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Dobuting one's ability... and focusing on what's important

So I was practicing yesterday with a green belt. Generally speaking my brown belt is just one notch above green in our ranking system, which basically means that it is quite plausible that there is very little difference in our abilities to some extent.

I have to say that while I think that my knowledge of technique and trickiness in Randori are better than this particular green belt's - he definitely has me beat hands down when it comes to speed and execution. But then again, he plays 4x a week, and I play 2x (if I am lucky).

Working with him, and watching him, made me doubt my worthiness to wear a brown belt. I felt inadequate for a little while. But then I remembered a quote (which I heard second-hand) from my Sensei: "A Belt is merely a means to keep up your pants and hold your jacket closed".

I thought this morning about how much I have improved since I returned to Judo 5 months ago. I now feel comfortable in Randori with black belts and brown belts; My Ne-waza went from piss-poor to half decent; and I have not only improved my technical skill in many techniques, but I also have picked up some great tricks for Randori that I can't wait to use in Shiai.

I also acknowledge that I have a long way to improve in other areas:

  • I want to work on Tsurikomi Goshi and it's derivative throws - Uchimata, Hane Goshi and Harai Goshi (it works for me now, but my technique needs improvement).
  • I want to build up my confidence to play more offensively in both standing and ne-waza Randori.
  • I need to learn how to really use foot sweeps.


I think if I keep focusing on getting better - I will, and I will also enjoy Judo more.

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