All my 3 kids practice Judo. I was never allowed to do any martial arts when I was a kid because my father thought it was all about violence (believe me or not, my father is a teacher).
Martial arts goes way beyond being good just for your body and to make you physically strong. I have never saw a true champion in any martial arts that was only physically strong. To become a real champion, being mentally strong might be even more important than having the physical.
I am not talking about the importance of believing you can win a fight. Of course your beliefs without practice will not help much. But let´s take a few examples from MMA. Did you see Anderson Silve losing for Chris Weidman for the first time? How about the second fight? How different was Anderson´s mindset in the second fight? Did you notice how nervous he was?
How about Aldo vs McGregor? Although Aldo denies, McGregor provocations were extremely important for having Aldo coming into the fight very nervous and impulsive.
Brazil vs Argentina in soccer…have you watched any?
Brazil vs Cuba at women volleyball? How many games we lost because of Cubans provocations?
Do you see the pattern? We brazilians, tend to loose our minds and get into provocations very easily. And that´s very always tragic in sports.
So now my friend Jose Alexandre, finally. He is the one in the top right corner in the picture (the one in the left corner is my son)
Jose Alexandre practices Judo at the same place my kids go to. Jose Alexandre lives in a poor community (the same “favela” I mentioned when I wrote about my friend Mauricio , the van driver).
I can guarantee he does not have an easy life. As a matter of fact, today I met him working as a ticket collector in one of the vans that goes from the favela to the Largo do Machado station. Around 38º C, Christmas Eve….and there he is working, certainly to make some money for helping his family.
Yesterday, I also met him at the van working. Although I had seen him fighting several times (and winning in most of the times), I had never really talked to him, so I decided to do.
– How many competitions did you fight this year?
– I can´t really remember, but I think it was 5.
– Did you win any gold medal ?
– Yes. I won 4 gold medals this year. (but talking with a lot of simplicity)
– This is great man! I´ve seen you fighting and to me, one of your greatest advantages is your mindset. I believe you have a champion mindset! Y ou are always calm, very concentrated, never seems to be nervous! I hope Alexandre (my son) learns that from you!
– Oh no…I am not all of that, but thank you very much. I appreciate you saying that. I just try to do my best and indeed stay calm, waiting to counter attack. I´ve been using that strategy and it works fine
– Good Jose! Make sure you keep that spirit! This will make you a true champion! And it´s very good to see how humble you are. This is not very common for a guy at your age. Stay focused and keep it up!
– Thank you sir! I hope to see your son at the Judo next year.
So I went to work thinking about how many Joses we have in this country that at somepoint, will simply not be able to keep training, simply because it will be time to help the family working from monday to monday?
How evil is our government, when they decide not to invest heavly in education neither in sports? How many champions we could have, in a country with 200 million people, if we were worried on finding those talents and helping them, giving the proper support so that they don´t need to work and instead, get immersed in training ?
How good would it be if there was a mechanism for helping those talents, by donating money directly to them, allowing them to focus on their true potential?
I read today that in 20 days, 1.5M USD was raised for sending several kids from a poor neighborhood to go visit Harvard and change their perception about the world. But here is what is impressive: the goal was to raise 100K USD only!
Isn´t the internet the solution for making this world a better place? How wonderful is technology when used for good!?
Who knows…I will keep watching Jose closely, and see how he persists at Judo.
And if at some point, I realize that he cannot move forward simply because financials, you might hear from me again here at this blog, in a campaign to raise funds for making sure he can focus on training.
I hope this blog getts busier when/if this campaign is needed!