Jimmy Pedro, the famed American judo coach, has an interesting saying: "Not everyone can become a champion but everyone can train like a champion."

I'm not sure that my interpretation of that saying is 100% correct but here's my take on it. Judo clubs are for the most part, recreational. Unless it's a judo club that's attached to a sport school, most judo clubs have members who are doing judo for fun, not for competition.

As such, by definition, very few club members would have a chance to become a champion – because they aren't competitors in the first place!

So, now we understand the first part. What about the second part, that says everyone can train like a champion? Does that mean recreational players can train like competitors?

I don't think that's what it means. Recreational players definitely don't want to train like competitors, who have to go through very strenuous and often brutal programs. There's no fun and nothing recreational about competitive training.

No, what I take it to mean is that recreational players will also get the chance to learn practical, competition-oriented techniques. In other words, they won't just learn the Kodokan version of a technique. They will also be taught contest variations which work really well.

There are many judo clubs that just teach the textbook (Kodokan) version. Sometimes this is due to the fact that many old-school senseis believe that judo = Kodokan Judo, and that nothing else is worth teaching.

And sometimes, it's simply due to the limitations of the sensei's knowledge and capabilities. Not all judo instructors are familiar with contest variations. Many just know the Kodokan versions.

At KL Judo, we have a small group of players who want to become serious competitors. But the overwhelming majority of our members are recreational players. We cater to both.

We provide competition-oriented training to the few, who want to compete. And for the rest, who want to learn judo seriously but only for fun, we also give them the chance to learn competition-style techniques.

That is our understanding of: "Not everyone can become a champion but everyone can train like a champion."