First judo session today, after the summer break. Oh dear, oh dear. You think you're managing to keep fit by doggedly going running, but you're not. Five minutes of uchi komi (repeat throwing practice, without the actual throw) and you're ready for a lie down. Happily, this is easily achieved in judo. Simply stop concentrating and your opponent will ignominiously dump you on your back. Bingo! There you are flat on the mat staring up at the leisure centre ceiling, and noticing that the football you first spotted wedged under a rafter 10 years ago is still there.
10 years! More than 10, in fact. I was thinking about that today as I approached the small hall where we train, and remembering how I went up to the coach with my small sons in tow and said 'Two new ones for you.' The coach straightened up and looked me in the eye, and asked, 'Are you coming on the mat too?' How different my life would now be if I'd answered, 'Are you MAD? I'm a parson's wife. Of course I'm not coming on the mat. Do I look like a complete masochist to you?' Instead, I said 'YES. If you bring me a kit, I'll come on the mat next week.' And the rest is history. (To find out more, read my book Fight the Good Fight. From Vicar's Wife to Killing Machine.)
Good to see the old gang again. Numbers are down at the moment, compared with 10 years ago. Why don't more people try judo? I meet so many women moaning about being overweight and unfit, and how they hate diets and going to the gym. Of course you hate diets and going to the gym! These things are boring. They are like housework. You spend hours doing them, hardly anyone notices the difference, then you have to do it all over again. For ever. But judo is FUN. (Ignore the references above to masochism and being thrown flat on your back.) You get fit not by poncing about in yoga pants on a Pilates mat worried you're looking flabby, but as a by-product of fighting people.
Honestly, what's not to like? Give it a go. You'll be amazed how therapeutic it can be, scragging someone.
About this blog
This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.