Years ago–around 2000, I think–I took a coaching course at the urging of my judo sensei, Silvio. He actually team-taught the course with a member of the Phys Ed faculty at the University. We’ll call her Nancy.

The course I took was Level I Theory, which should have been followed by Level I Technical and Level I Practical, which would have seen me certified as a Level I coach. But things being what they are, that never happened. We lobbied a few times to have someone come out to Brandon to do the Tech and Practical sessions, since there were a number of us that were in the same boat, but sometimes it feels like if you live outside of Winnipeg, you might as well live on the Moon. It’s a two-hour drive on divided highway, but for some reason it’s hard to get a lot of people to drive beyond the Perimeter.


In the interim, the Theory component was overhauled, and now Level I and II Theory are named Intro to Competition A and B. There was sufficient change in the curriculum to warrant re-taking A, and so I did that in October. I learned a fair amount, and it was a good course. The manual is excellent, as well.

A couple weekends ago I took Intro B, and picked up a great deal more. There are a lot of things that Silvio used to do (sadly, he’s since passed on) that are suddenly made clear to me. For instance–and this is only one example of many–when he would teach a new technique, he would always explain it aloud, start to finish, then demonstrate it, and finally have each of us try it a few times. (Then he’d hit us with the “Good! Now do it ten thousand more times and you’ll have it perfect!” Which was usually pretty close to accurate; the throws that I’ve done ten thousand times come more from reflex than from conscious thought now.) The reason for this, I learned, is that there are, broadly speaking, three kinds of learners: auditory learners, who learn best from having something explained; visual learners, who learn from seeing something demonstrated; and tactile learners, who learn from doing something. Everyone’s kind of a combination of the three, but everyone also has a dominant style. Apparently mine is auditory. But Silvio’s method of teaching a new technique catered to all three types, and did so in a natural progression.

Something else I learned from Intro B was that if you’re doing a handstand, you shouldn’t tuck your chin, or it turns into a kind of a flailing somersault. Onto concrete. But I was fine, thanks for asking.