Food for the Body
If so, then what is Judo
A breath for the soul…?

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Japanese judo
Downed by kesa-gatame
1964

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Eyes fixed, grip subtle
Judoka faces the foe
Searching for ippon

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Windmill sweep uke
Falls like cherry blossom
Tossed by the wind

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One heartbeat careful
Turning around upside down
Crushed like careless snow

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Eyes squint, nose crinkles
Toxic smell rolls over us
Please, please, wash your gi!

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The steams of July
January’s stinging drafts
Dojo doors open

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Crashing down
Towards stiff tatami —
Stinging defeat

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Spring contest rages
Inner calm the judoka
Exploding kiai!

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Drifting butterfly
Strike swiftly, uchimata!
The spine is fractured

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Old sensei watches
Young men – no tai sabaki
He snaps! “Use Hara!!”

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Waiting pressure builds
The cutting ashi waza
Brings winter defeat

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Old Judoka slumps
Feeble man? No! Watch him fight!
True skill knows no age

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My frozen garden
Stiffened hanging judogi
White sprinkled all over

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Echoes in disgust
“Maitta! Don’t you know this?”
His arm now hangs limp

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The contestants bow
White and blue face each other
Ippon is the goal

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Immersed Judoka
lifetime tatami dripping
winter walking dry?

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The thin wrap of cloth
(Ippon) heavy grows the sash
his winter coming.

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shuffling bent old man
seeking sun in the green field
tatami warms him

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Hugh gray cloud rising
Twisted black and white lightning
thunderous ippon

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Stiff kuro obi
summer floating butterfly
Metamorphosis

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Oh my aching neck
Okuri-eri-jime
Sliding all the way

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Lacking kuzushi,
Launches me into orbit.
So many stars out.

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An early winter
Red snow cools conflagration
Men called to battle

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Blowing on hands,
Cold feet on tatami,
Winter training.

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IJF judo
Jigoro rolls in his grave
Ippon desu-ka?!?!

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Failed seoi nage
Kouchi makikomi
Thunder and lightning

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Why fight for high grips?
Morote seoi nage
Seiryoku Zenyo

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Hot summer judo
Move in, pull up, squat low, kake
Down you go. Ippon!

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The wind blowing cold
Okuriashi Harai
Both feet sliding out

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“When in doubt, choke ’em out!”