One particular example would be the module Language and Economy, which saw us debating the merits of using big (read: bombastic) words in day-to-day speech and writing in English (a trait supposedly common amongst native speakers. The typical clichéd arguments would include of course, how some speakers are vain in the way they insist on drawing only upon a purportedly sophisticated repertoire of complicated jargon, or, on the flipside, how non-native speakers should brush up their command of the language and speak ‘good’ English.
Now, this a blog for our judo club after all, so you, our honored reader, might be wondering what all this has to do our beloved sport. With regards to the debate above, I feel that the most straightforward takeaway is to communicate in a way that is most tailored to your audience. While it may be true, that the pen is mightier than the sword, you still need to brandish your pointed writing instrument in an effective way that gets the message across. Otherwise, no matter how flowery or poetic your writing, it would all have been for naught if it is destined to fall on deaf or uncomprehending ears.
Likewise, the same may be said for judo: while a set of so-called ‘official’ techniques exist, no two judoka came in the same shape and size, and it is all up to the individual to master a personal repertoire of techniques most suited to his or her disposition and style, then draw on different parts of that arsenal when facing different opponents (in a way, communicating effectively on the tatami albeit through a different medium – one’s body and spirit, rather than one’s mouth or inner poet, in this case).
This is an important lesson indeed, one that we revisit every day during our practice sessions, and today was no exception. The club has been expanding on a steady footing year-on-year these past two years, and I am comforted to say that we have not only hit a fuller complement of members, we now also have a more balanced mix of teammates of different builds and specialties. It is precisely this variety in our sparring rounds that makes every session a unique and memorable challenge to savor.
A classic example of David (Aikawa) v. Goliath (Tazawa):
Goliath may be strong but David makes sure to fight valiantly nonetheless
It has been a good six years since my last formal brush with literature in school, which makes it all the more amazing how much I still remember. Since Spring has come and gone and the seasons herald change, do indulge me for just a little longer as I call up a couple of lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
While I am fairly certain that Shakespeare was not a practitioner of judo, it is astounding how perfectly his sonnet fits the description of our favourite sport. Indeed, the loveliness of judo knows no bounds, and is more controlled in its extremes (neither red-hot passionate or stone-cold disinterested; a seasoned judoka knows how to channel both his inner calm and fire) than a usually overly warm and humid “summer’s day”. While our fated showdown in November is still quite some distance away, we will be sure to keep in mind Shakespeare’s wise warning that “summer’s lease hath all too short a date” and make full use of the time on our hands to train to our hearts’ content!