Of sunny days, high saturation, and a liter of water. (Part 2)
II. Judo and getting to finish a liter of water within an hour! (ACHIEVEMENT B-) )
This is a course essay I wrote for my PE class:
And yeah, I scrapped some parts out.
A friend suggested that I take PE 2 Judo. According to her, the course was fun and she got to ‘compete’ with students from other classes. Seeing her pictures in facebook and finding motivation, I enlisted it barely knowing what it is about. I entered class knowing only two things about judo: 1) it’s a martial art, and 2) it’s about throwing and grappling. Throwing and grappling may be the main things in judo but I knew nothing of their different types and execution.
Basically, I learned basic moves in judo like De Ashi Harai, Tsurikomi Ashi, Ogoshi, Uki-goshi, Kesa Gatame, Juji Gatame, and many others. I learned how to lift someone heavier than I am (which is really an achievement for me given my built). I learned how to do judo rolls from kneeling to break fall and walking/running to standing; back falls; and side falls. I learned how to identify which was a good slam and which wasn’t. I was able to be aware when my rolling arm isn’t firm enough, and other different things taught explicitly in class.
Judo class did not limit the knowledge I gained to judo terminologies and techniques. I learned how to count in Japanese and other Japanese terms (which I really had a hard time mastering). I learned to appreciate not just judo but also physics. I learned the importance of follow through, a concept in physics I didn’t give much attention to back in high school. I learned the value of off-balancing in order to make a good throw. I learned the importance of tucking my head so as not to hit the mat with it. I learned that right timing is the key. I learned the value of slamming in order to distribute the impact to the mat, and so on and so forth.
More than these, judo taught me that you do everything for a reason. The daily warm-ups (which included the “one leg superman”, tsugiashi, “low squats”, etc) and the ukemi (falling, rolls, and of course, the animal walks) seemed to me at first as just another routine we ought to do. Later on, I saw where to apply them. I saw the need of sliding and not jumping when moving. I found out that imitating a shrimp is useful when you get pinned. Who ever thought that copying animals is useful?
Outside that box of course-related learnings, judo taught me values useful in life. I learned to trust – trusting my partner would support me, and trust on myself that I can do it. I learned not to be afraid because sometimes, looks can really be deceiving. I’ve always thought that judo was a rough sport but it wasn’t. Having played with the varsity team members, I really got how gentle the sport was. Even if they were much stronger than I am, they didn’t feel the need to use all the force and strength they have. What seems to be a painful throw from them is just not painful at all – a good slam does the trick. When we had the game wherein we have to close our eyes and be able to pin our classmate, I realized that judo is also about being aware of your body as well as your partner’s.
As far as I remember, there were only four things I expected my PE to be. First, I wanted it to make it throughout the summer semester uninjured. Even if my nose bled a couple of times after class due to the heat or exhaustion, or I found out I had some bruises, I never got a fracture or even a sprain. Sure enough, judo didn’t bring me any harm. The second expectation I had was, of course, to learn. Given the things I stated above, this was also met. Third, I remember writing in the student questionnaire that I wanted to learn judo in order to defend myself and apply it if necessary. For this, I cannot really say if my expectation was met. Fortunately, I was never faced with danger wherein I’d have to defend myself. Even if, I think the fact that I try to recall the things I learned in judo every time I walk home alone in the streets at night (getting paranoid that some random stranger might appear), I, at the very least, feel that sense of security that I would not be completely helpless when it comes to an unfortunate situation. Finally, I wanted my PE class to be fun. I told myself that I’d better take classes I’d enjoy and learn from at the same time because I exchanged vacation for this. Was the expectation met? Yes, even if I got thrown and pinned, it certainly was fun.
* * *
I was this eager freshman who planned to take summer classes every year so that I could take few units on my graduating year and focus on thesis. I was looking forward. I took summer classes with the concern of making the most out of my priority status which would no longer be there come second year. I was always looking forward. Sometimes, however, it’s also good to stop and appreciate what’s in front of you. So this was then the new plan in my head: appreciate summer classes despite the heat which exhausts me even if I barely do physical activities.
I remembered our second meeting, the class’ first formal lesson wherein we learned tsugiash and taisabaki. I thought that I would not make it throughout the summer because it really exhausted me. My reaction was “wala pa nga yung batuhan, pagod na ‘ko, tapos everyday pa”. I remember regretting not bringing a bottle of water that day and I wanted the class to end already because I was already extremely tired. Yesterday (May 16), however, was completely different. I was enjoying practicing the different throws that it surprised me that it was already time for us to leave. I had the opposite reaction by then. I suddenly wished I didn’t have a class after PE, not for me to be able to rest already, but for me to be able to stay a little longer and practice more with my classmates.
Without an instructor who’d really guide you until you get to perform the techniques right, classmates whom you’d get to know and be friends with despite the short period, and lessons you’ll look forward to, my summer semester wouldn’t be complete.
I could use more descriptive words but I think this would summarize it all: PE 2 Judo W4, overall, is such a memorable experience.