Sunday, June 1, 2008

Beautiful Judo (Part 2) - Flying the friendly skies

I resolved that starting this year, I would do Beautiful Judo

Judo that looked like those gorgeous black and white photos in my books. Judo that made people fly over your shoulder but where you didn't look as though you were having severe constipation while you were launching him. Judo's maxim, "minimum force, maximum efficiency" doesn't occur when you channel your inner steroid monkey to throw a guy off the mat. To effect this, I knew I would have to pay more attention to the Japanese insructors at my club

The Japanese teachers where I train are a wonderfully strange lot. I used to think that they would be all stern,frowning and inscrutable to the highest degree. Yes, I admit that that's quite stereotypical but hey, I watched too many Kurosawa movies in my time

As I mentioned, almost serendipitously, it was here that I met Sensei Japan Air Lines; or Sensei JAL for short, as I will call him. Anyway, Sensei JAL and the rest of the Japanese teachers are always smiling, calm and eager to share their knowledge with anyone who was interested. Unfortunately, the language barrier poses some issues and I wish I had learnt Japanese as I have no doubt as to the goldmine of information which they possess. Still, whatever I pass on to me is treated like nuggets of gold. Pure gold.

Sensei JAL is different in that his English is quite good, and he is a born teacher. He loves instructing and teaching; it shows in his face, his movements and what he says. He wants to share his Judo with you, but not just any old Judo...he wants you to learn beautiful Judo.

He's called Sensei JAL because whenever I randori with him, he's launched me some many times through the air I could get frequent flyer miles from him. In fact, I think I've enough distance collectively to make it to Tokyo. And he does this by timing, by tai-sabaki (body movement), use and control of 'Ma' ( A Japanese term denoting space) and just good,ol' fashioned Judo elbow grease.

If Judo was cuisine, his would be soul food. Good for you. Good for the family. Nothing fancy, no plating - just served with a whole lotta sincerity and honesty. It's beautiful Judo and that's what I want to learn from Sensei JAL


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