My First Judo Match

February 2003

“HAJIME” (Start!), yelled the Referee. There I was, standing in front of my opponent…my eyes trying to avoid her face, I focused on her judogi, first her lapel, then her sleeves, trying to figure out where to place my grip on her. The noise around me had somehow faded and all I could see was my opponent, I knew my team mates were there…guiding me…but I couldn’t hear them. I had virtually gone deaf. Then I heard this piercing Tarzan yell. “AUGGGGGHHHH” With raging bull eyes, and claws that looked as though it was ready to rip into someone’s skin, I realized the yelling was coming from my opponent. Her eyes glaring down at me…her arms at her side, ready to grip onto my judogi…hoping to win the match with some nasty throw. She was trying to scare me. What made me think, “what the hell?” was that she was a small person, standing 4’9″…and yet…she scared me. She attacked me like there was no tomorrow, but yet after a jolted her back and forth, she fell to her knees into an armadillo position. The referee yelled, “MATTE”(STOP!)…and we returned to the line. When the ref signalled us to start, again, my little opponent gave out a tarzan yell, and charged at me again, her hands gripped on me like claws, I swang my foot, and pulled her lapel down towards me, and next thing I knew, she was under me. All sorts of thoughts came into my head, “This is it, grappling position…just put pressure on her body…don’t look at her…look away! she might bite you!, everything that I had learnt started coming into my head. A tap on my shoulder from the ref told me that the game was over. I looked up and saw my brother jumping up and down with smiles from ear to ear, my team mates clapping. I thought, “What’s going on?” I stood up and walked back to my line…and the referee raised his hand to proclaim the winner. I looked over at my team mates still jumping up and down, then to the referee’s arm…it was pointed at me. My opponent had a scowl on her face, and before walking off the mats, I bowed and shook her hand. Bowed again before leaving the mats, and rushed to my brother. My first game, and I had just won by Ippon (by throwing a proper throw). It was the best feeling ever.

unfortunately, I lost the next two games, but nevertheless, it felt good winning my first game. I think I surprised everyone. I was the only contestant in the tournament to have only practiced for less than a month…and no one had expected me to win any games. At least not by Ippon. I think I finally proved to the coach of Judo Sir Arce, that I’m worthy of being in the Varsity team. He was telling me to keep it up…and all I need is more practice and more experience, and I’ll be good. UST Judo Club ended up in 2nd place behind Ateneo Judo Team. I learnt that my opponent was in the Team A for the Varsity team of Ateneo, and that winning over her was indeed something to be proud of. All I knew was that it was pure luck that got me there. However, winning was one of the best feelings one could get for a sport she only had just learnt.

I walked away yesterday with a huge mat burn just under my left eye and on my elbow, and a few bruises all around my body. Random people were asking me what happened cause I looked like I was beaten up. And I said I was.


2 thoughts on “My First Judo Match

  1. I would like to know more about Joey de Leon, and his stories about Depression and his involvement in Judo: a great combination: Judo & Depression—-Taking Judo for Depression / Taking Depression into Judo class / Can Judo make you Depressed if you take Competition too Seriously? / Can Judo take you out of Depression? / Can you be both Depressed and Good at Judo? / other ideas….from Daniel Wasserman, 11/10/17.

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