How to be a Judo Fan

  Judo fan chart

 

 

I scarf down my croissanwich as I swipe my creds at the turnstile of my work building. I overhear the desk guy chatting about his Alma Matter’s football team. Michigan playing… (fades into background noise).

The glowing screen of the ticking numbers and the ever evolving spreadsheets start to hurt my eyes, so I decide to take a micro break. I get up and walk down the row of cubicles. I step to the water dispenser and there’s Sam. This is where the inevitable small talk commences. Sam says, “How about them jets?"

"I’m embarrassed to say, I haven’t been keeping up with the Jets, I mean, seriously, Im a Giants fan."

I return to my desk, I go to NFL.com and do some reading. I pull up the company wide messenger system and send Sam a message. “they are looking pretty awful with Testaverde on the sidelines. HA!” yeah, I’m that guy.

It’s Thursday now, Jesse wants to grab a drink after work. Alright. #Happyhour, #localbar, #nexttowork. The hours pass quickly. We chat about the new hot intern (yea sure Joe, if you were 20 years younger… you’re not fooling anyone.) The efficiency consultant, UGH! As glances to the floating rectangle becomes more and more frequent, the topic of conversation naturally progresses… “Who do you like for this game?”

I'm with my work boys. Amongst us, a die hard fan of whatever team playing. The glory of HIS team, affects him so much. HIs heated fandom is contagious, and although some of us HATE the Patriots, we can’t help being uplifted by the high of Sport.

We go home, watch sports center with a slight headache. We youtube the “SICK interference that lead to the INSANE 80 yard return.” and post the video clip on the Facebook wall of friends and family.


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In the same time, same space, same dimension, Anthony, doesn’t eat croissanwiches, goes drinking after work to watch the game, and watch sports center. Instead, he eats Healthy, goes to Judo practice and watches Top 10 Ippons from the most recent Grand Slam.

When he gets to the water dispenser, he doesn’t chat about whether or not Eli Manning is a bum. He chats about something else. Because he isn’t a football fan. He wishes he can chat about Judo and Zantaria’s indomitable will to win. But he is going to have to save that for Friday night at the dojo.

It isn’t easy being a Judo fan. The exposure through mainstream media is nil. Most people don’t talk about it. I would even go ahead and say, 80% of my dojo members don’t know who the current heavy hitters of World Judo are. So here is my attempt, easing the transition into being a true Judo fan.

1. Learn the Rules of Judo Cant watch judo and enjoy if you have no idea what is going on. Im not going to go into it all, but here is a recap. Every competition is in tournament style. Athletes separated by gender and weight. 5 Minute matches, 3 ways to win. Slam your opponent to their back. Submission (arm lock or choke), 25 second hold down.

2. Understanding the International Judo Federation (IJF) In football, we have the NFL. Baseball, MLB. Hockey, NHL. World soccer, I don’t know, who watches soccer? But in Judo, we have the IJF

www.IJF.org (take a look)

IJF site

The IJF is all things Judo. The biggest governing body.

Every year, the IJF has 4 grand slams, 4 grand prix, and 8 continental opens. They are also in charge of the Continental championships and the World Championships.   Every country hand selects their team. The individual athletes earn points to be on the World Ranking List. Which is used for Olympic Qualifications.

You can find the Rankings at www.Judobase.org

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Go head.  Play around with it.  Take a look at the best in your divison.  Throw their names into Youtube.

3.  Follow the Action!!

You can find the LIVE brackets here. www.Ippon.org

You can watch the live stream here www.ippon.tv

If you miss the action, you can always go to these links and watch what you missed.

https://www.youtube.com/user/judo

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8g3sG6C9xzvPxn-9up-L_g

Lets see what tournaments are coming up.

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Now, all you need is a space to communicate your thoughts with a like-minded individual. How about the dojo!!!?

www.Kokushibudo.com

 

I want to be a minimalist

I want to be a minimalist more than anything in the world.  

Throughout my journey to attain such status, I've bought countless things to de-clutter my life.  I've bought apparatuses to open up the counter top space in my kitchen, to organize desk space, efficient storage furnishings in my living room and plus.  This behavior pattern only led to more clutter.  One day, I realized, I have lost the way in my quest to minimalist living.

How this happen?  I spent days and nights navigating through living space (both virtual and actual), stepping over and around things as if they were obstacles.  Just awful.  After taking a look at my habits, and myself, I noticed I’ve become a victim of consumerism.

Consumerist thinking to me, is an indoctrinated way of life.  It is inorganic. This sort of living is guided by the motto: “I want this, I want that, I need this, I need that, make money, spend money.”

So naturally you can see my conflict.  I wanted simple living and yet, I was affected by consumerist thinking.  Which led me to purchase things in order to have less things.  How can this work?  It cannot…

How can I beat this?

Meta cognitive understanding:  Understand yourself.  Digest this:  how unnatural it is for us to develop attachments to inanimate objects.  I’m not talking about the watch my father gave me upon completion of my Masters Degree, I’m talking about the feeling of ownership when you pick up a free pen at TD bank.  And that ticket stub from going to see Gravity on a memorable date.

Throw/give things away.  Just doing it.  That connection you have with those old jeans you never wear is unnatural and ridiculous!

Only buy things that are essential

So this was just a little self help blog to organize my thoughts.  Let's see how it goes....

 

Reasons and tips on Waking Up Early

 

I have been back on my regimen. For about 2 months now, I have been consistently rising up at 5am. I want to start off by telling you the 3 reasons why waking up early is so great. Then, some important notes. Here it is...

1. No interruptions. When I wake up at 5am, I usually go workout. During this time, I have no distractions of outside forces opposing what I truly want to accomplish. For instance, the temptation to go have dinner with a friend over my priorities (things to do in order to accomplish my long term goals) is non-existent at this time. The world is still dark and quiet. The noises of the city streets, the hustle and technology are at minimum and my mind can function clearly. It is just my thoughts, my body and the cool morning air to Do me.

2. Getting a head start. While people are still sleeping, I can use this time to gain an advantage on the people who I am competing against. Simple as that. The early bird gets the worm. You snooze you lose.

3. Organization. I use this time also to plan the rest of my day. Having a clear mental map and timeline of my must dos and want to dos can make my transition from activity to activity a lot easier and seamless. Also, No matter how busy it gets, I can be okay with the fact that I have no time to myself. Because I have already enjoyed growing and doing what I need during the magical hours between 5-7am.

Now for some important notes...
-It is a lot easier to get up early if you go to sleep early.

-If I don't go to sleep early, (get less than 6 hours), my diet will suffer the next day as well. It's easier to make great choices on a well rested mind.

-Fitting in a power nap (20min) can help you beat the 2pm sludgery.

-Plan the night before. My coffee maker is set to go off at 4:30am. The auto-grind of the beans serve as my first line of a string of alarms.

-The path of least resistance. Ie: Coffee ready, bags packed, clothes laid out and food to grab and go... This makes an obstacle free path to smoothly navigate through my morning haze.

-Sleep in on weekends!

Good luck. I can't say it is easy when you start up. But once the benefits seep into the essence of you and you start seeing the benefits of all your hard work, NOT waking up early is going to start being ludicrous.

 

Judo is forever

Judo is a way of life. My father who started KBI as a branch of Kokushikan university 50 years ago is 75 years old. He is in excellent shape. He taught me that Judo is forever. Why? Let me tell you... The merits of the sport are apparent. Not only does it promote growth in physical aspects (strength, speed, etc), but it also helps the mind flourish. Jigoro Kano developed judo as an education system that encompasses all areas of life. Many sports has the sole mission to build the athlete to acquire a certain skill set and to excel within the realm of the sport itself. However, Judo helps you to become a better citizen of the world.

I believe humans are supposed to reach out and grab someone. To fight, grapple and play. Throw, trip and wrestle. The fight or flight is the most primitive of human responses and I believe Judo training caters to this human need. In the modern tech age, we spend most of our days staring into a glowing rectangle, hunched over our artificial communication centers. Couped up in our 9-5's. Even the food we eat is processed to a point where there aren't any remnants of what nature originally intended for us to consume.

In a world like this, no wonder people fall into the depths of dark psychological abyss. Although I know I am biased through the childhood indoctrination, I believe judo is the Panacea to this pandemic. Throw a gi on, reach out, Grab someone and fight them! But not JUST fight... BUT The way Jigoro kano meant for it to be... In congruence with an education system that develops the mind, body and soul.

Here is a thread about Judo and longevity. Enjoy.

Is judo harsh on the body?

ART

Totally unrelated to Judo, but I have really been into art lately. I live near the Metropolitan Museum of art and I have been going regularly. I must say, I don't love ALL of it. I only like the Romantic, Realist and Impressionist paintings. The statues, cultural pieces and such do not whisper one syllable to me.

So the other day, I was roaming my favorite wing. Slowly walking through the maze of Manet, Monet, Renoir and Courbet... Then I came across the Ballerinas. It was stunning. I got to thinking, What would happen if Edgar Degas were alive today and regularly came to my dojo to paint the Brawlers on the mat? With the way he captivates motion, it would certainly be a masterpiece. It probably wouldn't have the ethereal and statuesque qualities of a ballerina, but for sure magnificent. Now throw in some Techniques implied by Monet to portray light in an improvisational way. Quite awesome.

Speaking of art, this is my most recent work

Judo NYC

And yes, paintings are great... but my favorite form of art is still this...

Judo NYC

So I have been actively trying to grow Judo in NYC. I am an avid believer in the merits of Judo for everyone. I truly believe that Judo can improve the lives of the practitioners not only physically, but intellectually and emotionally. I achieved some success in World competition. I am not done just yet. But it is time for me to start giving back to the world. My first step to fulfilling this lifelong journey is to build awareness about the sport. Hence, I started this website.

Judo NYC

Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Thank you Tony!

When i was wrestling in High school, a really cool Westchester sports writer used to always cover the wrestling tourneys. 8 years later, he wrote one more about me. Here it is. Thanks Tony! http://www.thedailyscarsdale.com/sports/scarsdales-higashi-aims-2012-summer-olympics

Inspire!

Hi there.  Today I want to tell you a story.  But First, Here is an update on my life. I've made my first World Judo Championships this year.  Thank you everyone that has contributed to this success.  After 25 years on this planet, wondering and daydreaming on subway rides and in classrooms, I finally did it.  The tournament was located in Tokyo and it was a real honor to fight in the birth country of Judo.

Along with that accomplishment, I medaled in my first world cup tournament in Venezuela and I fought close to 10 international and domestic tournaments in the past 10 months.  WOW.

Truth be told, as much as I love it, it has been an arduous road.  Between the heavy competition schedule, the pressure of making the Olympics and of course the grueling hours of training, it has been pretty taxing on my mind and body.   So when I am Gripping distance close to a story which I am about to tell you, it refreshes everything and Truly inspires me.  Here it goes.

When I was 11 years old, A man named Chris entered the Dojo.  He started Judo.  He was very diligent.  He drilled hard and fought ferociously. Some say his Judo style was that of a savage.  His Favorite throw... The DTSTO.  The drop twisting spiraling tani otoshi!  The man stood tall at around 6'2.  Weighing 230lbs, he was definitely no puppy weight.   When I was 12 years old, we both entered the promotional tournament.

Promotional Tournament:  As you would have predicted, the objective of the tournament is to move up in rank.  Basic brown--middle brown--high brown--first degree black--second degree black...  That is the natural progression for intermediate to advanced Judo belts.  To promote to the next level, you must have certain amount of Time-in-grade and victories over your fellow contenders of the same rank.  But this criteria is superseded by the most prestigious, Batsugun.  This is where you win a certain number of matches in a row back to back.  basic to middle brown is 2 in a row.  middle brown to high brown, high brown to black is both 3 Ippons a  piece.  To promote to higher black belts, it requires 5!  You can imagine how hard it is after winning your first 2 matches and having to defeat your third opponent who is fresh and ambitious, foaming at the mouth to bury you into the floor.

Anyways, We both fought in the tournament.  I was 12 years old fighting grown men.  The odds had it.  Vegas was right.  I got mangled.  Chris on the other hand was another story.  He trained hard consistently and he was very well prepared.  He dominated his adversaries and he batsugunned twice over the course of the next 2 promotionals (held twice a year) bringing him to the level of advanced brown belt.  I admired him much.  He was always fun to be around and taught me in so many ways how to be a vicious competitor.

However, when i was 13 years old, Chris left the dojo.  In my eyes, he disappeared like the many fallen victims of Judo discouragement: the discomanglatized fingers, the kani basami knees, the disc slip, labrum tear, financial shorts, the life lemons, you know. I never knew what it was at the time.  But i later find out that Chris was battling demons.  He took his time crushing lemons life threw his way.  Every now and then he would show up at the dojo, but his stint never lasted more than a few weeks/months.  When he came back close to a decade later, my father was hesitant to allow him to join again.  Chris promised this time it was it.  That he came to finish what he started and to dedicate himself once again.  My father reluctantly agreed to Chris' passionate appeal.

Chris came back.  He is now 1 tournament away from being a Judo Black belt.  However, he is older now.  12 years to be exact.  His training began again.  He was persistent and yes resilient.  His old knees were hurting.  Fluid built up.  A Harai goshi, pancakes his body into the tatami, Rib sandwich.   Torazo (our KBI young stud) threw him on his shoulder and he experienced pain there too. Adam Marcus' seoinage.  And most of all, I was no longer a 12 year old boy wishing for Chris to come back.  I spiked his face off the ground many times for his own good.  Now married with a son, holding his Job of teaching chess while getting his Masters Degree, Chris fought with the youngsters at the Dojo Monday, Wednesday and Friday night.  A man on a mission.  How do you think he did his first promotionals back?

Zip Zero

Once again, his Come back training commenced.  He asked for private lessons, and he was a great student.  He excelled with every lesson.  It wasn't uncommon for him to have 2 judo a day.  He hit the weights.  Lifted intense.  6 months after his failed attempt at his first promotionals back, He tried again.

Gripping was on point.  Just how we have been drilling.  His hands shot out to the right positions, controlling his opposition.  He side stepped, shook.  Foot sweeps and sasae swayed the gigantic men before him.  With a swooping motion too quick for the untrained eye, BOOM! Osoto Gari.  here we go.  Another one.  2 matches won consecutively.  1 more for black.  Unfortunately, Chris' back and that yellow tatami must have had magnets in them for that match because they were stuck together.  2nd round is coming up.  I can see the disappointment from the first round in Chris' eyes.  He waits patiently.  He is up.

Boom Boom and ? Third match once again.  This is for the Big black!  Exchange of throws attempted.  Tries at counters, flurries of motion.  Combined 500 lbs banging the wood underneath the mat.  Big man goes for seoinage, Chris lifts him off the floor and there it is!  BOOOOOM!

The crowd erupts in applause.  10 or so dojo guys all there to support him mat side.  My team cheers and gives Chris a big hug.  He's waited 14 years for this.  He conquered his demons and returned to the mat.  Overcame so much!  As all of the dojo guys gathered to celebrate Chris' Blackbelt at a korean bbq restaurant, I realized how grandiose of an accomplishment this was.  Now with a wife, son, job, almost Masters degree and a Judo blackbelt, Chris has achieved it all.  I wonder what his next endeavor will be.  Maybe Chess Grandmaster?  anything is possible.

So that is the end of the story for now.  I am so very proud at this moment to have such a great student.  Everyone dreams, fights, strives, works, laughs, cries, lives and survives.  Hope this story inspired you to reach your own personal greatness.  What is your judo black belt?  Mine is the Olympics.

Its been a while

So I started running 3 weeks ago to supplement my strength and conditioning regimen.  The National Championships are May 1st and I know I will perform the best I have ever.  To do so, I need to train...  Besides for the grueling practices on the mat where I prep my weapons for maximum lethality, I need to work off the mat as well to keep myself in the most efficient condition. In the past, I have been frustrated with my attempts at incorporating running into my daily agenda.  I am heavy set build like a chimp (not champ), have old injuries and have farrr too many fast twitch 2A's to be running for distance.  However, this time around I approached these problems in a algorithmic manner.

1.  Severe Overpronation!  Googled for the right shoes, read dozens of articles and forums.

2.  Knee problems.  Sorbothane insoles to relieve impact...  Thank you Paul for the advice.

3.  Flat feet:  Arch supporting shoes.

4.  Wide feet: Buy 2E's.

So the sum of these problem solving factors, multiplied by my diligent research on the internet leads to the product...The brook's beast '08 with sorbothane insoles.

More coming.......

Summer days

Summer has come.  Although the rain doesn't put me in the best of moods, it is still summer and I am excited for the side effects of the seasonal heat.  Sweat, less clothes, tan and outdoor fun.  All great things the Earth's angle brings upon us. So many have asked me how goes my recent months.  Well, I am motivated and ambitious.  I eat clean every day and work out as hard as I can as frequent as I can while keeping in mind my recovery necessities.  Actually my knee has been bothering me since the Presidents Cup (I took 2nd) so I am sitting out fighting this week.  Still there are many other things I can do to improve my life, so I am on top of that.

When something a little more interesting surfaces into my life, I will let you guys know.  Thanks for reading!

Chess tactics and judo

It's been a while since I've written and Big things have happened!  Although a long due brag fest would be most appropriate, I am not going to do that.  That is because I want to write about Chess.  Yes, chess. I love the game.  I first learned to play at a young age.  My uncle taught me how and although I liked it, I didn't have the patience to give myself the sit time to accel in the game.  Also, my progress was impeded by my severe ADHD.  I believe movement is medicine and since then have over-come that disability.  However, that is another post...  Chess.  I decided to trade private lessons with my friend and fellow judoka Chris.  He is an amazing chess player and I thought I can benefit my psychological aspect of judo through learning chess theory and tactics.  Here is what I have learned so far.

Advancement of the pawns= Grip fighting. (have to be strategical, placement crucial)

Developing your knight= ie:Uchimata you can hit from all angles.

Bishop=Diagnal attacks

Rooks=Straight back and forth, side to side

Diligent and strategical hand placement during grip fighting, can lead to the development of the 'pieces' to attack efficiently from many angles.

And queen...  Newaza?  Absolutely NOT!

Forks, skewers and pins...  Multiple combinations and threats to force check mate....

Anyways, it may seem stupid but I like it!  so That's that, until next time.  It's time to eat.

back back

So I am back back in Westchester.  I have moved back home with my parents to focus on my Olympic pursuit...  That and my financial constraints to be honest.  Although being 24 and moving back in with my parents should feel somewhat social developementally regressive, it feels right.  Spending time with my family is great.  I love waking up to the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen.  My father down the hallway ready to joke and play at whim.  My compassionate mother and her eternal optimism.  And of course my sister with that million dollar smile.  Even though the commute into my regimented life (manhattan) is 30 minutes, I feel as if I have more time in the day to enjoy and take care of me.  I am comfortably living the life of an athlete the way it should be.  With my support system and loved ones close by.  My Judo shall increase exponentially because of my living situation.  So keep checking on me.  I wont let you guys down.   Judo practice was great today.  I had an "on" day.  Tomorrow morning comes heavy morning WEIGHTS!