I went into class tonight with a slightly negative attitude. I know what is causing it. There is a catch 22 to learning any difficult skill. The more you compete against people that are better than you, the more inadequate and untalented you feel, but the more progress you make (because you tend to force yourself to rise to the level of your competition). On the other hand, if you mostly compete against people less talented than you, it can be easy to think you’re really good (making it seem more fun for you), and that you don’t need to work harder to improve. Of course, you’ll often hear things like, “The only person you’re competing against is yourself.” However, the reality is that one can’t help but compare oneself to others. In fact, that’s often the only way to know how good you are, or how much you’ve improved. Anyway, I felt better by the end of class. Even though I didn’t dominate anyone, I felt that I was able to hold my own much better than a month ago. I even was able to use a bit of Judo tonight. A blue belt was on my back, trying to sink in a choke. I was able to clear his hooks, come to my knees, secure a hold of his choking arm and do a kind of kneeling seoi nage (I flipped him over my shoulder). He was about my size, maybe a bit lighter. That tells me something. Pound for pound, I’m catching up to the blue belts, skill wise. In fact the only person who submitted me tonight was a white belt who, while very skilled, was able to use his superior size and strength to make it more difficult to escape his onslaught. Even with him, though, I felt that fatigue was just as much a factor as insufficient skill on my part. I’m not sure what I can do about my cardio, which is not bad for my age, but I feel like my technical abilities are slowly but surely improving.

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