• My thoughts on the DO

    Starting practice is one of the most precious moments. It can be very exciting and eventually leads to fabulous growth. Now is the very moment to decide if to go all the way through.

    When I started judo practice I decided, that I would have done it for the rest of my life and that my Master would have been a constant presence in my thoughts.

    Fundamental to the DO is one ingredient: COMMITMENT, indicating, that self-discipline and persistence must be kept regardless of how hard it is.

    Practice puts us under constant stress, but without it we would never be able to develop our personality.

    Commitment and self-discipline are precious as gold for those seeking the DO.

  • In the Sixties

    1960: Bruno Carmeni throwing his opponent with seoi nage

  • More than 40 years later!

    2007: Bruno Carmeni throwing his opponent with seoi nage

Will Power and Creativity Within Judo Part 4

The Personal Experience – Looking back on what I did, I realize to have participated at many national and international judo competitions. Some times I was absorbed by the joy of victory, but I have also met defeat’s pain and tears. Each fight was the result of a long training program, which suddenly ended up in my favor or in the opponent one. This is the reason why I remember every single one of them, as if they were all major events in my life.

1967 Turin - Bruno Carmeni's Yoko Tomoe, One of His Favorite Judo Techniques

I admit, that I have never participated at a competition without the tension and the determination required to face such an important moment, despite victory or defeat. In every bout you cope with the unforeseen, as each judoka, even the strongest, has weak spots, that if discovered by the opponent take to a loss.  It is why it is important to learn to deal with ones “fragilities” while training in order to overcome them. The one who is strong when attacking, might be lacking some skills when defending and vice versa. The best thing is to correct ones mistakes, enhancing personal skills in order to create a personal style.

To understand why certain techniques take to a loss is important in order to improve. It is impossible to learn something from victories and defeats, unless one analyzes the causes.  Only the one who learns to understand himself through training and competitions, who acquires self-confidence, who enjoys victory and who goes beyond his own possibilities  can say to have found real success within judo. But attention, to be too self-confident can be dangerous, can contribute to weaken ones skills, it creates instability and can take to defeat. The relationships between success and failure are extremely important, that you have to ask yourself if a judoka that wins all the time and that does not know the bitterness of defeat really is a human being. The real champion is the one who knows, that there are always two sides to the same medal and that in each triumph the seed for failure may be found. Such an awareness and to know ones strengths and weaknesses is the right way to prosper and to develop a stronger spirit; to acknowledge defeat means to be the real winner.

1964 Moscow Pre-Olympic Judo Tournament - Carmeni (Italy), Bobolubov (Soviet Union), Bodar (Hungary) and Stepanov (Soviet Union)

The one who loses all the time might discover a special internal strength and despite his sadness continues to train, to try again until he overcomes all the difficulties he is faced with. He might not reach his aim, which is to win, but his perseverance will contribute to form a strong, calm and cold spirit, like iron. One of judo’s meaning is in this way is: to learn how to win, while apparently one is loosing.  Each judoka has to cope with many obstacles, it is the reason why it is so important to always keep in mind what determines victory or defeat.  Considered from this point of view the outcome is not important, what matters is to know, that within judo you can only count on yourself. The higher the level of the fight, the stronger the engagement to face the opponent.

I remember times, where even though I was more than self-confident, I was still constantly worried, a kind of fear of the opponent. As soon as I entered the competition hall I started to feel anxious, I had like an automatic switch in my brain, that turned on after the tension level reached its peak. I would not feel hungry, even though I had not been eating or I continued to speak without saying anything at all. Once my friends locked me up in the wardrobe, as they could not handle my talk anymore and wanted me to shut up. I would feel insecure, but tried to hide it, so that my opponents could not discover my fears. Sometimes before a competition I would hide in a silent corner, trying to invoke some help from an obscure entity, as last shore for a person, that had reached its limits. The last thing remaining to do was to concentrate real hard in order to show the best of me while fighting, as if it was the last battle of my life. It was a little like going to war, without knowing if I would have ever returned. 

1964 Tokyo Olympics The Budokan Judo Venue

Power and technical skills are not enough to ensure victory, they have to be coordinated with a very sharp mental activity. I had to foresee my opponent’s attacks and in the meantime to evaluate his reactions to mine or to make him believe, that he was dominating and take advantage of this opportunity in order to throw him.  I think, that the right fighting spirit is made of two inseparable elements: physical strength and spiritual power, if one or the other is missing it is difficult to reach victory’s goal if not impossible.  After having participated at many competitions I have learned to control the lack of experience and my emotional reactions, which are part of us immature human beings.   

Once the competition started I was totally detached from external aspects, including the spectators. I was living in a dreamlike state, being highly under pressure and slightly shivering.  While being in this state I would avoid to talk to people, I only wanted to be left alone in order to concentrate on my task and I really did not need any comforting words. While I was approaching the final I knew the time had come to show all my potential and to perform my best judo techniques.

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