Wonderful article in Downtown Express

At the dojo-warming party, someone — I forget who — said the relocation of Oishi Judo would make a great news story, and that he was going to try to get someone to print it. I wonder if this article was due to his efforts.

Oishi did indeed fit the description of “a big kid” during a recent Monday afternoon class as he bounced around his new dojo. The students were men who devotedly use their lunch breaks to get thrown on the ground instead of eat. Oishi was right in the fray, stopping the group from sparring to demonstrate the proper way to do a certain throw. As his foil, a student decades younger and inches taller than Oishi crashed to the mat, his class of grown men beamed like children at his flawless technique.

I know that feeling, the "beaming like a child." A few days ago, Sensei stopped what we were doing to say a few words — literally, just a few words. He reached over to a black belt standing next to him and effortlessly slammed him to the mat without any footwork or, it seemed, much of a grip — just a deep understanding of balance and the efficient use of force. "Tai-otoshi means 'body drop,'" he explained.

I try not to be too awed by Sensei, because I know he doesn't care for over-the-top admiration, and I think that's a healthy thing. But at that moment I think my eyes got as big as saucers.

“Judo is educational,” Oishi said. “It’s repetition, it’s practice. You learn safety. You get strong, but you’re not trying to hurt anybody.”

Around him, men wrapped their hands around each other’s necks and tripped each other to the floor, but nobody got up angry or screamed in pain. In fact, they would hop up smiling through their sweat, and bow to each other, happy to have taken the spill.

Also noticeable in the group of 15 loyal students, many whom had already earned their brown or black belts, was the diversity that an activity like judo allows. Some were young and fit, others paunchy, others over 60. They were a mishmash of sizes, athletic abilities, income brackets and ethnicities, each grappling with his classmates and getting his daily workout.

Between you and me, my eyes kind of misted over when I read the article. It's a great story of our dojo's survival against difficult odds, and the author clearly "gets" the spirit of Oishi Judo. I am so proud to belong to a club where our camaraderie, "happy face," and love for the sport come across so clearly to an outsider.

Also, I was very impressed with Sensei's impeccable English.

Many thanks to Sonam for passing this along. It made my day. Sonam came across it from a link somebody posted at mma.tv.

3 Responses to “Wonderful article in Downtown Express”

  1. Ellen Says:

    It really is a great article!

  2. Yotam Says:

    Hi speed photography has revealed that my arm slaps before my hand.

  3. Andy Says:

    Hey Yotam, I didn't recognize you as the uke!

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