A day in the life of: A Judoka

This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.

by Gareth Edward Lee (16S06L), Boys’ captain; Low Jia Qi (16S03O), Girls’ captain

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The Judo family having fun! :)

Judo is a sport unlike any other. Originating from Japan, it is a martial art and combat sport that directly translates to “the gentle way” (rou dao). The main objective in the sport is to subdue the opponent using throwing or holding techniques. Competitive judo follows a score system, which consists of yuko (small points), wazari (half point), and ippon (full point). Each bout lasts from 3 to 5 minutes, and one can win and end the match immediately by scoring an ippon – which adds a sense of unpredictability to the sport. Anything can happen in a judo match …

Under the guidance of our coaches Mr Low Chee Kiang and Mr Tan Yi, judokas train at least thrice a week in the hopes of seizing the elusive Challenge Trophy for the pride of our school. Training typically starts with stretching and warm-up, followed by judo technique drills and some physical training. The most fun part of training that you can look forward to, however, is randori (free sparring). Randori is the time when judokas put what they have learnt into practice and pit themselves against other team mates. It is common to experience getting thrown by seniors, and beginners may feel slightly discouraged at the start, but eventually, you’ll realise that getting thrown is part of the sport. The art of falling is something unique to judo. It teaches judokas to accept failure and learn from it. This is, after all, the only way to overcome the fear of falling and improve as a judoka. Whether you throw or get thrown, randori allows judokas to understand what judo really is and challenges them to reach a new level of proficiency in the sport.

Furthermore, learning to accept getting thrown in judo has helped us come to terms with setbacks we face in other aspects of our lives. Judo has given us the courage to accept failures with an open mind and the mental willpower to persevere. We know that it is always within our power to get back up after we have taken a fall and that is part and parcel of growing up. Ultimately, this is the aspect of judo that we think is the most applicable to our lives off the mats.

While we train with the ultimate goal of winning a competition, what really brings us back to training every week is the sense of attachment we have to the judo community. Every training session gives us the chance to have fun with juniors, seniors and batch mates whom we hold dear in our hearts. It is through the toughest of trainings and the most daunting of setbacks that we forge the strongest of bonds and make the best friends that we have. The judo community is full of fun-loving juniors who never fail to crack us up with their antics, wise seniors who always have something insightful to impart, and supportive batch mates whom we can always put our trust in. Before training starts, it is no surprise to see judokas from all years lepaking on the mats (or lazing around on the trampolines. Shh.).

Judo will always be a family away from home that we’ll never get tired of, and we look forward to YOU being a part of it! :D

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