Reward the behavior you want to see

Photo courtesy of Elise D. Parker
Last night I had a breakthrough triumph at kids' judo class. Let me tell you about a frustration that I've had for several weeks. When you have beginner children of diverse ages and sizes, and nobody has much skill to offset a size or age disadvantage, positional newaza randori tends to be lopsided and it ends instantly. In other words, I call, "GO" and one child smashes the other one and I call "STOP" and no learning has gone on and noone has gotten any experience.
Well, last night I figured out how to modify the rules to fix that. I reviewed with them 4 positions (kesagatame, munegatame, ushirokesagatame, and tateshihogatame) and declared that in order to win a match, they must hold all four of those positions for 3 seconds each. That way, if you get a crusher that only knows one hold, then he is forced to give the other kid a chance to practice movement and escapes as he tries to transition to the other three holds.
It worked like a charm! The matches lasted longer and everyone got more experience with a wider variety of holds and everyone learned. Funny how that happens when you change the rules to reward the behavior that you want to see. I think I have found (perhaps with small rules tweaks) our new default randori ruleset for kids.
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  1. I'll tuck that one away for about 4 years or so... And keep the tips coming!

  2. What a great idea!

    I will certainly try a variation on this with my (adult) class

    By playing with the rules the game changes, and different things are encouraged and (hopefully) learned.



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