Today is the annual New York Open Judo Competition. This year, four teams (U.S., Canada, France, and Germany) will be competing. It'll be a hell of an event, with some world-class players.
Yesterday, a bunch of guys from the German team stopped by the dojo to work out and (very kindly) to give a clinic to the kids. I have to say, they are a great bunch of guys. My great and good friend Gentle Jimmy G. (the guy who makes me seem like Rainbow Brite in comparison) stopped by and we fought like hell for about ten minutes. I had worked a graveyard shift before going to the dojo, he had downed ten pints of Guinness the night before. We were fighting like the big, strong mooks we are, but the Germans were fighing in a very beautiful, clean style. Poor us.
I joked to the administrator of the program:
"So, here we are, with all of these twenty-something German guys in the dojo, and they were so much younger, and better-looking, and they fought so prettily- the real problem is that they're really a genuinely nice bunch of guys..."
"So you can't hate them."
"You took the words right out of my mouth."
I apologize to my straight female and gay male readers for not bringing my camera to the dojo. You'll have to find your pictures of handsome, shirtless German guys with muscular physiques elsewhere. This being the internet, you shan't have any problems.
As an added bonus, I ran into the father of one of my all-time favorite students. I try not to play favorites, but it's so hard not to. I remember how I'd sit cross-legged on the mat refereeing matches between the kids, trying to project a gruff and badass demeanor, and this tiny little sprite would snuggle up to me and rest her dark-tressed head on my arm, totally ruining the effect. She's gotten her masters' degree in art history and is currently interning at a museum. To let you know the high regard in which I hold this young woman, I gave her my copy of this book, figuring it would be interesting reading and a good inspiration for a term paper when she was studying Ancient Greek... now that's saying something! I was so happy to hear that she is excelling.
Writing that last paragraph, it hit me why the attacks on women and women's health issues anger me so much- anyone who seeks to diminish one person diminishes us all. I want to build people up, not tear them down.