Please don’t just skip over our section. We assure you that the next five minutes you spend reading our article will surely be worthwhile. It’s true that most of you wouldn’t even consider joining a martial art like judo as a sport, and we get that! All of us who are now in the judo team once stood in your shoes being highly doubtful of ourselves ever doing well in the sport. We completely understand that judo isn’t a sport that’s within the comfort zones of most students, but don’t be so scared of failure that you dare not try anything new, especially while you’re young and able! Else your school life be filled with ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’.
So, what do you picture when you hear the word ‘judo’? Burly savages in baggy white bathrobes throwing themselves at each other? Now, try to imagine yourself in the baggy bathrobe wrestling with an opponent. Embarrassing? Admittedly, at first, maybe. But as you progress to higher levels in terms of competency and as your belt colour changes from white to black, the “ugly bathrobe” will hardly be an embarrassment any longer.
Originating from Japan, judo is a martial art that aims to teach its students to subdue physically larger opponents by using minimal force. When judo players spar, they grab onto the bathrobes of their opponents and aim to best each other using a judo throw. Besides throwing techniques that are applied standing up, judo also comprises pins, chokes and locks that are applied while grappling on the ground. As you can see, judo is a practical martial art and a good form of self defence.
Now we know what you’re thinking, judo seems like a dangerous and painful sport. However, unlike conventional martial arts, there is no punching or kicking in judo, so don’t you worry about major injuries. We’re not going to lie, although there is no striking, there is still some risk of injury involved (just like any other sport). However, rest assured, for one of the first things that you will learn in judo is to break your fall. By reducing the impact of a fall, judo players can prevent pain and injury easily. So despite the loud thud from the fall, a throw is hardly as painful as it looks.
We’re not asking for those who are athletic and buff. You can be unfit and physically weak, because all we’re looking for is some commitment and dedication. Trainings are 3 times a week in the RI Gymnasium. Ultimately, all of our training training boils down to the National Schools Judo Championships, held annually in March/April, where we have consistently been a powerhouse, winning many golds and silvers and also producing many youth team players. If you are willing to put in the hard work, you might even one day pin the Singapore flag on your gi to represent the nation in international competitions overseas.
Finally, if you’ve pretty much skimmed through most of our preview, this is where you should start really paying attention. Although training hard and winning are important, what we all take away most of all from joining this sport far transcends any physical reward.
This may sound cliche, but learning about dedication, discipline and getting up after falling countless times are the intangibles that will last you for a long time to come. And you won’t be alone in this journey, for your teammates will be there every step of the way.
We hope that you’ve gotten a glimpse of what Raffles Judo is about and even though the bulk of you still wouldn’t choose judo as a cca, there’s no harm in visiting our booth during the open house. And who knows, you might just end up falling for us!
Our greatest glory consists not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.