I’m the faculty advisor of the SUNY Brockport Judo Club, and this weekend I took the club to its first tournament since the pandemic. It was quite an experience.
Last millennium, while in college, I was introduced to Judo. While I enjoyed the sport, I was not the least bit athletic and didn’t take it too seriously. Fast forward to 2012 and an overweight, under-exercised, overly stressed BoBtheChemist decided he needed to get his act together (or brutally punish his body) and decided to get back in to the sport. (Actually, the real catalyst was seeing Kayla Harrison win the first Olympic gold medal for the USA in the sport. I’ve told this story before, but who checks blog archives?)
I promised myself that I would stick with it for a month. Then a month became a season, then a year. I set a goal of competing before I turned 40 (met that goal by a few months, and thankful I didn’t make a goal if winning before 40). I never set as my goal to achieve the rank of shodan – that was simply fantasy talk.
Fast forward again to February, 2019, and there I am with my fellow Judoka from Brockport taking my black belt test. My performance was considered well done, although I am a bit more critical as I know I could have done better. All that’s left is for the US Judo Federation to cash my check (which is in the mail) and it will be official.