Saturday, October 27, 2012

Remember in August?

Do you remember in August when I said I would do a write up soon regarding my promotion in Judo?  Well I sort of put it off for awhile, then awhile longer, and here we are at the end of November looking at it. 

I still have to write part 3 of the Pittsburgh trip blog (I'll take care of it this week).

Well I almost forgot about writing anything about this until I was recently asked about it (the promotion in general then that discussion branched out further).  I started training in Judo at the very end of 2004.  I've had some training injuries over the years.  Anyone who has known me for any length of time has made mention of it a few times...that basically, you should just quit.

 I've met a lot of great, and even some not so great people over the years in Judo and JuJitsu.  I've obtained a new outlook on some subjects that I otherwise would have not been exposed to.  Yes, I've hurt myself training.  Much the same as a football player or a wrestler may injure themselves as well.  Both physically and mentally.  With that said my decision to stick Judo out was a difficult one.  I will not lie, there was a point where I had resigned myself to the fact I would probably not continue on.

One thing I've learned is that in almost every single martial art, and in almost every single school there's some sort of drama going on.  At my old school someone wanted to play mother hen to all of nature's derelicts and in doing so committed a betrayal against his business partner and all of the students there.  It was at that point that I left.  I had been planning on "transferring" (I'll explain that) but that was the final push I needed.  (On the transfer I just mean it like this.  I trained at both schools anyway, but one more than the other.  I planned on switching that, but it was the above situation that had me respond by going to the other school altogether).

The new school is one of the most respected Judo families in PA.  Patrick Johnston and Jim Dignan were my direct coaches.  I've worked out with Jason Dignan before they went full on MMA, and even after in MMA but during our Judo classes,  he was mainly teaching the MMA classes at the same time. (he has a large MMA class 4 nights a week)

If you've made it to this point in my 'essay', I appreciate it.  I understand it's a bit of rambling.

Pat had seen how I was at my brown belt and not continuing.  That wasn't good enough for him.  He pushed me to continue my studies with him and Jim for my black belt.  I've been asked before why I continue Judo/Jujitsu and the only answers I really can say are, "why not?"  To me it's more than throws and joint locks.  It's more than Japanese words and pyjamas.  Even when you're not on the mat, you can benefit from the principles of Judo.

In the book "The Canon Of Judo" written by Kyuzo Mifune 5 main points and 7 principles are listed.

"Five main points
1. Only the actions of a flexible mind and body can defeat strength and rigidity....
2.Display the most dynamic energy in the worst situation...
3. Negligence is the equivalent of lacking fixed principles...
4.Never hold to a fixed idea, exist in a selfless state...
5. Never make light of trivial matters, instead have a faithful heart."

"Seven Disciplines
1. Avoid falsehood in spirit.
2.Do not lose confidence.
3. Correct your posture.
4. Be swift.
5. Use your power without restraint.
6. Do not neglect your training.
7.Discipline yourself.

If you think of these, not just in the martial terms but also in spiritual terms you can see how these apply to life in general.

Two other statements are integral to Judo as well.
Seiryoku zen yo (Maximum efficiency through minimum effort) and Jita kyoei (Mutual welfare and benefit).  Those two statements are pretty self explanatory.

I don't want to get into the origins of Judo and everything in between.  If you're really interested in that, check out or even wiki it.

With that said, Judo is an important part of my life even if I'm not training the techniques of Judo.  The same thing with the principles of Bushido.  They are important to me as well.  On principle one of the most difficult things that I've accomplished was being able to call myself a student of Judo.  There's a misconception that a black belt is a mastery of an art.  It is not.  It's the start of the journey. Thank you Pat, Jim and Jason for getting me there.  I expect to be humbled by Pat MANY more times...especially since we've got a black belt in JuJitsu to get to.

There's a cool way to fold your gi where you can loop your belt over your shoulder to carry the whole rig, but for a photo, I like this much more.

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