When I first wrote that article on 'Beautiful Judo' over a year ago, I had no idea what I was in for. There were months of sheer frustration and butt whipping (me being the receiver) and the Judo looked about as beautiful as two slugs wrestling encased in resin. I was really, really beginning to wonder if all this was just a pipe dream and Kano and Co. were smoking the tatami mats.
Then I broke my foot.
This precipitated a real bout of depression where I questioned if I ever even wanted to do martial arts. Let alone Judo. And still further from my mind, beautiful judo.
But when I came back, very oddly, I had no choice. My aching, ageing body couldn't do all the WWF bastardised wrestling moves that I was throwing on the mat (very unsuccessfully I might add). So, I went back to Sensei JAL (remember him?) and worked with him on regaining whatever little form I had before I injured myself. All this while, the monkey on my back kept chattering " You fool! This isn't going to work"
Oh, but it did.
I can't for sure remember when. But it started with me getting some kuzushi (unbalancing) on my opponent when I randoried. Then, these became minor scores. Who cared? I was ecstastic, even with the small scores. Then the minor scores became larger, until finally...
With an uchimata: the hardest, most singularly revered throw in Judo that defines the beauty, grace, power, harmony and lethality of Judo. For ten years, I heard that small men like me should forget uchimata and concentrate on throws like seio nage (shoulder throws),that I was wasting my time. But somehow, I persisted with the big man throws. Maybe there's a big man in this small frame, maybe I'm just stubborn. Or an idiot
But I'm an idiot with an Ippon :-)
I owe it all to Sensei JAL. What a teacher and a man. His advice was secondary. Everyone has some good advice in them now and then. It was his patience, his example as a teacher that I almost revere and totally respect. He knew that it would come, even though I was whingeing like a spoilt brat incessantly but he knew that beautiful judo is painful, and it takes time
And it really is beautiful