It’s spring now, and as the buds start to grow on the trees and flowers light up the scene, young men and women have a new thought on their minds. Fancies of the past have been abandoned, and a new season has begun. Spring sports season, that is.
Yes, spring has arrived, and with it comes a new batch of sports for us at Williston, a new way for us to stay fit and spend our afternoons. But change is not for everybody. Not for me, at least. During winter, Judo was how I spent those dark (admittedly scarily warm) afternoons, and I had a great time.
I love the blend of aggressive activity and the artful style in which we learn how to make someone all of a sudden realize that the ground was not where they last remembered it to be. I realized that the sport was offered in the spring, too, with a new batch of white belts and some of the same old faces. The decision was easy for me.
After convincing a friend of mine that he absolutely needed to start training in a third martial art and that Judo was the way to get the 8-pack he so despirately desires, I switched into Judo and got ready for one more season of throws, rolls, and arm bars. The only changes this season of Judo brought for me were the new people and a shiny new belt.
Judo is very much a team sport; you can’t learn a throw unless you have an uke (someone to practice on) and a tori (the thrower) can’t practice without the full consent and submission of the uke. I pride myself in being a good uke, although it does mean that I get thrown more than most people when Sensei Luikart wants to demonstrate a throw. A good uke keeps the team together by showing respect for not only his or her own goals, but the goals of the teammates as well.
A really fun part of Judo is the people on the team. One of my closest friends is on it and we work together whenever we can. I help him when a throw or holding is confusing and he does the same for me. Training with him is great and, all in all, the whole team gets along as a really strong, fun team. We know how to work for the good of everyone else.
Ultimately, the point of Judo is to train to mastery of the art. In the sport, we show that through a change in belt color, going from the white novice belt to the black master belt. I’m currently an orange belt, which is nearly halfway in between the two. After orange comes green, and my time in Judo is spent preparing for the test for that rank.
Green is what I aim for; it is what motivates me to do that extra pushup, that extra crunch. It is what makes me try to get a perfect throw during practice and it is why I have never missed a practice due to a superficial complaint. I have a quest, and I will attain the reward at the end.
Perhaps as spring shifts into summer, as school comes to a close, I will find myself prepared and I will get to prove myself. I could use a new belt.