Home > Judo, Life > Rekindled.


I have no idea how to say this, so I’ll just say it:

I’m in love with judo.


In the past year and half, jiu jitsu took precedent over judo. This wasn’t because I loved judo less. Our relationship was changing. Scheduling and failing body parts were factors, but I won’t use them as an excuse.I lost some great training partners. I let my motivation drift awy and I hit a plateau. Jiu jitsu fit in my life a little better and there seemed an abundance of enthusiastic mat buddies each practice. So I jumped in and it felt really good. I missed judo, but I didn’t believe I could break through that plateau. I was still going to practice once a week, but I wasn’t giving judo the risk and focus it deserved.

Briefly, I found another great training partner, and with her she brought the motivation I let go. During September 2013 through March 2014, we had a visiting teammate at our club. Charlotte is from Switzerland and was going to be in Philadelphia for just six months. She trains in jiu jitsu, but is a judo black belt. She’s also a mat rat. As a teammate, Charlotte demonstrates commitment and focus, but is relaxed and always fun. On top of her many fantastic qualities, Charlotte is a patient teacher. She taught me technique and by introducing new ideas, she made judo fun again. I didn’t feel self-conscious about all my judo problem areas; rather, I wanted to work through them. But Charlotte couldn’t stay in the US forever, no matter how badly my club wanted her to. After Charlotte left, I felt alone on the judo mat. I still went to practice of course, but the electricity of training crackled and fell away.

Over the past few months, something has changed in the atmosphere at our judo club. I can feel the electricity in the room again. I noticed that a lot of the folks who were finishing the fundamentals program were going to judo class. There are men and women close to my size. The mat is full. The energy makes me feel eager and brave. In January, my little six year-old cousin started coming to the kids’ judo program regularly. Since he is there, I started helping out class. While a room of 6-10 years-olds can be overwhelming for me, it’s so much fun. We have a great bunch of kids, really. While they may turn into space cadets at times or fall victim giggling spells, they are kind to each other. The big kids watch out for the little kids, and little kids watch out for the littler little kids. Helping them has centered me in a lot of ways. As we teach the kids basic judo principles, it both refreshes my memory and gives me way to articulate what feels like second nature. More than anything, it’s been so important to me to share judo with my little cousin. Families can bond in all sorts of ways, and I love that he and I can experience judo together.

These days, I walk around with my head up. I feel confident and strong. I want challenges. This is why I need judo in my life. Just as it shows me the parts of myself I don’t like, it always offers me the chance to change. I know judo makes me a better person. It’s given me more than it’s ever taken. That’s why I’ll love judo forever.

  1. March 14, 2015 at 09:04

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