Tuesday, May 11, 2021

He Shamed His Dojo

One rule of thumb that I live by, stated half-jocularly, is "Do not bring shame upon your dojo."  It's partly a riff on the wuxia movie trope of one's pupils possibly going bad,  but it's mostly a sincere expression of the need for respect when playing a potentially dangerous contact sport.  When we judoka enter a dojo, we bow to show our respect- I liken this to acknowledging that we are entering an uncommon space where we must be better than our normal inclinations- and we bow to each other, to demonstrate trust and respect.

It is with this in mind that I am expressing my real disgust and horror at the story, out of Taiwan, of a seven year old boy who remains in a coma after a judo class run by an incompetent sadist:

A disturbing video has emerged showing him being thrown on a mat by an older classmate during judo practice.

As the lesson continues, he is heard screaming "my leg", "my head" and "I don't want it!" but his coach keeps ordering him to stand up and tells the older boy to go on throwing him. 

When Wei Wei is too weak to get up, the coach, much bigger than him, picks him up and throws him several times as well. At one point, the child vomits, but the "training" doesn't stop.

Altogether, his family says, he was thrown more than 27 times.

As a teacher of children's judo classes, I consider this a most egregious betrayal of a child who wanted to learn judo, of his trusting parents, and of the other students in the class.  I get sick thinking that this child, if he had caring senseis, could have continued playing judo until after his retirement age, rather than lying in a vegetative state at the age of seven.

We stress a safe environment in which to learn and grow together, and we closely monitor those occasions in which the children compete against each other.  We also make sure they have a strong grounding in safe falling techniques, and safe, clean throwing techniques.  When we have older students working with younger students, we trust them to treat the little kids with compassion.  We're lucky to have a great bunch of kids to teach, a bunch of kids who have a genuine love for each other.  A judo class shouldn't be a painful ordeal, it should be a joy.  This is what a workout should look like.

This Ho idiot in Taiwan brought shame upon his dojo, and his betrayal forces the rest of us to justify ourselves to the public.  Judo is supposed to have a moral component, one of the principles of judo, articulated by founder Sensei Jigoro Kano, is the concept of jita kyōei, harmony and cooperation for mutual benefit.  We're not saints, but we strive to be decent people, so an atrocity like the grievous wounding of seven year old Wei Wei cuts to the bone.


Ali Redford said...

I'm so sorry this had to happen.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Thanks, Ali. It didn't have to happen, it should never have happened. We trust each other to take care of each other. Even our bowing symbolizes that we literally stick our necks out, knowing that we are honorable people who would not cheap shot another player.

I've met people from all over the world playing judo, if I walk into a dojo anywhere in the world, I should see a nurturing, welcoming environment, not some sadist's power trip over a small boy.

As you can tell, I'm livid about this.