Students are provide the opportunity to advance from White, Green, Brown and Black belt. Candidates are required to: demonstrate knowledge, skill and tournament management applications. Promotions are held 2 times during the semester. A Certificate of Promotion will be awarded after successful completion.
Shodan: Black Belt
– 1st Degree
Beginning Grade. The first black belt grade is perhaps the most misunderstood rank in all of Judo. While many consider the black belt to be the coveted completion of their Judo study, the shodan really represents the beginning of learning Judo on their own.
The real work of learning Judo begins at Shodan when the judoka knows and can demonstrate the full range of techniques, has a record of application in practice, and a record of service to the community. The shodan has internalized enough of Judo concepts and principles to lead a student along the path of their learning and to lead their study.
General knowledge: Judo
- Devise 5 new questions on the History of Judo.
- Devise 5 new questions on Philosophy of Judo
Teaching: Assistant Teacher – Beg. Judo or Beg. Jiujitsu class
Tournament Management: Assistant CCSF Invitational Judo Tournament
- Scorekeeper/Timer/Registration/Setup Coordinator/Concession Coordinator/Hospitality
(excerpt from Wikipedia)
Jigoro Kano (1860-1938) was a Japanese educator, athlete, and the founder of Judo. Along with Ju-Jutsu, Judo was one of the first Japanese martial arts to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Pedagogical innovations attributed to Kanō include the use of black and white belts, and the introduction of dan ranking to show the relative ranking among members of a martial art style. Well-known mottoes attributed to Kanō include “good use of energy” (seiryoku zen’yō) and “mutual welfare and benefit” (jita kyōei).
In his professional life, Kanō was an educator. Important postings included serving as director of primary education for the Ministry of Education (1898 to 1901), and as president of Tokyo Higher Normal School from 1900 until 1920. He played a key role in making judo and kendo part of the Japanese public school programs of the 1910s.
Kanō was also a pioneer of international sports. Accomplishments included being the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (1909 until 1938); officially representing Japan at most Olympic Games held between 1912 and 1936; and serving as a leading spokesman for Japan’s bid for the 1940 Olympic Games.
Kanō was inducted as the first member of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Hall of Fame on 14 May 1999.
Kanō Jigorō was born to a sake-brewing family in the town of Mikage, Japan. But Kanō’s father Kanō Jirōsaku was an adopted son and he did not go into the family business. Instead he worked as a lay priest and as a senior clerk for a shipping line.
Kanō’s father was a great believer in the power of education, and he provided Jigorō, his third son, with an excellent education. The boy’s early teachers included the neo Confucian scholars Yamamoto Chikuun and Akita Shusetsu.
Kanō’s mother died when the boy was nine years old, and his father moved the family to Tokyo. The young Kanō was enrolled in private schools, and had his own English language tutor. In 1874 he was sent to a private school run by Europeans to improve his English and German language skills
At the time of his adolescence, Kanō stood 1.57 m (5 ft 2 in) but weighed only 41 kg (90 lb). He was frequently bullied at school due to this small size and his intellectual nature, to the point other students dragged him out of the school buildings to beat him, so he wished he were stronger in order to defend himself.
One day, Nakai Baisei (a friend of the family who was a member of the shōgun‘s guard), mentioned that jūjutsu was an excellent form of physical training, and showed Kanō a few techniques by which a smaller man might overcome a larger and stronger opponent. Seeing potential for self-defense on this, Kanō decided he wanted to learn the art, despite Nakai’s insistence that such training was out of date and dangerous. Kanō’s father also discouraged him from jūjutsu, as he ignored the bullying his son suffered, but after noting Kanō’s deep interest of the art, he allowed him to train on condition Kanō would strive to master it.
When Kanō attended the Tokyo Imperial University in 1877, he started looking for jūjutsu teachers. He first looked for bonesetters, called seifukushi. His assumption was that doctors who knew the martial art were better teachers. His search brought him to Yagi Teinosuke, who had been a student of Emon Isomata in the Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū school of jūjutsu. Yagi, in turn, referred Kanō to Fukuda Hachinosuke, a bonesetter who taught Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū in a 10-mat room adjacent to his practice. Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū was itself a combination of two older schools: the Yōshin-ryū and Shin no Shindō-ryū.
Fukuda’s training method consisted mostly of the student taking fall after fall for the teacher or senior student until he began to understand the mechanics of the technique. Fukuda stressed applied technique over ritual form. He gave beginners a short description of the technique and had them engage in free practice (randori) in order to teach through experience. It was only after the student had attained some proficiency that he taught them traditional forms (kata). This method was difficult, as there were no special mats for falling, only the standard straw mats (tatami) laid over wooden floors.
Kanō had trouble defeating Fukushima Kanekichi, who was one of his seniors at the school. Therefore, Kanō started trying unfamiliar techniques on his rival. He first tried techniques from sumo taught by a former practitioner named Uchiyama Kisoemon. When these did not help, he studied more, and tried a technique (“fireman’s carry”) that he learned from a book on western wrestling. This worked, and kataguruma, or “shoulder wheel”, remains part of the judo repertoire, although at this moment the judo organizations of some countries prohibit this throw in competition judo.
Kanō demonstrated jūjutsu for Ulysses S. Grant when the former U.S. president visited Japan in 1879.
On 5 August 1879, Kanō participated in a jūjutsu demonstration given for former United States president Ulysses S. Grant. This demonstration took place at the home of the prominent businessman Shibusawa Eiichi. Other people involved in this demonstration included the jūjutsu teachers Fukuda Hachinosuke and Iso Masatomo, and Kanō’s training partner Godai Ryusaku.
Fukuda died soon after this demonstration, at the age of 52. Kanō began studying with Iso, who had been a friend of Fukuda. Despite being 62 years old and standing only 5 feet (1.52 m) tall, Iso had gained a powerful build from jujitsu training. He was known for excellence in kata, and was also a specialist in atemi, or the striking of vital areas.
In Iso’s method, one began with kata and then progressed to free fighting (randori). Due to Kanō’s intense practice and his solid grounding in the jujitsu taught by Fukuda, he was soon an assistant at Iso’s school. In 1881, Fukuda’s widow gave the scrolls of the school to Kanō, then 21 years old.
While under Iso’s tutelage, Kanō witnessed a demonstration by the Yōshin-ryū jūjutsu teacher Totsuka Hikosuke and later took part in randori with members of Totsuka’s school. Kanō was impressed by the Yōshin-ryū practitioners and realized that he might never be able to beat someone as talented as Totsuka simply by training harder: he also needed to train smarter. It was this experience that first led Kanō to believe that to be truly superior, one needed to combine the best elements of several ryū, or schools, of jujutsu. Toward this end, he began to seek teachers who could provide him with superior elements of jūjutsu that he could adopt.
After Iso died in 1881, Kanō began training in Kitō-ryū with Iikubo Tsunetoshi (Kōnen). Iikubo was an expert in kata and throwing, and fond of randori. Kanō applied himself thoroughly to learning Kitō-ryū, believing Iikubo’s throwing techniques in particular to be better than in the schools he had previously studied. It is Iikubo who issued Kanō’s only verified jūjutsu rank and teaching credential, namely a certificate of Menkyo in Nihonden Kitō Jūdō, dated October 1883.
Kodokan Judo: Establishment
During the early 1880s, there was no clear separation between the jūjutsu that Kanō was teaching and the jūjutsu that his teachers had taught in the past. Kanō’s Kitō-ryū teacher, Iikubo Tsunetoshi, came to Kanō’s classes two or three times a week to support Kanō’s teaching. Eventually student and master began to exchange places, and Kanō began to defeat Iikubo during randori:
Usually it had been him that threw me. Now, instead of being thrown, I was throwing him with increasing regularity. I could do this despite the fact that he was of the Kito-ryu school and was especially adept at throwing techniques. This apparently surprised him, and he was quite upset over it for quite a while. What I had done was quite unusual. But it was the result of my study of how to break the posture of the opponent. It was true that I had been studying the problem for quite some time, together with that of reading the opponent’s motion. But it was here that I first tried to apply thoroughly the principle of breaking the opponent’s posture before moving in for the throw…
I told Mr. Iikubo about this, explaining that the throw should be applied after one has broken the opponent’s posture. Then he said to me: “This is right. I am afraid I have nothing more to teach you.”
Soon afterward, I was initiated in the mystery of Kito-ryu jujitsu and received all his books and manuscripts of the school.
— Kanō Jigorō, in reporting his discovery
To name his system, Kanō revived a term that Terada Kan’emon, the fifth headmaster of the Kitō-ryū, had adopted when he founded his own style, the Jikishin-ryū: “jūdō“. The name combined the characters jū, meaning “pliancy”, and dō, which is literally “The Way”, but figuratively meaning ‘method.
From a technical standpoint, Kanō combined the throwing techniques of the Kitō-ryū and the choking and pinning techniques of the Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū. As such, judo’s Koshiki no Kata preserves the traditional forms of the Kitō-ryū with only minor differences from the mainline tradition. Similarly, many of the techniques (but not the forms) of the Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū are preserved in the Kime no Kata.
Kanō’s initial work was influenced by various methods and institutions. As he wrote in 1898, “By taking together all the good points I had learned of the various schools and adding thereto my own inventions and discoveries, I devised a new system for physical culture and moral training as well as for winning contests.” However, after judo was introduced into the Japanese public schools, a process that took place between 1906 and 1917, there was increasing standardization of kata and tournament technique.
Kanō also oversaw the development and growth of his judo organization, the Kodokan Judo Institute. This was a remarkable effort in itself, as the Kodokan’s enrollment grew from fewer than a dozen students in 1882 to more than a thousand dan-graded members by 1911.
In May or June 1882, Kanō started the Kodokan judo with twelve mats, in space belonging to the Eishō-ji, a Buddhist temple in what was then the Shitaya ward of Tokyo, with Iikubo attending the dōjō three days a week to help teach. Kanō had only a handful of students at this time, but they improved their technique through regular contests with local police jūjutsu teams.
The Kodokan moved to a 60-mat space in April 1890. In December 1893, the Kodokan started moving to a larger space located in Tomizaka-cho, Koishikawa-cho, and the move was completed by February 1894.
The Kodokan’s first kangeiko, or winter training, took place at the Tomizaka-cho dojo during the winter of 1894–1895. Midsummer training, or shochugeiko, started in 1896. “In order to inure the pupil to the two extremes of heat and cold and to cultivate the virtue of perseverance”, Britain’s E.J. Harrison wrote:
all [Japanese judo] dojo including the Kodokan hold special summer and winter exercises. For the former, the hottest month of the year, August, and the hottest time of the day, from 1 pm, are chosen; and for the latter commencing in January, the pupils start wrestling at four o’clock in the morning and keep it up until seven or eight. The summer practice is termed shochugeiko and the winter practice kangeiko. There is likewise the ‘number exercise’ on the last day of the winter practice when as a special test of endurance, the pupils practice from 4 am till 2 pm and not infrequently go through as many as a hundred bouts within that interval.
During the late 1890s, the Kodokan moved two more times; first to a 207-mat space in November 1897, and then to a 314-mat space in January 1898.
In 1909, Kanō incorporated the Kodokan, and endowed it with 10,000 yen (then about US$4,700). The reason, said Japan Times on 30 March 1913, was “so that this wonderful institution might be able to reconstruct, for that is what it really does, the moral and physical nature of the Japanese youth, without its founder’s personal attention.”
The Kodokan moved once again during Kanō’s lifetime, and on 21 March 1934, the Kodokan dedicated this 510-mat facility. Guests at the opening included the Belgian, Italian, and Afghan ambassadors to Japan.In 1958, when the Kodokan moved to its current eight story facility, that now has more than 1200 mats, the old building was sold to the Japan Karate Association.
On 18 April 1888, Kanō and Reverend Thomas Lindsay presented a lecture called “Jiujitsu: The Old Samurai Art of Fighting without Weapons” to the Asiatic Society of Japan. This lecture took place at the British Embassy in Tokyo. Its theme was that the main principle of judo involved gaining victory by yielding to strength.
Being an idealist, Kanō had broad aims for judo, which he saw as something that simultaneously encompassed self-defense, physical culture, and moral behavior.
Since the very beginning, I had been categorizing Judo into three parts, rentai-ho, shobu-ho, and shushin-ho. Rentai-ho refers to Judo as a physical exercise, while shobu-ho is Judo as a martial art. Shushin-ho is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue as well as the study and application of the principles of Judo in our daily lives. I therefore anticipated that practitioners would develop their bodies in an ideal manner, to be outstanding in matches, and also to improve their wisdom and virtue and make the spirit of Judo live in their daily lives. If we consider Judo first as a physical exercise, we should remember that our bodies should not be stiff, but free, quick and strong. We should be able to move properly in response to our opponent’s unexpected attacks. We should also not forget to make full use of every opportunity during our practice to improve our wisdom and virtue. These are the ideal principles of my Judo.
“Because judo developed based on the martial arts of the past, if the martial arts practitioners of the past had things that are of value, those who practice judo should pass all those things on. Among these, the samurai spirit should be celebrated even in today’s society.”
In 1915, Kanō gave this definition to judo:
Judo is the way of the highest or most efficient use of both physical and mental energy. Through training in the attack and defense techniques of judo, the practitioner nurtures their physical and mental strength, and gradually embodies the essence of the Way of Judo. Thus, the ultimate objective of Judo discipline is to be utilized as a means to self-perfection, and thenceforth to make a positive contribution to society.
In 1918, Kanō added:
Don’t think about what to do after you become strong – I have repeatedly stressed that the ultimate goal of Judo is to perfect the self, and to make a contribution to society.
In the old days, Jūjutsu practitioners focused their efforts on becoming strong, and did not give too much consideration to how they could put that strength to use. Similarly, Judo practitioners of today do not make sufficient efforts to understand the ultimate objective of Judo. Too much emphasis is placed on the process rather than the objective, and many only desire to become strong and be able to defeat their opponents. Of course, I am not negating the importance of wanting to become strong or skilled. However, it must be remembered that this is just part of the process for a greater objective… The worth of all people is dependent on how they spend their life making contributions.
During March 1922, Kanō brought all this to fruition through the introduction of the Kodokan Bunkakai, or Kodokan Cultural Association. This organization held its first meeting at Tokyo’s Seiyoken Hotel on 5 April 1922, and held its first public lecture three days later at the YMCA hall in Kanda. The mottoes of the Kodokan Cultural Association were “Good Use of Spiritual and Physical Strength” and “Prospering in Common for Oneself and Others.” Although those are literal translations, the phrases were usually translated into English as “Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort” and “Mutual Welfare and Benefit.”
The purpose of my talk is to treat of judo as a culture: physical, mental, and moral, – but as it is based on the art of attack and defense, I shall first explain what this judo of the contest is…
A main feature of the art is the application of the principles of non-resistance and taking advantage of the opponent’s loss of equilibrium; hence the name jūjutsu (literally soft or gentle art), or judo (doctrine of softness or gentleness)…
…of the principle of the Maximum Efficiency in Use of Mind and Body. On this principle the whole fabric of the art and science of judo is constructed.
Judo is taught under two methods, one called randori, and the other kata. Randori, or Free Exercise, is practiced under conditions of actual contest. It includes throwing, choking, holding down, and bending or twisting the opponent’s arms or legs. The combatants may use whatever tricks they like, provided they do not hurt each other, and obey the general rules of judo etiquette.
Kata, which literally means Form, is a formal system of prearranged exercises, including, besides the aforementioned actions, hitting and kicking and the use of weapons, according to rules under which each combatant knows beforehand exactly what his opponent is going to do.
The use of weapons and hitting and kicking is taught in kata and not in randori, because if these practices were resorted to in randori injury might well arise…
As to the moral phase of judo, – not to speak of the discipline of the exercise room involving the observance of the regular rules of etiquette, courage, and perseverance, kindness to and respect for others, impartiality and fair play so much emphasized in Western athletic training, – judo has special importance in Japan…
Although Kanō promoted judo whenever he could, he earned his living as an educator.
Kanō entered Tokyo Imperial University during June 1877. He majored in political science and economics, which at that time were taught by the Department of Aesthetics and Morals. He graduated in July 1882, and the following month he began work as a professor, fourth class, at the Gakushuin, or Peers School, in Tokyo.
In 1883, Kanō was appointed professor of economics at Komaba Agricultural College (now the Faculty of Agriculture at University of Tokyo), but during April 1885, he returned to Gakushuin, with the position of principal.
In January 1891, Kanō was appointed to a position at the Ministry of Education. In August 1891, he gave up this position to become a dean at the Fifth Higher Normal School (present-day Kumamoto University). Around this same time, Kanō married. His wife, Sumako Takezoe, was the daughter of a former Japanese ambassador to Korea. Eventually, the couple had six daughters and three sons.
During the summer of 1892, Kanō went to Shanghai to help establish a program that would allow Chinese students to study in Japan. Kanō revisited Shanghai during 1905, 1915, and 1921.
In January 1898, Kanō was appointed director of primary education at the Ministry of Education, and in August 1899, he received a grant that allowed him to study in Europe. His ship left Yokohama on 13 September 1899, and he arrived in Marseilles on 15 October. He spent about a year in Europe, and during this trip, he visited Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, and London. He returned to Japan in 1901. Soon after returning to Japan, he resumed his post as president of Tokyo Higher Normal School, and he remained in this position until his retirement on 16 January 1920. He also helped establish Nada Middle High School in 1928 at Kobe, which later became one of highest-ranked private high schools in Japan.
Considering that he majored in political science and economics, Kanō’s family thought that after graduating from university, he would pursue a career in some government ministry. Indeed, through influential friends of his father’s, he was initially offered a position with the Ministry of Finance. However, his love for teaching led him instead to accept a position teaching at Gakushuin. The students of Japan’s elite attended Gakushuin and were of higher social positions than their teachers. The students were allowed to ride in rickshaws (jinrikisha) right to the doors of the classes, whereas teachers were forbidden. The teachers often felt compelled to visit the homes of these students whenever summoned to give instruction or advice. In effect, the teachers were treated as servants.
Kanō believed this to be unacceptable. He refused to play such a subservient role when teaching his students. To Kanō, a teacher must command respect. At the same time, he employed the latest European and American pedagogical methods. The theories of the American educator John Dewey especially influenced him. Kanō’s manner had the desired effect upon the students, but the administration was slower to warm to his methods and it was not until the arrival of a new principal that Kanō’s ideas found acceptance.
All this is to say that Kanō’s educational philosophy was a combination of both traditional Japanese neo-Confucianism and contemporary European and American philosophies, to include Instrumentalism, Utilitarianism, and “evolutionary progressivism”, as Social Darwinism was then known.
The goals of Kanō’s educational philosophies and methods (indeed, the goals of most Japanese educational programs of the early 20th century) were: to develop minds, bodies, and spirits in equal proportion; to increase patriotism and loyalty, especially to the Emperor; to teach public morality; and to increase physical strength and stamina, especially for the purpose of making young men more fit for military service.
Calisthenics, especially as done in the huge formations favored at the time, could be boring, and at the high school and college levels, games such as baseball and rugby were more often spectator sports than a practical source of physical exercise for the masses. Moreover, at elite levels, baseball, football, and even judo did not put much emphasis on moral or intellectual development. Instead, elite coaches and athletes tended to emphasize winning, at almost any cost.
For Kanō, the answer to this conundrum was one word: judo. Not judo in the sense of simply throwing other people around, and definitely not judo in the sense of winning at any cost. Instead, it was judo in the sense of “Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort” and “Mutual Welfare and Benefit.” Or, as Kanō himself put it to a reporter in 1938: “When yielding is the highest efficient use of energy, then yielding is judo.”
International Olympic Committee
Kanō Jigorō after the IOC vote on 31 July 1936 in Berlin, which decided to organize the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo.
Kanō became active in the work of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1909. This came about after Kristian Hellström of the Swedish Olympic Committee wrote to the governments of Japan and China to ask if they were going to send teams to the 1912 Olympics. The Japanese government did not want to embarrass itself on an international stage by saying no, so the Ministry of Education was told to look into this. The Ministry logically turned to Kanō, who was a physical educator with recent experience in Europe. Kanō agreed to represent Japan at the International Olympics Committee, and, after talking to the French ambassador to Japan and reading pamphlets sent by the Swedes, developed, in his words, “a fairly good idea of what the Olympic Games were.”
Toward fulfilling his duties as a member, in 1912, Kanō helped establish the Japan Amateur Athletic Association (Dai Nippon Tai-iku Kyokai), which had the mission of overseeing amateur sport in Japan. Kanō was the official representative of Japan to the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912, and he was involved in organizing the Far Eastern Championship Games held in Osaka during May 1917. In 1920, Kanō represented Japan at the Antwerp Olympics, and during the early 1920s, he served on the Japanese Council of Physical Education. He did not play much part in organizing the Far Eastern Championship Games held in Osaka in May 1923, nor did he attend the 1924 Olympics in Paris, but he did represent Japan at the Olympics in Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932), and Berlin (1936). From 1931 to 1938, he was also one of the leading international spokesmen in Japan’s bid for the 1940 Olympics.
Kanō’s chief goal in all this was, in his words, to gather people together for a common cause, with friendly feeling. His goals did not, however, particularly involve getting judo into the Olympics. As he put it in a letter to Britain’s Gunji Koizumi in 1936:
I have been asked by people of various sections as to the wisdom and the possibility of Judo being introduced at the Olympic Games. My view on the matter, at present, is rather passive. If it be the desire of other member countries, I have no objection. But I do not feel inclined to take any initiative. For one thing, Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment. Only one of the forms of Judo training, the so-called randori can be classed as a form of sport… In addition, the Olympic Games are so strongly flavored with nationalism that it is possible to be influenced by it and to develop Contest Judo as a retrograde form as Jujitsu was before the Kodokan was founded. Judo should be as free as art and science from external influences – political, national, racial, financial or any other organized interest. And all things connected with it should be directed to its ultimate object, the benefit of humanity.
Death and Legacy
In 1934, Kanō stopped giving public exhibitions. The reason was his failing health, probably compounded by kidney stones. The British judoka Sarah Mayer wrote “People don’t seem to think he will live much longer” to her friends in London. Nevertheless, Kanō continued attending important Kodokan events such as kagami-biraki (New Years’ ceremonies) whenever he could, and he continued participating in Olympics business.
In May 1938, Kanō died at sea, during a voyage that he made as member of the IOC on board the NYK Line motor ship Hikawa Maru.
Judo did not die with Kanō. Instead, during the 1950s, judo clubs sprang up throughout the world, and in 1964, judo was introduced as an Olympic sport in the Tokyo Olympics, and was reintroduced at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Kanō’s posthumous reputation was therefore assured. Nonetheless, his true legacy was his idealism. As Kanō said in a speech given in 1934, “Nothing under the sun is greater than education. By educating one person and sending him into the society of his generation, we make a contribution extending a hundred generations to come.”
Judo and Philosophy
Jigoro Kano and Modern Japan
The phrase critical mass is often used to illustrate the idea that various conditions are just right or ripe for an event to occur. Critical mass assumes a causation factor. In other words, because of certain preceding events, the following event is primed to occur. Judo philosophy also had events surrounding its development. Japan had come out of isolation by the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa with the United States. In 1868, Emperor Meiji was restored to power and there was a great push to modernize Japan. Along with the feudal system, all things connected to it were discarded. This included all of the old martial arts of ancient Japan. Modernization for Japan meant learning from the West; the West that had so traumatically invaded their isolation. Language became an important tool of advancement and those who possessed the ability to speak foreign languages, especially English, were in demand. It was necessary to import new ideas and ways of thinking in order to build a nation. These ideas would eventually knit together the fibers that would make Japan more than a loose collection of islands. Emperor Meiji called for quick action to modernize. The result was Japan’s first railroad system, postal service, modern military system, constitution, civil codes, and an education system.
Jigoro Kano, who was born in 1860, was only eight at the time when all this began. Even at this young age, Jigoro’s future was being shaped, as he was enrolled in English classes while still in Kobe, Japan.
Young Jigoro Kano was educated in Confucian classics from the age of ten and continued his studies even after his move to the Tokyo area. The Confucian classics provided Kano with his first formal introduction into ethics, morality, which provided him with an awareness of social obligation. Additionally, he studied English even after his arrival in Tokyo under Shuhei Mitsukuri a fellow student of famed educational reformer, Yukichi Fukuzawa. His father’s foresight was in preparation for life in the new Japan.
At seventeen, Jigoro Kano entered Tokyo University and studied political science, economics, and philosophy, under Harvard trained Ernest Fenollosa. Among the philosophers Kano studied were Spencer, Mill, Burnham, and Sidgewick. No doubt, the influence of these men and philosophers, like his use of English, was to remain with him and serve him well in the era of an emerging Japan. In addition to Jigoro Kano’s ability to absorb information was an emerging talent to analyze, synthesize, and create new and interesting ways by which progress could be realized.
The Birth of Judo
At about the same time that Jigoro Kano was in Tokyo University he was also pursuing his study of jujitsu. He had begun his study of the art due in part to his small stature and large appetite for confrontation. In his youth, he was short tempered, but seemed always to lose his battles to larger opponents. He needed an equalizer and jiu-jitsu was what interested him. At first his practice of this art was not looked upon kindly by his father but eventually his father was reported to have said, “Well, if you are so intent.” On his father’s advice, young Jigoro earnestly studied Jiujitsu, with physical and mental zeal. Through his study of Jujitsu various questions constantly plagued him. These questions or stumbling blocks became the eventual cornerstone to the development of judo. Naoki Murata lists them as follows.
1. When Jigoro Kano started jujitsu under Hachinosuke Fukuda, one of his first lessons found himself flying to his back by a throw. He got up and asked, “How did you throw me?” Fukuda merely motioned to come on. So Kano attacked, and gain, he found himself on his back. Once again, he inquired, “How did you do that?” Still no answer. Only a hand gesture to come on. Obediently, Kano got up and attacked, all the more determined to overcome Fukuda’s upright posture. Alas, a third time Kano was, unceremoniously bounced on his behind. Undeterred Kano again asked, “How did you do that!” This time the master’s reply was “Don’t talk. Just keep trying 1000 times and you will learn.”
Despite all his years of education, Kano could not explain how he was being tossed aside like some unwanted crumpled up piece of paper. Why wasn’t there some logical explanation for this physical phenomenon! Was there not a better way to teach these techniques other than just practice?
2. His second mental stumbling block came after four years of having practice jiujitsu. One day during practice with his instructor Tsuneotoshi Iikubo, Kano was able to throw him repeatedly. Master Iikubo stopped and asked, “How did you throw me”? Kano replied, “I noticed that each time that you where about to throw you first pulled or pushed your opponent off‑balance first, before entering in to finish the throw. I merely did the same.” Iikubo then awarded Kano a certificate of graduation in recognition of his understanding of the art. Kano, in his own mind wondered if his insight and explanation into how a throw was set up was a good enough. By this explanation alone, could he teach jujitsu? On one hand, there was his former instructor, Hachinosuke Fukuda who had no ability to verbally explain what was occurring in the process of a throw, but was expert at throwing, on the other hand would mere words suffice to teach a throw?
3. Jigoro Kano was an avid collector of jujitsu manuscripts. Many of them still can be found at the Kodokan Institute in Tokyo, Japan. In them, he found his third question. He was perplexed as to which one was truly the very best system of techniques.
4. One of the important principles in jujitsu was a principle of “Jiu‑no‑ri.” The principle of giving way rather than opposing force. For example, if a force of 10 units were in direct opposition to another force of 3 units then, the 10 units of force would be 7 units. If instead of being in direct opposition, the 3 units returned in the same direction as the 10 unit force, a force could be turned to the advantage of 13 units. This was an explanation that was often use in reference to the application of a throw, where someone larger was rushing forward to attack and a smaller person turned and used this onrushing force against the opponent.
Unfortunately, this principle did not always work well in all instances. In some examples where a choke or an arm bar, giving way may not produce the best results. Search as he did Jigoro Kano could not find a universal principle, which would work in every instance.
5. A fifth question that Professor Murata cites is really not a question or doubt but rather a revelation on the part of Jigoro Kano. It was through his long and arduous practice of the art that he found himself changed. He was much stronger and healthier. Because of his physical prowess, he had more confidence in himself. With more confidence, his demeanor also changed. This led him to believe the physical activity of judo could improve the character of the practitioner. Moreover, if jujitsu could improve one person why not many persons, better yet a large group, or benefit society.
Basically, these were some of the stumbling blocks Kano solved, leading to the idea and formulation of judo as a mental as well as a physical activity.
The Three Guiding Principles
Parallel to Jigoro Kano’s questions were the ideas prevailing during his time. San-iku-shugi or the The Three Guiding Principles included the concepts of intellectual (chiiku), moral (tokuiku), and physical (taiiku). “These were new terms,” states David Waterhouse, in his paper, Kano Jigoro and The Beginning of Judo, 1983. He believes that they were taken directly from Herbert Spencer, whose paper was entitled, Education, Intellectual, Moral, and Physical, published in 1861. Speculation though it may be his contact with philosophical ideas added to his beloved physical activity of jujitsu and suited the needs of an emerging nation as well. Prior to the Meiji era, there was no national educational system, much less a concept of physical education or sports. These were important ideas, which Jigoro Kano played an important part in instituting into Japan. Kano was one of the first Japanese to play baseball in Japan. This had a profound effect on the concept of team type activities, as he also included team competition into the Kodokan menu.
In Japan’s newly formed educational system, Kano played a large role in the development of one of Spencer’s three needed areas of development; the physical area. Moreover, Kano included in his statements and awareness of the other two areas of Spencer’s areas of development. Character was also discussed by Kano, “Because we are all alive in this world as humans, we must abide by the rules of humans. Once we lose the desire to live as humans, we lose our worth.” As to intellect, he wrote, “For the realization of a fuller life. It is imperative that we have and strive to develop our intelligence. Intellect aids greatly in building character.” For his efforts in the physical realm, Jigoro Kano is often referred to as the father of modern sports in Japan.
For the West, the idea of gamesmanship had been popularized by the 1500 with knights who participated in mock battles during tournaments. This activity found favor with kings as a exercise in warring skills while keeping mortality to a minimum. This tradition was passed on to where today’s mock battles are fought in the form of football games and wrestling matches. During World War II Winston Churchill stated, “The battles at Dunkirk were won on the playing fields of Eaton.” acknowledging the contribution of sports to the war effort. Actually, the 19th century, provided the world with many new sports and games. Games added not only to a nation’s competitive spirit, but also to its health. The emergence of the modern Olympic Games in 1896 also added to the ideals of sportsmanship, character building, a sound mind in a sound body, and acted as a weathervane to a nation’s vitality.
It was within the Meiji era that Jigoro Kano became an educator, physical educator, and later statesman, writer, member of the International Olympic Committee, and founder of many of Japan’s prestigious organizations, but for the judoka his most important legacy to the world was Judo. He was the right man at the right time.
Jigoro Kano’s ability to speak English was one of his greatest assets. Through his language skills, he was able to glean Western ideas on education and physical education. One auspicious event was his meeting with American Educator John Dewey, with whom he had many valuable exchanges. Through his ties with the Ministry of Education he reintroduced many of the martial arts, not as a feudal way of fighting, but as a means of developing the fitness level and the character of its participants. Dr. Kano’s was reformulation of the reasons for the practice of the martial arts, was revolutionary for Japan. The idea was that martial arts were to be practiced, not to inflict damage or death, but rather as a means of enhancing life. Amongst these martial arts, was his newly formed jujitsu which he named judo, the “gentle way.” an activity that could bring to life the ideals of “san-iku-shugi.”
Small Judo — Large Judo
From almost the very start, serious thought was put into what we so loosely know as the gentle way, judo. According to Asian studies professor, David Waterhouse of the University of Toronto, “The name judo, the pliant way, comes from Kito-ryu, having been long used in Jikishin-ryu, an old branch of it.” The use of the suffix do in judo has ties to Taoism and Buddhism and in Chinese characters when written means road or way. According to Professor Naoki Murata, Kodokan historian, “The reason that the ju of judo was kept by Professor Kano was out of respect for tradition.” Together judo took on a different flavor. Not only was there a tradition of power but thought, philosophical thought that could aid in the development of a thin emerging nation.
In the case of judo, its meaning was that through its practice, one would develop concepts, skills, and attitudes that would assist one in everyday life situations. Dr. Kano in his writings also emphasizes the idea of small judo versus large judo. Small judo is concerned only with techniques and building of the body. Large judo is mindful of the pursuit of the purpose of life: the soul and the body used in the most effective manner for a good result.
One of Dr. Kano’s more interesting statements concerning education, and in particular, physical education was, “The body is the instrument for the purpose of life, without which there is nothing.” Such a simple but ever so profound statement. The implication is that care must be taken to ensure its proper functioning. In addition, that the mind cannot function, experience, or learn, without having a body. The body is the package in which the mind functions and that their functioning is integrally linked. One Japanese word for experience, taiken, means to experience with the body.
The Judo Maxims
Although Dr. Kano was widely known as a scholar, there was a side of him which favored experience over knowledge purely based on books. Many of his maxims are derived from life experiences that led to a certain conclusion. David Waterhouse, in his paper, “Kano Jigoro and The Beginning of the Judo Movement” writes, “As far as I can judge, Kano’s thinking evolved to meet the changing circumstances of the movement, which he created”. He was a pragmatist (in a loose sense of the word) and he mistrusted abstract principles based on book learning. In a note written in 1902 or 1903, he made a distinction between learning which is alive and learning which is dead. The former was a practical use, the later serve no purpose. “If one reads books, excessively, even if one does many things, what one knows may or may not be useful, depending on the circumstances.”
“Mutual Welfare and Benefit”
The maxim, Mutual Welfare and Benefit Ji-ta Kyoei, can be thought of as referring to Kano’s concept of the interdependence of body and mind, but more importantly here, the interdependence of one person working with another person. It was the resulting revelation of years of physical practice that enable Kano to understand the benefits of mutual encounters. In Buddhism, the two paths are ji-riki (self strength) and ta-riki (other’s strength). In judo, there is also the strength of the individual, which is pitted against the strength of others resulting in a positive change. An example is the mutual benefit found in judo’s randori practice, which is done, not by oneself, but with another and results in the eventual development of both individuals. Judo is mindful of this resulting benefit from the practice of two individuals, and thus bow in gratitude and respect before and after the practice session.
Ji-Ko No Kansei
A seldom quoted maxim is that of Ji-ko no Kansei or self-perfection. Most likely ignored because of the seemingly egocentric motives at the time of judo’s mass importation into the United States just after World War II. In addition, the other maxim of Mutual Welfare and Benefit, already has inherent in the word mutual, implication that oneself as well as another is involved. Today it has been told that we must improve ourselves. Scores of self-help books attests to this fact. The dilemma, however, arises when one asked, “How is it that you can have both self centered act and mutual welfare and benefit at the same time? Doesn’t someone lose out when one person thinks of improving himself?” Kano explained it thus. “Needless to say, there is a gap between utopia and the sometimes reality of things. Let’s say that rather than two individuals we think on a larger scale and have two countries at war and one of them is your country. Whose side would you favor then?” He continues, “Build yourself first, then you may help others.”
In the short-term, one side suffers a loss, but both have gained from the experience, and at a later time under different conditions the outcome may be different. One need only think of our next randori practice session or shiai tournament. Who will win? What was gained? Competition tends to breed excellence, and in the long run there is mutual gain from the encounter.
Seiryoku Zenyo is commonly translated to mean Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort. When Dr. Kano was still a student he found his roommate would always finish his homework earlier and in addition get better grades. Why was it that he had the same amount of homework, as his roommate, same instructors, yet this result? He decided to observe his roommate which eventually resulted in the maxim of Seiryoku Zenyo, maximum efficiency with minimum effort. He states, “In order to study the maxim of Seiryoku Zenyo we must first know what energy is. Energy is life force or the essential force for living. A correct use of this energy will result in maximum efficiency with minimum effort.”
As per energy expenditure and a judo throw, do we expend more energy to throw a person if he is off-balance or on balance? Do we expend more or less energy if we have our center of gravity above or below our opponent’s center of gravity? Do we use energy more effectively if we do the technique quickly or slowly? Is it possible that there is a more efficient way of applying energy? Could one say from this use of energy, one could learn and understand the principle of maximal efficiency with minimum effort?
It is through practical experiences that judoka may learn lessons. The lessons may have to be translated from the practice of judo into words and usable concepts but the body experiences of judo are kept for reference and understood at a very basic level. Here are a few concepts that are realized through practice, and with a little imagination can be translated into usable concepts for everyday living, large judo:
- Over a period of time and through diligent practice, one can become better at judo(at a hobby, sport, work, etc.).
- There are subtle techniques that allow one person to do better than another person who does not have technique.
- Although one may not be so skilled to begin with, if one has heart one may still succeed.
- There are different types of strengths in each of us.
- Over a period of time we rely on different strengths at different times.
- Energy utilized in a successful ways can instill confidence.
While different ideals may abound within philosophy, it is more an ongoing process rather than a set of immutable ideas. There are philosophical thoughts surrounding judo. Initially in the martial art of jujitsu, the sole thought was how to kill, maim, or control. At that time, it entailed a philosophy based on survival by hand-to-hand combat. With the opening of Japan, it had to change or disappear. Kano remolded jujitsu. This replacement became a way of life, with lessons in its practice that could be applied to everyday life. He named it judo. Today it is an Olympic sport, which is practiced in over 200 nations worldwide. The emphasis of the goals and philosophy of judo have been broadened and while there is a current emphasis towards the idea of judo being a sport concerned mainly with winning and losing, there are still other elements to judo which keep it grounded to the grass roots development of individuals into productive citizens.
The goals of judo are diverse. They provide for a wide range of participants with varied interests: It can also serve as a means of self defense; the police use many of the techniques of judo to subdue criminal offenders; For children, judo provides a positive atmosphere where they learn discipline and mutual respect. Children account for more than 75% of our judo population; older participants practice it for recreational and fitness value, and education’s use of judo is to change behavior in a positive way. Each has it’s own set of specialized ideals and goals concerning judo. Each draws from judo’s philosophical core.
- Hiza guruma
- Sasae tsurikomi ashi
- Uki goshi
- Osoto gari (Major Outside Reap)
- O goshi
- Ouchi gari
- Seoi nage: Ippon/Morote
Osaekomi-waza: (pins / mat holds)
Shime-waza: (chokes or strangles)
Tournament Management: 1 Assistant Director/Leadership Position, CCSF Invitational Judo Tournament
- Competition Bracket
- Facility Setup