Yesterday, after years of going to Judo, I received my green belt. The belt system in Judo denotes rank and experience. From lowest to highest, the colors are white, blue, green, purple, brown, and black, with various degrees in brown and black. It took me about a year to received my blue belt and yesterday, after a couple more years, I received my green belt. We have a slightly more relaxed way of going about things at my gym, but essentially you must show your skill and knowledge of judo before you can get promoted.
I love where I train because it’s not extremely traditional like many places where you can’t even roll without being a blue belt or some rule like that. You’re thrown in with the lions to start and must find a way to survive. They’re not setting you up to fail. You need to learn to walk before you run. They teach you some basics and then you roll so you get the feel for how things really go, even if it means you’re getting choked out for the first year. It weeds out the people with the ego problems who think they’re the biggest and baddest, only to get submitted by a 150 lb. computer geek. You have to be humble because there is always someone who knows more, is more dangerous, and can submit you and you learn that from the very get-go. When you get cocky, you get thrown, choked, or submitted. Most of what we do in our class is live rolling so you get a good feel for good positions and bad ones.
The day started off slightly different than most. We were doing a series of throws, learning new ones and practicing ones we already knew. It was great because I have a few throws that I use primarily and this helped me to develop a few more. Then, I had to go one long ten minute round that was broken up only slightly. I started against one guy and we went from standup to submission. The victor was to take on a fresh guy and keep going without a break. What I thought was to be a couple rounds ended up turning into four as I kept advancing. Then, once that was over, I received my green belt. It was a great feeling because I wasn’t just coming in to wrestle each day but showed that I was actually getting better at this. Judo and Jujitsu are addicting sports and I’m glad that I can enjoy them and don’t completely suck at them.