But it is much more than that. In order to safeguard the health of competitors, contest judo has become narrower and narrower. The rules have been narrowed down and every time they are narrowed, the opportunities for the small man are limited. And that means there’s a poverty of imagination.
I suggest you should go back and introduce in your randori – which, after all, means free practice – open judo, in which everything is allowed except striking. Allow people to hold the belt; allow people to hold the sleeve.
Don’t rely on winning as the sole objective but developing skill. This will help us in life.
I am a big man and I was fairly strong, but I must admit against a short chap when he caught the end of the belt my heart used to sink
- because he could whirl in and put the belt over his shoulder and over I would go. Here, he was using his imagination.
Let your randori partners hold the end of the belt or the trouser leg
- anything to get the man over. Then, imagination will develop and it will be an advantage for life.
So I would suggest that you bring in open judo and keep the contest rules narrow.
The idea was to develop energy for life and courage for life. I have compared notes with people who have been through similar experiences and most of us have said that a judo contest is just as bad a strain on the nerves as real danger of life and death. It is a very good training for that.
Judo must train the imagination. Work out your own methods and have open judo practise. Not concentrating on ‘you are not going to beat me’. In that way, both sides will benefit. This was one of Dr Kano’s main principles, that both sides will benefit in this antagonistic activity.