So there I am at a local Judo tournament running around like a crazy toddlerSo there I am at a local Judo tournament running around like a crazy toddler. My mission, as it always is when I attend a Judo or Jiu Jitsu tournament, is to make sure that anyone who fights for my team has someone to coach them. At this event, we had many beginner- and intermediate- level fighters competing, maybe for the first time in their lives. We also had one varsity competitor, a good friend of mine. But as I suspected, he was already taken care of, as he should be! The head assistant coach was there in his corner. The assistant coach was oblivious to the idea that maybe some other students of the same school may need some attention. They were without a coach since the Assistant coach had his hands full with the one varsity competitor. He was unable to fill that slot as coach. So I did.
This performance by the so-called assistant coach made me sick. He was there only for one if his varsity students. A selfish attitude is reflected by a man who now is in greater power then ever before. A student of the organization (me) is forced to run from mat to mat making sure that other students who train hard, pay their money, and are all an excellent promise for the future of our sport are taken care of.
That was just an introduction to the problems that are surfacing in my Judo organization, but another injustice has recently been made. It seems that a person with a lack of persistence in accomplishing set goals for an already struggling organizationâ€”one that has been, in past years, stripped of valuable funds that are strongly needed by its studentsâ€”is being rewarded. Since the new order has arrived in our coaching staff, I have seen a team go from a massively driven force of upcoming athletes to a room full of the same incredible athletes with a major lack of motivation. The statistics speak for themselves: The number of medals taken at the 2000 senior nationals for the men`s divisions was seven; this year, there was a horrible showing by the same team which finished with only two. The Women`s team was unchanged. On top of this, students were actually pushed away by the new order. I was one of them who left after putting up with the new order for only one year, but more importantly the #1 60kg competitor for the U.S. left on bad terms. He had few requests such as ice and tape but they obviously fell on deaf ears. Even as we speak students are leaving for many of these same reasons.
Even the training methods look more like those of a local judo club than the number two judo organization in the United States. The running and weight lifting training was suddenly dropped for the reasons of our students being too tired for classes by the head and assistant coaches. In all my experience in this school, this has never happened. The new order cautioned us by saying that it would be important that we go off and run and weight lift on our own. Basically, we are now forced to coach ourselves. The support that a coach represents by being there at 6:30 a.m. for a running or weight lifting session is extremely crucial for any kind of success. Obviously, the new order didn`t agree or, more accurately, didn`t care enough to wake up so early for a chance to keep up the winning tradition of a well-respected Judo organization.
All of this is coming at the worst time possible. The Worlds for the year 2001 was a joke for the Americans. This has been a topic floating through e-mails and is not taken lightly by those in charge or by the athletes who bust their asses on a day-to-day basis. Instead of heading for a future full of a bright and venerated status, we are doing the opposite.
This now brings me, again, to the injustice of the new order and the head coach. A man who has been there everyday for me, for the athletes, and for the future athletes of the beginner- and intermediate-level classes is now dropped of coaching status. A man, who has never missed a running practice at 6:30 a.m. in the four years that I have been a part of this organization is now stripped of coaching status. A man, who never missed a 5:30 p.m. judo practice has now had his coaching status taken away. A man whose love for judo is so great that he has taken an overwhelmingly large part of his life and dedicated it to the sport of judo has been robbed of coaching status. A man who has been an incredible force in the confirmation of his organization becoming known for its wining record has been thrown out as a coach. A man who has been in my corner in all aspects of lifeâ€”including education, for all of my titles that I have won in judo, and also helping me realize that you must give back to the sport as it has given to youâ€”is now not recognized as coach. So my thoughts are now directed to the new order and the head coach who even agreed with me and my complaints by saying (and I quote), “I agree with you 100 percent.” My question is: “Where were you those four years? Where were you 6:30 in the morning? Where were you during 5:30 p.m. practice for four years? Where have you been during the beginner- and intermediate-level classes, which are packed, for our University? Where were you during the crucial coaching certification training? What are your reasons for this decision? A man speaks what he believes in instead of keeping his mouth shut? What is this time we are in when rewards are presented to those who have not the courage to say what they believe in? Instead, they shut up and go along with a system that has been obviously ineffective. What is this era we are in where words speak louder than actions? Would Dr. Martin Luther King have been so successful if he had kept his mouth shut?
A man who I will support by announcing, in protest, my indefinite absence from the San Jose State Judo Organization, is David Williams, a true friend.