This is a great testimonial by Lynn Goldberg on the importance of Judo in his life:
The Importance of Judo in my Personal Life.
I began Judo as a middle aged man, forty four to be exact. At the time, I was an overweight, cigar- smoking couch potato with a stressful job and waiting for a heart attack. I was so stressed out that I told my doctor that I thought I was having a heart attack. After a stress test, he gave me a clean bill of health but a wake-up call. Get active and change your lifestyle.
My neighbor, the late Radomir Kovacevic, was an Olympic Bronze medalist in Judo. We were friends and our children were playmates. I said to him, “Radomir, I need to get in shape or I am going to die!” He offered to get me into shape and in four months, he did just that. Every morning at 5:30, I jogged over to his back yard and spent one half hour weight lifting and boxing. When I was ready, I joined a gym, one of those old-style gyms with free weights and body builders. Within a year, I was rough and buff.
Then one day, Radomir asked me if I would like to try Judo. I had no idea what it was but figured what the hell. That was 19 years ago. Now I am a Nidan, Black belt second degree.
I am still in a stressful job. I still carry extra weight. But my blood pressure is right on target and nothing fazes me. I used to be a hot-head. If someone looked at me sideways, I was ready for a fight. Now, I just change directions, never raising my voice or my hand. You might say I have the confidence to be a woos.
The beauty of Judo (and other contact sports, especially wrestling and ju jitsu) is that if you practice them you’re not afraid of being thrown around and being pinned on your back. You’re not afraid because you know how to handle yourself physically and control yourself mentally. When faced with danger, your heart rate may increase but your breathing does not. The adrenaline rush is there but you learn how to use it to apply your Judo skills. Of course, you don’t need to use those skills because you are in control. You can change direction without feeling like you’re running away. I have applied this principle to my everyday life. I face each obstacle head on, especially in business.
In business, there are always adversaries who try to unbalance you. Bad employees, bad bosses, bad clients, lawsuits. These are all stressful situations and I continue to face them all. But Judo has conditioned me to remain calm – to ‘take the fall’. Before Judo, it was difficult, if not impossible, to diffuse a confrontation in my office, or in a deposition. Now, when the occasion arises, I just remain calm and control the situation with an inner authority. One time, during a Judo practice, someone asked our Sensei what to do if you are attacked by a couple of thugs. His reply? Stay calm. Aim for the center of the body.
Let’s say you’ve pulled into a parking spot at the mall and someone thinks that that spot should be his and gets froggy. With me I say, “Gee, I didn’t see you.” But I stand my ground and do not escalate the situation. I just remain calm. And the crazy guy can sense it because of my posture and confidence. This is the benefit of Judo that applies to my everyday life. If someone is yelling at me, I just stay calm.
I can now say, ‘thank you Radomir’ for introducing me to Judo and for saving my life.