I did a judo competition in Japan called “shodan shinsa” yesterday

This test for judo is called “shodan” shinsa. Shodan is the first level of the black belt in judo. I did this test in Fukuoka, Japan yesterday.

In America and at least where I started judo at CCSF there is a different ranking system for belts.


And brown belts have 3 degrees. And then of course black belts have varying degrees going upwards of maybe 9 or so degrees.

But in Japan there is only:


There are no colored belts between white and black.


To get a black belt or even the next level of black belt you have to do a test. And this test varies for adults and children. For adults you have to compete and fight against others who are also competing for a black belt.

It’s a single elimination competition which means if you lose once you’re out. And you have to accumulate enough points and your first time that is 4.5 points which means you have to win like 4 or 5 times in a row.

If you don’t you can try again at the next competition.

I did this in Fukuoka yesterday. I probably wouldn’t have but my dojo where I got the cultural visa to stay in Japan encouraged me to do so.

As you might expect it was a bit scary like other BJJ competitions that I did. This was the first judo one that I did.

I get a lot anxiety and anticipation and all the fears like: getting hurt, this isn’t that important, why should I do this, I am going to lose, I’m not good enough – all those fears that other people get.

But amongst all those negative thoughts and feelings – actually most of the time it’s a feeling – kind of like public speaking or a performance if you have ever done that.

But I try to inject into my mind some positive thoughts too like:

“You’ll probably win or learn something” which was true.

But when the fight starts the feelings are gone and you are in the moment.

I did win two and I did learn something about the rules and about how I can work on my tani otoshi counter.

Getting a black belt isn’t the ultimate goal. The goal is to learn and have fun doing so. Although I am not sure it’s always fun, but 99% of the time it makes me feel better.

Like the competition it would have been easier to just say no I don’t need to do this because I have done that before with jiu-jitsu competitions, but I knew that if I did it I would feel better.

It’s just about pushing through those fears and discomfort.

I am also happy that I got a couple of throws because I am better on the ground and have about 4 times the amount of experience and hours doing BJJ than I do judo tachi waza (throws).

There is another competition like this in November and I will probably do it because I started it so now I feel like I have to finish it.

Occasionally some people will win 4 or 5 matches in a row and get the black belt, but my friends tell me more often than not it can take 2-3 times.

I know one that said it took 7 times as a teen, another 4 times and another who actually won 6 in a row on his first time for shodan, but then said for yon dan (4th degree) it took him 3 or 4 times.

Judo is actually called “the gentle way”

Haha… really?

Yep, but it doesn’t look or feel gentle most the time. But what is meant by that I think is finding the opening for a move or submission or where the opponent is off balance for a throw. Like in the pic above in the thumbnail to this video.

I threw that guy with an osoto gari.

He was stronger, probably weighed more, more aggressive and a bit spastic, but I found the path of the least resistance and threw him there and that’s judo – finding and seeing the openings and then capitalizing on them.

A day training Kosen judo at Kyushu university in Itoshima, Japan

Lucky me. In a previous post I got to see a kosen judo competitiion here in Fukuoka, Japan. This is a rare style of judo that emphasizes newaza (ground techniques) so it’s similar to BJJ or is it that BJJ was inspired from kosen judo?


Here’s a picture from then.

You can see me above in the back right and to my left is Tsukamoto-san and second in the back left is Amamiya-san. Those two I train with often at Sekiryukan in Hakata. They are 3rd and 4th degree black belts.


Last Saturday I went with a couple of my dojo members from Sekiryukan to Kyushu university to practice Kosen judo from about 9:30 to 12:30.

Here are a few clips from the lesson.

And then after I went to a beach in Meinohama, Fukuoka. I went for a swim and it was nice. I also saw a lot of feral cats.

Tony & Moly Sharehouse – My experience

*Update. I originally wrote this a few months ago. I am happy to say I don’t live in a sharehouse anymore.

I hate sharehouses. It’s 4:30 and I can’t sleep. Starting around sometime around maybe 2am until after 3am I hear the manager banging shit around and making noise.

First I’ll tell you the good.

It’s in a good location – Otemon. It’s near Ohori park and in between that subway station and Akasaka.

Compared to another sharehouse I stayed in it’s in better condition. This is not a Japanese house it’s in a small cement apartment building, but the interior walls aren’t cement.

Everyone staying in this sharehouse at this time is either Taiwanese or Chinese. Most everyone I met staying here was o.k except for one annoying guy who always cooked onions and slammed his door.

Although I wonder why everyone here is Taiwanese or Chinese.

Oh yeah, there are 2 apartments in this building for the sharehouses. I live in one, with another Taiwanese girl and Taiwanese guy and then another person came later.

Now I am going to give this place some criticism.


I probably wouldn’t have had the “manager” – hehe (I hate managers by their very nature), not complained about water on the floor and later leaving the trash can lid open.


  1. Cigarette smoke
  2. Noise (floor noise)
  3. A NO SEX rule
  4. You have to pay for parties
  5. A little pricey considering
  6. There’s a business in it
  7. The manager

Now I am only staying here because I didn’t really have another option without a permanent visa.

I don’t really like to complain and this is, but I think they should change some things.

1st smoking

They do go out and smoke on the porch so they say, but sometimes I think they smoke in their room – the manager and the owner, but they leave the doors open and the smoke comes in the apartment.

And I hate cigarette smoke. It’s not all the time, but still cigarette smoke is annoying.


It’s not noisy all the time, but the floor makes noise and the walls are cheap thin wooden walls and the sound travels through them. The room I stayed in 2F room 103 which was the smallest is right next to the entrance and kitchen and the room where the landlord operates their business.

103 sucks because of the noise, no air con, no screens, and it’s not worth 50,000.

A “no sex” rule

This is the stupidest rule yet. And I knew it ahead of time. Like WTF?! Why do you have this rule in place? The manager said to “go to a hotel.”

Dude, I am paying you money to stay here and this is my home now and my room and it’s not your business what I do in my room.

Maybe if I was being noisy having sex in the room it would matter and I could understand if someone didn’t like it.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing like he said,┬ábut I lived in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan and this is the first time I heard about a “no sex” rule in any hostel, hotel or anything like that.

You have to pay to party

They have parties sometimes on the 5F sharehouse apartment for new guests and whatever. But he told me I didn’t have to pay since I was a new guest but next time I would.

That was weird and I said that.

I kind of see it like a “managerial” tactic to manipulate and that is why I hate managers. Like other people will pay to attend your party but if you don’t pay to attend someone else’s party then you feel kind of quilty or the other people might think you are not cool or something.

Like I understand if you have a party to bring something maybe like I brought a little wine and sake when I had my party.

But just seems like the dude is trying to make money off of you too.

The manager

First off I don’t like managers or being managed.

I am an independent person and if you meddle with my affairs try to tell me what to do or control me then chances are that I won’t like you.

He seemed kind of alright and positive at first. But I was just waiting for some shit to come up. Like I said the money for the party thing, the no sex rule (is that his rule or the landlord’s).

He speaks Japanese, Chinese and English so that’s cool.

Come towards the end of my month here he was like do you want to stay and like someone else wants the room too – which I doubt since there is another free room.

He told me when I moved in that he would make the price for the room cheaper then when I brought that up he had nothing to say about it except that the price of the room was going to go up when they get an air conditioner.

So I guess that was a little lie.

The dudes young like 28 so yeah.

He’s a little hyper about stuff too like l forget my clothes in the shower room sometimes cause there is no door to the shower room really and just a high shelf to put your stuff on.

And then I got some water on the floor (not that much) and he came and asked me to clean it up. That is what actually annoyed me and prompted me to write this.

There is a rule that everyone takes turns cleaning the common areas too which is understandable. And when it was my turn I know I did a way more thorough job than those before me because I cleaned a lot of mold of the walls in the bathroom, cleaned the toilet, vacuumed, and basically did a lot more cleaning than others did.

It also seems slightly weird to me that everyone else that lives here including the manager is Taiwanese or Chinese. That seems slightly selective.

It’s not that cheap

I pay 50,000 for that little room 103. Like I said the location is good, but the room is small and it’s a little noisy.

I know that I can get a room – a studio in the same area for like 35,000 no problem ( I pay 30,000 now for my own studio) but I need a visa.

There’s another business in it

On the 2nd floor there is a uber eats business that landlord is starting in one of the empty rooms right next to mine.

It’s not too big of a deal, but between like 10am and 2-3pm some days of the week this guy is like making and selling food in the kitchen. And he walks really hard too. You can really hear him trudge along the floor.

That’s my review.

I am still here at the moment, but I just don’t like this whole sharehouse thing. This is the second one I stayed in. It’s not for me. So if you have a visa I would just go and look for a place on your own. I can’t see what the advantage is of staying in a sharehouse.

It’s random and you don’t chose your roommates.

Yesterday I took a bike ride to Imazu beach in Western Fukuoka

On Saturday I went to Itoshima to train Kosen judo at Kyushu university. Along the way I got to see some beaches. So I went back yesterday.

I found a spot on the map that didn’t look too far and headed out. It was pretty nice. There were few people there and the water was pretty clear.

It took maybe an hour and 20 minutes or so to get there.

I just checked on the map and it said it was 12km from Fujisaki station. Roundtrip was 24km so about 14 miles. Sounds like a lot but most of it was a nice ride.

“Have you ever spent time in Santa Fe?”

“There’s a subculture of healing there.

The idea is that there is something therapeutic in the atmosphere and it’s a safe place to go and get yourself together. There are other places like Santa Barbara and Ohai, California come to mind, usually populated by upper middle class people with more time and money than they know what to do with in which a culture of healing also retains…

The concept in all of these environments seems to be that one needs to complete his healing before one is ready to do his work. This form of thinking… is a form of resistance.

What are we trying to heal anyway?

The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain free. He has to play hurt. Remember the part of us we think needs healing is not the part we create from. That part is far deeper and stronger…

The part where we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did or society did.”

Taken from THE WAR OF ART – Steven Pressfield

I heard about this book many, many years ago first from Seth Godin in the book Linchpin and just finally got the audiobook. It’s good.

What do you do?

Thinking out loud here.

I am seeking an answer that I like.

  1. I teach people how to teach English especially to kids in Asia.
  2. I teach and inspire people.
  3. I make stuff that is sometimes creative and wacky.
  4. I work online.
  5. I take people who are having a bad time teaching abroad and transform them.
  6. I revolutionize people’s experience teaching abroad.
  7. I tell people the truth.
  8. I humor, inspire and teach people how to teach English in Asia.
  9. I create stuff.
  10. I am an artist.
  11. I make something that is drab and boring into something fun, creative and life changing. Teaching English sound like a drag? Here’s how to make it fun…
  12. I try to bring color, truth and courage.
  13. I scratch records, beatbox and make art outside.
  14. I paint.
  15. I practice judo and jiu-jitsu because it’s fun, challenging and courageous.

What does my website to? What do I want it to do?

  1. I want it to transform teaching English abroad from something ordinary and routine to something extraordinary.
  2. I don’t want to BS people. I want to tell them the truth and help them.
  3. I want to help them to avoid the BS. If I can inspire them.