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Martial Arts, Mississippi

Judo

judo01 (Not me. Via Wikipedia)

It’s official – I’m now doing judo over in Ocean Springs along with Will/Nick/various other Hands On folk. The first few classes have been very fun; it’s a new martial art for me and I’m learning a lot already.

I think that setting some goals is the most important thing you can do when you’re starting a martial art. Ideally a martial art is something you’ll continue to do throughout your lifetime. But this isn’t a realistic goal for me right now. I’d like to persevere at it while I’m here in Mississippi, but who knows where I’ll be next. That being said, here are my martial arts goals:

  1. Attend class regularly and give a full effort.
  2. Learn well a variety of techniques (rolls, falls, throws, chokes, pins).
  3. Through whatever style I’m practicing in (judo, karate, etc.), develop my understanding of the fundamentals behind martial arts (stance, force, inertia, body knowledge).

In talking with a non-martial-artist the other day, I was interested by her perception of the idea behind martial arts: that the goal is to achieve victory without having to hurt the other person. Now, without getting into the elaborate philosophies associated with martial arts, I don’t think this is accurate – in any real-life application of martial arts, concern for the opponent’s well-being comes dead last behind protecting yourself and those around you. This is particularly the case for styles like Shotokan karate, which I trained in for several years. Shotokan counts “Refrain from violent behavior” among its core principles, but when force is required, every technique is potentially a killing or crippling blow. Judo practictioners, on the other hand, may use pins or holds to achieve complete control over their opponents without (necessarily) incapacitating them.

Karate and judo have very different techniques, but it seems to me that their spirit is similar. They emphasize the controlled application of force. The first and most important element of control is to know when the use of force is appropriate.

But essentially, judo’s fun. I’m finally getting into an active routine with judo, occasional running, ultimate frisbee, football, and construction, and my body’s making me pay for it, but it’s all good.

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