Judo is an easy sport to get started on and it's really quite fun grappling and wrestling with your training partners. But once you get past the beginning stages, it starts to get harder and harder.

One of the frustrating things judokas face as a beginner is that all the techniques they've learned so well don't seem to work at all in randori!

"How come I'm able to do the techniques well in nagekomi but in randori they don't work?" a beginner asked me last year. The reason, of course, is that in nagekomi, your opponent is not resisting. In randori, not only is your partner resisting with all their might, they're also trying to counter you!

Judo can be demoralizing. Imagine not being able to throw anyone for months on end. And when it comes to seniors, it will literally take you years before you have a chance to be able to beat them in standing or on the ground. How on earth can anyone sustain their interest in the sport, like this?

The key is to look at incremental gains and to count your small wins. If before you could only last two minutes of hard randori, if you can bump it up to three minutes, that's a small win.

If before you were thrown 10 times during a randori but this time you were thrown only seven times, that's a gain. And if before you used to get strangled during newaza randori and now you are able to thwart such an attack, that's progress!

There will be many things you wish you could do but still can't. That's normal in judo. You'll need a lot of patience and willpower to carry on in judo. What's important is that you are able to see progress, however small. As long as there is progress, you can find some motivation in it, which will help you to carry on.

Eventually of course there'll come a day when you can start throwing people regularly. But to get there you've got to stick with it.  

I always saw judo as a means of self improvement. I'm improving myself physically, mentally and even emotionally, through judo. I never expected big or fast progress. As long as I saw improvements, I was able to motivate myself to carry on training.