I’m gonna be a judo master (once I learn to, uh, roll on the ground)

I’ve always wanted to learn a martial art.

I’m going to admit that it’s partially because of comics. When your first manga (which I read at the tender age of 7) was about badass cyborg hunter-warriors beating the bloody crap out of each other, the ability to fight would seem desirable.

When I was in middle school, in fact, I coerced my parents into signing me up for a karate class. Except it was Tiger Schulmann’s Karate, a large mixed martial arts chain in my region. I soon discovered that the class was more about building little kids’ self-esteem than actually learning karate. Kids advanced belts depending on how long they had been at the dojo and not so much on skill. When I got there, I was already better than many of the kids. (Just because I was older and more coordinated, and they were like, 6 years old.) And, being in my cynical pre-teen years, I quickly tired of my “sensei” preaching the value of believing in myself.

And then I transferred to another dojo that was so hardcore I was scared out of my mind. Thus ended my venture into karate.

But now, I’m a bit more mature.  I understand that martial arts takes commitment. It takes practice and refinement. I’m old enough to understand that I won’t be able to learn it instantly.

And I’m still immature enough to want to beat the crap out of people.

Well, okay, only in self-defense and if they attack me first. But living in a city– I’d like to know how to defend myself, you know?

So this semester, I signed up for one of Northeastern’s instructional programs, for judo. For those who don’t know what judo is, it’s a modern and combative martial art that focuses on grappling rather than striking. It’s been refined into a competitive sport, complete with rules, a scoring system, and an official slot at the Olympics. Northeastern has a team, which appealed to me– I could be able to pursue judo beyond just a basic class!

Granted, of course, that I survive.

I’ve been to a few classes, and it’s hysterically fun. I also suck at it. Our sensei is a large man from Thailand who resembles a giant panda (one that could kill you in an instant, of course)

He’s a hilarious guy, though absolutely serious about his sport. Some of the stories he’s told us…

Cheerful. Then again, it’s entirely true. Judo is a sport of throwing. If you can’t protect yourself when you’re thrown, you could be seriously injured. Our sensei also told us how

So far, then, we’ve primarily been learning how to, well, roll on the ground. Which sounds like it’s easy. Except I suck at it. No kidding– I’m the worst in the class.

Oh, sigh. Sensei even had to defend me:

It matters little, though. I’ve never really had much natural athletic ability– I’m the type who needs lots and lots and lots of practice. So I’ll get better! And I love the class– it’s surprisingly fun! While we spent the first class rolling and learning how to fall, we moved onto something a little different the second class:

Even more awkward was when I was paired up with a guy:

Even more awkward was when we learned our first grapple hold:

But the class is really, really fun! I absolutely love it, even if I do suck. I just wish I had more free time to practice. Because I definitely need to catch up with the rest of the class…

One of these days, I tell you! I will be a JUDO MASTER!

11 thoughts on “I’m gonna be a judo master (once I learn to, uh, roll on the ground)

    • He’s really like that! Other things he’s said while grinning incessantly: “Seriously, people die in judo class every year.” and “Really, though.” and “This room we practice in is not safe enough. Be careful. Or you could die.” He’s a great guy.

    • HAHAHA OMG. I wouldn’t stop rolling around after my first class! I tried rolling in my dorm room, my dorm hallway, and even at that dance I went to… all with varying degrees of success.

  1. Oh my gosh. . .I have never tried martial arts, but I am so awful at sports that I don’t think it would be a very pretty scene. Somersaults are so impossible! I remember back in 3rd grade, I was goalie and I wanted to be able to roll to stop a ball. I learned how to, but a few bruises still remain from landing on my head! XD

    Practice makes perfect, though!

    • Hahaha I have similar third grade trauma! Back at my elementary school we used to have these gymnast bars (now removed because they’re too dangerous) where it was “cool” to do flips over them! I never did it, though… the only time I tried, I fell straight on my head and cried for the next two hours. I was never meant to be a gymnast!

  2. Pingback: In which judo sends me into a nervous breakdown | I think in comics.

  3. I used to do karate, in fourth and fifth grade and I was able to do as many somersaults as I wanted. Now, I look like you in those pictures. No offense, of course. I, also love your judo instructor. The way he can talk about death and danger and still be smiling and laughing is hilarious. I LOVE YOUR BLOG SO MUCH!!

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