9:15 23 mai

"Japan, at the edge of explosion"

Kosei Inoue "The athletes should fight for themselves"

 In L'Esprit du Judo n°43, we look at, in depth, the crisis that has engulfed Japanese judo, here are the main articles translated in English.     
                          

Kosei Inoue during the interview (c)Emmanuel Charlot/L'Esprit du Judo


The charismatic world judo champion of the last decade, Kosei Inoue was a trainer champing at the bit in Shinichi Shinoara’s shadow until a couple of months ago. The fall of the former men’s team Head Coach sped up the advent of Prince Inoue to this exposed position especially in the current storm. Discreet with the press, he accepted this direct and frank interview, with hushed words, where much has to be read between the lines. A clear message appears : never again with me.

Where about is japanese judo today ?

Our fighters are on the mat and everyone still wants to beat them. They are concentrated on finding Ippon, and the new rules, which seem to  supporting positive judo, should give them the chance to succeed.

How would you appraise the japanese performance at the London Olympics ?

We should take a closer look at the figures, the men got 4 medals out of the 7 possiblewhich is quite good, and the girls finishedat the top of the national rankings above Cuba and France. The truth about the Olympics is that we didn’t get any gold medals with the men's team for the first time in history. Statistically, we bring back at least two gold medals every four years with the men. My part is to make this statistic true again.

Is London a mishap on the japanese route ?

No it isn’t. When we win a fight, it is mainly luck, when we lose you have to ask yourself why you failed. I don’t think there is only one reason, but a succession of little weaknesses, of elements that didn’t fit. Training context, physical preparation, state of mind - everything has to be taken in account, you need to progress  many things at the same time. I will do everything I can to do so.

What did you think of the Russian performance ?

It is the first time they have put on such a performance , they’ve improved a lot. They were very well organised, and handled their preparation very wellThe training level, the financial potential and now planning. They have the highest  standard in the world today and I’m sure they can still progress.

Is Japan going to become the leading world judo nation again ?

I know what you would like me to answer, but all I can say is that we will keep on going forward. We were the best when we arrived in London, but it was shown that this was no longer true. We will find inspiration from everywhere, especially from the Russians, but also from the other world judos, because they are many now and quite efficient. We are going to do a lot of hard work, but it’s up the athletes !! (He laughs)

You are an young inexperienced trainer, isn’t it a heavy responsibility ?

I am young, without any experience, but I will get some fast. I have a lot of experience around me, I’m not alone, I can ask for advice. I’m very good at listening to old judokas !

What it the main point you wantto work on with the japanese fighters ?

We have history, we have had many great japanese judokas. We have to hold on to that. Generations change. When I took the position, I came with the idea that the fighters had to become egotistic. There are a lot of things that need to be changed, but the main one is that. We need to go abroad more often  than we traditionally do. I want to send them away, on their own, for a little time, far from their usual bases. Japanese are used to staying in groups, I don’t want to destroy that, it is part of our tradition. And part of our strength. Fighters need to respect their background and stand up for it. We are not copying the West, this is not the idea. I want them to fight for themselves, not for their university, parents or coach. I want them to really want to win the Olympics, on their own.

Japanese judo is struggling, what do you have to say about it ?

There are many problems… Judo is the only japanese discipline in the Olympics, it’s the national sport, and part of our culture. When asked what would need to be changed, on the spot I would say it needs to be protected. Protect the main part, the dojo spirit, the right attitude, the salute.. I have a world championship to prepare, we just have to go on.

When you were an active fighter, did you ever have violent coaches ?

As for me, Mister Yamashita and Mister Sato taught me to think on my own, I seton  my goals By myselfMy father was tougher ! (he laughs)
To be clear, I know that many athletes who went to the world championships were trained in that way. I don’t want to do so.

If you want to read more about this case, follow this link

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