The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

2009 Pennsylvania State Judo Championships


aventure-judo-18This past weekend we attended the 2009 Pennsylvania State Judo Championships. I had six junior students attend plus Sensei Andy, Sensei Fred and myself. I think we made out alright, though I think we could do a little better. I’ve very proud of my students as for some of them, this was their first ever judo event. It’s not easy when your first ever event is the State Championships!

I had three matches myself that day in Mens Open category at 145lbs (66kg)… My first match the guy just muscled me. I went in for a dropping shoulder throw and I missed! He got in behind me, and… choked me out… The good thing is you don’t remember much…

My second match I did much better… This time again with the dropping shoulder throw I got under the guy and planted him in the center of the matt with a perfect throw – Ippon! The match was over in less then 20-seconds. Nice crowed reaction too. Every one complimented me on the nice throw!

My third match I just screwed up. It was a skinny brown-belt guy, likely on the light side of 145lbs. I had control of him; or so I thought… At one point I actually moved his whole body with a foot-sweep, but… didn’t follow threw… He scored two, 1/2-point techniques on me, and the match was over… That one upset me more then being choked-out!

My students did well:

  • Nick took 1st!
  • Matt took 1st!
  • Brandon took 2nd!
  • Jason, Attended… He was my youngest student, sadly he did not place. But I’m very proud of him. It was his very first judo tournament.
  • Paul took 2nd!
  • Justin took 3rd!
  • Sensei Andy took 3rd in Mens Masters Over 30.
  • Friend, Dr. Andre Watson took 1st in Mens Masters and 2nd in Mens Open 90kg.

Nick with 1st!

(more…)

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  • 5 Comments
  • Filed under: Judo, Personal
  • Hiding the fear… Make the jump…


    Well it’s after 11PM as I type this and I will be heading to bed very shortly. But today is the day before the Pennsylvania State Judo Championships; and it’s time for that gut feeling to creep up on me again. I guess people who compete should get use to this, but I never do.

    To be honest, it’s not the fighting that worries me. I’m not afraid I’ll get hurt, after all I have been doing judo for 15-years now. It’s not the fact I’m in a black belt division, I can hold my own. – As a teacher, I am more worried about my students then myself… But what really bothers me is simply the travel of getting there and the new location.

    Lemmings Jump

    I will be traveling with one of my students, as I often do, and I have traveled with them before. They know the drill, about not walking off and telling me where they will be. It seems silly, I’m an adult, I should not care about this kind of thing, should I?

    Once we’re at the event, and I get oriented to the location, find bathrooms, locker rooms and mat locations. Chat with the guys I always see at these events… I’m fine… It’s the initial jump that often freezes me up and it’s so damn annoying!

    As often is the case, I hide this fear very well. After all, students do not need to see me freaking out; hell, they are looking to me to calm them down! Until things get moving to occupy my mind, I’m in a state of “get me the hell out of here“… but when the task is at hand, be it photographing an event, or coaching my students, the fear switch clicks off, and I’m fine.

    Elaine brought this up at our last lesson; when she was a bit surprised to my answer when she had asked, “How comfortable did you feel navigating the mall? – 1 to 5“… I told her a 3 out of 5… She says, “you hide it very well… You didn’t look nervous to me.” I don’t know what to say to that? I guess it’s all my years of teaching kids and having to show an assertive, confidante role.

    I spend all my time building the confidence of others; only to realize I have little confidence in myself… Crap, did I just physco-analyze myself?

    Thankfully though, thanks to some Ambien at least now days I can get some sleep before such events. That really helps, because I use to lay awake and dwell on the fear. (Relax folks, I only take the Ambien a few times a month, as needed only.) But you still need to wake up, and the fear is back, nervous, fidgety, not wanting to eat, force myself to eat breakfast, sweaty palms, upset stomach. It really sucks. – Normally about half way to the event, I manage to start feeling better.

    But again it’s that initial jump! I’m really working to overcome this. That’s why I posted about it. So, do share your thoughts, please.

    See you in the morning!

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    Sensei Rich Makes Front Page! – Update


    Just a small update on my front page article…

    The article was also featured on USA Judo, Paralympic Judo, and Pennsylvania Judo websites news sections. Thanks for the ping guys!

    USA Judo

    A few days after the article was published I received some nice congratulation letters from past teachers, and school district administration. I also received a nice congratulation letter and laminated front page clipping from Pennsylvania House Representative, Thomas Quigley, for making front page and a contribution to our community!

    Fame, is a good thing.. 

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