Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Improving my judo - one tea break at a time.

I don't know if I've talked much about my Judo class. Essentially it runs from roughly noon to roughly 1:30. Usually speaking there are about 8-12 people in attendance, and most of the crew is fairly regular and consists of people working in the area. Ocassionally, we get a visitor from out of town, or someone who normally goes to our Dojo's nighttime classes and has part of their afternoon free.

Generally around 1pm, our sensei gives us a tea break. He prepares a pot of tea the old fashioned way (from loose tea leaves) and pours a glass for everyone. While we drink we usually b.s. about Judo, our club's results from the latest tournament, or get a verbal lesson from our sensei. On Monday he spoke about the following story, and I was really inspired:

"When I was a Junior at Meiji Univeristy, my Sensei asked me to coach the team of another university over spring break in preparation for a tournament. I was perplexed because I couldn't understand why he would send a student to coach a college team. But he told me 'Go, and you will understand'. While I was there, I realized why he had sent me. While at our school, we would leave practice tired and worn out, they would leave practice to play mah-jongg. I realized that the difference between those that are good and those that are great is the desire for constant improvement, and the idea that practice isn't repeating the same mistakes over and over, but rather the quest to improve ones technique, timing and reflexes."*

I realized, then and there that maybe that what was missing from my routine. That was what separated the fraying brown belts from the fraying black belts - the desire to improve.

I think that today, I will work on my weaker techniques to improve them. Hello Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi and Tsurikomi Goshi.

*My Sensei's english isn't that great, so this isn't a direct quote, but I am sure that he will be pleased by the eloquence I put into his mouth

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