I’m Not Nice

Power Clean – 3/3/3/3/3
83# / 93# / 98# / 103# / 108#

Press – 5/5/5+
48# / 58# / 63#

Deadlift – 5/5/5+
143# / 163# / 188# (6 reps – not max)

Later in the evening – judo.

I left judo feeling about one inch high. For one thing, I hurt my knee on the very last breakfall of the evening. Dangit! For another thing, I’m questioning my whole career (or so-called career) as a martial artist. For another thing, I got told by the person I was partnered with (who was smaller than me) that I need to be “nicer.” And she looked really pissed when she said it.


As a result, I’m having a deep, spiraling existential and emotional crisis about my career as a martial artist.

Probably if it had been anyone but me, they would have just shrugged it off. But I really, seriously question my abilities as a martial artist. I did not think I deserved my black belt in Kyuki-Do (or Jungdo or whatever they call it now.) If I had been on the testing board I would have failed me. In fact, I was the last person called up to receive my belt and for a while I really did think they failed me. But I’ve seen people perform much worse than I did and they still pass. Actually, I think they pass everyone now. My black belt feels cheap to me, and I feel like a fraud when I wear it.

In judo, I feel like I have no skills and I just go around hacking everyone and blundering around like an idiot. So to have someone tell me off like that just screws with my head even more. I’m not blaming her, I’m sure I deserved to be told off. I wasn’t trying to crush her. I thought I was going about 1/2 or even 1/4 intensity (which I was doing because she was smaller than me.) Apparently not.

But there’s also another side to it. I’ve been paired with huge guys in judo, sometimes even in a belt test. Sometimes I can tell they are being easy on me, and sometimes they just mash the hell out of me. I expect nothing less, that’s a part of judo. It isn’t easy. Sometimes it hurts like crazy and you wonder why in the world you are doing it.

Maybe every martial artist questions their abilities like I do. And, maybe not. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself and my self-loathing is getting the better of me. And maybe not.


2 thoughts on “I’m Not Nice

  1. A fraud is someone who makes deceitful pretenses. Unfortunately, just wearing our black belts can often be a deceitful pretense. We know in our minds that we are regular humans, not human weapons. We stand a better than average change of defending ourselves, but there is nothing otherworldly about our abilities.

    Unfortunately, other people don’t understand this. They bring fantasies to their training that we can never fulfill. The best thing to do is to stay away and even run contrary to their preconceived notions. Don’t try and be that master. Wear your black belt on your gi and your white belt in your mind. Be honest with yourself and your skills and never stop learning and training for a goal.

    I highly recommend a book titled “Meditations on Violence”

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