About

JUDO TRAINING DEVELOPMENT, founded in 2011 by Mark Lonsdale, is dedicated to the furtherance of the traditions of Kodokan Judo in the United States, long term athlete development (LTAD), the applications of sports science, and modern coaching methodologies. Mark draws on over 40 years experience as an international competitor and gold medalist in both judo and shooting, backed by three decades as the Training Director of the Specialized Tactical Training Unit (STTU), and in developing the Operational Studies (OS) train-the-trainer programs for the military and law enforcement. 

JUDO TRAINING DEVELOPMENT is also active on facebook, under the same name.

2 Responses to About

  1. Ernest Johns says:

    Dear Master/Sensei Lonsdale,

    Thank you for who you are and what you do. I hope you feel those words whispered in your dreams and musings every night and every day.

    You embody the Way of Judo as I remember it and played it and every day love it.

    I never competed with anyone but myself. I was an odd child. In randori I always matched my strength to that of the “other.” The faster my partners improved their Judo, the sooner I was playing against people who could help make me improve my own skills.

    I never cared about my ranking and refused to take belt tests until my Teachers said, “Enough already. You are defeating players of higher rank. Take the Test.” I always resisted wearing the higher rank. It felt somehow ostentatious. Isn’t it enough that I know this magic and it lives deep inside me without boasting of it?

    I was entrusted with the keys to the Dojo (an old Quonset hut) and opened and closed it every day for classes. I lived only a few blocks away and would open it at odd hours for anyone who wanted to practice before a test. It was not a second home but a first home. I loved the fragrance of the old straw mats and sometimes when I was exhausted from endless joyful practice, I would practice yoga and then nap on them.

    After awhile … several times a year I would achieve my dream throw. It would be a perfectly executed combination (sometimes three throws in succession) or a perfect counter. And it would be without thought or effort. Uke would throw himself and my contribution was no more than that of a breeze toppling a mismanaged sailboat or a pebble stumbling an ungainly giant.

    I often wonder what it was like to move through the world as Master Kano, being the breeze in every moment.

    ~~~

    There are times I wish Judo had not become an Olympic “sport” (I know Master Kano had doubts about this) and the aggressiveness of competition dilute the heart of the “gentle way.” In many Dojos now it seems to be practiced as a kind of “power lifters’ wrestling but with throws.” Of course a good Sensei makes all the difference. These activities are truly world’s apart. (And I suspect the wheel will turn and the “gentle” part of the “Gentle Way” will again be the central draw of Judo.)

    Full-power competition, as opposed to technique-centric friendly randori, requires that potentially dangerous moves (executed at full power) be forbidden. As a light player, often the smallest boy in my classes at school and not as heavy or strong as my Dojo Judo Randori partners, Koshi-garuma was central for me. I know I could use it on the street with confidence. Ditto a Tai-otoshi feint into Kani-basami. Both now banned I believe.

    So in important ways, competition weakens Judo and “real” Judo must be taught separately.

    I was not taught Kani-basami (late 1960’s, Hawaii) as a sweep that is parallel to the ground, but as an upward motion catching the moving leg of Uke hurling himself backwards (over-compensating) from Tai-otoshi — and thus simply completing Uke’s movement backwards but catching that backward-moving leg and tripping him in the air. I never saw anything close to an injury from this throw.

    It’s odd to me that people imagine Judo and Aikido are “toy” arts compared to MMA. I love them both, I think equally. I’ve seen Masters of both Arts who visited from Japan. These players are untouchable and lethal as they wish. I’m basically repulsed by the hitting and kicking arts. Weird, I know. I’ve only been in two street fights, and my opponents were so obviously outclassed, unable to hit or grasp me, they retreated.

    But knowing how to fall has saved my life in two stunning bicycle-vs-car accidents. People will run red lights (even if you’re wearing a red vest). And knowing how to roll across the hood of a car onto my feet beyond and then roll again on concrete is alone worth every beloved moment I day-dreamed in a Dojo of being the Great Master of the Way, Jigoro Kano.

    Thank you for who you are and what you do.

    Oh, so Respectfully,

    /e

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