5 Lessons Judo Can Teach The Corporate World

Those who do not innovate, or adapt to disruption, are destined to fail. In the corporate world there are innovators, and there is everybody else. Some of the greatest business turnaround stories are inspired by events requiring companies to pivot and switch direction quickly. For example, in 2011 Canada Post transformed itself from a mail-centric company into a leader in e-commerce to combat letter-mail volume erosion. But for every success story, there are the Kodaks, Blockbusters, and Nokias. Here is an awesome article on adapting to change from the Harvard Business Review which notes, “Those that thrive are quick to read and act on signals of change.”

The business world is not the only place where disruption and the need to innovate are realities. Massive rule changes rocked the world of judo, and this article examines how judo players responded, and what their experience can teach business.  

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Do NOT Think Outside the Box!

You know that old piece of advice “think outside the box?” If you are a judoka, you might consider a slightly different piece of advice. Do NOT think outside the box. Think INSIDE the box instead! 

Master the contents of the box. Dedicate yourself to understanding all the basics, and repeat them over and over and over. Do yourself a favour. Don’t try to write your symphony before learning the notes. Few people are THAT good, and nothing quashes brilliance and potential more than hubris.
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10 Care Instructions for Little Judoka

A New Year is nearly upon us! With that comes the excitement of parents putting their children in a new sport. For those lucky kids whose parents put them in judo, the expectations on their children (and them for that matter) can be a real mystery! Here is a REAL e-mail I recently sent to parents of kids in my club’s “Tykes Program.” (That’s me and my youngest son in the picture above!) 😃 Keep on reading!

Take My Kids… Please

My son with the choke, me in the chair, March 2017.

I have three children. All are in judo. A 17 year old girl, and two boys, 15 and 8. I’ve been on the mat with them since day one. I’ve taught them most of what they know. From bowing correctly, to techniques in ne-waza and tachi-waza, to proper sportsmanship in the dojo and at tournaments. I’ve been to their shiai as a father in the bleachers, their coach in the chair, and have been their instructor on the mat. In the case of my little guy, I’m still his instructor and things are fine.

But in the case of my older two, we are reaching an inflection point.

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Then He Said… “Don’t Be a Monster”

Fighters often have many injuries. Blackened eyes, cauliflower ears, missing teeth, and an assortment of scars, bruises, welts… Sometimes they are a result of rigorous training. Sometimes they stand as testament to vicious battles, such as the epic semi-final match between Travis Stevens (one of my favourite judoka) and Ole Bischof at the 2012 London Olympics that left Stevens quite bloodied. Such markings are not discretionary. Injuries are realities, and usually an inevitable by-product of our beautiful sport. And for many, they are badges of honour, and rites of passage.

On the hand, sometimes fighters (and wannabe fighters) wear tattoos, haircuts, and clothing that reflect their combat lifestyle. While some people dislike such appearances, I couldn’t care less. I don’t judge books by their covers. During my trip to Japan this summer, I noticed that few Japanese have visible tattoos. Anyone wanting to train at Kodokan must cover up visible ink. Where tattoos are visible on mens’ chests, for example, they must wear a rash-guard. I was told that this is because in Japan, many gangsters, or yakuza, wear tattoos. Again, such things do not concern me. While I do not wear a tattoo, I admire the artistic value of those that are beautifully done.

But appearance includes things other than superficial markings. Keep on reading!

Kosei Inoue: Judo Legend, Mat Cleaner

Kosei Inoue, World and Olympic champion. Coach of the Japanese national squad. One of the greatest players in the history of judo. Mat cleaner.

How can this be?!? Inoue sensei is a judo legend as a competitor, teacher, and coach. Isn’t pushing a mop below him? Shouldn’t he simply leave such a menial task to someone beneath him? The answer for him… is “no.”

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