Thursday’s #latenitekungfu session was pretty low-key. Monk was fresh from the dojo where he’s been cross-training in Judo with Tiger and in unusually high spirits. Being a white belt again has activated a long-dead joy that I think most martial artists cease to feel once they’ve trained for a while. There’s just something unique about being a beginner that’s hard to replicate.
What I like is the feeling of no expectation, Monkey says from his carved-out little corner of the world. I enjoy my chats with him but miss the constant companionship of when he lived with Dragon and I, just one door down from me. Little has changed, I imagine. I know he sits there in his swivel chair with his feet pulled up underneath him and sips something lukewarm while he studies, indulging my questions and poetic musings.
The cloth around your waist doesn’t tell a faithful story about your skill, he laments. I love that I can make errors without feeling like I’m supposed to be a representation of the school or style. I had forgotten what it was like to watch a demonstration and not know where to start. Judo is making my body move in ways I haven’t moved before, just as Kung Fu did when I started. I feel my knowledge expanding at a rapid rate, which is the greatest feeling there is.
On the mat last night Monk talked me through some basic Judo, as a preface to beginning my own cross-training adventure. At his dojo, everyone is offered a free trial class, and if things go well enough, I might end up their newest judoka.
For an hour we grappled.I felt the full effects of being a beginner again as we rolled: the awkwardness of the movements and the elation of success. Afterward I lay sweat-soaked and exhausted on the mat, and Monkey quizzed me on what we’d gone over.
Kesa gatame, he started with the easiest one. We’d spent the majority of our time drilling it. “Head-in-arm position,” I replied. Ippon seoi nage. “One-arm hip throw.” Osoto gari. “That’s the sweep.” Uchi komi. “Practicing setting up.” Neiwaza. “Grappling.” Randori. “Throwing, but you can only grab from the waist up.” Hajime. “Begin.” Good.
Shoshin. The beginner’s mind. It’s quite a journey we’re on. Once the road seemed endless in both directions but lately I realize the road behind is more alive than we give it credit for. Maybe it’s more like a faithful dog, nipping at your heels and urging you forward, always right there. And the road ahead - if it can be thought of that way than it must always be ahead, of course - asks nothing of you. It is inanimate, unthinking, content if you are that you never take another step. But beginning, then, is every step. So then, hajime.
Title: With One Arm Tied Behind My Back [ff.net] [ao3]
Word Count: ~3200
Summary: It’s the World Judo Championships in Rio de Janerio, and Korra has a lot more to worry about than her crush on Mako. [For the Makorra Summer Project]
Author Note: Loosely inspired by Ronda Rousey’s book. Such a pleasure to submit to the Makorra E-Book Project!
Korra’s mom had always been wise. She used to say that to really be the best in the world, you had to be able to beat anyone twice on your worst day. Because when it came down to it, the last thing she wanted to do was waste years of training and months of concentrated effort to lose in her first Judo World Championship.
For all the BJJ practitioners and grapplers what is your takedown like? In my gym we mainly start from a kneeling position if we are rolling and we don’t do a lot of takedowns. I was just wondering who has tips to practice throws? I only know basic osoto-gari, o-goshi and ippon seoi nage. Not that I can do these well, these are just the basic takedowns I learned in TKD, which I know I can implement into my grappling.