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    Seeking advice on what to do next

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    num1gigon

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2014-10-15

    Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by num1gigon on Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:04 pm

    Hello, I am a Shodan who has been training at the same small dojo for many years.  Besides training at the dojo, with the permission of the dojo owner, I have been teach youth and adult Judo at a local community gym for the last 2+ years.  I have been going through the owner of the dojo to test and promote my students at the gym, which has been working fairly smoothly until recently.  

    Recently my dojo has dis-banned/closed down and the owner no longer wishes to have anything to do with Judo.  I have asked around and found that my dojo was not affiliated with any associations. My understanding is that since it was not a part of an association my rank along with my students ranks may not be recognized by any other dojo or any of the Judo associations.  

    I feel that I still have alot to learn about Judo so I would like to find some way of continuing to training in it.  I have asked the senior members of the dojo what they will do but most of them resigned or were asked to resign shortly before the dis-ban of the dojo.  The remaining senior members are jaded by the whole thing so they have decided to take a break from training for a while.

    I would like to continue to teach and promote my students at the gym but I am not sure they will want to continue training when they find out about the situation with the dojo and its owner.

    I am reaching out to see if anyone has any advice or suggestions on how I can go about of continuing my training in Judo? I would also like to know how I can go about of continuing to teach and promote my students at the gym along with making it so that their current and future rank will be recognized by other dojos if they need to train elsewhere?

    I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this and offering any advice you might have.  I may post this on other sites too, so I am sorry if you see this multiple times.

    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by BillC on Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:32 pm

    num1gigon wrote:Hello, I am a Shodan who has been training at the same small dojo for many years.  Besides training at the dojo, with the permission of the dojo owner, I have been teach youth and adult Judo at a local community gym for the last 2+ years.  I have been going through the owner of the dojo to test and promote my students at the gym, which has been working fairly smoothly until recently.  

    Recently my dojo has dis-banned/closed down and the owner no longer wishes to have anything to do with Judo.  I have asked around and found that my dojo was not affiliated with any associations. My understanding is that since it was not a part of an association my rank along with my students ranks may not be recognized by any other dojo or any of the Judo associations.  

    I feel that I still have alot to learn about Judo so I would like to find some way of continuing to training in it.  I have asked the senior members of the dojo what they will do but most of them resigned or were asked to resign shortly before the dis-ban of the dojo.  The remaining senior members are jaded by the whole thing so they have decided to take a break from training for a while.

    I would like to continue to teach and promote my students at the gym but I am not sure they will want to continue training when they find out about the situation with the dojo and its owner.

    I am reaching out to see if anyone has any advice or suggestions on how I can go about of continuing my training in Judo? I would also like to know how I can go about of continuing to teach and promote my students at the gym along with making it so that their current and future rank will be recognized by other dojos if they need to train elsewhere?

    I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this and offering any advice you might have.  I may post this on other sites too, so I am sorry if you see this multiple times.

    First of all ... where are you geographically?

    Sad news ... you are right. In most places your shodan is no longer a shodan ... unless you find some other indie that will let you be one of their in house shodan. You will find plenty of people on this forum who will see nothing wrong with that ... but it seems you are a living example of what can go wrong and why a recognized and credible national organization membership is important.


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    medo

    Posts : 276
    Join date : 2012-12-31

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by medo on Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:01 am

    I just don't understand that you have been training for many years at a small club that was not affiliated to a main stream association and did not know it? What about insurance if any off your pupils had an accident. If you have never competed or gone to other clubs how do you know what you have learnt or been taught is infact Judo. I say this because there has been in my area of the UK a lot of independents pop up and when there pupils venture out the parents suddenly realise that little johny's grade is well to high for his years and either don't come back or end up not grading for a few years until johny's skill level reaches the grade thats around there waist.
    My advice find another club check your knowledge and skill level there, you will know if your shodan is worthy by randori with higher and lower grades then speek to the instructor he may assist you with a grade transfer or you may find he suggests that you join at the grade lower than shodan then train to take the line up or what ever your country has for shodan criteria. Meanwhile if your still teaching judo you and your pupils need insurance to much at stake especially for you.


    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by BillC on Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:24 am

    Num ... an important question for you ... did the owner TELL you that you were registered in some kind of organization? Did he take money for this purpose?


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    Heisenberg

    Posts : 99
    Join date : 2013-03-03
    Location : Central FL

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by Heisenberg on Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:09 am

    I can only speak with authority as it relates to the USJA (United States Judo Assoc.). They have an examination called Rank Validation that allows individuals such as yourself to take a test [and pay a fee] and be instantly recognized at whatever rank you qualify for based on your performance and qualifications. The test is given by a USJA certified examiner. I'll attach a link to the form so you can see what is entailed. As you don't list your location, I will just assume that you are in the USA.

    http://www.usja-judo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/USJA-Rank-Validation-Form-7-12.pdf


    _________________
    Ocala Judo UF Judo

    GregW

    Posts : 102
    Join date : 2013-01-22
    Location : Norman, Oklahoma

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by GregW on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:24 pm

    I apologize for the length of this post in advance. It's something I'm passionate about. I'm a shodan with my own club here in Oklahoma. Here's the process I followed and it has been successful so far. I would commend these steps to you.

    First, join a national association. I tested for my rank as a USJA member. Since you would be a new member, you can validate your rank with an instructor who is at least a 3rd dan in USJA. The requirements for validation might differ between USJA, USJF, and USA Judo. It might take you a few months or maybe up to a year.

    If you can pass a validation test as shodan, then you will have the confidence that comes with knowing your judo meets the standard. When your sensei submits the paperwork for the promotion, you are also required to submit to a background investigation because of the likelihood that you will work with children at some point. This is reassuring to parents.

    Next, take the coaching training that comes from a national organization. Before I started my club, I took USJA's coaching clinic and became a certified coach. I also joined the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and took their online coaching courses and earned that certification also. AAU's coaching courses are not judo-specific, but they are very good quality. it takes about 24 hours of self-paced training with their certification. I continue to study up on training and coaching through many good sites, like Mark Lonsdale's Judo Training and Development.

    One of the beneficial things I've learned is how to manage a club. There's more to it than just teaching judo. I built several spreadsheets that I use to track attendance, promotion points, service points, dates of rank, expirations of USJA memberships, eligibility dates for rank, and other important data. I also set up a separate bank account and I use an online accounting system that allows me to do electronic billing of my students. I keep track of expenses, purchases, facility rental, payments, etc. In the future, as the club grows, I hope to incorporate it as a not-for-profit.

    When I started my own club, I registered it with USJA. To become a chartered club with that organization, you have to get five members registered with them. Becoming chartered gives you insurance coverage. Knowing it would probably take awhile to get five USJA members registered, I registered the club and joined the AAU. AAU has the most affordable insurance out there for a new club. Instead of $50 a year, AAU membership was half that price for a year. It was an easier sell for new students and it gave us the liability insurance we needed to get started. This year, we have enough USJA members that we could discontinue the AAU afflilation and just go with USJA.

    The nice part about being in the national organization is the support. The folks at the USJA office are very helpful. Every time I've ever called or e-mailed them, they have been great to answer questions, provide guidance, etc. I have guidelines that I can follow for testing my students for rank. There are time-in-grade requirements, promotion points, competition points, and tests for each rank. Having those things helps me develop good lesson plans. I can know exactly what skills and knowledge my students need to have and when they are ready for testing. I don't have to make it all up. They have a good program I can follow and adapt to suit our needs.

    When my students test, they can have the assurance that their rank is portable. If they move or if they stop judo for a time, there is documentation they can use to start back where they left off.

    Because we are members of a national organization, we can go to camps and tournaments. At a recent tournament, one of my students broke his collarbone. Because we are members of USJA, the tournament director was able to file an injury report. My student's parents can use the supplemental insurance that comes with membership in the organization. They can file a claim and recover the deductibles they paid out that weren't covered by their family health plan. I think USJA insures the member up to $25,000 for such things. Considering the benefit in such a situation, it really makes the $50 membership worthwhile. It also provides me with liability insurance and I can provide a certificate of insurance at no cost to the city recreation center where we practice.

    These steps have made our club stable and we are experiencing organic, sustainable growth. I'm in this for the long haul. I hope to see the day when I'll be a white-haired 4th or 5th dan supervising several lower dan-grade instructors leading classes in a dojo owned by the club. I hope to see my current students return with their own children to begin training when they become parents. I'd like to see us be listed on the list of the "top 20" clubs on the USJA web sites. We have a long way to go, but we've laid the foundation for that kind of growth. Being part of a national organization can help us achieve it. I strongly recommend setting your feet on that path so your judo can last a lifetime.



    num1gigon

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2014-10-15

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by num1gigon on Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:22 pm

    Thank you to everyone for your responses.  I would like to take a moment to try and answer some of your questions and maybe ask a few of my own.  Sorry for the lengthiness of this.  

    When I first started teaching I questioned myself as a judoka since I have not been a part of any competitions.  To help boost my confidence I watched alot of videos (youtube) and olympic replays.  This helped reassure me that what I was taught and what I was teaching was actually considered Judo.

    When I started training in the martial arts, and to this day, I am not interested in competitions or ranks. That is why I chose to join this dojo, it was a non-competitive dojo in the Mid West of the United States that focused on the development of the mind, body, and spirit.

    The dojo had an LLC and required all members to pay a small yearly fee to pay for liability insurance.  Also, part of my agreement with teaching at the gym was to have all of my students covered under their insurance if something were to happen.  I never had an issue while teaching at the gym.  During my years at the dojo there were only 2 incidents where an insurance claim needed to be filed (thankfully none were for me).  

    At no point in time did the owner of the dojo claim that we were a part of an association, they also did not mention that our rank would not be recognized by any other dojos, clubs, or associations.  During all of my training I wasn’t interested in rank so I never inquired about this or look into it.  My current interest in rank is more so for my students then it is for myself, I feel I need to look out for them and help them as best as I can.

    A couple of you have mention testing and joining USJA.  My understanding of USJA is that it requires you to win a specific number of competitions in order to advance in rank, is this still true?  Since my students and myself are not interested in competition we will need a solution that will not require competition participation to be a requirement.  If USJA is not a solution for us, are there any associations that do not require taking part in competition?

    Stacey

    Posts : 541
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : your worst nightmares

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by Stacey on Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:45 pm

    The USJA does not require competition points. Points can be earned at shiai, but you can gain rank without participating in competition (though, even if you don't want to compete, helping out at local tournaments is always good, not just for points, but to get exposure to a lot of judo, and other practitioners).

    you can test for rank, or talk with the USJA and ask about converting ranks over to the USJA and getting a USJA charter. you can access the syllabus for the USJA at the same time, and gain coaching and teaching certificates. Further, you'll have an additional layer of insurance through them, especially for your students as they join - better to have it and not need it than the other way around.

    Contact the USJA through their website, or call. you can also find a USJA club in your area and talk with the instructor there, using that instructor as a contact point.

    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by BillC on Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:04 pm

    num1gigon wrote:Since my students and myself are not interested in competition we will need a solution that will not require competition participation to be a requirement.  If USJA is not a solution for us, are there any associations that do not require taking part in competition?

    Num ... here's a different sort of problem. I may get flack for expressing this opinion, but there is no judo without some level of competition.

    That does not mean going to tournaments with lots of rules and referees and medals etc. ... but untested judo is incomplete. Not every person has "it" ... the drive to win at all costs. Thank goodness. But every judoka needs to feel at least one moment where they bested an opponent technically, to feel that judo really "works." The job of a good sensei is to create that moment for each of his/her students. Every good judoka has faced that moment of stepping up to the line, bowing respectfully and then winning or losing, symbolically living or dying.

    Going through the motions is perhaps practice for judo, but it is not judo.


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    JudoStu

    Posts : 212
    Join date : 2013-01-04
    Age : 44
    Location : UK

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by JudoStu on Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:04 pm

    BillC wrote:
    num1gigon wrote:Since my students and myself are not interested in competition we will need a solution that will not require competition participation to be a requirement.  If USJA is not a solution for us, are there any associations that do not require taking part in competition?

    Num ... here's a different sort of problem.  I may get flack for expressing this opinion, but there is no judo without some level of competition.  

    That does not mean going to tournaments with lots of rules and referees and medals etc. ... but untested judo is incomplete.  Not every person has "it" ... the drive to win at all costs.  Thank goodness.  But every judoka needs to feel at least one moment where they bested an opponent technically, to feel that judo really "works."  The job of a good sensei is to create that moment for each of his/her students.  Every good judoka has faced that moment of stepping up to the line, bowing respectfully and then winning or losing, symbolically living or dying.

    Going through the motions is perhaps practice for judo, but it is not judo.

    I totally agree with you. I know guys at my club who have no interest in competing but have ventured out to other clubs as a way to test themselves. You can do this if you are part of a national governing body like the BJA in the UK and are usually welcomed on to the mat.


    _________________
    Judo is only gentle for the guy on top

    JudoSensei

    Posts : 170
    Join date : 2013-01-04
    Location : California

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by JudoSensei on Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:45 am

    The USJA Rank Validation process that Heisenberg referred to does not require tournament points and can be used to determine your proper USJA rank when you join. If you are qualified for shodan you just need a couple of USJA examiners to agree and sign off.

    Your students (if they become USJA members) can also be promoted without participation in tournaments, although one way to reassure yourself that you are in fact teaching good judo is to offer the opportunity for your students to enter a competition (rather than just watching youtube). Nothing is more exciting than seeing your student succeed in a match by applying the techniques you taught them. Competition may not be for everyone, but understanding and connecting with the larger judo world is important for instructors.

    You are doing the right thing to figure out a way to legitimize your rank for the sake of your students. It may be unpleasant to deal with this problem, but you will feel so much better when it is in the past.

    GregW

    Posts : 102
    Join date : 2013-01-22
    Location : Norman, Oklahoma

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by GregW on Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:45 pm

    I'll second the comments about USJA and competition. Our club is primarily recreational in nature, but we do about four tournaments a year. I don't push students to compete, but they all want to. The first-timers are always a bit stunned by the level of intensity at shiai compared to the friendly randori in the club.

    I had two sensei over the course of my judo career. My first one, when I was a teenager, was really into building a club full of competitors. We did a tournament every couple of months, traveling long distances for some of them. The pressure to win was intense and I have to say that it got old after a while. My second sensei, when i was an adult, didn't take us to tournaments at all. He also ran a judo program at a church-owned private school and they did in-house tournaments for the kids, but they didn't compete against other clubs.

    My own club is small (a dozen students), but we sometimes do a round-robin style kohaku line-up where we keep score and declare a winner, unlike randori. The idea is just to increase the level of intensity. However, there is nothing like facing off against an unknown opponent. It's a test of nerves and courage. That's why we still do some shiai, even though we're a recreational club.

    For promotions, USJA provides guidelines for time-in-grade and how to accumulate and track points for promotion. I find they are very helpful. I follow the guidelines and I find that they seem to track very naturally with the progression of my students. They have been very helpful to me and I can't say enough good about their staff.

    davidn

    Posts : 26
    Join date : 2013-01-09
    Age : 45
    Location : northern CA

    Re: Seeking advice on what to do next

    Post by davidn on Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:37 am

    I was in very same situation a couple of years ago. I had moved away from judo and my sensei had passed away. When I attended his service (I am friends with his son) I got inspired to do judo again. I went back to a local club where the instructor accepted my shodan (even though I had not practiced in over 10 years) even though I had no documentation for it. Turns out my kids love judo, which is great. Unfortunately the instructor retired (both from work and judo) and left me to run the club, leaving me in much the same place you are.

    Hre in California, there seems to be 1 or 2 tournaments a month, but I only take my students to 1 or 2 per year (for much the same reason Bill says above, to test themselves win lose or draw). At the first tournament, I approached the head referee who it turns out is the highest referee in the area. He was very nice and answered all my questions, no matter how dumb they were. Long story short, he ended up becoming something of a mentor, helping me develop myself as well as my abilities to teach my students. People above have recommended joining USJA, we joined USJF (nothing against USJA, know nothing about them. But my new mentor found that my shodan was in fact official (through USJF) and there is a much larger USJF presence here and not much USJA, so we opted that direction. Your mileage may vary, but similar programs are available in both organizations)

    So while you may not be interested in competitions, simply attending them might enable you to make some contacts and friends that could be very beneficial to you and your club.

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