For me, it come down to three main points:
I have done several Martial Arts off and on for years. Although I enjoy kicking and punching, nothing has just flat kicked my butt physically like grappling. Wrestling class in high school use to just wipe out the football players. Judo, JuJitsu, and other grappling arts are an amazing workout. Nothing gives me that whole-body wipe-put feeling through all of my muscles like a good grapple.
Also, when I feel fit, I feel good about myself.
Okay, so assuming you are learning a martial art (or considering it) because you might actually need to use it one day, or at least want the self confidence and assurance of knowing you could if you wanted to… The applicability of Judo is great.
There’s a big problem with punching (unless you are Mike Tyson): Most fights where a punch gets thrown end up with a lot more than just one. When you punch someone, they tend to punch back, and this can go on for a bit until someone goes down (or someone pulls you apart.) As an adult, that’s not what I need. I don’t need to trade a dozen punches in a mall or parking lot.
But I also don’t really want to end up rolling around on the ground in a grapple if I don’t have to. This can be a mess, and hard to escape. It can be especially bad if there is more than one person facing me.
Judo gives me the ability to take someone who is laying their hands on me, or punching me, or someone I want to lay hands on, and place that person with amazing impact on their head on the ground. Hopefully that is the end of it. Hopefully they walk away, or I take the chance to run.
But If I have to take it to the ground, Judo gives me the skills to end it there. Break an arm, choke them unconscious, etc.
As I said, I have done various martial arts off and on for years. I have also worked with people in our Judo class who came from other martial arts classes.
Many martial arts classes can be offer off-putting environments. Some of the most common are:
- Instructors with huge ego’s
- Cold, militant classes with structured drills, but very little meaningful interaction
- Competitive environments where everyone is out to do better than everyone else… where it’s all about “me, me, me.”
I have taken Judo at two different Dojos in Utah: Lehi Judo, and Hidden Valley Martial Arts (where I currently train.) I may be lucky in my experience, but both of those environments were great. I really felt among friends. We train hard, but there are no egos, and we can always enjoy a good laugh.
One of the core concepts behind Judo is “mutual benefit and welfare.” This means that I get better by helping you get better. You are always working with someone else in Judo, and always working with each other to help the other learn and advance.
The class I am in now has really become like family to me. Mike, our Sensei is approachable, and light hearted. But he is also a black belt in Judo and Jiu Jitsu, and can flat kick my butt.
Judo… I just love it.