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Father and Son - Growing as Judoka

I am always trying to learn and grow in Judo and trying to help others do so, including my son. My son is only 5, he has the attention span to match. A lot of his teachers and such suggested he try martial arts, and I am glad (in more ways than one) that he and I can practice at the same dojo, and even more so that I get to be on the mat with him. He has a phenomenal memory, and hardly forgets a thing you teach him, although Judo can be confusing for him. Nonetheless, his memory for techniques and their names is pretty impressive for a five-year-old. This past Sunday, our Sensei announced that we would be having a Club Shiai in a few weeks, and since some of the kids don't compete that often, he turned Randori into a mock Shiai to educate them on the rules.

While he'd never competed before, and was only at one of my matches, he was somewhat familiar with the rules. When my son was about three, I used to play the Osaekomi game with him. I would pin him gently on his back and say 'Osaekomi' and he would have to roll over onto his belly and say Toketa. Of course, since he started Judo, I've gone into more detail with him. A few weeks ago at night, he asked me how someone gets points from pinning their opponent. I explained to him the rules, and how they relate to the number of seconds from Osaekomi to Toketa (or until Ippon). So on Sunday, he is doing Ne-Waza Randori, and he pins his opponent (a little girl, about 7-8 months older than him). All of a sudden, he starts counting really fast - everyone starts lauging. First I explain to him that he can't count so fast, so he slows down, then the sensei explains to him that he doesn't count, save it for the referees.

Later on, in the Mock Shiai, both him and his opponent (the same girl), go to the mat and she is on top of him, but he quickly rolls onto his belly and says "Sensei, you can't count, because I am on my stomach."

He served as good fodder for laughs all afternoon, and his match ended in Hiki-wake, since he and his opponent are still working on their techniques.

The next night, I had a conversation with our Sensei about it. All kidding aside, we both have seen him grow in Judo. Yes, it is still hard for him to pay attention for two hours straight, but at the same time, every week he shows tremendous progress, and it shows outside of Judo as well (just a little bit).

I on the other hand, have been continuing to learn and prepare for my next promotional test - not sure when it will be, but hopefully soon, and I will keep you all posted. My sensei has his own set of requirements for each rank - some of which are things I've been doing for years, others are things that are new to me, but nonetheless, it has been an interesting learning experience. And by doing all of these throws, and because of all of the Kata work that I have been doing, I feel that my Judo has been improving, and slowly ascending to the next level.

While I can see it in my sights, I know that I still have a very long way to go.

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