Home > Challenges, Injuries, Judo, Kata > Terrible Tuesdays and Weary Wednesdays: When judo breaks your brain and (almost) breaks your spirit.

Terrible Tuesdays and Weary Wednesdays: When judo breaks your brain and (almost) breaks your spirit.

Tuesday night Kata class is one of my favorite ways to torture test myself. My club has a Kata requirement for promotions to advanced belts, your browns and your blacks, but I began attending Kata class last summer when I was a mere orange belt because I thought it might improve my form and also make me a more balanced judoka. A big reason that I love judo is that I really love to smash people, so I thought Kata would make me slow down and learn to appreciate judo in its pure, technical form. And I didn’t want to have to cram for my promotional demonstration when it came time because it seems pretty stressful.  I figured if I become familiar with Kata, it won’t seem like a total enemy.

But slowing down is freaking hard. Kata is not aiming for speed and muscle memory. It’s timing, form, give and take, and a lot of ceremony. Since you work with a partner, it also demands that you and your partner develop a silent channel of communication.  I find Kata extremely difficult for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s the concentration that’s required–the balance of engaging your mind to follow each set correctly and demonstrate perfect form while remaining relaxed. Right now, that seems impossible for me. Sometimes, I let my inexperience get the better of me. I can’t stay relaxed enough as I learn new sets and then I have to fight frustration as I screw up the same technique three, four, five times in a row.  Occasionally, I have to leave the mat for a minute to pull myself together. It’s a pretty terrible feeling–going from the start of class, being ready to learn and feeling comfortable about things and then suddenly feeling like I’m either going to cry or punch a wall. Kata isn’t typically physically taxing, but the mental endurance is almost unbearable for me.

So this week, I went to Kata on Tuesday and had my typical night of mental exhaustion. Then on Wednesday, I went to a regular judo practice and went through almost the same thing all over again. This was extra frustrating because I expect leave Kata (and BJJ) feeling relatively terrible about myself, but I absolutely hate feeling that way during regular practice since it’s one of the things I love most in this world. And actually, it was a really good class. My assistant coach ran practice, and she drilled the hell out of us. There was no sitting around. We worked, and we worked hard. The intensity level was really high, and I always love that. However, my hip is not 100% recovered yet, and I was starting to feel it. I was, for the one billionth time, faced with the dilemma of wanting to push myself, because I should be pushing myself, and knowing that I should not exacerbate my injury. Because that is stupid. I can’t quite pinpoint what it was, but I did reach that point last night where I thought I was going to either cry or punch a wall. And judo is not my job, but I don’t consider that reaction very professional. I hate that I continue to struggle with being short-sighted when it comes to judo.

However, I know I will be at practice again tonight. As the big guy says, “It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.”


Categories: Challenges, Injuries, Judo, Kata
  1. J.
    July 7, 2011 at 15:24

    I love this…

    “As the big guy says, ‘It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.’ “

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