I have always had a fascination with martial arts. My father is probably to blame, he really dug the old Bruce Lee movies. Being his female son, I watched too.
Imagine my delight when I discovered in community college I could take Karate.
Imagine my sorrow when I realized I was not good at it. Not good at all. Karate is a carefully choreographed art. Beautiful in it's practice. Forms (kata) are practiced before a student begins to spar. Kata are hard. Like dancing, you have to know where to put your feet, your hands and your body. While applying everything you learned. I tried. Mostly, I'm sure I looked confused. After two quarters, I was promoted to yellow belt for performing the simplest kata... ineptly. I wasn't ready to be promoted, but that was how the dojo the sensei ran worked. I never picked up Karate again.
Enter four year college. Enter Judo. Judo is from the same country as Karate, but is different in many ways. Practical knowledge of technique is very important in Judo, and sparring comes first not second. Rather than a formula, students are given a template and encouraged to explore what works. Best of all, most Judo here is community run. A sensei has no pressure to promote people, or to stick to an agenda. The measure of a student comes during tournament season, when the students fight others of equal rank in timed matches.
I have been doing Judo for around three years now and haven't gotten bored. Formula is nice, but to maintain my interest, I have to innovate.
Labels: Judo, martialarts, sports