Saturday, May 07, 2011

BOMP - Ch 8 - Standard of Infinite Measure

One of the things I like about judo is that it has this pair of competing ideals that help to keep us on track.  One of these is explicitly defined - ippon is the technically perfect throw - that is, a throw that is smoothe and fast, lands uke hard, mostly on his back, under your control.  Hard - Fast - Back - Control.  
The other of these is an unstated (bur definitely pervasive) ethic of pragmatism.  Everything we do in judo is against a live opponent, and much of it is done against a live, resistant opponent who knows what you could potentially do to him - a pretty tough standard.  So, if you can't get the guy on the ground, then the thing simply doesn't work (for you right now).  On the other hand, if you can get him on the ground even if you can't do it with ippon skill - that's pretty good.
These two ideals of technical perfection and pragmatic sufficiency are like fenceposts on either side of a pretty good path to improvement in judo.  If you don't stray too far into perfectionism or pragmatism then you are likely to be on the right path.
It seems to me that most martial arts (or perhaps most martial artists) run off the road by concentrating too much on one or the other - pragma or perfection.
Pearlman's Standard of Infinite Measure appears to be an attempt to fix a martial art that is running into the ditch on the pragma side of the road.  Simply stated, we must strive toward 100% of our own personal potential.
Aim for ippon, but don't beat yourself up to much if you just merely win.

[photo courtesy of misha penkov]

Patrick Parker
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