I started Judo when I was around 5 years old. My first competition I remember very well. I was 6 years old. I was scared and didn’t really want to compete.
My father would leave the house from time to time late at night and I never knew where he was headed. One day I decided to ask where he was going at night. He said Judo practice and asked me if I wanted to go. I was really into Bruce Lee and would run around the house kicking and punching everything. My brother David was only 1 at the time, so I wasn’t hitting him yet. I asked my father if it was anything like Karate or what Bruce Lee does. No was my fathers answer, so was mine. I didn’t go to Judo until a few weeks later. But once I went, my father never let me quit.
I started training at Bakersfield Judo Club. I remember it like it was yesterday. Canvas mat cover which gave you awesome mat burns! I remember always being in trouble and having to do duck walks around the mat area. Yes, I was a kid. My early Judo career wasn’t what a lot of people think. I lost a lot of matches. I don’t think I did very well until Jr High. Then doing much much better in High School.
My frist competition I lost both of my matches. I was scared to fight and when I lost I fought so hard not to cry. I got thrown both matches since it was double elimination. I didn’t want to do anymore Judo but at the same time I wanted to be with my father. So I kept going. Once David was old enough to join us at practice my father started pushing us.
David and I have been through so many matches. I would say its easily around 2500 matches maybe more. We would literally travel almost every single weekend to compete for 10 years straight. We would train everyday during the summer. My father built a building in our back yard so we had no excuses not to train. He invited the best to our house from Japan. When I look back now, I wish I would have done more! I will never ever regret my father pushing me!
I quit Judo before I was even in my prime. I do regret that. I hit my prime 3 years after I quit. I quit to pursue JiuJitsu. Judo helped me blow my name up in JiuJitsu. Without my Judo, I wouldn’t be who I am today.