Ichikawa. Part 3

Fitness |

I remember the only girl on our team shouting out “Sugoi” after watching my crude attempt at an osoto gari (outer reaping throw). With a meaning along the lines of “Oh my God!” I thought the girl was impressed by my display of power (and it’s implied virility). I realize now that she was probably mortified and was just bracing herself for a long year with a reckless gaijin (foreigner).

In the judo and jiu-jitsu world, telling someone how strong and powerful they are can be a backhanded compliment, quietly insinuating that they need to work on technique over power. Clean technique commands respect from your peers, while poor technique pasted over with strength is generally frowned upon and can often be dangerous.

I figure that the team captain, Ichikawa, had eyed this brutality with a bit of disdain, because when it came time for randori, I found out he had something special for me. We bowed, grabbed hold of each other’s uniforms, and for that first second or two I did it all right. Then, all I could see was a quick blur as the room swirled around me and I found myself on my back. I sprang up and immediately charged the captain of my team.

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