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2018 WC Baku - notes on the first couple of days

Sorry to say that I've been busy and haven't been able to watch much of the action of the 2018 World Championships. But there have been interesting storylines:

- I don't know which is a bigger story - that Uta Abe joined her brother Hifume atop the podium today, or that she unseated Ai Shishime to do it.

- Daria Bilodid of Ukraine continues to impress - not only winning gold but besting Pareto (ARG) and Tonaki in the process. Sky's the limit for this 17 year old

- No hardware for my friends from either team USA or Team Israel. World #1 at 66kg - Tal Flicker - sailed through the prelims, only to lose a hard semifinal match 1:35 into GS. Gefen Primo lost out in the Repechage and the other Israelis who've played so far - Shmailov, Temelkova, Minsker and  Rishony didn't even make it that far. Of the 5 Americans who played on the first two days - only Angelica Delgado won a single match. Hope there will be more love for the Red, White and Blue and the kachol v'l…
Recent posts

Practice Wherever You Can

I was in Niagara Falls on Vacation last week. But just because you're not in the dojo doesn't mean you can't keep your practice on. Here I am at a bus stop in Niagara falls practicing a little Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi using a nearby pillar. 
Years ago, when I would ride the subway home from practice, I'd do the same to the pillars in the subway. Although, to be fair, in NYC, no one would blink an eye at this kind of behavior.



Change of Scenery, Same Good Luck

Even with the current state where I can watch literally all of the Judo World Tour Events live on-line, actually watching them can still be a challenge - primarily because of the timing. Most of the events occur in Asia and Europe, so they're actually happening overnight here in the US.

Generally speaking, at least for the European Events, I can catch some matches in the morning while getting ready. I manage to catch this match above - Canada's Christa DeGuchi vs. reiging Olympic Champ Rafaela Silva of Brazil. While Silva ultimately wins the Match, I love DeGuchi's attack style and energy. She brings the fight to Silva and has her fighting defensively most of the match. Fighting Silva is not new to DeGuchi as she defeated the -57kg favorite back at the 2013 Tokyo GS to win the Bronze Medal. But then DeGuchi did something interesting - she switched countries - from Japan to Canada. (Her father is Canadian and her mother is Japanese).  Doing so meant having to sit out of Wo…

No, we're not related... as far as I know

One of the biggest emerging names on the Judo scene is Japan's Aaron Wolf - currently the reigning World Champion at -100Kg. Despite having the same last name and the same fighting weight as me, and as far as I know Aaron and I are not related.

Although maybe in the right circumstances, he could pass for one of my kids :)

Conditioning

There is a story about two men who go out to seek the advice of a fitness expert. The first approaches him and says, my goal is to run a 5k. The guru tells him to start with 1K and gradually add distance every day for a month until he can complete the 5k. The second man tells the guru that he wants to race a 5k. The guru tells him to run 20k at your fastest speed every day for a month. The second man is flabbergasted - "I don't understand, " he tells the guru, " you told the other man to start with 1k and build up, why did you tell me to start with 20k?" The guru responded: " because if I have you run 20k at your top speed for a month, by the time the race starts 5k will seem like nothing."

If you want to compete in Judo (or any sport for that matter), you need to be able to go the distance. Not just the full 3,4, or 5 minutes as it is, but also be prepared for another 3,4,5 or even 20 minutes of Golden Score. You need to be as fresh after 10 minutes …

Zabgreb GP Day 1 - Israel's strong showing, American Hardware, IJF's improved experience

I captured an interesting moment earlier today during the Zagreb Grand Prix. As I watching the matches streamed on YouTube, There were 3 Israeli women competing simultaneously - poor Shani Hershko (the Israeli women's national coach). The commentators on the broadcast also spoke a bit about the rise of the Israeli Judo team of late, especially the Women. Unfortunately, the Israeli Women's team today didn't perform as well as we would hope - they finished just off of the medal round with two 7th place finishes, and a 5th (with a further two women being knocked out early). The men's team finished a bit better with Tal Flicker and Baruch Shmailov taking Gold and Bronze, respectively, in the Men's -66kg.

Overall, Israel has been progressively improving it's Judo, and unlike in the past where they may have had one or two competitors who had a chance at World or Olympic hardware (think Oren Smada, Yael Arad, Arik Ze'evi), they now have a handful of people who ha…

Thank you IJF for doing the right thing...

I was pleasantly surprised today, when I saw this press release from the International Judo Federation (IJF). The IJF announced today that they were suspending two of the major events - the Tunis Grand Prix, and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam - because of the way that Israeli Judoka have been treated when playing in those events over the last several years.

In the past few years, when playing at these events, Israeli Judoka have been treated unfairly. For example - at both of these events, they weren't allowed to compete under the Israeli flag, and had to remove all flag patches from their uniforms. When they medaled (and they did) instead of the Israeli National Anthem being played, they played the 'IJF' national anthem. Beyond that, the host countries have also played several games with their visas, and forced them into interrogrations by police upon arrival.

Last year, in Abu Dhabi, Mariusz Viser, the IJF Chairman, met with the organizers of the Abu Dhabi event, who promised …