When relative beginners have a little string of successes, it is sometimes the first time in their lives that they have distinguished themselves in their own eyes. They do not realise that there is a good deal of luck in such contests, but feel that now they are on the highroad to success. They often become slack in training.
I saw one such member of a judo club have a rough awakening. He had gone into the monthly grading contest with an air of confidence. He was decisively thrown almost at once. The next day he apologised to the teacher for his poor performance. I was rather off colour yesterday,’ he said. ‘That’s why I lost. I’m sorry.’ He went on to explain just how he had felt. The teacher looked at him without much interest. ‘You didn’t lose that contest yesterday,’ he said coldly. ‘You lost it in the whole month before, when you weren’t training properly. And you’re losing next month’s contest now, today, while you stand here making excuses when you ought to be practising!’