• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Wearing the Gi -- Part 2


When I first started teaching Judo, I had just earned my blue belt.


I was clearly a novice, but I was in love and crazy passionate about what I was doing.


I started teaching girls only. Why? Well, the community center I approached was clearly happy with the “martial art” that they had.


Why would we need two? Until I pointed out to them that the other martial art was all boys being taught by a man.


I would teach only girls.


I was clearly a novice, but I was in love and crazy passionate about what I was doing.

Within a year or so, the parents of my students started begging me and the community center to open up classes for boys too.

And so the boys began to come. Not just any boys. Mostly the boys who needed a little bit of extra confidence boost.


Before teaching Judo, I had run a vocational rehabilitation carpentry workshop.


Working with people with different abilities was my thing.


Word of that got out and my classes got larger and larger.


Remember my last post? Well, the JudoGis did their magic here, too.


Many of the kids who came to my classes were the ones who would never be picked for the soccer team or the basketball team.


The kids who were, on practice days, would wear their team shirts to school.


Slowly, I started hearing from the parents that their kids refused to wear anything but their Gis to school on Judo days.

Slowly, I started hearing from the parents that their kids refused to wear anything but their Gis to school on Judo days. Which inevitably meant them showing up with ketchup, chocolate, and mud all over them.


But it didn’t matter. They were able to walk through their day of school a little bit taller, because they too belonged to something special. They too fit in. The Gi was a symbol of pride.


And of course, I don’t need to tell you how long they kept medals around their necks, do I?


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