Recently, I have been using a parable to describe the Judo learning process, and I wanted to share it with you. I first learned about this parable in a non-Judo context, but nonetheless it can be ascribed to Judo, or to virtually anything else in your career, life, relationships, etc.
A couple of years ago I was meeting with a work colleague in her office. I noticed an interesting Jar of rocks on her desk. I asked her what the Jar was for and she explained that the Jar was given to her as part of an exercise at a management conference. Essentially, the concept is like this:
You need to fill the jar with rocks. First you start with big rocks, and cram as many of them into the Jar as possible. When you are done with those, you can seemingly think that the jar is full, but it isn't. While you might have all of the big rocks in the Jar, there are still plenty of gaps between the rocks that need to be filled. So you start with smaller pebbles, until you don't have any more room for pebbles. But this too isn't complete, because there are still gaps left - so you start to use sand....
I think that this parable has a lot of applicability in Judo. A friend of mine, a recently minted Shodan, indicated recently that you can 'know' all of the throws in the gokyo, but still have much room for improvement - how telling is this of Judo?!?
Everyone learned O-Soto-Gari as one of their first throws, yet here I am 6.5 years after starting Judo and still am far from perfection. I still go over it again and again in Uchikomi, and while I progress more and more each class, I still have plenty more work to do. Just like the glass of rocks, I have put the big rocks in the jar already - i.e. I know the gross movements - and now I am trying to get the smaller details and nuances in place to take my Judo to the next level.