Judo is one of the easiest sports to make you feel miserable when you are not winning, and the complexity of the sport can lead practitioners to feel like they are getting nowhere or even going backwards.
Unfortunately, it is also easy for you to pad your ego by only remembering your successes and ignoring your losses. By example, you could fight the same guy twice and last an extra 30 seconds and say ‘I did better than last time’. However, you ran away, defended and incurred two shido’s. In terms of actually progressing towards eventually beating this guy, you’ve actually done worse.
So it is worth asking the question ‘how do I know that I am getting better?’
The fact that a fight can end in the blink of an eye as well as the fact that most randori involves relentless grip-fighting and minimal big attacks mean that Judo can never be analysed and simplified the way swimming, athletics and weight lifting can. It is just too hard.
So this is the formula I use to understand how well I went in a fight. Generally there are about three exchanges per minute in a Judo bout or randori. So in a five minute bout there is about 15 exchanges.
There are many ways to ‘win’ an exchange, some of these include:
Now, with this information in mind, it is easy to work out whether you won, lost or broke even during an exchange. It is also fairly easy to keep track, during a randori, of how you are going. It’s easy to walk to a drink break and think ‘I went 5-3 and some draws against my opponent.
This sort of approach allows you to weigh up the other important elements of a Judo fight - not just how many times you threw someone or the number of times you were thrown.
This sort of breakdown of progress can relate to everyday life as well. To accurately measure one’s progress, it is vital to look at the situation holistically. Through breaking down the sequential details of what went right/wrong and how often, you are able to see patterns emerging which form an equation. That is, when these certain things are happening my end product (ie win or lose a judo fight) is achieved more often then not.
I’m pretty sure I just went on a tangent about a heap of things, that may not make sense to everybody, but I hope it helps you. If not, comment, email, fax, call, etc and I will work a bit more on making sense of it.