Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sport: Judo Adult Beginners' Course - first session

My friend Colin and I have decided to take up Judo. I’m visually impaired and have been looking for a martial art that I can partake in that does not require peripheral vision. This was no easy task; over the years I’ve looked at Karate, Aikido, Kick Boxing and Wing Chun – all of them require peripheral vision and all of them I have eventually given up on. Looking around the martial arts landscape of Leeds, I decided that Judo might just work: it’s a martial art about movement and feeling, and doesn’t seem to be about dodging kicks or ducking punches.

We decided to start going to the Judo class run by Pudsey Judo Club on a Tuesday evening. In the class they took us through some basic throws and grappling techniques, and I’ve really enjoyed myself so far. I was impressed by the fact that some of the tutors at the club have had experience with the visually impaired, with one having worked with the Japanese Paralympic team. They have made me feel welcome and confident, and this can often be the first, and deciding factor as to whether to continue.

I’ve found over the years that there can be a lot of machismo and ego involved in martial arts classes – I’ve always ended up getting paired with a guy who thinks he’s in a fight, whose there to prove how much of a bad-ass he is rather than wanting to learn the techniques. This is why Colin is such a good training partner: we trust each other, and we are both there to learn and become technicians of the sport. And the people at Pudsey Judo are all very friendly and encouraging – there doesn’t seem to be this ego thing, but rather a commitment to improvement. ...

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