Yesterday I decided to join the judo club here at my junior high school. It was really fun, and provides and excellent way for me to get exercise. The only drawback is that I am not in peak training condition. It has been awhile since I have “hit the gym” so today I am feeling a little sore. There’s some bruises starting to form, and I definitely will not be able to do it everyday (like the students at my school), but I still want to learn and will probably go once a week.
Judo basically is a Japanese martial art that uses throws, kicks, grabs and holds to beat your oppenet. It is played on tatami mats, not your average gymnastic mats with all that give, so when you take a spill you have to make sure you throw your arm out to brace your fall. The proper technique is to slap the mats when you fall in order to ease the blow to the ground. Don’t let these little kids fool you though, they are out for the jugular, and me being a teacher only makes the thought of winning that much sweeter. These kids can really throw some weight around too. At one point I was beginning to fatigue, so I kinda did the boxer hug thing for a little rest on the kids shoulder. Shortly thereafter I found myself flipped over the kids back somehow and on the ground in a hold. I don’t even know how he did it, but had to give him “props” for the cool move he pulled on me.
I did learn something cool in my first visit though. When you bow (while sitting on the floor) you put your legs under your body and your hands, clenched in fists, on your torso. The feet should be slightly crossed and layered, with your right toes above your left toes. This way if you need to lunge forward, and draw your sword, you can do it a lot quicker. I found this little slight of (foot) to be very interesting. Of course we are not using swords, or even fighting so much as we are wrestling, but something as small as the placement of your feet in judo, turns out to be significant and founded in tradition. These things about the Japanese culture always surprise me when I learn them, because they are very simple yet extremely practical in their aim.