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We can’t always agree on everything. Nor, frankly, would it be desirable that we do.
Debate and disagreements are cornerstones of progress and innovation in all aspects of life and if it wasn’t for people disagreeing with each other from time to time — lone voices as well as groups of individuals large and small standing up against generally accepted views — many of the good and great things that we now take for granted — victories of reason such as human rights and modern science, for instance — would never have seen the light of day.
Some fifteen years ago, two Harvard academics, David B. Yoffie and Mary Kwak, published a business book titled Judo Strategy: Turning Your Competitors’ Strengths to Your Advantage, which became a best-seller and has since then been translated into ten languages.
Most people know that judo, like many corporations, has a well-defined system of ranks. While companies use titles like “Associate”, “Director” or “Vice-President”, judo uses a system of belts: White to brown for the Mudansha and black for the Yudansha.
I had the privilege this afternoon, after class, to have an extended conversation with a number of my Judo students which left me quite thoughtful.
Words are almost superfluous in teaching the most important lessons of Judo, as the strong culture of the dojo, as perpetuated by the Senseis and the more experienced students, becomes the vehicle through which acceptable behaviours, as well as desirable values, are actively conveyed to new generations of judokas.