When I was doing newaza with a young black belt, one of the coaches told me that this player wanted to get a cauliflower ear. I guess this athlete feels that a cauliflower ear is the sign of toughness. I laughed and joked that I don’t try to damage people’s ears. I just like smashing their face, neck and jaw. This young man is clearly passionate about judo. He is at every practice and always gives 100% in his training.
After practice I pulled him on the side and told him the goal in judo is to become good without a cauliflower ear. It takes skill and luck to keep your ears intact. Many elite judo players have cauliflower ears but it is not necessarily a badge of strength and skill.
A true champion is forged within the heart and doesn’t necessarily show itself through the ears. Still, I applaud the passion and tenacity that this man has for judo. He will surely be successful in life in whatever he sets his heart to do.