Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Expectations and Pressure

Last night was my first class since receiving my brown belt and as I am now the highest kyu grade at the club I feel like there is an added pressure to be able to perform all the techniques better than anyone else. This pressure doesn’t come from anyone other than myself, but I would assume that lower grades might start to look to me for advice and guidance when the instructor wasn’t immediately available.

This got me thinking back to when I first started teaching Kung Fu. I felt like I had to be the fittest, strongest and best in the club and in the end I stopped enjoying my training and ultimately quit altogether. Now I’m not teaching Judo so I haven’t got that added pressure but it certainly got me thinking of how I would feel if/when I got my black belt.

In randori last night I got thrown cleanly on my back by a green belt. This green belt was bigger and heavier than me but I still felt like I should be good enough to handle someone of a lower grade despite the disparity in weight, not that I’m small by any stretch of the imagination. I then went on to throw David, a black belt, with a tani-otoshi. I wonder if he was sitting at home last night wondering how he got thrown by a brown belt. Maybe he was. Maybe this feeling never goes away. So for those of you who are black belts, how do you deal with the added pressure of everyone expecting you to be an “expert”?


  1. Throwing or being thrown in Randori means very little. You're not trying 100%, or concentrating 100% so anyone can catch you out. Also, the point is to let your partner throw - you'd be a rather rubbish partner if you didn't.

    Also, if your partner is significantly lighter then he needs to be concentrating to avoid just being dragged into a throw by a significantly larger and stronger opponent,

    I doubt the Black belt gives a damn that he was thrown. If it was shiai and he was the same weight group then I'd bet he'd care, but it was only free practice.

    Find a competition Black Belt and ask them to go 100% with you and then see how you get on ;).

  2. Just realized my comment sounded a bit mean, not my intention!

    If you get thrown in Randori don't see it as a failure. You've let your partner practice the technique and, if you were resisting, then it shows what you need to improve.

    Don't worry about being perfect - just get out there, compete and find out how you compare to people of similar skill levels and weight.

    As for pressure

  3. I agree that randori is practice and not shiai but sometimes we practice light randori and other times its nearer shiai level. What was more frustrating for me was that I never looked like I was going to throw the green belt. Yes I took a risk that I wouldnt have done in shiai and got countered but my frustrations were more about my inadequacy then my opponents skill.