Hi there, and welcome to the part of my site, that is all about martial arts.
Here i´ll be telling you alittle about my history regarding martial arts, both what i’m currently occupied with, and what i have done in the past.
I started doing martial arts back in the 90s but one of my constants since 1998 has been Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. And im not talking about Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, im talking about real Jiu-Jitsu, the Japanese one, that inspired Jigoro Kano to create Judo, that later inspired Carlos and Helio Gracie to create BJJ. Some also call it Ju-Jitsu or Ju-Jutsu, and the japanese signs are the same, and they mean the same. In Europe we usually see the Jiu-Jitsu variant being the more selfdefence focused one and Ju-Jutsu a more offensive art for competition and fighting in general.
I meet a lot of misconceptions about martial arts and reasons for training. Obviously these are misconceptions that rest in the minds of the non-trained, and they mostly see martial arts as fighting, violence and pure evil.
Martial arts is as much about conditioning the body, as it is about conditioning the mind. And to get anywhere in any martial art, you have to have patience, show humility and expect more of yourself than any others do.
The path to the black belt and even higher ranks is not paved with ego, that will not serve you in the long run. A real martial artist knows to give back, and know how important it is. Anybody can put on a black belt, but truely wearing it and be a black belt, takes character and selfawareness. So to start somewhere, lets start talking about the belts.
The ranking belts was made several hundred years ago in Japan, and it was just a way to see the difference between seasoned practitioners and beginners. They only had white and black belts, and that was fine for many years. Aikido still uses this system today.
By the early 1900s Jigoro Kano who created Judo, started to see some issues with having to teach people he didden’t know the skill level of. A white belt and a black belt can be pretty far from eachother or very close depending on the experience, and he saw a need for a better defined system of belts for the beginners. He made a system of Kyu (student) belts, that was made so that you could visually see the level by the color of the belt. These colors are Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue and Brown, in that order. So the darker the belt, the more experience they had. A teacher could now enter a dojo, not knowing anybody in there, and in seconds get a picture of the practitioners level in the room. The blacks remained black, but the 6. – 8. Dan(master) holders, could wear a red and white belt, and the top with 9. and 10. Dan could wear an all red belt. From here on the system was adopted by several Japanese and non Japanese martial arts, staying mostly the same with a few colors added or changed from style to style. And as most know it is still used to this day as an effective teaching tool and goal measurement.
Getting to my role in ranks. I was never that focused on ranks and gradings, cause i mostly trained for the fun and the social aspects of martial arts, but as i got older i saw the importance of grades even way into the blacks. As i touched on earlier a true martial artist has to know when to give back, and i have spent most of my youth and all of my adulthood, teaching people martial arts. And i love doing that, but when i got my first black belt, I had the great honor of grading a person. I felt so priviledged that i was allowed to examin another persons performance and give them the joy of passing to their next level in their journey to become a greater martial artist. Having a black belt opens up alot of doors. Not just the ability to review others on a higher level, but also in certain fora where only being a brown belt won’t get you anywhere in an arguement, or at a board meeting. Even if a 2021 standard should dictate that it shoulden’t matter, the martial arts community is still a very conservative and tradition based community, so rank still plays a big role.
The gi (dogi)
So the gi is the cotton suit you wear during training. If you come from an eastern European country or the middleast, you might know these as kimonos. This is ofcourse a common misunderstanding cause i kimono is a fine silk dress for ceramonies, and a gi is a cotton jacket and pants for practicing Japanese martial arts.
Gis can be found in a lot of colors, and some have more meaning than others. In Karate white is the most common and that is seen as a sign of cleanliness and calmness. That is why that color is the most used in every asian martial arts all over the world.
Judo introduced a blue gi in 1996 to make it easyer to tell the competitors apart in competion since the tempo is so high that mistakes was made on the regular.
In Jiu-Jitsu some instructor are wearing a black gi to show that they are masters and a teacher of the art. You also have Taekwondo that allows for a black collar if you have a black belt.
The gi serves a very basic perpose. Being naked is not very practical, so you have to wear something and it has to be comfortable. It has to make you able to move freely, and it also has to be durable to suit the art you are practicing. In Judo and Jiu-Jitsu they wear a really though gi made for pulling, ripping and pulling without breaking. Since these utilise throws and pulling your opponent, they have to be made to be abused.
In Karate the gi is super thin cause grabbing is usually prohibited, so the material doesent’t need to be wowen so thick. And to hold the jacket together comes the aforementioned belt. I have tons of gis and Doboks(Taekwondo gi) in my house and i really need to get rid of some in the long run. But it is nice to have some, cause they will get worn over time, and they will get yellow and ugly, and i like my gis to be fresh and nice looking. I wash them, and i sometimes bleach my white ones, but in the long run, they will get stained by sweat, blood and other unmentionables.
So i train several times a week, mostly in Denmark in the club where i have a chefinstructor title. Some will argue that teaching is not training, and i dissagree. But i also train without teaching. When you teach, you are displaying your skills, and explaining your method with the goal to inspire and learn others to do the same. To be able to do that, you have to train and maintain your skill level, and you also have to be very aware of what you are doing and how you can convey this with the best means.
Other than teaching i train alot of Judo Kata at the moment, a little Jiu-Jitsu to keep my skills sharp, and some nerdy Judo stuff to broarden my horizon in general.
I currently teach four times a week and i train all seven days of the week in several different ways, but mostly in gi. To me progression and maintainment is the most important part, and if you want to get the next grade, going for that next level will take some sacrifices and, that takes hours in the gym and the dojo, so keep at it, and you will reach your goals.
So i’m a well known face at most courses in Denmark for Judokas, but also all around Europe. I love to aquire new knowledge and i don’t mind traveling to get that knowledge.
Mostly i stay inside Denmark, and on the picture i’m showing a grading certificate in Judo that allows me to grade up to and including a brown belt in Judo. I’ve also had the pleasure of grading poeple in many other martial arts and even had the honor a few times, of grading black belts. I hope to be able to grade black belts in Judo in the future, but as in most other countrys, black belts are not graded locally, but rather at a national grading ceramony with a panel of censors (a shomen panel).
So i’m a proud owner of a certificate to grade, and i have the highest achievable teaching rank on a club level in Denmark, and i would love to get a national coaching level degree. That will be when the funds are for it, right now it is too expensive for my wallet. I could have listed all the merits here, but i won’t bore you with a bragging list of cources and seminars. But i have been at many, and i will keep going to even more, cause the hunt for knowledge is what drives me.
A huge part of my time is spent by giving back in sports. And i feel it as a huge privilige to be able to give knowledge to the next generation. The sight of success served by your hand is the most rewarding feeling you can ever have. Seeing a girl or boy struggling to make a technique work, and then suddenly cracking the code for them and making it work. The pure joy and triumph that lights up their faces will fill you with warmth and carry you for the rest of the day. That is why i teach and i do tell myself that i’m good at it. And if i forget it, my students will help me remember it by saying “You’re the greatest coach in the world!” Even if it is only children, it fills me with joy, and it builds me up even on a bad day. I hope the picture tells the rest of the story, cause this is what it’s all about.
So by doing martial arts and giving back, i also do some official work. I’ve been the Communications director for the Danish Judo federation for a period of years. I’ve been a Judo referee, but im taking a break from it. I’ve been a part of the board in Judo Denmark. I’ve been in several workgroups and committees in Judo Danmark, and i still serve as an assistent to the grading committee in Judo Denmark. All of these are done on a voluntary basis, and the pay is in experience and being a part of the developement of a sport i love. I’ve also been a guest instructor and censor in other martial arts such as Jiu-Jitsu and Karate over the years, but i mainly focus on Judo now, and a little Jiu-Jitsu on the side.
Being a part of Judo and the working in commissions and on board of directors, you have to know how politics work. A big part of Judo is also networking, exchanging emails and visiting countrys. I’ve been a part of the board in a few clubs and representing my club in Judo Denmark. When i was on the board in Judo Denmark, i was sometimes invited to be a part of meetings with forreing Judo nations.
The picture is showing med next to the former president of Judo Denmark, Martin Kirkhammer before a meeting with all of the Nordic countrys at the Nordic Championships in Vejle 2013 DK.
Today im working on bringing Judo Kata to Denmark as a common training and competition form rather than just having it as a yardstick for grading, as it is used nowadays. A big part of it is networking with other countrys kata commissions, kata judges from the EJU (European Judo Union) and the IJF (Internation Judo Federation). And it is of high importance that you are skilled in the art of diplomacy and also have a bit of Judo experience, cause we always talk shop 🙂
Awards and honors
So another part of the work is getting apreciated for the work you do. It is something that rarely happens, cause the road of a volunteer is often a lonely ride. But sometimes you will get som recognition, and i’ve received several honors in the form of grades in some martial arts, awards for achieving club goals, for being a good coach, or developing a club.
And the one on the picture even came with a bag of money. When i was given money as a price i donated all of it to my club, cause i think they deserve it to further develope the club and it’s teachers. They diddent really seem thankfull for the donation, so i might give the next one to a better cause, but i would rather donate my award money for a good cause than spend them on myself. Cause that will just be swallowed by travel expences for my next knowledge expedition.
So where am i now?
Well you know most by now, but maybe we should recap alittle.
- I teach Judo in several clubs and im on the board in one of them.
- Im working on bringing Judo Kata to Denmark in a more broadened form and i am currently a certified kata judge in Sweden.
- I travel alot to courses and seminars to get even better at what i do, both technically and teoreticly
- I have several black belts, and im not planning on getting more, but rather advancing to higher grades in the future
- I recently started my own Judo Club with great success
- Im actively aiming to become a part of the Danish Judo grading commission
- Im working on a youtube channel with national Judo gradings and in the future also techniques and warm up excersices.