Practice tournaments and what you learn, about judo and about life
- Defeat is not final.My friend, Lanny Clark, has a great saying,
"Life goes to the slowest winner."
His point is that it is not the person who is the junior national champion in the eight-year-old division who we remember, or the smartest person in chemistry our junior year in high school. It is the person who wins the Olympics or a Nobel Prize for Chemistry. In smaller, practice tournaments you may lose a match your first round, come back through the loser's pool and beat that person to win the tournament. You may lose by ippon in thirteen seconds the next round and barely lose by a decision after five minutes in the second match. Learning to get beat and come back fighting is a good thing.
- You have to take chances to rise above the competition.The smaller tournaments are where you try your new techniques.Focus on scoring as much as you can. Adrian Rivera, who is in his forties, still does this in tournaments, I noticed. He was saying after one match, where he threw his opponent for a waza ari and then pinned him,
"That was a mistake. I should have let him up from the pin and tried to throw him for ippon."
The point of doing this is NOT to humiliate the opponent by showing "See I can score on you at will". It is to give both of you a chance to practice more. Also, you are taking a chance because you could have won the match at that point and you are letting the other person have another shot at you.
- Face down your fears. If we do it right, courage is one of the most important lessons we gain from judo. Thousands of years ago, Aristotle said,
"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others."
No matter how ethical you are, how intelligent you are,if you are afraid to do what you know is right or logical then all of your integrity and intelligence is just a waste of time. I wonder how many times altogether one of my four daughters has complained about being scared or not wanting to fight or not wanting to be entered in two or three divisions and been told to suck it up and be a woman. In the end, they learned to face down their fears.
I can't count the number of trophies from the YMCA championships or Nanka Fall tournament or 47 others they have each year that have gone into the dumpster. I don't really feel bad about that, because what I brought my children to those tournaments to gain was not the purple and gold trophy, and the lessons they learned have stuck with them, and me, long after everyone has forgotten exactly who won the 13-14 lightweight divisions at the Silver State championships.