Dr. Sachio Ashida (Brockport, N.Y.), an Olympic Coach at the 1976 Games in Montreal. In addition, Dr. Ashida served as a referee at the 1984 Olympic Games and was an A-Level kata judge. Born in Japan, Dr. Ashida began studying judo at the age of 12 and continued his study through his military career with the Japanese Imperial Army Air Force during World War II, as an kamikaze pilot. Dr. Ashida moved to the United States in 1953 and received a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska before ultimately relocating to upstate New York where he became an associate professor of psychology at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF JUDO

by Dr. Sachio Ashida, Hachidan (8th degree)

an excerpted from an article of the same name published in the 1975 USJF Official Judo Handbook

     The average student is eager to learn the physical and technical side of Judo. The ukemi, nage-waza, osaekomi-waza and other forms of kata take up much of his attention. The "philosophy" seems to be pushed aside, forgotten or neglected.

    It is only upon witnessing the courtesy, the simple ritual of bowing before and after randori or a match that he realizes there is more to the sport than just working out or fighting. As he advances, he inadvertently is teaching a technique to his lesser-experienced partner. He then realizes the teacher/student concept of Judo. It is through these experiences and learning procedures that the student learns the general philosophy of Judo. Nevertheless, the mystery of the sport motivates him further to study and fortify this little known area of the philosophy.

     He reads and hears Jigoro Kano's two famous principles of "Maximum Efficiency, and Mutual Welfare and Benefit." Kano outlined these two ultimate objects of Judo - the perfection of human character by his form of training methods using the above two principles. "Maximum Efficiency" means that whatever is planned, one should do with optimum use of mental and physical energy

     In the practice and competition of Judo the player learns to throw with a minimum of effort but using to his benefit the opponent's weakness, momentum and mistakes. His throws consist of a circle; his defense and counter-throws are made using the opponent's circle of the throwing technique.

     The application of this knowledge, by hard training, increases his proficiency and efficiency. By these methods, the principle of maximum efficiency is eventually mastered. The principle of mutual benefit and welfare takes longer to learn. This means that all students should help each other in advancing through judo training. This principle brings out love, respect and self-control - qualities manifested by many Judo masters.

     By following these two principles, the student will progress toward his goal. But what is his goal? Each student must establish his own goal in life. The level of his goal depends upon his motivation. His Judo teacher may exemplify a model he wishes to emulate. Through Judo training, he can attain the characteristics of his teacher if the latter is a true Judo man. But what is the character of a true Judo man?

     Many instructors use the same training methods but those who are not themselves developed morally and ethically achieve nothing. Any system of instruction depends on the excellence of those who are instructing. Proper Judo training produces respect, courage, patience, humility, flexibility, enthusiasm and reliability. As one judoka stated, "these are the characteristics that are most prized by all of humanity. The students must remember that many teachers fail to produce these traits in their students but the instructor never stops trying.

     Judo, when learned and practiced properly, is a sport that "builds character." The Judo community; however, feels that Judo and its philosophy contributes more in that it lets the student achieve his goals in life a little faster but not necessarily more easily. It is up to the student to train regularly, to discipline himself, to respect his peers and superiors, to participate in tournaments, to teach the lesser experienced and to study and learn the culture of judo.