Monday, June 9, 2008

Other Judo Blogs

In my not-very-humble opinion, most judo blogs are boring and not kept up very often. Many blogs are by people in judo, but not really ABOUT judo all that often.

When I started writing this blog, I alternated between posts on retirement, judo, marriage, the meaning of life, etc. Several people wrote me to say that they really weren't interested in my life outside of judo. My daughter, Jennifer, on the other hand, told me that my blog was boring because it was all about judo. I am working on a very long post which is an expose of Jennifer (moo-ha -ha ---- for those of you who do not recognize it, that is the stereotypical evil scientist laugh.)

AnnMaria's random list of blogs that usually are about judo and not the author's daffodils.

Judo in my life by Jason has a lot lately about Jason's inability to do judo due to injury. However, he has a good attitude - if I am too injured to compete, I'll fly to Vegas, watch the Olympic trials and use all those long iced drinks they give you to ice my injured part. Good thing he injured his wrist and not something else.

Tad's blog is interesting to me because he is a relative (to me) beginner and just starting to compete. Some of the mistakes he mentions make me smile because they are such common mistakes early on. It's also interesting to read his posts because he is a heavyweight, like Jason, something I have never, ever been, and heavyweights do judo differently.

Speaking of heavyweights and good attitude, there is Rhadi Ferguson's blog. People seem to love Rhadi or hate him. We don't always agree but I have never seen Rhadi be anything but a sincerely good person. I find his hype kind of amusing, while it drives some other people up the wall. Come on, it's business. No one advertises saying, "Buy our stuff if you want, not that we're claiming to be better than anyone."

Speaking of attitude, I think that is another reason Rhadi and I get along. His wife is a physician and did not pause in pursuing her career while Rhadi was training for the Olympics. It is probably no surprise that I get along a whole lot better, on the whole, who are married to well-educated, professional women.. If you need a woman three steps behind whispering how great you are, probably you and me aren't going to hang out.

Ronda's blog, almost last, because I have to get to bed, but certainly not least, is usually really funny and she often has good insights about what really training to win the Olympics looks like. If you think you are training hard enough and sacrificing enough, you should probably read it. The current post, on her applicant process for the next boyfriend, has the most butt-ugly picture ever so I hope she updates it soon.

The person who throws you to the mat is a girl - how can you not like a blog with a name like that? I also really liked the ko uchi video on here. On the occasions that I threw people when I was competing, I did ko uchi makikomi a lot. For some reason, people always feel free to tell me how bad my technique is and how I am doing everything wrong. In the hallway is a picture of me doing ko uchi in the world finals in the exact same position of these guys on the video,with my back leg straight and lunging toward the opponent.

============== WINNING ATTITUDE ====================

I mentioned attitude as to why I liked several of the blogs above. In judo, there is such a thing as a winning attitude. You need to manage to be simultaneously arrogant and humble. You need to be arrogant enough to believe that you CAN be better than everyone else in the world, and you need to believe that you ARE better for the minutes you are out on the mat.

In all the months and years leading up to that point though, you need to be humble in the extreme. You need to always believe that someone, somewhere out there is training harder than you, knows more than you, is in better condition than you. That humility will make you always seek out people who can teach you more and even listen respectfully to people you think are complete morons because they might have one good idea you can use. It is humility, not arrogance, that causes some elite competitors to help other players coming up. Yes, they realize someone helped them, but there is also the enlightened self-interest that if this player gets better he or she can push me harder and get me better, too..

Those who are just plain arrogant don't make it too far in our sport. They are too impressed with having won a regional tournament of a bronze medal in the senior nationals, and sometimes not even that. They may just be the toughest brown belt in Tortilla Flats, Alaska. Unfortunately, those never-quite-made-its are often drawn to coaching because it is yet again a chance to get admiration.

It is a big loss that some of those who were great technicians, like Robin (Chapman) Chow and Delores Brodie are not teaching much outside of their own clubs. These are just two of several women (and men) I could mention with multiple international gold medals who wave off their accomplishments. They developed such a habit of looking toward their future accomplishments instead of their past ones they are in the background modestly while others with less ability but more arrogance are bringing up more athletes like themselves. It really is too bad.

Not that you asked me - but when has that ever stopped me? My advice is:
If you WERE a player, look at what you have to offer as a coach and go out there and offer it. We need more good coaches desperately and if you apply that drive to be a success you had as a player, even if you aren't the greatest coach on day one, you'll be a good one, and you'll keep getting better.

If you ARE a player, look for someone who tells you that you can be better, who pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Don't settle for an environment where everyone tells you how great you are. Search out people who will push you to be better than you think you could be. Sometimes those people are right on your own mat, but they aren't going to push through the crowd to help you. Lose the idea that anyone owes you anything. You'll be a better player and a better person. Most of you are, at best, a moderately good player in a minor sport. That's better than being a 300 lb couch potato whose main claim to fame is his level on Doom - but, check yourself, it's not like you found a cure for AIDS or brought about world peace.

My niece tells me that I'm never satisfied, like it's a bad thing. She's right. I am never satisfied. I won the world championships at age 26 and then I went and got a Ph.D., became a professor, wrote scientific articles, got married, had some great kids and then I founded a business. You know why? Because how much would it suck if my whole life had peaked at 26 and it was all downhill from there?

Think about yourself, if you are 16 or 23 or 28 and you think you are Joe Balls because you won some tournament, come on. If it's all downhill from here, that's pretty pathetic, isn't it?

There's nothing wrong with trying to get better every day and not being satisfied. I may relax and think about what I have accomplished and feel smug some day, but I rather suspect that will be a day when I am rocking on the porch at the Daisy HIll Retirement Home asking the nurse, "What was my name again?"


Bob C. said...

The end of you blog today gave me a good laugh! I would not want to be the one at Daisy Hill having to watch you, I'm thinking even at 105 your newaza will still be good..

Anonymous said...

yeah mom i picture you at the home telling the other old ladies "you think you're all that in your fancy wheelchair but I can still kick your ass!"

Anonymous said...

Haha haha that's some real trash talk!