Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Judo en Genève

30 hours in the city, and I've found my way onto a judo mat. 8 Hours in the city and I'd already found a club. It's like radar or something. Ju-dar.

It's a great club. I was nervous when I was checking around online because it says it's a "Judo-Jujitsu" club, and usually when a club has judo and jujitsu together it means jujitsu with the occasional throw. But I went last night to watch the practice, seeing as I stumbled upon it just 15 minutes before the adult class was to start, and checked it out. There were only 8 people last night, mainly teen boys, but they were doing real legit judo and they were all under control. Almost on a whim I went back tonight with my gi, since I was figuring I'd be too tired and jetlagged to do anything useful. But besides my alarm not going off so I slept through breakfast this morning, I've actually been fine all day.

Back to judo. Today there were a lot more people - I'd guess probably 40 by the end, with a good number of brown and black belts and even a few old guys (which is a good thing - it means they don't run out-of-shape lazybutts like me into the ground!). I didn't once have to work out with a kid. And judo is such a good way to practice the language - not that you spend a lot of time chatting or anything necessarily, but because you're trying to do something else you spend less time thinking about how to say what you want to say and more time just saying whatever pops into your head. My French improved a lot in Montreal once I started with judo there, because you had no time to figure out what language the other person spoke so more often than not you started out in French and the teaching was usually in French, at least for the most part. This is good, because I had a minor panic attack this afternoon over my language skills. It's just that they speak so fast here, and when it's with an accent that I'm still not totally sure of my brain has a hard time keeping up. I'm glad I came to Switzerland so early; hopefully by the time my classes start I'll be in better shape linguistically. As long as people speak a bit slowly I'm generally fine, except for a word or two that's different or new. Alas, if only real life came with subtitles.

Back to judo. Along with the vast array of people to work out with, they also have a sprung floor. How awesome! And Tuesdays and Thursdays after the one hour of practice, there's a second hour just of randori (sparring), and a lot of the black belts and adults show up just for that. I couldn't stay tonight, though I was able to get through 50 minutes of practices before pooping out, but hopefully by next week I'll be back in shape enough for at least a little bit. And also, the best part: this place is three blocks from my residence! I can walk there in like 2 minutes! I didn't even bother to change my pants before I went home tonight. No having to take the metro and bus feeling/smelling like a hazmat site, hurrah!

My muscles are going to be complaining tomorrow, but that's fine. In 48 hours they'll be working again. As long as I can get my joints to behave themselves. I think I'll be going through a lot of hockey tape this semester.

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