Author Archives: Jiggy

Have you ever tried hard to relax?

(reprinted from link above)

“A spider met a centipede while hurrying down the street,
”How do you move at such a speed, with all so many feet?”
”I do not have to contemplate to keep them all in line,
But if I start to concentrate they’re tangled all the time!

— Katherine Craster
Photo credit: Airbear Photography

Photo credit: Airbear Photography

Sanjay Kabir Bavikatte

Have you ever tried hard to relax? The very idea of relaxation seems antithetical to effort. I used to believe that relaxation, like love, fun and laughter has to be spontaneous and any conscious effort makes it contrived and therefore fake…. until this happened.

I view myself as an easy-going person and generally cool under pressure. But of late, I’ve had occasion to doubt myself. In nearly every training session at the Judo dojo I frequented, I was told to relax. And this was usually in the middle of intense sparring or when practicing techniques with a partner. Just when I thought I was getting a handle on things and I would hear a voice from the corner of the dojo yell: ‘RELAX!!’ Which of course had the opposite effect.

The founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano used to say that the cornerstone of judo is seiryoku zen’yō (maximum efficiency, minimum effort). He would illustrate this with the concept of jū yoku gō o seisu (suppleness overcomes stiffness). Good Judo according to Kano is about balance, speed and technique rather than brute strength. The hallmark of a great judoka was his or her ability to use the laws of Nature or physics, to one’s advantage.

This is a lot harder than it sounds, because paradoxically it takes hundreds of hours of training and unlearning for the body to behave naturally. A keen sense of balance, leverage and timing is what enables a judoka to take advantage of the opponent’s strength and embody the principle of ‘maximum efficiency, minimum effort.’ But at the heart of this is the principle of ‘suppleness overcomes stiffness’ that in a nutshell means ‘RELAX.’

Relaxation in Judo is the ‘springy bamboo’ variety rather than the ‘lie on the hammock and nap’ variety. In fact relaxing in judo is so important that it is the one thing that will prevent the body from breaking down. Judo is after all a high impact sport, and stiffness and overt use of strength leads to exhaustion and all kinds of debilitating injuries in the long run. I constantly witnessed judokas well into their sixties and seventies throwing strapping youth effortlessly, without breaking a sweat. The young bucks on the other hand would gasp for air and collapse from muscular exhaustion.

In my own case, it took me months of training to notice the slight tensing of my shoulders every time I performed a technique. Even when I managed to throw my opponent, the sensei would say that the technique was effective, but it was still poor Judo. He would add that I was only able to throw my opponent because of my strength and if he were stronger and heavier my technique wouldn’t work.

This insight didn’t stop me from tensing up. Even while my mind understood what it meant to relax, my body seemed programmed to tense up. It took several more months for my body to slowly begin overriding its bracing instinct. I still remember the day it began to happen. One of evening after a particularly humiliating performance where a fifteen-year-old had wiped the tatami mat with me, one of the senior teachers called me aside. He looked at me earnestly and said: ‘You must trust your Judo.’

The penny finally dropped when I heard this piece of advise. It reminded me of what the great Judo technician Kyuzo Mifune used to say: ‘the aim of judo is to demonstrate the living laws of motion.’ I didn’t go on to win an Olympic gold after this. I am still a middling judoka who occasionally tenses up. But I relax more than I tense up. I figured that I needed to get out of my own way. To truly ‘relax’ in Judo speak, is to not only get the technique right, but to override the impulse to use force and trust that the laws of Nature will do the rest.

There is a lesson here for life. To truly relax is to do what is necessary and let things work out the way they should. Judo in its essence, shorn of all the competition and medals, isn’t about winning or losing but displaying beauty as a form of truth. The old Judo masters constantly speak of ‘beautiful Judo’ and disdain the ‘winning at all costs’ approach. For these teachers, Judo is a method to transform the judoka’s life into a work of art. As the Zen saying goes: ‘pay great attention to the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.’ And I would add: ‘don’t forget to RELAX.’

What Every Athlete Can Learn From Judokas

What Every Athlete Can Learn From Judokas

While judo athletes (judokas) don’t receive much, if any, national attention, there is a lot to be learned from this intense sport and the athletes that compete at its highest level. With the exception of the Olympic games and some martial arts circles, most judokas go unknown throughout their career. The sport of judo places extreme demands on an athlete’s body and mind. Having worked with judokas for the past three-and-a-half years, I believe there are some things every athlete can learn from judo.

As a quick background, I was first exposed to judo when I met two judokas—now my good friends—on the national team at the Olympic Training Center. Several months later, I landed an internship at the Training Center, working with their teammates. I have learned a lot from working with judo athletes—in fact, I cannot think of any other athletes I would enjoy working with more than the handful of judokas I currently train.


There is something about this sport that is mesmerizing to watch. I go to practices whenever possible to watch my athletes in action, and I’ve traveled with them to tournaments. Honestly, judo is the only sport that has ever made me want to literally jump into the middle of a live event and participate. I was invited to participate in a practice and, while I had no idea what I was doing, I had a great time learning. Why? Because the athletes working with me had the patience and integrity not to snap at me for making mistakes.

Judo is a sport built on culture, on tradition, and seems to have honor built into every action. The judokas begin and end each match by bowing to the referee and each other, as a sign of mutual respect. Even if the athletes want to rip each other apart, they are still honorable and respectful as they compete. What happens during the match does not affect who the athletes are at their core. The judokas do not allow the heat of competition to change them for the worse.

There is something to be said about actions like this in our current culture, especially in today’s sport culture, where dishonorable actions are more and more common. I cannot think of a better sport to help teach life lessons to young athletes.

Tradition and Culture

All sports have tradition. I was a baseball player—and there was tradition in how I played, and how I conducted myself outside of the sport as well. Judo is no different…well, actually, it’s very different! We’re talking about a sport that was developed by the Japanese samurai many, many, many years ago. This sport is steeped in tradition and driven by the culture that created it.

I’ve met some judokas who are second- or even third-generation athletes. The pressure to perform well is so palpable that, at times, I feel it too, as their strength coach. I want nothing more than for my athletes to do well—and my athletes want nothing more than to avoid letting their families down. Judo families care so deeply for the sport, and for their children’s or grandchildren’s success. Even just today I heard stories of when some of my judokas were younger, having to perfect certain judo techniques before they were allowed to eat dinner. Right or wrong, this kind of familial dedication is seen as part of the judo culture. The discipline that is instilled in this sport, by most of its athletes that I’ve seen, is at paramount levels compared to traditional sports.

Discipline and Determination

Why is discipline such an important trait to possess? An athlete without discipline has virtually no chance to progress to higher levels of competition. Discipline is an absolute must for keeping athletes on track for continued progress. I see athletes who will struggle at a task or movement a few times and then give up. You will not likely see this from a judoka. I’ve seen joint dislocations, separated ribs, broken toes and fingers—and they just keep going! They go back to the mat, determined to be better than their last match.

This discipline and determination almost always carries over to the athlete’s personal life, which leads to success in personal relationships and careers. For example, I have a few good friends who attribute their success in their personal lives to what they learned through competing on the national judo team. They are still involved in the sport, giving back to the new, younger generation of judokas. While you may see some former athletes giving back in more traditional American sports like baseball, football, and basketball, you don’t see it very often. If more athletes shared the same level of discipline and determination judokas do, I believe we would see more athlete success off the field, after they are done competing.


Yes, most athletes tend to be hard workers. However, I have never seen athletes push themselves through as much pain as I have judokas. It is surprising how much pain and injury is dealt in a martial art sport like judo, where any kind of striking in absent. The pain tolerance that I see on a daily basis still amazes me. These athletes would rather lose an appendage than miss a tournament! Oh, and by the way, there is no “off-season” in judo. Judokas compete year-round and, if they compete at a high enough level, travel all over the world. In fact, two of my judokas just left for the Pan American Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I think many athletes in other sports can learn a lot about how to grind through tough training from judo athletes.

Analysis and Critical Thinking

There is a level of critical thinking that is required in every sport but, in judo, we see a greater level. Judokas always have to be one step ahead of their opponent in order to be successful. They must know what choice their opponent will make next, and how to execute counters and attacks with precision, in order to stay ahead. So it is a necessity for judokas to analyze not only their own movements to become better, but also the movements and strategies of their opponents. Once they know the type of fighter they are up against, they can better strategize for the match. Again, athletes from other sports can take a page out of the judoka’s playbook here. I believe that the more critical thinking is involved in anything, the more that individual will succeed. So, every athlete should be analyzing their movements and thinking about what to anticipate from their opponents.

No Price, Sacrifice

Athletes play a sport because they love the game. If you haven’t seen the movie For Love of the Game starring Kevin Costner, please do so…now. It’s been years since I’ve watched it, but I can still remember how it made me feel as a very obsessed, former baseball player. I played because I loved the sport, but there is a certain level you can play to as an athlete before it starts becoming a job. Currently we see baseball, football, and basketball players signing million-dollar contracts to play the game they used to play hard, or harder, for free. What is it they say about competitors? Something like, “Those that are at the bottom of the hill are more hungry than those at the top.” This means that we sometimes see athletes actually playing harder before they break into the professional ranks, rather than after.

There are no true professional ranks in judo because it is an Olympic sport. These athletes are not paid and, if they make it to that highest, Olympic level, they can accrue a great amount of debt from all the competition travel required. This is a huge lesson in personal sacrifice, one that can be taught to many athletes of our younger generation: you often have to make sacrifices to reach your ultimate goals in life.

What Now?

If you have no idea what judo is, or have never seen it played, I urge you to search for a local judo tournament or club. At the very least, look up some matches on YouTube. I truly believe athletes of other sports can learn a great deal from observing, participating, and just being around judokas. Judo is a sport unlike most other mainstream sports—and we have a lot to learn from it, if we pay attention.

Doug Berninger, CSCS*D, RSCC, USAW is a guest contributor to the Volt Blog. He is the Assistant Strength Coach at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) World Headquarters Performance Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He received his master’s degree in kinesiology from Bowling Green State University. Learn more about Coach Berninger at On the Platform and Beyond.

2015 Emerald City Judo Championships 2015-03-21

Here is the entry packet for Emerald City Judo Championships on March 21 at Cedar Park Christian School. Registration is now open and must be entered online at
Please bring hard copies of the entry packet to the tournament. Email questions to


2015 Emerald City Judo Championships 2015-03-21  (here’s the PDF download!)

Ojukan Family Night – Tuesday March 3rd

Hey folks, tuesday night March 3rd is Ojukan’s special event: family night.  6:30PM.  Basically an open-house event, we are welcoming all families to come visit our club, bring the kids, and see what Ojukan and Judo are all about.  Over the decades Ojukan has been proud to be home for many Judo families and we have trained kids, teenagers, as well as young adults, parents, middle-age adults and so on.

We have a family rate for membership, by the way.  $35/month is the individual fee, but for family groups of two (2) or more, the price is capped-out at $70/month!  We want to encourage the whole family to show up, we know how hard it can be to break activities up and arrange availability and transportation.  If you chose the family plan, you get a great option for anyone to come in and train, so how cool is that?

Go to our LOCATION link for directions on how to get here.  6:30PM, Tuesday night, March 3rd.


See ya!


2015 Corvallis Judo Winter Tournament, Saturday, February 28th 2014

Entry Form 2015 Corvallis Judo Spring Tournament Judo Dixon Tournament Waiver Second Entry Form 2015 Corvallis Judo Spring Tournament Team Competition 2015 Corvallis Judo Spring Tournament Tournament Flier 2015 Corvallis Judo Spring Tournament 

(download attached files above)

OSU Judo Club

(Judo Club C.O. Sport Clubs and Intramurals)

211 Dixon Rec. Center

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR 97331


2015 Corvallis Judo Winter Tournament

Saturday, February 28th, 2014, 9:15 AM

Tournament Director: Yutaka Hagimoto

Head Referee: Tim Reynolds


Senior Competitors Only

Entry fee $20 at the door, $5 for entry in 2nd division higher than one’s current rank

Weigh-Ins 9:15 AM – 10:30 AMTeam Competition starts at 11:00 AMIndividual Competition begins after Team Competition

(Seeding occurs during Team Competition)

USJA Sanctioned: Valid USJA, USJF, USJI membership required by referees and competitors,

as well as insurance.

Contact Information (Tournament Director):

Yutaka Hagimoto: Weight DivisionsMen<161 lb, <179 lb, <200 lb, 200+ lbWomen<126 lb, <139 lb, 139+ lbAll weight division categories are subject to change.  The weight divisions will be determined upon receipt of all entries. Belt DivisionsNovice (White Belts)IntermediateSankyu and HigherAll contestants must compete in their own rank and weight division prior to competing in another higher division.  Only Senior Brown l kyu may compete in the Black Belt Division.


This tournament is open to all male and female contestants registered and in good standing with the United States Judo Federation (USJF), United States Judo, Inc. (USJI), or the United States Judo Association (USJA), and must be eighteen years old as of February 28th 2014, or sixteen years old as of February 28th, 2014 and have parental and sensei consent.

All contestants must present their valid USJF, USJI, or USJA membership card at the time of registration.  Any contestant unable to present their valid registration card will be required to purchase a new or renew their current membership prior to acceptance of the entry form for this tournament.

Team CompetitionFive members per club.If a team consists of less than five, it loses the corresponding points (1 pt/member).Each competitor competes against his/her counterpart based on weight (open belt).Decisions are made based on points. Tournament RulesCurrent International Judo Federation (UF) contest rules with the following modifications:Shime-waza (choking techniques) and Kansetsu-waza (joint lock techniques) will be allowed for all.A 8 meter by 8 meter completion area with 3 meter safety zone will be used.Golden Score time limit is 2 minutes. First score wins match.  Hantei decision will be called if tie remains.Additional changes or modifications may be made to ensure the safety of participants.Competition type will be determined by the number of competitors in each division.  If there are five or less competitors round robin competition will be used.  If there are more than five competitors in a division double elimination will be used. AwardsFirst, second and third place awards will be given in each division.  Team trophies and individual ribbons will be awarded to the first place team.Awards will be presented at the end of the tournament.  Contestants will be called to trophy presentation. Tournament locationOregon State UniversityDixon Recreation Center (Main, West Entrance – Registration) (Upper Basketball Court – Tournament)

425 SW 26th Street Corvallis, OR 97331

Directions to Dixon Rec Center (from I-5):1. Take exit 228 for OR-34 toward Corvallis (9.6 mi).2. Turn left at Corvallis-Newport Hwy/OR-34-BYP (1.1 mi). 3. Turn right at SW 15th St (0.3 mi).4. Turn left at SW Washington Way (0.3 mi).5a. (If you turn right on SW 26th St, Dixon Rec Center is on your right – limited parking (450 ft)).5b. Turn left on SW 26th and left on SW Stadium Ave to get to a multi-story parking structure (210 ft).

The Shiai, Portland Judo, Sunday January 25th

GENERAL INFORMATION (but go get the real form from the link above)

Sanction USJF Sanction Number 15-01-10
Date Sunday, January 25, 2015
Directors Roy Kawaji, Louis Hung, Andrew Hung
Location Portland Judo North @ Renzo Gracie Academy Portland
833 N Shaver Street Portland, OR 97227
Eligibility Open to current members of the USJF, USJA, or USA Judo
Must present current membership card at registration
Entry fee $15 at the door for one division
$5 for additional division (space permitting)
Registration On-site on tournament day from 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
No early or online registration.
Weigh-ins On-site on tournament day from 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
No late entries.
Meeting Coaches and officials meeting at 9:00 AM
Gather near scoreboard area.
Competition First match starts promptly at 9:30 AM
Schedule 1. Start with Master’s divisions
2. Novice divisions
3. White belt to Blue belt divisions
4. Brown belt divisions
5. End with Black belt divisions
Sunday, January 25, 2015 USJF Sanction #15-01-10SENIOR COMPETITION RULES
Current International Judo Federation rules with the following modifications
1. CARE System will not be used. Matches will be officiated with one referee and two judges.
2. Referees may officiate in a white judogi.
3. Competitors are required to wear a white judogi.
4. Competitors will be differentiated with a red sash.
5. Shimewaza and Kansetsuwaza are not allowed in the Novice Division.
6. Leg grabs will be penalized by only a “shido” for all divisions.
7. Pre-2003 medical rules will be used.
1. Match time will be 5 minutes for Brown and Black Belt divisions. All others will be 3-minutes.
2. Rest periods allowed for contestant with back-to-back matches will not exceed a match time.
3. Golden Score has a 1-minute limit. Hantei decision if no score after 1-minute.
3. Each division will be divided into Round Robin pools determined by the contestant’s weight.
4. Wins count first and points count second. Ippon = 10, Wazari = 7, Yuko = 5, Shido = 3, Hantei = 1
5. Competitors choosing to fight up in rank will be subject to the rules of the higher ranking division.
SENIOR DIVISIONS (18 and older)
Novice – less than 6 months of Judo experience
MEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
WOMEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
White to Blue Belt
MEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
WOMEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
Brown Belt
MEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
WOMEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
Black Belt
MEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
WOMEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
Masters – 35 years and older
MEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open
WOMEN Light Medium Lt. Heavy Heavy Open

OJUKAN Introduction To Judo Refereeing Clinic, February 7th 2015

Introduction to Refereeing Clinic event information and entry form

Ojukan NW Referee Clinic 2015 Waiver standard USJF waiver form

Northwest Judo Yudanshakai

Introduction to Refereeing Judo Clinic

Ojukan Judo Dojo (


Sanction # 15-02-10

Oregon National Guard Armory

848 NE 28th Avenue

Hillsboro, OR 97124

Saturday February 7th, 2015



  • Learn the basics of refereeing.
  • Improve coaching techniques.
  • Gain an advantage as a competitor.
  • Prepare for regional referee examination.
  • Open to current members of the USJA, USA Judo/USJI, or USJF, at least 16 years of age, and holding a rank of green belt or higher.  Must present current membership card.



February 4th, 2015

  • 10:00-12:00pm Classroom
  • 1:00-3:00 Practical



Hillsboro Armory

848 NE 28th Ave.

Hillsboro, OR 97124



$20 per person (Includes Lunch)

$5 discount per person for groups of three or more from any one dojo


Advanced registration is not required, but RSVP is appreciated



Tim Reynolds

(503) 502-5685

Registration Form

Sanction # 15-02-10

Attendee Information

Name (PRINT)
□ USJF      □ USA Judo□ USJA Member #Expiration Date (mm/dd/yyyy):
Address – STREET


Special NeedsIf assistance/accommodation is needed (check off appropriate box):

□ Vision Loss/Blindness     □ Hearing Loss/Deafness

Type of assistance/accommodation requested or name of person assisting:



Parent/Legal Guardian Consent for Judoka under 18 years of Age:

I, the undersigned parent or legal guardian of the named student:

______________________________________________­­­­­­­_______________, (print name of student)

Understand the method and risk of instruction for this referee clinic.  I have agreed to allow my child to participate in this event.

_____________________________________________________    _________________

Parent/Guardian Signature                                                                  Date

Kumikata: the art of the grip

It may be difficult to understand the narration, but the video imagery tells the story.  How you grip tells the tale of where you’re going to go and what techniques open up for you.  This is a great tutorial on various competition-style gripping strategies, and what you can do with them.  At some point in your training, you will need to progress from basic beginner’s grips to where you have to learn which grips enable throwing and overcoming your opponent.  These are all classic grips, performed with great style and form.



Judo Foot Sweep Explanation by Dollamur VP of Martial arts, Mike Swain

Go check out the link above.  It’s an awesome video from none other than sensei Mike Swain.  This is a simple and effective technique against defensive, stiff-arm players in competition.  Short and sweet, this is not an advanced technique, anybody can learn it.




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