As the tag line suggests, this blog is about sharing our judo experiences. Well, last night I had an all-new experience in judo. I teach the advanced classes at Denver Judo, so I don’t often get to attend the beginning classes. We have some really awesome instructors who teach the beginning classes so Heidi and I can spend some time together with our son, not on the mat. I do enjoy going to the beginning class but it has been a few months since I have been to one. Last week the instructor for our Tuesday class had to move to Dallas to fulfill a new work obligation and will be gone for a year. While we find someone else to teach that class, Heidi and I will be teaching the beginning class. Last night was the first one that we had to cover and boy was it exciting. I was telling the aunt of one of our members that I am going to expect this level excitement every week, but actually I hope this will be the most exciting one, for a while, at least.
We have an apartment above the dojo that Jim, who I wrote about last week, and his wife Jessica use to live in, but now one of our other black belts, Ryan, lives there. He moved in about a week and a half ago. The apartment can be accessed through a door from just inside the dojo lobby or through a door that leads directly to the outside. Ryan usually comes in through the dojo then goes through the inside door, so when he comes down from judo he doesn’t lock that door. The door to the outside is always locked.
So last night, we are about 5 minutes into our warm-up for practice and a kid comes in and finds Bandi, whose daughter is in the class, sitting on the couch in the lobby. Bandi is one of the best judo players to ever walk into our dojo. He moved her from Mongolia in 2005 after taking 2nd at the Korean Open, which was a very tough tournament. Bandi has been out of judo for a while due to work, but he is one of those guys who doesn’t practice for 6 or more months then shows up the week before the Denver Classic and walks through the 90kg division full of elite players. Anyway, his English is not all that good so he calls down to the mat asking for someone to come talk to this kid who he assumes is interested in learning more about judo. So, Nikki, a brown belt goes up to talk to him. She invites him to take off his shoes and sit on the balcony to watch the class to see what judo is all about. We often have kids from the neighborhood surrounding the dojo come in to watch.
We carried on with our warm-ups and after about 5 minutes, the kids who Nikki later told me she found out was 15 years old, gets up and leaves. I remarked to Ryan and some of the others, that I guess we were too boring for him. As soon as he left, another kid appears on the balcony. One of our other instructors, Max, notices this exchange and after a few minutes becomes suspicious and goes upstairs to the lobby to see what is going on. Max is a black belt who has been with us for several years and has been in judo on and off for about 45 years and is one tough dude! Max was there to help me with the beginning class because he is going to cover the class next Tuesday when I am out of town attending the training camp following the US International Visually Impaired Judo Championships.
When Max gets to the dojo lobby he finds the second kid and a third kid but does not see the first kid. Feeling that something is amiss, Max starts questioning the kids as to why they are there and not at home. I could hear him talking to them but couldn’t hear what he was saying. I had started teaching the first technique of the night. All of a sudden I hear Max getting louder so I start going toward the stairs up to the lobby when I hear Max shout for someone to come up and call 911. Of course, being that Denver Judo is my club, my first thought is that something happened and someone got hurt. I ran up to the lobby to find Max with the first kid’s face pressed to the wall and his arm pinned behind his back. I ask something along the lines of Ã¢â‚¬Å“What the hell is going on?Ã¢â‚¬Â Max yells that he caught this kid trying to rob us. He then yells to Bandi to come hold the kid so he can get the others. I go back down and ask Nikki to watch the class and when I go back up I can hear Max outside yelling at the kids to sit down.
At this point, Max, Bandi, and Ryan seem to have everything under control so I went back down to the mat to check on the class. After getting them going on a new technique I see Bandi come out on the balcony so I assumed the police were there and did not need him to hold the first kid’s face against the wall. I went back up and find that the police are not yet there but Jesse, who had called 911 earlier, is taking his turn holding the kid against the wall. I few minutes later the police arrived and got the story from Max who had seen the kid coming down the stairs with Ryan’s Xbox stuffed in his shorts. They talked to Ryan whose apartment was burglarized and took the older kid, I assume, to the station.
It was a very exciting practice and over all the only real damage that was done was that Ryan had to pay $140 to have a lock smith come open the door to his apartment because his keys were up stairs and the kid locked the doors when he went up to load his shirt and pants with Ryan’s possessions. The other damage that was done is that this kid is now in the system, if he wasn’t already.
The whole thing was more annoying than anything, especially to Ryan. The thing I am so perplexed about is the mentality of these kids. I can only imagine the scheming that went into this one. The older kids comes in, scopes out the place and upon finding 4 or 5 black belts a few brown belts and some yellow and white belts, tells the smaller kids, hey, go keep an eye on all those trained fighters so I can steal all their stuff. Let’s not forget the extremely skilled fighter on the couch. Granted Bandi was not in his gi, but he was sitting right there when the kid snuck up the stairs. It sucks that it happened but it’s a shame it didn’t happen when one of the many police officers in our club were not there. Of course if there had been a cop there, the other guys would not all have had the opportunity to hold the kid against the wall. I kinda wish I would have taken a turn myself. I also should have gotten pictures of all the guys and myself holding the kid. His face was obscured by the wall it was smashed against, so it would have been ok to get pictures, right?
So my question stands, do dumb juvenile delinquents grow up to be stupid criminals or do they learn from their mistakes? Going to jail is a hard way to learn but I guess if it doesn’t make you chose the straight and narrow, I would think it would at least give you incentive to do a better job so you don’t end up there again. I would love to hear any comments you have no this situation..
I’m making light of this situation but the fact is, it is just stuff that he was trying to steal. Don’t get me wrong, I abhor stealing and people that, rather than working hard, take from others, but I also hate the road this kid is going down and hope this experience will not be the start of something that will lead him down the wrong path for the rest of his life. He is still young, so my hope is that he learns from this experience. Maybe being taken in a police car to the station will scare the hell out of him and if not, his parents will put the fear of God in him. However it happens, I truly hope he learns something from this, even if it is nothing more than he is not smart enough to be a successful criminal!
Please share your thoughts below.
As always, thanks for reading.
Talk to you soonÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
- Scott Moore is a 5th degree black belt in judo and he head instructor of Denver Judo. He is also a 3-time Paralympic Judo medalist winning bronzed in Atlanta, 1996, Gold in Sydney, 2000, and bronze in Athens, 2004. Scott was the assistant coach for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Judo team and the head coach of the London 2012 team.
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