Home > Challenges, Help, Judo > There’s no “I” in judo.

There’s no “I” in judo.

I think a lot of times, practicing judo feels like a truly individual battle. In the context of a match, it’s just me out there against my opponent.  The time I spend training on and off the mat, I’m driving myself to stay focused and engaged so I can learn a little more and get a tiny bit better. I don’t experience great technique epiphanies at every practice, and sometimes I feel like I’m even moving backwards. Occasionally, I have serious things going on with school/work/home that I can’t quite push out of my head. Just listening  and watching 45 seconds of instruction seems like an impossible task because I’m so distracted. Other nights, I’m simply tired. Such times make for grim, frustrating practices. These are also the practices when I need to remind myself that I’m not the only person on the mat facing my own little battles and that it’s easy to take my training partners down with me.

During practice, I might work with the same training partner all night or be paired up with several different people. If my energy level is low or I’m preoccupied with non-judo stuff, I make for a sucky partner. Especially if my partner is also worn out or distracted. It’s our job to rally and get it together so we can help keep each other motivated to work hard. When you and your partner are both giving the night everything you have, you can really feed off of each other’s energy. You can feel it click when you grip up–an electric marriage of ferocity and camaraderie. And that’s when practice becomes really fun.

Those moments with the people you train with–the moments where you can feel you and your partners pushing to keep your practice strong and focused–are part of the reason you fall in love with judo in the first place. Now I think it’s my responsibility to honor that momentum by pushing myself at every practice so my clubmates and I will keep wanting to step on the mat, even when we feel we’re at our worst.

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Categories: Challenges, Help, Judo
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