I started judo this summer because Drew really wanted me to go to the "Parents' Class." I wasn't sure I would like it and I really had to push myself to get past the ickiness of "touching-someone-who-isn't-a-family-member (-or-a-patient)" . I also feel less than graceful on the mat; dance moves have never come easily to me without a lot of practice.
But now...well, I feel as though everything is clicking. I am remembering the moves (I love muscle memory because I don't have to think). When we do randori I am able to get submissions as often as I have to submit ("Mata!"). I am really happy to have a regular hour of exercise and to do something that is just for me.
When I come home, I am still sweaty and I feel relaxed and joyful. Judo means "way of gentleness" and I thought this was interesting:
Principles and Goals of Judo
Judo, which is translated as the "gentle way", teaches the principle of flexibility in the application of technique. This is the flexible or efficient use of balance, leverage, and movement in the performance of Judo throws and other skills. Skill, technique and timing, rather than the use of brute strength, are the essential ingredients for success in Judo. For example, in Judo classes you may learn how to give way, rather than use force, to overcome a stronger opponent.
The principles of Judo, such as "Maximum Efficiency" and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit", can also be used in our dealings with others in life. The ultimate goal in Judo is to develop oneself to the maximum extent possible, always striving for perfection, so that you can contribute something of value to the world.
Maybe a little bit of the pleasure I derive from the practice of judo is related to the preparation for and completion of class. I no longer dread class. It's amazing what a little mastery can do.