It has been a year to forget; a year that has revealed the fragility of a world that we believed to be indestructible. But, also, it has been a year to learn; to learn that we cannot win alone because we are weaker that way. It is time to reflect and draw the correct conclusions. It is time to remember our friend, the most faithful, the one who is always there, the friend of all life.

The coronavirus does not understand ideologies, races or borders. It is a mortal enemy and furthermore, unfair because, as always in these cases, it preys on the most vulnerable. It is a cowardly virus, but it's out there, causing pain and helplessness. Avoiding the virus is much more than obeying instructions, adopting barrier gestures and scrupulously respecting the period of confinement. It is an attitude, an exemplary behavior for the good of oneself, which is to say, the good of all.

A healthy body is an effective shield. A healthy body is the guarantee of strength and independence. That's the first thing judo provides. There is another thing that judo teaches: education. We are not talking about a conventional education forged in a school. Judo education is complementary but much more sophisticated because if school is the gateway to knowledge, judo is the window that opens to the world. It is what turns children into adults through universal principles. They are old values, but always valid. They are the cornerstone of what we call peaceful coexistence. When those principles fail, when the attitude is not up to the intention, then the problems appear and they are always the same. That's what judo is for and, if you really want to know what it is, we will explain it to you.

Judo is a friend; the most faithful because it always tells you what you do wrong but never judges you. Judo is the childhood friend who, when you become an adult, keeps calling you every day to talk to you. Judo is the friend who protects you when you are in danger and who lends you a shoulder on which to rest and pour out your sorrows. Judo is the friend who lends you money when you lose your job, the frying pan you use every day to make food for your children. It is the lover who teaches you the ways of pleasure, the guide who prevents you from getting lost and, when you do get lost despite everything, it is the friend who comes looking for you. It is the harshest critic when you make a fool of yourself and the one who forgives all your mistakes. Judo is the wall against which your uncertainties crash into a thousand pieces. It is the grandfather who teaches you to ride a bike, the smile you put on in bad weather. Judo is the duty to help others and to know that you may not get anything in return beyond your own satisfaction. Judo is making your bed and hugging loved ones. Judo is listening when they speak to you and not interrupting. Judo is doing good things without even practising. It is the feeling of fullness that is only achieved when serenity seizes you. Judo is the anchor in the middle of the storm and the island where you take refuge after the shipwreck. Judo is the person who heals your wounds. It is being aware that perfection resides in your good will and that your actions will never reach that culmination. Judo is the enormous force of the true, the tastiest dish and the funniest joke. Judo is what separates us from the beasts and what makes us what we are. It is being a student and a teacher in the same class. Judo is yielding and greeting people, speaking well and taking deep breaths to avoid an outburst of anger. Judo is your best friend and if you don't know it yet, you still have time to learn it. Judo is the rhythmic passage of time. Judo is your life and a life without friends is not worth living.

Happy new year my friend!

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