New Year’s Resolutions

1) Compete as much as possible.

2) Win at least one tournament.

3) Finish the year by going to Tokyo to fight in the All Japan BJJ comp as a blue belt, win that, and get my purple belt thusly.

4) Throw someone cleanly in Judo, sending them spinning through the air to slap on the mat like a giant human cowpat.

5) Armbar somebody’s shins off

6) Decapitate a stoat with an old shoe

7) Watch every episode of Seinfeld ever on my iPod touch

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Noma Judo

Judo is great. After training the other night, the black belts sat down and gave a speech. This is after we’ve done the communist-style communal exercise complete with ritualistic chanting, and bowing to about ten different places.

One guy, Maraiga-san (who is also a BJJ blue belt) gave an excellent speech about how a kid’s work is to study hard, train judo, and help with his or her parents. About half of the members of this small judo class are kids from about 5 to 14 or so. He then asked them if they had all done their homework, without a hint of comedy or irony.

All the while, one of the other blackbelt’s kids, himself a pretty good judo-er, was choking back sobs. His heart, his spirit, had been so affected by a particularly intense training session in preparation for an upcoming competition that he was spontaneously crying. When you are around people who always talk of spirit, of heart, kokoro, it becomes a very believable and tangible thing. The act of pushing yourself to your physical and mental limits, under the strict, harsh-but-fair guidance of a senior, in a group environment… I’m not surprised the kid was sobbing.

I’m really enjoying the different side, the, dare I say it, more traditional side that judo proudly holds on to. It is a refreshing change from the dudes at jiu jitsu lying around scratching their balls and clipping their toenails (which is also charming, in a different way.)

In other news, I bought some awesome reversal t-shirts, and a new gi from Keiko Raca. I need to buy some patches from the dojo, put a few pennies in my coach’s pocket, and get the missus to sew them on for me.

Jiu jitsu is going well. This year should be a good year, I’m going to shoot for my purple belt.

I plan to compete in March, so I have January to ease myself in, February to train hard and lose a couple of kilos, and March to get my face squished in. Should be great!

I’ve also invested in a gym ball and some latext tubing, and have been doing all kinds of weird and wacky exercises to help build my strength. I’m using this weird, bright-green metal chin-up bar contraption, donated to me by my mother in law, too, and I have actually noticed an increase in strength since I started using it about two months ago.

Lastly, things are looking good on the writing front, but more news on that later.