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The state of judo in Britain

by Tropxe (U12952162) 14 August 2008
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I'm even newer to judo than BBC's Nick Mullins and, probably for that reason, I'm just as bewildered as Nick by our lack of success at Beijing thus far, with only one judoka left to compete.

Hearing Nicola and Nick talk about the reason for our judo woes was interesting because although they made very good points, and who am I to disagree what an Olympic medallist says about her sport, I notice that neither of them mentioned what I believe presents itself as the most obvious and unshakeable reason: judo just isn't very popular in Britain at all.

It's not just about the people that participate in clubs, it's about the people that follow the sport, the people that are even aware of the tournaments occurring or even of basic things like the name of the scores. After all, it's those people who not only support the judoka, they also supply judo with new blood.

How many people out there have heard of koka or waza-ari?
While non-world cup rugby isn't particularly popular when compared to football, the vast majority of people will be aware of terms like conversion or try when used in their rugby context. American Football and baseball are hardly popular in any way, shape or form in the UK and yet most people have heard of touchdowns and home runs. How many people out there have heard of koka or waza-ari? Personally I'd heard of tatami but that was due to a general interest in Japanese culture and having played a great deal of Japanese video games.

Despite the skill on display, the drama and the tension of the judo at Beijing, the BBC's coverage of judo has had it permanently locked away on BBCi while the mainstream audience get to watch people swimming forwards and backwards
The BBC's coverage of judo has had it permanently locked away on BBCi
in straight lines with the winner, at least in the men's events, a foregone conclusion. But we all like swimming, don't we?

Even when trying to locate the appropriate part of the 606 boards to post this to, I had to scroll down to "Other Sport" and even then judo wasn't listed; one has to select "Martial Arts" in general. Imagine if football was located under "Other Sports" -> "Ball games". Even sports that are on life support in the UK, such as baseball and American Football, are listed separately while judo has to be put under the catch-all term of Martial Arts.

I'm not blaming the BBC at all, they obviously know what they're doing and they're aware of judo's popularity and have listed it accordingly. Judo is over 100 years old and has been an Olympic sport for 44 years, being shown as an Olympic demonstration 76 years ago by Kano himself. If it hasn't naturally caught on in Britain yet, I don't think it ever will. Notice that I say "naturally".

If judo hasn't naturally caught on in Britain yet, I don't think it ever will
For one reason or another, Britain has hardly shown much interest in judo but that isn't necessarily because judo somehow opposes British tastes. I really believe that judo needs to be promoted much more in Britain, and not just by sending judoka to schools or by putting a pile of pamphlets in town halls and youth clubs.

Earlier I said how most people haven't heard of a single judo term, unlike how they'd have heard of terms from fairly unpopular sports in the UK such as baseball, but they have all at least heard of judo itself. I'd go far as to say that everyone you could ask would have heard of judo. Maybe there'd be the odd exception but then isn't there always? So it seems that everyone is aware of judo but never crosses the line between being aware of its existence and actually being into the sport. I think those responsible for the running of judo in the UK really needs to figure out why and actually break down that barrier.

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posted Aug 16, 2008

We did have a Judo link but they took it off us for some reason.

I would also have liked to have seen some of the wrestling on the interactive channels...maybe instead of some guy sitting in a sailing boat in conditions more suited to the Maldives.

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posted Aug 16, 2008

Hello gloves It really annoyed me when they took our Judo threads off
Its not as if there were not enough comments made <angry>

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posted Aug 16, 2008

now the little picture anint working !

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comment by kuzushi (U8183342)

posted Aug 16, 2008

<<We did have a Judo link but they took it off us for some reason.>>

Wouldn't it be good if they returned it to us?

Can we petition them to do that?

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posted Aug 16, 2008

Hello Green

I'm enjoying all this Judo chat....shows the BBC that there is interest out there. All though I seem to remember there being quite a few aricles when they did have the link so I have no idea why they got rid of it.

Hopefully they will reinstate it.

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posted Aug 16, 2008

gypse king,


IBC

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posted Aug 17, 2008

GYPSY KING V's MOOBAASQUEAK

Not the old BJA vs BJC argument?
There are far more organisations than these two.
It's time these childish resentments were put aside for the Greater cause of British Judo in particular if not the 'spirit' of Judo in general. If only BJA can get into Olympics that should either be changed OR the best players from whichever organisation be automatically given dual membership. So much bitterness still remains! GROW UP, you know who you are... As for other organisations, dual membership won't take anything away from your organisation if your player goes on to win Gold for UK. Our boy/girl started at this club...
Incidentally I belonged to both and I found for fighting BJA, for Technique BJC, so put aside bitter squables and merge PLEASE. Shame I've had to retire I'd love to help in some way. 2 hip operations and doc won't let me on the mat. Boo Hoo

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posted Aug 17, 2008

I think many are afraid of such a contact sport. Or many believe its like karate and have no clue that the fighting we do isn't staged or re-enacted. Its under-rated. I'm not saying karate is though. I also think there is a welth of talent when the young children join but as they grow up they tend to lose interest. Also i think the realisation of actually how long it will take to gain a dan grade is too much for new students. Also many say that being a white belt makes them feel as though they don't belong there. Then there was the competitive gradings which i think is tough the first couple of times because nobody is holding back. Some people love the thrill of fighting for real and others hate it. Thats the way the cookie crumbles. But now with the competitive side reduced, i would expect to see a quick rise of judo popularity.

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posted Aug 18, 2008

Success breeds success, i remember when REAL men wore the GB garb and when the likes of Brian Jacks ruled the world and was a household name.

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comment by kuzushi (U8183342)

posted Aug 18, 2008

Hmm. He never did actually rule the world though, did he?

Think he got a silver.

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