First off, the water thing, I am actually NOT one of those people who believe that not drinking water during practice makes you tough. On the contrary, where some judo coaches refuse to let kids go off the mat to get a drink, when it is hotter or they are working hard and sweating a lot, we take water breaks every 30 minutes. Otherwise, we take a few minutes for a water break every 45 minutes or so.
However, it is true that I take a dim view of those people who run off the mat every five minutes for a water break or to go to the bathroom. I totally don't get how you can have a class of 35 kids and 20 of them have to use the bathroom in a 90 minute class. You know how often I can go 90 minutes without peeing - every fucking day. You're not fooling anyone when I turn around when it's time to do matches and every other match you're off the mat because you were getting a drink or in the bathroom.
Let's face facts - there are three reasons those kids are always running off the mat. Either they are lazy, they're bored or they're scared. They are out of shape and want to rest, they really don't want to be at judo anyway, they're parents made them be there, and there is one or more kids they don't want to get matched up against.
Here is my view on it - if you don't want to be here, stay home. If you are out of shape, stay on the mat and work out and you'll get in better shape and if you keep at it long enough, you will eventually beat that other kid.
Those stories about me arm barring her in the living room ARE true. I still do that, but these days it's always because she starts it. I will be sitting there minding my own business and she will jump on me and attack me yelling,
"Always be ready."
I'm fairly certain that constitutes elder abuse. I'm contemplating pressing charges.
I have noticed over the years that most of the people doing that are trying to avoid thinking about fighting because they are scared. It's a good idea in general to face your fears and not avoid them.
I've also seen many people exhaust themselves before a fight jump roping, running sprints. Again, they are just nervous. It doesn't make any sense to be getting tired before you fight. Watch sprinters at the Olympics - do they run 10 sprints all out before their event? Of course not.
Rest, focus, warm up, win.
It was quite the opposite. I would drive her to judo 7 or 8 times a week - on Tuesdays we went to two practices, at Venice from 7-8 then hopped in the car and she worked out at Hayastan from 8:30 - 10. Every day she was somewhere, Gardena, West LA, Baldwin Park, Hollywood. Traffic in Los Angeles blows, and after working all day and driving back home in traffic, some days, the last thing I wanted to do was get back in the car and drive another two hours across town. I would say to her,
Ronda, do you really want to go to practice tonight?
And she'd answer,
Of course, Mom. Why wouldn't I want to go to practice?
On top of all of that, if there wasn't anyone her size to practice with, I'd take falls for her. See that picture up there? She is a 14-year-old brown belt and I'm a 42-year-old statistician taking dozens of falls for her because I'm the right size and I know enough to give just the right amount of resistance.
Did anyone seriously think what I wanted to do after a 14-hour day was drive in rush hour to somewhere I'd get thrown 150 times? I don't expect any medals for that - it's what millions of parents in America do every day, cart their child to gymnastics, piano lessons, wrestling practice, academic decathlon or a million other things. When we're children we think the world revolves around us and that is exactly what mom or dad wants to do most because we are so charming and adorable.
Then we grow up and realize that what they really wanted to do was sit home and drink a beer while reading the paper or watching TV, but they loved us, so they got their old tired ass up and took us wherever we needed to be.