You too can be the life of the party…

Any judoka can be the life of the party–with a little luck and by paying attention to detail. A basic knowledge of Judo will see you through any sticky situation, whether attacked by rude boys or placed strategically between your mother and your youngest brother. Your opening move can vary to suit individual tastes–form the casual “As I was saying to a fellow at the dojo last night…” to the downright boastful “Well, normally I’m a peaceful sort of person, but when I’m aggravated I just hurl ‘em at the chandelier.” Anyone with a school rank and sufficient enthusiasm can have the local women’s club talking Judo in a flash.

judoman.gif The most important part of the operation is to throw your Judo shaft into the conversation, closely followed by a practical demonstration, or at least by production of, for example, a copy of the Kodokan bulletin. The better method, however, is the practical display, which can be effected either individually or with a partner. The individual method that I have found most suitable is to pretend to stumble on entering the room, and to perform your best rolling breakfall, coming up smiling and unruffled at the feet of your host or hostess. Nobody, repeat nobody, can fail to notice this unorthodox entrance, and will crowd to know just how you managed it. Failing this (those below 5th kyu of course will not attempt it) it is possible to perform some Judo exercises in a preoccupied manner, alternately pivoting and sweeping with the feet. Should someone ask if you are feeling all right, you can look surprised and give vent to something like “Oh I beg your pardon, one develops these little habits after a course in Judo!” If your victim is ill-mannered enough to ignore this conversation-starter, you are at liberty to resort to more violent procedures, such as gathering up his arm and attempting ude-garami. Very few people have been known to ignore this, and it will then be possible to throw a few teasers into the conversation, such as “tsukuri,” “hane-goshi” or “unity of duality.” This will certainly lead someone to ask just what you mean, and from then on you have the advantage and can take over the reins from your hostess.

A good method of keeping the upper hand is to organize the party into pairs and forcibly teach them to breakfall. Those unwilling to participate may be driven in shame from the room by judicious use of such phrases as “wimp,” “spoilsport,” or the psychological method “well, don’t say you never had the chance to learn when someone goes for you with a razor.” After half an hour of breakfalling, and a copious supply of gin, the bolder spirits will want to try tomoenage, and these should be encouraged. Having thus thinned out the ranks, you can get down to the elements of kime-no-kata, and encourage young and old to work off their inhibitions this way.

A lot depends on the party of course. At weddings and anniversaries the primary participants should be allowed to say a few words before you take over, but at no time would you weaken. If you do, someone will want to dance or similar rot will set in. Having captured your audience, it is up to you to keep it. For one thing you will have no difficulty in getting the guests to depart. It is also cheaper this way–aspirin may be obtained in bargain-sized bottles and placed in small dishes around the room. Good luck judo party-goers, it’s up to you!


I may venture to say, loosely, that in Judo there is a sort of counter for every twist, wrench, pull, push or bend. Only the Judo expert does not oppose such movements at all. No, he yields to them. But he does much more than yield to them. He aids them with a wicked sleight that causes the assailant to put out his own shoulder, to fracture his own arm, or in a desparate case, even to break his own neck or back. …..Lafcadio Hearn