Using ChatGPT to determine the future direction of Judo innovation

How does AI tie in with our popular past time of Judo? How can it help us get better? What could the future hold for Judo as a sport? Read on and I’ll give you my quick take…

Shu Ha Ri

There’s a popular Japanese martial arts concept known as Shu Ha Ri. In brief, as a martial arts practitioner you would traverse through three areas in your development:

  1. Master the basics or fundamentals, adhering to pre-defined rules and guidelines. Ensure the basics become second-nature. (Shu)
  2. Make innovations on those basics/fundamentals. (Ha)
  3. Move in a free-flow manner, without concern or conscious thought about what the basics are.

Unfortunately we have a finite time on this earth, and even more depressingly, our Judo life is even more finite when you take into account injury risk and age-related decline. Ideally then, we want to fast-track as much as possible our learning and understanding (within reason folks, I can hear the counter-arguments already!) before we expire.

Innovations in Combat Sport

Knowing and/or determining what the next innovations and directions of a combat sport will be serve to make you a leader in the field. To give an example in BJJ: it wasn’t too long ago that John Danaher introduced and innovated on a very unfashionable aspect of grappling – leg locks. Whereas leg locks were available in the BJJ competition ruleset, for much of it’s history leg locks were rarely seen in high-level BJJ competition. Enter Danaher and his laser-like focus on the leg-lock concept and his teams started performing at high levels and winning consistently. They’re no longer so poorly understood, in fact some even specialise as ‘leg lockers’ due to this. Obviously that time has gone but my point is that innovations come and go, making way for the next innovations that builds on what was big previously.

If you can predict/determine the next innovation, you stand to capitalise on that greatly.

Enter AI

Given I’m a technologist by trade, I decided to ask ChatGPT what I considered to be the next innovation for Judo.

My question was:

Where will the next innovations be for Judo as a sport?

The answer ChatGPT provided me was:

Predicting specific future innovations in a sport like Judo is challenging, as it depends on a variety of factors including technological advancements, changes in training methods, and shifts in societal and cultural trends. However, I can speculate on some potential areas where innovations might occur in the world of Judo:

  1. Technology Integration: Just like many other sports, Judo could benefit from advancements in wearable technology, sensors, and analytics. Smart uniforms or training gear equipped with sensors could provide real-time data on movement, force, and technique execution, allowing athletes and coaches to fine-tune their training methods and strategies.
  2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): VR and AR technologies could revolutionize Judo training by creating immersive environments for practice and analysis. Athletes might be able to simulate matches with virtual opponents, study different scenarios, and receive instant feedback on their techniques.
  3. Data-Driven Training: Advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms could be used to analyze match patterns, athlete performance, and injury prevention strategies. This could help coaches develop personalized training plans and enhance strategic decision-making during matches.
  4. Nutrition and Recovery: Innovations in sports science, nutrition, and recovery techniques could lead to optimized training regimens, injury prevention, and faster recovery times for Judo athletes. This could enhance their overall performance and longevity in the sport.
  5. Adaptive Training Methods: Personalized training programs that adapt to an athlete’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress could become more prevalent. This could involve AI-driven coaching platforms that provide tailored guidance and adjustments based on an individual’s development.
  6. Mental Training and Sports Psychology: Advancements in sports psychology techniques and mental training could help athletes better manage stress, anxiety, and performance pressure. This could lead to improved mental resilience and enhanced competitive performance.
  7. Inclusivity and Accessibility: Innovations that promote inclusivity and accessibility within Judo could become a focus. This might involve modifications to equipment, training methods, or competition formats to accommodate a wider range of participants.
  8. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices: With increasing global emphasis on sustainability, innovations in sports equipment manufacturing and venue design could lead to more environmentally friendly practices in Judo.
  9. Globalization and Cultural Exchange: As Judo is an international sport, innovations could arise from increased global collaboration and cultural exchange. Sharing of training techniques, strategies, and coaching methods from different regions could lead to new approaches and innovations.

Remember, these are speculative possibilities, and the actual innovations that shape the future of Judo could be different and unexpected. The sport is likely to evolve in ways that address the changing needs and interests of athletes, coaches, and fans while embracing advancements from various fields.

My thoughts

Personally, I’m impressed! Granted, I was after a bit more specific direction along the lines of “harai goshi has been unloved since the 1990s and due to the proliferation of X and Y the expectation is harai goshi will become popular again with right handed players in a kenka yotsu scenario”.

What we’re provided with is general guidelines and principles that could apply to any sport. However, this sets a good foundation to expand on any of these areas to really get to that point of figuring out which techniques have been under-innovated, particularly for specific body types.

I write this from England where Judo is still a minority sport but this could actually be the way forward for Judo countries like France, Germany or Japan where there’s significant funding involved.

Some examples that come to mind include:

  • Utilising sensors on a judogi which detect hand placement can then sharpen a player’s game by optimising their gripping with their chosen technique.
  • Tatami sensors as well as actuators on players’ feet can be set. A randori setting with a specific sequence can then be performed repeatedly to determine optimal energy expenditure.

The future is bright!

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