I was talking to a beginning Judoka the other day and he was having a few troubles when it came do actually doing Judo. This individual came from a Field Hockey background where it is a ‘visual’ sport opposed to ‘feeling’. Hockey is a sport where your reactions and decisions are based on what you can see and anticipate through your vision. Where Judo is largely based on what you can ‘feel’ opposed to what you can see.
So what is the feeling of Judo???
Some examples of feeling include:
– Your opponent snapping your gi
– Your opponents hands inching up your lapel
– Your opponents subtle attempts at breaking a sleeve grip
– Your opponents pushing and pulling
I discussed with this individual that Judo is similar to the clutch in your car.
When you first drive a manual car you must use the clutch in order to change gears etc. But at first when you begin to learn how to drive you find that there is no feeling in the clutch. There is nothing. But as you continue practicing driving you soon start to feel something in the clutch and soon afterwards you are changing gears, starting off on hills and using the clutch exactly how it is designed.
Judo is exactly the same. When you first start Judo you don’t feel anything. You don’t feel the shift in weight in your opponent. You don’t feel where their body weight is travelling. There is nothing. But don’t get discouraged! As you continue to practice you will start to feel something. You will soon feel where your opponent is moving, what they are planning and when they are about to attack.
If you are a beginning Judoka and are struggling to get the feel of Judo, please don’t be disheartened.
Just remember it takes time to feel the clutch.
Yours in Judo,