Sunday, September 21, 2014

Judo: Topsy turvy

Topsy turvy

That's a fantastic photo.  We watched a bit of this competition yesterday.  The highlights, I suppose.  Congratulations to the winners.  We were pulling for Japan, but I love good, clean competition where both athletes strive to the utmost.

Immediately afterwards, we watched a short piece on a local high school girl who competes in sumo.  My wife translated the gist of it for me.  The girl discovered wrestling in elementary school but found the weight classes constraining.  She wanted to test herself.  This led her to sumo, where she could fight seemingly lopsided contests against heavier, stronger opponents.  She began cross-training in wrestling and judo to learn quickness from the former and throwing techniques from the latter.  And so she found a practical application for her theory that a smaller, faster fighter with superior skill could defeat a larger one.  If the smaller fighter is this girl, then theory vindicated.  She's had great deal of success in the sumo ring where she soon began toppling big girls by ducking under their attacks, seizing their thighs and using her smaller yet still strong body to lift them, unbalance them and send them flying with video-blurring speed.

Another aspect we enjoyed about this story is the unconditional support given her by her own mother.  Her mother is her biggest fan, cheering happily as her daughter wreaks havoc among her fighting peers. Very heart-warming story.  This girl reminds me of a number of young people I've had the good fortune to come across during my time here in Japan.  Kids who come up with definite ideas and goals for themselves at a young age, sometimes well in advance of their years.  These kids knock me off my feet and make me look back on my own childhood and wonder what happened?  I had ideas and convictions, too, but the difference is these kids put theirs into practice, while mine remained locked in my mind and unexpressed and unrealized.

I'd certainly do a few things differently if I could project my consciousness back along the timestream with the things I've learned since, but I don't feel regret or shame.  Those feelings are for losers.  But what I really want to do is communicate to the next generation the need to try.  Propose, dispose, do.  Strap yourself to a giant arrow of dreams and fire it at the most difficult to attain goal.  If you miss, or fall short, you will still have time to recover.  Failure is nothing to fear.  You can end up with some pretty interesting stories if you take chances and allow yourself to fail once in a while.

And, hey, you might end up like our favorite sumo girl or some of my young students.  You know-- a success.

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