; the ease with which video footage can now be shot at competitions for post competition analysis is fantastic.

Learning from when things didn’t go right is great – what can I do to prevent that happening again, why didn’t my technique work… is it gripping, my entry, my stance etc.

It is easy to overlook the importance of learning from success also – and perhaps I am guilty of this. Exactly the same considerations as above apply – how can I make that happen again, why did my technique work – is it my gripping, my entry, my stance etc.

Never be afraid to go back and review, to reflect on your performance, both success and failure have much to teach us.

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The well dressed judoka

The grading assessment requires the candidate to identify the parts that make up a judo uniform.

The basic answer is

  • Jacket
  • Trousers
  • Belt (obi)
  • Zori (judo slippers – flip flops, sliders or similar)
  • Females should wear a t-shirt under the jacket (round neck, plain white only for competition)

However, there are other considerations that need to be taken into account.

Long hair needs to be tied up, with a non-metallic option – elastic type bands or scrunchies are popular.

Nails should be kept short, and a high standard of personal hygiene is expected.

Judo uniforms should be kept clean and in good condition.

Hard and metallic objects are not allowed on the mat, so make sure no mobile ‘phones or media players are lurking in your jacket. All jewellery, piercings etc., should be removed. Underwired bras fall into the category of hard objects, all female players should be considering wearing a sports bra. They offer considerably more support and reduce the risk of soft tissue damage.

Players are advised not to wear all in one, leotard type undergarments. These can restrict access to the body in the event of a serious injury.

Traditionally, male players wore nothing under their gi. Most players these days are going to wear undergarments, trunk type shorts are probably best.

Many players are now opting to wear compression tops and leggings – these are believed to offer extra support to working muscles and reduce fatigue and injury risk. These are not permissible in competition.

Consideration should be given as to what to wear to and from training. Ideally players would change into their kit at the dojo, however due to lack of changing facilities this is not always possible. Players should take care not to get their kit dirty en route to or from the dojo. We would recommend that players have a hoody, fleece etc. to wear home especially in the winter months, to avoid too rapid cooling of the body.

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Celebrating 25 years – Part 3

It wasn’t just as competitors that Court Lane started to make a mark in the late 90s.

Club coach Roger Spreadbury was already qualified as an Area Referee, and went on to achieve his National C.

John MacEnri also achieved Area Referee qualification.

Brett Caswell and Chris Batchelor undertook the Junior Referee scheme, frequently refereeing at the Mountbatten Centre, which then hosted all of Hampshire’s judo tournaments. Brett achieved the highest level of junior referee award, and passed the practical exam for Area Referee whilst refereeing at Crystal Palace.

The Junior Referee scheme is certainly something we would like to see more players explore – not everyone is a competitor. There are also always opening for time keepers and record keepers to assist with competition.

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