Different people do judo for different reasons. Common ones are to become a top competitor, to learn self-defense, and to get fit. These are all good reasons but surely there has to be more to it than that.

I recently asked a few of my players what their purpose for doing judo was and I got some enlightening answers. One of them told me she wanted to become braver.

That's quite an interesting response because truly, through doing judo, you do end up becoming a much braver person. That's because judo activity requires you to overcome your fears.

At its most basic, you need to overcome the fear of being thrown. But fear in judo is not just about physical pain. There's also the fear of losing, which is psychological rather than physical.

Defeat in judo tends to hurt one's ego much more than defeat in almost any other sports. If you lose a badminton match against your friend, you won't like it but it doesn't hurt your pride as much as losing to your friend in judo.

I think it's a primal thing. It is said that Japanese judokas have the mindset that when they lose in a judo match, it's akin to dying because in the real world, if you lose in the battlefield, you die.

Perhaps most people don't have that kind of samurai mindset but most people do feel a deep and personal sense of defeat when another person, who is roughly of the same build and age, is able to beat them convincingly.

As a result, some people prefer not to compete. Not because they are scared of getting injured but simply because they can't stand losing. Rather than confront their fears (of defeat), they run away, refusing to fight.

Those players who step onto the mat to fight over and over again, are the brave ones. They are the ones who have decided that win or lose, they will carry on fighting. And in doing so, they overcome their fears.

If you can overcome your fears in judo, you can overcome your fears in life too. This is important because in order to live life fully, you have to live life fearlessly (which is not the same thing as "recklessly").