A mistake can mean so much and so little

Unfortunately, I have been dealing with the ramifications of a very silly mistake I made recently. 

I was competing in a preliminary fight of the 2011 Nationals (where I was defending champion) and I entered for Sode Tsuri Komi Goshi and felt I was deep enough for a rolling finish (similar to THIS ).

However, my opponent wasn’t positioned correctly on my back. As I rolled over he slipped to the side and guided my leg to the ground in what the referees agreed was a legitimate counter technique.

Before elaborating on what happened afterwards I will want to list some of the things I heard about my performance:

  • He cut too much weight.
  • He clearly hasn’t trained too hard lately.
  • He thought he could walk through this competition.
  • He’s lost his motivation.
  • The opposition has ‘caught up’.
  • There’s no chance he can make the Olympics now.


This is all complete rubbish. The nature of Judo is that one single mistake can mean the end of your day. It is that intensity which I love and I have been the recipient of good fortune many times in my playing career.

I made one error in judgement, which my opponent good advantage of. End of story. The funny thing is that recently (when I won the Oceania Championships) I made at least five mistakes in the final, but I was lucky to get away with them and still achieve victory.

A couple of years ago I was present when Royler Gracie was asked about his 2003 loss to Eddie Bravo. His response was that he has lost hundreds of matches but people only harp on about that one because of the occasion and the opponent.

The truth is that I didn’t have any need to compete at the Nationals. I entered to represent Victoria and to iron out my mistakes before Pan-America. Thank goodness I did! The Nationals is the peak competition for a lot of people, and it definitely showed me some areas to work on.

I want to encourage all players not to buy in to negative post match the commentary. There is every chance that somewhere along your athletic career you will make a mistake and pay for it. It is part of being human. The biggest thing to take away is that you have to learn from your mistakes, move on and grow.

I can guarantee that I will never make THAT mistake again, but I will definitely make others. All I can do is keep doing what I do and let the overall sum of my results speak for themselves.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Michael Jordan which I believe sums this up pretty well...

‘I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’



Write a comment

Comments: 52
  • #1

    Kiarn (Thursday, 16 June 2011 02:21)

    Awesome ivo. Enough said.

  • #2

    Fiona (Thursday, 16 June 2011 02:49)

    Great blog ivo.

  • #3

    Carlo (Thursday, 16 June 2011 03:58)

    Well said Ivo! Spoken like a true champion. The opponent you lost to trained very hard and it was his dream to beat you. You are a better person for it

  • #4

    Mike Landry DC (Thursday, 16 June 2011 05:24)

    We all make mistakes. Learn from them and grow/improve. I think it is great that you also take responsibility for the mistake. Keep working hard!

  • #5

    luke (Saturday, 18 June 2011 10:56)

    too bad nats wasnt somewhere closer thats an expensive fight. It is good, though, that you dont wait for your opponant to make a mistake before attacking, it makes for a memorable player.

  • #6

    ivojudo (Monday, 20 June 2011 22:13)

    thanks guys, hopefully lessons are learned and it's all good from here on in

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