Recently I designed some Combat Sports KC T-shirts to sell at Judo events and help promote our program. I figured out that there were three main components to winning Judo: 1) Be fitter than all your opponents, 2) Want it more than anyone else, 3) Never let anyone deny your dreams. The shirts have been pretty popular at different events so far.
Then I started the Welcome Mat Judo Club Renjuku program to study more about Judo history and to help develop our local coaching community. In one of our assignments we read about three principles of winning Judo 1) shin – intensity, 2) gi – technique, and 3) tai – fitness. Funny thing, that I came up with these T-shirts even before I read the shingitai philisophy portion of the book. I think it’s great that I independently arrived at just about the exact same three components.
I found that intensity and working hard enough to want something was great in building me up for the rest of my life. I even have a line in my Olympic poem about this, “Everything else that happened for the next 12 years, recovery from mental illness, being homeless, married and divorce, earning a masters degree, four career changes, starting my own business, and making a lot of friends…..everything is impacted by my commitment to my dreams.”
Being a competitive person has always been both a strength and weakness of mine. Once my husband watched me kick his family’s butt three out of four games in Monopoly and he remarked on my competitive drive. The very first bike race we did together he realized my intensity when all of a sudden I was riding twice as fast as usual and dropped him like a rock. Until I got a flat and he saw how pissed I was when I watched my competition ride on by as I changed it.
One time I was at his parents house playing board games and he kept telling all his family how competitive I was. I kept scoring really big words in scrabble and winning all the monopoly games. He kept saying, “Oh, she’s cut-throat, she’s an Olympian, look how hard she plays.” I finally had to tell him to stop it because no one wanted to play me. Besides, Monopoly is just luck anyway, after you learn the basic concepts of buy everything you land on and mortage as build up as soon as humanly possible.
But I learned the word Intensity when Neil Adams, one of Britain’s most successful Judo players, started pointing out the importance of seizing the moment on the mat. Plus it just the way I am.