The limit of endurance

Some Judo training exercises are taken to the limit of endurance. In classes performing them – e.g. dragging the body round the dojo face down by the arms – the instructor has to watch carefully. While a participant has the energy to grunt Whew! or some such, he is not exhausted. But when one who is silent begins to turn pale, the instructor knows he should stop.

If the class is going well, the instructor does not want to stop them. However, the atmosphere at such times is very delicate: if one is taken out, the whole energy tends to collapse; everyone feels that he too should stop.

So the teacher may have to resort to subtle methods.

He suddenly pounces on the silent one, picks him up by collar and belt, and brings him into the middle. He shouts:

‘How do you expect to keep going when you’re doing it all wrong like that? I’ve told you again and again – don’t get too wide angle here. Look – see how I’m doing it now, that’ s how to do it.’

‘Why can’t you listen when I tell you … now show me how you set your arms…’

‘NO, not like that. LIKE THIS… me carefully’ and he goes on for a bit. ‘Now get back, and do it properly.’

The others are continuing dragging themselves along, but they are not envying the one who has been taken out. They have a considerable awe of the teacher, and they are just thinking: ‘Glad it’s not me’.

The victim himself has been reprimanded, humiliated, scolded, in front of everybody. With the fatigue and all the rest, he can be near to crying. It is only some time later that he realizes that he has after all had a rest.

© Trevor Pryce Leggett