Judo for fun and judo for blood

Last week's article in Downtown Express reminded me of a book called Chess For Fun and Chess For Blood, written by Edward Lasker and published in 1942. The book is a classic among chess players not only for its technical analysis, but for Lasker's lighthearted way of discussing the human side of the game: how chess players are wired and how they interact.

The most famous of Lasker's observations is of course the one in the title of the book. "Chess for fun" players are casual, recreational players. They may try a cute combination, even if it is technically unsound, just because it amuses them. They may try to crush each other on the board, but win or lose, they will have a good time. "Chess for blood" players, on the other hand, are deadly serious about winning their next tournament. Their preparations, not to mention the matches themselves, put them through intense psychological stress. Defeat is excruciating. Risking a match on something "cute" is the farthest thing from their minds.

I think judo players — and judo clubs — can probably be classified along similar lines. And what comes through in the Downtown Express article is that our club is above all a "judo for fun" club. I've taken hundreds of classes at Oishi Judo, and not one was without laughter. We get thrown, and we get up with a smile, though perhaps not as big a smile as the person who threw us has.

Sure, there are serious competitors among us, and people eager to earn their next promotion, and we all play judo partly to get strong and fit. But the overwhelming reason for us all to be there is the pure pleasure of it. We're there to play each other, not fight each other. No pressure, only encouragement.

I mentioned Lasker's book to Jeff the other night, and he reminded me that one of Sensei's signature phrases, "happy face," expresses perfectly what "judo for fun" is all about.

5 Responses to “Judo for fun and judo for blood”

  1. PAUL VIRTUE Says:

    So I guess that "fun" for you Is trying to out me In the basement w/o use of elevator or stairs? Happy Face!

  2. Andy Says:

    That part is not fun. I barely enjoy it at all. 🙂

  3. PAUL VIRTUE Says:

    Have you ever taken a Tuesdaynight class?

  4. PAUL VIRTUE Says:

    Oh and you have met Jeff Summa haven't you?

  5. Andy Says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot the third and fourth categories: Tuesday Night Judo for People Who Enjoy Brutal Workouts, and Jeff Summa Judo for People Who Like To Get Choked.

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