One of the great things in judo are the times you find yourself testing yourself.
I remember one such test.
Aurelio Miguel is a Brazilian judoka who won two Olympic bronze medals and the Gold medal in 1988, among many other honors.
And in 1994, I faced the man on the mat.
I’d like to say I fought the classic David and Goliath battle, taking the fight to Mr. Miguel and finally triumphing in the end.
But let’s be realistic. The man is an Olympic champion and I was a Tennessee state champion. The two are not alike.
I took the fight to Miguel as best as I could. I attacked and then I attacked again. He went in for a throw and I remember blocking it, but I also remember that it felt as if every bone in my body shook.
In the end, I lost the match by a pin. It wasn’t a long match, but it wasn’t a particularly short match. I successfully defended against a couple of his throws and given the disparity in our level and experience, I considered that as something good.
But beating or losing to the Olympic Champion is not the point.
If you play soccer or boxing or football or softball, how often do you have the opportunity to test yourself against some of the very best in the world at that sport?
In judo it can happen from time to time, whether you are in a competition or just training. It is an open sport and its most successful athletes are pretty accessible. And without much effort you have the opportunity to train or compete with them.
However, there is more.
The purpose of the study of judo is to perfect yourself and contribute to society.
Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo said this and I think it is tied directly to testing yourself.
Judo is not easy. It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally grueling. If you approach it with full effort and full intentions of perfecting the art, it will test you every single night.
Judo is test and when you step up to take it you may sometimes fail, but through judo, I’ve seen time and again, people improve. They become better, tougher, people with stronger character.
Through testing yourself, you discover your flaws and weakness, and grow stronger as a result.
And it makes all the difference in the world. At least it has for me.
If you would like more information about Music City Judo, email Clay Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.