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Why it's called the Road to Shodan...

While surfing the JudoForum today, I came across a new user on the site who's handle is roadtojudan - and I wondered if I inspired him with my own blog's title. (Incidentally, Judan, or 10th Degree is the highest level of Black belt awarded in Judo, and is very rare. It is only attainable by those who have dedicated their entire life to the spread of Judo and even then, they are usually well into their 70's when it is conferred. I believe that there are only a dozen or so Judans in the world that are recognized by the Kodokan in Tokyo, but I digress).

I wondered why I chose to name my blog the road to Shodan instead of the the road to Judan? If I am aspiring, why not aspire all the way to the top, instead of merely to the first rung of a ten-rung ladder? The answer - because I am focusing on learning to walk before I learn how to run. Shodan not only translates into first degree, but it also translates into 'First Step.' Some people view the Black belt as the mark of an expert, I view it as the end of an era of being a Judo begginer and the first step along the path to becoming an expert. Just like your high school diploma signifies your preparation to enter college, so too your does your shodan indicate that you have graduated from the kyu - beginner grades, into the dans.

Will I ever name this blog the Road to Judan? Maybe, but it will have to go through nine other name changes first :)

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