I recently received a brown belt in judo from one of my instructors. There’s been some controversy around this I suppose, and it wears down on me a little bit. There are basically two opinions about this… one of my instructors, [K-Sensei], the one who conducted my exam, wanted me to do the exam. This is despite that I made it pretty clear that I don’t have much formal competition experience in Australia to count towards my qualifications. Normally, the most common system is to be graded once you have a certain amount of wins in your weight class.
I’d largely resigned myself to not getting past a blue belt, because frankly, I don’t do competitions anymore. I can’t say exactly when I stopped, but it was probably when I suffered my last significant injury, which was a major tear to my adductor longus. That left me unable to walk for a number of weeks, unable to run for months, and took me probably the better part of a year before I stopped feeling the twinge in my leg at certain angles.
After that… I guess I just stopped wondering if it was all worth it. It was a major turning point for me, who has been doing martial arts since I was in my teens.
Even now, I still train, and I daresay that I train with some pretty good intensity. But I just don’t feel like competing. I don’t know if it’s because I’m scared, but I do know that one general thought is that I don’t think, in my circumstances, that it’s worth it anymore for me to compete. Wanting it that much leads to injuries that set me back in other areas of life.
And so ever since I tore that leg muscle, even after my recovery, I haven’t done any official external tournaments in Australia. I’ve done a few unofficial ones here and there, and I still do the in-house randori to a sometimes competition level of intensity, but on the official record, I
I’ve had a few other students reassure me that under the rules, my promotion after completing the exam, points or not, is normal, because under the current rules there are various interpretations that say that you basically don’t need official external competitions to qualify.
On the other hand, one other instructor is not very pleased with the fact that I don’t have sufficient points. It makes me uncomfortable that there’s divided opinions about my qualifications to have obtained this belt.
If I were to count the reasons why it’s probably appropriate, it’s because the instructor who examined me knows his judo. He’s a high ranking member in the international community, so if he pushes for me to do it, who am I to refused?
To be honest, I never really asked to be graded… it was that instructor, who holds the highest dan grading in the school, who basically told me that I had to before the end of the year.
My fellow practitioners so far have been quite supportive of me, but it is weighing on me that the instructor who seems to disapprove is not happy. I care about what he thinks, because he spent a fair amount of time teaching me– he accounts for probably almost half of the way my judo grappling style has come into being.