Judo is an easy sport to pick up because grappling and wrestling is a very natural thing to do. At our club, we have beginners do light and safe randori from their very first day on the mat. Anybody can grapple and wrestle instinctively. But to master judo techniques is really hard, and it takes a really long time.

Many people give up on judo even before they reach the point where they've truly mastered a single technique. That's because even to master a single technique is very hard. Perseverance and determination is necessary to become good in judo.

I remember when I just started out in judo, it took me about nine months or so before I was able to throw any advanced player — and that was with a lot of training! A few things kept me going despite the fact that I couldn't throw anyone for months on end.

Firstly, I did see progress. Each time I went for training, I felt I learned something new and was getting better every day. As I trained, my fitness improved, my strength improved, my skills level improved. Everything was clearly improving, even though I wasn't able to throw anyone yet. The steady (albeit slow) progress motivated me to carry on.

Another thing that kept me going was my fascination with judo. Through judo, I discovered things that my body was able to do that I would not have imagined possible. If you think about it, to be able to throw someone who is resisting you with all their might (and also trying to throw you as well) is an incredible feat. And to catch someone on the ground and get them to submit when they are fully resisting, that's not an easy thing to do. Yet, in judo this happens all the time. And that still fascinates me today.

The third thing that makes judo so interesting is that it's a growing and evolving sport. The judo of 20 years ago, 10 years ago, even five years ago, doesn't look anything like the judo of today. New rules influence the way the game is played and new rules are introduced all the time. New techniques or modifications of old techniques also changes the way judo looks and feels. After all these years, I'm still learning new things in judo.

I think players who gave up early, before they reach a point where they can start throwing people and really enjoy their judo, were those who failed to experience judo the way I did.

Just because you can't throw someone yet doesn't mean there's no progress. You have to be observant and objective about your progress. As long as you are improving with every session, that's something that you should be happy with.

Revelling in the wonder of judo and all the incredible throws and groundwork moves that you learn in judo, is something that should also give you joy. How often in life do you come across things that are consistently fascinating and intriguing?

And lastly, the constant evolution of judo is something that really separates our sport from many others. Although other sports evolve too, I think it's fair to say that most do not do so at the rapid pace judo does. Some judo purists don't like such changes but to me it's what makes judo exciting and alive. So, I welcome the changes which, for the most part, have been very positive for the sport.

If you adopt the kind of mindset I described above, your judo journey will be a fun and fulfilling one even if progress is slow. It has been for me and it can be for you too.