When I asked one of my players what his goals or aspirations for judo are, he replied that he just wanted to become the best version of himself.

I have interviewed many judokas from around the world, from aspiring champions to top champions, and this is a common answer that many of them have given me. That through judo they hope to become the best version of themselves.

Judo is a sport. And like all good sports, it teaches you values like focus, determination, courage, perseverance, etc. But judo is also more than sport and the are strong moral values attached to it that goes far beyond what is required in most sports.

For example, in many sports (and especially in combat sports), trash-talking is common. In judo, if you disrespect your opponent in any way, you will be immediately disqualified. In fact, if you show any unsportsmanlike behavior, you are disqualified.  

I would go as far as to say if you are not a good person, you cannot truly call yourself a judoka, for judo is not just about winning medals and being a champion. It involves adopting a code of honor where you will behave in a good and decent way, not just on the judo mat but off as well. If you adopt a judo lifestyle, you are adopting a good way of living.

Judo also helps you become the best version of yourself in a very critical way. Judo is always challenging you to be better. No matter how skillful you are and no matter how experienced you become, there will always be someone who comes along and beats you in randori and shiai.

In judo, it's impossible to be complacent — at least not for a long period of time. if you are a top competitor, you might be a champion for a period of time when nobody can beat you. But someone will come along and put you in your place if you don't continue to work hard and improve your skills.

Judo challenges you to always be at the top of your game. In other words, it helps you become the best version of yourself.