Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Congratulations! You're too great to learn anything

I've heard this same statement many times, from everyone from thirteen-year-old junior national champions to the fifth-degree black belt running the local dojo.
Why should I go to the clinic given by ---- ? What can he (she) teach me?
This attitude just baffles me. I heard this said by a junior judo player about the upcoming clinic with world champion Kayla Harrison. I heard it said several years ago by a coach at a local judo club when world champion Udo Quelmalz was in town from Germany doing a clinic. And I've heard it in just about every possible other situation as well.

My reaction each time is always the same,
You've got to be f---ing kidding me!

Seriously? I would expect that someone who has won a world championships could teach anyone a number of things. These could include the techniques that he or she uses to win, drills for training for competition, exercises for physical conditioning. They could talk to players about the stresses of competition. They could talk to coaches about what worked for them with on the mat coaches, motivation and training leading up to the event. They could tell you who their best coaches were and why.

I have won a world championships and I know that a lot of people can teach me a lot of things. Sus Kono is terrific at running a practice and I watch him to steal ideas. Trace Nishiyama has a great drop seoi nage. Jason Harai has a really good harai goshi and is very good at teaching it. He has a good standing seoi nage, too. Ronda not only has a good o soto but she is also very good at teaching it. Tosh Seino has an amazing tai otoshi and tsuri komi goshi. Gary Butts does a lot of wrestling techniques that are perfectly legal in judo but seldom applied.

My point is that
  1. You don't know everything.
  2. Anyone who knows something you don't can teach you something.
  3. While you may be good at lots of things, there will be lots of people who are better than you at one (or more) things.

Yesterday, while Ronda was at the house entering data, I was just shaking my head over the attitude that some ten-year-old kid who had won the junior nationals could have that someone could not teach him or her anything. Without looking up from the keyboard she said,

You know, I listen to people and I don't even bother about it any more. When people say things like that, I just say to myself, 'Congratulations! You're too great to learn anything.'

I've been sick for a week and I have a sick kid at home, so I am not sure I will make it down to Gardena this weekend. But, I will tell you one thing. If I don't, it won't be because I'm too great to learn anything.


Anonymous said...

Sensai demars, you have a great collaboration of staff and students all very dedicated.

To all students or parents who get a sense of plateau at there local dojo like I did, I strongly recommend trying a class for a day I guarantee you will have learned something and leave you hungry for more, and you never know who else might pop up to show a good waza and if you thought you knew a technique well you've only just polished it more. I mean c'mon you have an olympian champ, world champ and the list goes on and give you a sense of what it's like it feels like the united nations in there only there is alot of empty chairs in the room... so sensei's your chair is waiting and so is everyone else that is eager to learn lets stay united.

Humberto Montiel

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Thank you.

Just a reminder that there is no practice at the West Coast Judo Training Center this Saturday as everyone will be at the Kayla Harrison clinic in Gardena. There will be practice at the training center on Sunday at the regular time, 3 pm.