Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Point is to Do Judo!

I was prowling the Judoforum the other day and came across this post by a member that goes by the name of Taigyo. It is a fantastic post and who that all Judoka should read.

"You know a lot of posters on this forum really seem to miss the fact that point of doing Judo is to "DO JUDO". It is not merely an exercise in who can deliver someone else to the mat and hold them down or make them submit. It is to use Judo technique, it is to learn and understand Judo principles. Sure, maybe other arts have great techniques, go do them. Because in the end, who wins on the mat matters not at all in life. It is just a little play battle that is over in a few minutes and then everyone goes home and other than the participants, no one really gives a sweet poopie what happened. It is the actual practice of Judo, not its value as a means of combat that allowed it to survive while the vast majority of classical Japanese martial arts faded away because they were simply no longer relevant to modern life.

This also holds true within Judo, sure you should train hard, but the point of Judo is to make you healthier, not tear you down. The macho-masochism of sacrificing your body to avoid being thrown to the mat in what is basically play fighting is stupid beyond belief (especially in randori). Sure you held out, how heroic, now you can't do the thing for which you trained so hard for 6 months, real smart. Except for a vanishingly small percentage of people, the importance of being able to defeat someone in hand to hand combat is totally irrelevant in modern life. Those people whose lives depend on the ability do defeat someone in hand to hand combat, do not train in a fashion that leaves their bodies unable to respond when a real threat appears.

A lot of westerners (maybe Japanese too for all I know) seem to cast about for some greater justification as to why they do Judo. Success in competition seems to be the one they often choose. You know something, you can do Judo just because you enjoy it, and it is cool, or because you like hanging out with the people or whatever. It really doesn't matter if A, B or C can whip your butt with Judo or anything else. If their lives are so empty and shallow that they have to find their ego gratification on the mat then I suppose we should be willing to take a few falls to ease their pain."


  1. Hey Matt. Thanks for such a great post. I'm a 41 year old Mum of two, who came to Judo in February this year as a way of doing something healthy with my children. Seven months on, I am slimmer, fitter, stronger and healthier than I have been in a long time. There are many things I love about Judo - the way I physically have to use my body, the way I have to mentally overcome my fear and negative self-talk and the sense of community within my club. My instructors are absolutely fantastic (I think you have fought one of them before - Cliff Illingworth) and I have never felt judged as being too old or too unfit to do it. I would happily go every day of the week, despite having torn muscles before and having sore and aching muscles after every class. It's unlikely that I'll ever do anything great competition wise, but Judo is my passion and will remain so for as long as I am able to do it. It's really given me back my sense of self! I've just bought your Workouts for Judo book and am looking forward to getting started on it. Thanks for the post, Sharon