Ghost of Judo, A Modern Day Miyamoto Musashi
By Jim Chen, M.D. and Theodore Chen
Masahiko Kimura - Greatest Male Judoka
Ingrid Bergamans - Greatest Female Judoka
Masahiko Kimura (5’6”,185 lb), obtained 5th dan at age of 18, was 1937 All Japan Judo Champion at age of 20. He retired from Judo competition in 1950 without a single defeat. In my opinion, he is the greatest Judo fighter of all time. Others would disagree saying Shiro Saigo 6th dan (5th dan at age of 21), Kyuzo Mifune 10th dan ( 5th dan at age 26), Anton Geesink, Wilhelm Ruska , Yasuhiro Yamashita , Ingrid Bergamans, Naoya Ogawa, Ryoko Tamura, Toshihiko Koga , etc were the greatest.
It is at least fair to say that Kimura was the strongest fighter before the rule addition of Koka, Yuko, Shito, and Chui. Barring a few exceptions, all of Kimura’s career wins were by Ippon. In those days, spectators and competitors never questioned if Kimura was going to win? This never crossed their minds. More often the question was “How long can his opponent last?” or “Is Kimura going to win by O-soto-gari, Ippon-seoi-nage or Ude-garami?”
An Ippon is certainly more gratifying a win than by Hansoku-make. A world champion should have no loss in two years, an Olympic gold medallist should have no loss in four years. In other words a true champion should be a very consistent performer. Recently I obtained more documents from Kodokan. This article will be a more complete story on Masahiko Kimura.
1947 West Japan Judo Championship
This championship was held on July 1,1947 at Fukuoka. To determine a final champion, a round robin was set up between Kimura (age 30, All Japan champion 1937, 38, 39 and 49), Yasuichi Matsumoto (age 29, 187 cm,185 lb, All Japan champion 1948) and Yoshihiko Yoshimatsu (age 27, 5’11’’, 250lb, All Japan champion 1952, 53 and 55). Kimura dominated Matsumoto over two overtimes to win by decision. Matsumoto lost to Yoshimatsu by Tate-shiho-gatame. Kimura defeated Yoshimatsu with Osoto-gari for Waza-ari then finished with Ipponseoi-nage for Ippon. His reward for the tournament was the equivalent of $10,000 US dollars. The money was greatly needed for him to support his family, in particular, his mother. Twenty years later Kimura still could remember the cheerful face of his mother when he gave her the money. Later in his career, Yoshimatsu was runner-up at the 1956 First World Judo Championship. He threw Anton Geesink at the semifinal with left Uchi-mata in 45 seconds.
1948 Kyushu vs Kansai Individual Meet (Kimura’s First Hikiwake)
Kimura demonstrating his unique Ippon Seoi-nage
On March 15, 1948, Kimura took part in the championship held at Fukuoka. In the preliminary round Kimura threw Toshiro Daigo 5th dan (age 23, current 9th dan, 179 cm, 90kg, All Japan Champion in 1951 and 54) with O-soto-gari then pinned him with Kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame. At the semifinal Kimura again won by O-soto-gari over Hashimoto 6th dan. His final opponent was Yasuichi Matsumoto(6’2’’,185 lb). Matsumoto was the All Japan champion in 1948, a formidable rival. This final match was most fierce fight, perhaps in the history of Judo. Both of them attacked with each other with O-soto-gari. Initially Matsumoto scored Waza-ari with O-soto-gari .Within short time Kimura threw him with Osto-gari for Waza-ari ,followed with Kesa-gatame. Matsumoto was able to escape from the hold very quickly. When the time was up in 7 minutes, it was a draw. This was followed by 4 rounds of overtime. During the last overtime Kimura applied his special Ippon-seoi-nage (locking his opponent's both hands). Both of them fell off the platform, blood coming out of Matsumoto’ mouth. The crowd shouted "Stop the match. Do you want to kill them through this shiai?" The referee declared a draw to end this 35 minutes fight. In the official document it stated Kimura applied the standing Ude-garami on Matsumoto. Matsumoto career losses were to to Takahiko Ishikawa by Utsuri-goshi and Ouchi-gari, Yoshimi Osawa by Uranage, Tokio Hirano by Seoinage , Yoshihiko Yoshimatsu by Tate-shiho-gatame, Isamu Fujiwara by Uchi-mata, and Hiroshi Yamamoto by Ouchi-gari.
Nevertheless Matsumoto proven to be the toughest rival for Kimura.
On May 2nd,1948 Matsumoto became the All Japan Judo Champion held at Kodokan. Kimura was not invited to compete due to his refusal to return the Champion flag. First four rounds Matsumoto won by Osoto-gari,Osoto-otoshi , Osoto-makikomi,and Osoto-gari. At the semifinal Matsumoto fought to a draw to Yoshimatsu. Matsumoto advanced to final by random flip of a coin. In the finals, he dominated Tokuharu Itoh over three overtimes to win by decision.
1949 All Japan Judo Championship (Kimura’s second Hikiwake)
Since the end of WWII, Kimura did not have chance to practice Judo at all. He was trying to support his family with unstable job, such as broker for coal sales, body guard etc. However, before Judo tournament, his best friends always came to him with travel expenses and gifts to encourage him to bring the trophy home.
Kimura, age 32 took part in All Japan Judo Championship held on May 5th,1949 at Kodokan for the last time. On the way from Kumamoto to Tokyo. A fortune teller told him to return to Kumamoto as something terrible might happen to him. Kimura did not take the advice and arrived in Tokyo. First thing he went to Kodokan and practiced with best technician Yoshimi Osawa. Kimura felt some relief that he was not as strong as before, but overall he had not lost too much of his power or skills. Yoshimi Osawa wrote, "I competed against Kimura once at the 1949 All-Japan------I remember during practice sessions he would regularly throw me outside the mat onto the hardwood floors.”
In his first match he had a tough fight against Teruhisa Hatori 6th dan (170cm,242 lb). Hatori was the champion of the East Judo Championship. On the two overtime Kimura took Hatori down with De-ashi-harai followed with Ude-garami. In the second match he tackled down Yoshimi Osawa 5th dan (current 9th dan, 5’4’’ 150 lb) and pinned him with Kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame. Osawa was considered to be one of the best technicians. Osawa had defeated Yasuichi Matsumoto by Uranage in a 1948 Fukuoka meet. He won his semifinal match over Itoh 7th dan(190 cm, 220 lb) with dominance (Ippon-seoi-nage, however out of bounds). Itoh 7th dan , age 37, was a runner up in 1934 (at age 22,a student from Busen) and 1948(this is not typo error). Itoh was a great fighter, specialized in Osoto-gari and Uchimata. Because Kimura had not trained for years, he pulled his muscle while applying Osoto-gari during the fight against Itoh.
Ishikawa threw Daigo(age 23) with Ippon seoi-nage at the semifinal.
Takahiko Ishikawa 6th dan ,age 32 (5’7’’,180lb) was set to fight Kimura in the finals for the fourth time. Kimura attacked with Ippon seoinage ,Osoto-gari and Hane-makikomi, while Ishikawa countered with Tai-otoshi. The fight lasted through three overtimes with neither scoring the minimal Waza-ari. Eventually Mifune (10th dan) declared both of them champions. This was Kimura’s second Hikiwake.
Ishikawa went on to win the title in 1950,was runner up in 1952 and 3rd in 1951 and 1953 at age 36. Ishikawa sensei was truly a great fighter who was still dominating through his mid 30’s.
Kimura throwing Tokuharu Itoh (1949)
High School Judo Championship - Team Competition in 1934 - Standing Ude-garami
At the final match, Kimura's Chinsei Junior High School was set to fight Kyoto First Commerce Junior High .This school was famous for their strength of Ne-waza. Each team had five members. Kimura had to fight the remaining 3,as his school had lost four members. Kimura beat the first two with Osoto-gari. The captain of Kyoto First Commerce Junior High tried to tackle Kimura. Immediately Kimura applied his standing Ude-garami and won the team title. Even though Ude-garami and similar techniques probably existed for a long time, Kimura claimed to be the first Judoka to apply in the Shiai.
5th Dan At Age Of 18
Kimura (5’6’’,187lb) was born on September 10,1917 in Kumamoto, Japan. In march 1933 he was promoted to 2nd dan by defeating all the remaining 4 members of the white team including the captain. Ogawa sensei was very surprised to find his judo-gi was soaking wet before the shiai. Kimura replied that he had just finished two hours randori with police team. Even at that age Kimura practiced 5 hours a day plus 300 push-ups. Apparently he was confident in his stamina and skill. In June 1934 He was promoted to 4th dan by defeating 6 opponents (which were all 3rd and 4th dan) in a row. In 1935 at age of 18 he became the youngest ever godan(5th dan) when he defeated 8 consecutive opponents at Kodokan.
Kimura 4 Lifetime Losses
In the spring of 1935 at the Kohaku Shiai (Kodokan Red-White Team Competition), Kimura defeated 8 opponents. In his 9th fight he lost to Ryoji Miyajima (a student from Meiji University) by Harai-maki-komi. Miyajima was the runner up in the 1938 All Japan Judo Championship (Amateur division). Katusuo Murakami beat Miyajima with left Tai-otoshi at 18 mins 36 seconds.
In May of 1935 Kimura fought Kenichiro Osawa at the 5th dan division championship. Kimura attacked with an Ouchi-gari to Osoto-gari combination. Osawa countered Kimura with such force that Kimura suffered a concussion.
In his second match at the 5th dan championship he fought Kenshiro Abe (5'5"', 168cm; 156lbs, 71kg). Abe was so skillful that Kimura felt as if he was fighting a shadow. Every throw he tried (Osoto, Seoi) had no effect. Abe countered with Uchimata, Hane-goshi, and Sasae- tsurikomi- ashi. He was so quick and powerful that Kimura was thrown off balance many times. There was no question that Abe had beaten Kimura squarely. Abe went on to win the 5th dan division.
In the fall of 1935, Kohaku shiai 5th dan division Kimura beat his first two opponents with ease. His third opponent was Hideo Yamamoto (165 cm, 5'4"; 65kg, 143 lbs; 24 years old). Kimura moved forward and walked right into a De-ashi-harai which scored a Waza-ari. After this he tried to lead with his opposite foot. However, Yamamoto was skillful with both sides and caught Kimura for Ippon with Kouchi-otoshi. Yamamoto continued to defeat 4 more opponents.
Revenge Against Abe, Osawa, and Yamamoto
Kimura was extremely disappointed with his four losses in 1935. He considered quitting Judo, but through the advice and encouragement of his best friends Funayama and Kai he began training with a new found determination. All through the nights he practiced against a tree to perfect his special Osoto-gari. Through this special training, not only he refined his unorthodox Osoto-gari, but also master the new weapon Tsuri-komi-goshi, this technique would be helpful for him to secure judo titles with ease. After six months his waza was so sharp that a daily randori at Kodokan ,Keishijo dojo (Tokyo metropolitan police judo dojo) and other dojos would result in 10 people with concussions. It was not unusual for his opponents to request "no Osoto-gari" before practice.
Since Kimura practiced at Keishijo dojo often, it was no problem for Kimura to practice with Osawa. Here he threw Osawa for Ippon with ease. Since Abe was a student at Busen in Kyoto, for some time Kimura was not able to practice with him. About six months later Wushijima sensei met Abe at Keio University. Apparently Abe had graduated from Busen and became a judo instructor at Keio University. "When are you going to practice at Kodokan?" "Tomorrow" Abe replied. Wushijima sensei passed the information to Kimura. Kimura went to Kodokan early than usual. After warming up, he sat quietly waiting for Abe to show up. The time went so slow, Kimura thought Abe would not show up. All of a sudden Abe appeared at the dojo. Kimura rushed and bowed to him asking for a practice. Abe gracefully accepted. The 500 mat dojo was silent except for the two judoka. During the 20 minute practice Abe was thrown many times with Seoinage, Osotogari, and Ouchigari. Kimura threw Abe to the hardwood floor 11 times and six times to the tatami. Disgusted Abe eventually quit. Years later when they met in London. Abe told Kimura because that abuse of judo in Kodokan, Abe had told students at Busen to train harder to beat Kimura. Wushijima sensei arranged a match for Hideo Yamamoto and Kimura at Mitsubishi Dojo in Tokyo. Yamamoto was no match for the much improved Kimura and lost by Ude-garami
Yamamoto 9th Dan.
Kimura demonstrating Osoto-gari
1936 Ko-Sen Judo Championship Team Competition
This Championship began in 1914, reached the peak around 1935. Sangaku-Shime was developed during this period.
Takushoku University took part in this Newaza-specialized team competetion for the first time in 1936. At the semi-final they faced Nagoya Higher Commerce School. Each team had 15 members. Kimura defeated the remaining three of them all by Kuzure-kamishiho-gatame. The final was easy as Kimura's team had 4 members remaining.
A true Judo champion should be "Tade Yoshi, Nede Mata Tsuyo Shi." which means Tachi waza is excellent, Newaza is even better.
All-Japan Champion (1937-1939)
In October 1935 Kimura won his first major title, the All-Japan Collegiate Championships. He won the tournament with Deashi Harai, Ude-garami, Osoto-otoshi, Osoto-gari, Ude-garami, and Kuzure-Kamishiho-gatame. At the very same tournament 2 years later (the tournament was held every two years) Kimura again won in an impressive fashion. His six wins were with Osotogari (three times), Ude-garami, Kuzure-Kamishiho-Gatame, and Ippon Seoinage. Kimura was the first student allowed to compete in the professional division at the All Japan Judo Championships held in October 1937.
Kimura (78.8 kg then) defeated his first two opponents here with Osoto-gari. Eventually, he made his way to the finals against Masayuki Nakajima (5th dan , 27 years old, 170cm, 78.8 kg), a two time champion (All Japan Amateur Judo Champion 1934 and 1935). In the first 15 minutes of the 40 minute match neither scored a decisive point. In the second period Kimura scored a Waza-ari with Ippon-seoinage. Kimura had felt he had won the match and relaxed ever so slightly. Nakajima reacted immediately with left Ken-ken Uchimata and also scored. The second period ended with the two at a draw with Waza-aris. In the last 10 minute period Nakajima was taken down where Kimura applied Kuzure-Kamishiho-Gatame and won the championship.
Nakajima actually lost to Yoshio Yamaguchi (178 cm, 95kg, obtained 5th dan at age 19) in 1936 at the All Japan Amateur Judo Championship at the first round by decision over the 23 minutes fight. In the semifinals Tashiro defeated Yamaguchi with Kani-basami, in the finals Murakami threw Tashiro with left Tai-otoshi to become the amateur champion. A year before Nakajima defeated Yamaguchi with Kosoto-gari gaeshi for Waza-ari. Katsuo Murakami( age 26, 170 cm,78.8kg) was the champion for 1936-38.
After the victory Kimura pinched his face to make sure he wasn't dreaming. That night he had a very large meal of 13 bowls of rice. When reporters questioned Kimura about his big win he told them that winning his first All Japan Title was his most memorable experience. Even the night after the tournament Kimura was again training. He did 500 push ups, bunny hop 1km, and 500 karate chops before he went to bed. He did not sleep well that evening. Rather he kept reliving the moments of his championship match. He was troubled by the fact that he had lost a Waza-ari by ken ken Uchi-mata. He felt this could have easily been ruled Ippon in the other fighter's favor. Therefore Kimura concluded that to maintain his title for the next 10 years he would have to train harder than the other judoka. Kimura trained 9 hours a day and did 1000 push-ups compared to 3-4 hours and 300 push ups of his rivals.
Kimura throwing Tashiro with Osoto-gari
Kimura was also victorious at the All Japan Championships held on October 16-17, 1938 at Kodokan. In the preliminary round Kimura won with Ouchi-gari for ippon. In the Semi-final he fought Bunei Tashiro (age 27, 5'7, 75kg), who was known for his Kani-basami. Tashiro tried his Kanibasami but with no effect. Kimura attacked with a powerful Osoto-gari which injured Tashiro's right hand. Tashiro was disqualified as he was not able to fight. Tashiro had defeated Toshio Yamaguchi with Kanibasami in the All Japan amateur Judo championship in 1937 at the semifinal. Kanibasami is such a dangerous technique often rendering the opponent a broken leg. Yasuhiro Yamashita's left leg was broken by Sumio Endo in May 1980. Yoshimi Masaki' leg was also broken by Konno in All Japan Championship. In the final match Kimura met Ogawa (172cm, 100kg). Ogawa had defeated the runner-up from last year Nakajima by Uchi-mata at 7 min 47 seconds. Ogawa attacked with the Uchi-mata unsuccessfully, but both of them fell to the mat. Kimura immediately moved to pin Ogawa with Kuzure-kamishiho-gatame..
At the 1939 All Japan Championships Kimura won with Osoto-gari, Osoto-otoshi, Osoto-makikomi, for the first three matches. In the quarterfinal, Kimura had a tough fight against Hidenosuke Tsujimoto 5th dan who was three years older, also from Kumamoto where they practiced before. Kimura tried Seoi-nage with no effect. When they met at the center of mat again, this time Kimura applied the secret weapon, namely Tsuri-komi-goshi. Having never used it against Tsujimoto, it caught him off guard. In the Semifinal round he defeated Ochi 5th dan with Osoto-otoshi. In the final match he fought Tokizane(age 33,5 '6'',78.8 kg) 6th dan. Kimura(78.8 kg then) told Tokizane before the match that he was going to throw him with Osoto-gari. During the fight Tokizane was extremely defensive. Kimura circumvented the defenses with a Osoto-gari to Osoto-otoshi combination. It took 12 minutes 57 seconds for Kimura to score 6 ippons in this championship. With this last victory Kimura had won the last 3 consecutive All Japan Championships and was awarded with the Championship Flag. Kimura is the only person in the world to ever possess the flag. The Championship flag was intended to be a traveling trophy. Kimura was told three consecutive titles would allow him to keep the flag forever. In those day only Wushijima was able to win the title twice (Professional division age 20-30).
Ten-Ran Shiai 1940
The Ten-Ran Shiai was a special tournament held in the presence of the Japanese Emperor. There were 52 competitors in the amateur group and 32 professionals. Isamu Fujiwara 5th dan won the amateur defeating Yasuichi Matsumoto 5th dan, one of Kimura's toughest rivals, with left Uchimata. Kimura defeated his first three opponents with Ushirogoshi, Osotogari, and Osoto-otoshi. In the semi-final Kimura met Iwao Hirosei 5th dan ,age 26 (165 cm, 5'4"; 82kg, 180lbs) for the third time. In the previous two matches Kimura had won by Waza-aris with Osoto-gari. Hirosei, who was All Japan champion in 1941 , was well known for his Right and Left Harai-goshi. Kimura's first 5 attempts of Osotogari were unsuccessful. Finally on the sixth try Kimura broke Hiroseis defences with a Osotogari to Osoto-otoshi combination. Takahiko Ishikawa 5th dan was Kimura's final round opponent. In the two previous meetings Kimura had won with Osoto-gari and Tsurikomi -goshi for Ippons. This time Ishikawa only lasted 42 seconds when he was thrown with Ippon-Seoinage for Ippon..
The night before the final match Kimura could not fall to sleep easily. He was pondering on how to defeat Ishikawa as quick as possible. Kimura considered to apply Osoto-gari or Sasae-tsuri-komi ashi .
Kimura decided to apply Ippon-seoi-nage. From the previous fight with Ishikawa, Kimura expected that Ishikawa would try to get a right O-kuri-eri grip. Kimura planned to allow Ishikawa to get the grip. At the same time Kimura would apply Ippon seoi-nage. Apparently the fighting strategy worked.
Kimura Was Choked Into Unconsciousness
Kimura joined the Japanese Army in January 1943. Through special arrangement, he was allowed to teach Judo once a week at Asakura High School. Kimura was known to be a heavy drinker. One day before class, he drank up to three liters of sake. At the end of session, he taught Shime-Waza. Initially, he demonstrated the techniques, then he allowed the students to choke him. Since he was somewhat intoxicated, he was choked into unconsciousness by the student. Without defense, even Judo greats can be chocked into unconsciousness by a white belt student.
Shortly after defending his All Japan Judo title in 1949, Kimura accepted the position as chief Judo instructor for the metropolitan police in Tokyo. The commencement of the position would begin in April 1950.
In February 1950, Wushijima sensei contacted Kimura, inviting him to participate in "professional Judo". Kimura accepted because he felt in debt to the generosity of his sensei. Also, Kimura's wife was sick from tuberculosis and Kimura needed money for medicine. In total, 32 Judoka joined the undertaking. Kimura became the first professional Judo champion by defeating Yamaguchi with Ippon Seoinage. However, after a short-lived existence, the endeavor failed, due to a lack of business acumen.
During this crisis, which included no income from professional Judo and his wife's illness, Kimura and two other Judokas decided to have a Professional Judo tour in Hawaii.
While touring in Hawaii, Kimura was able to buy Streptomycin and PAS for his wife. Eventually, she recovered from TB. They had a happy marriage and raised their son and daughter.
Ultimate Fight in Brazil 1951
In July 1951 Kimura and two other fellow Japanese Judoka were asked to compete in Brazil. Kimura at age 34 was accompanied by a 240 pound (110kg) college champion Yamaguchi (6th degree black belt at the time) and Kado (5th degree black belt). It was to be a Judo/Jiu-jitsu fight.
Kado accepted a challenge from Helio Gracie -- Brazilian champion for 20 years. The loser was determined by tapping out due to a choke or armbar, or by being knocked out of commission. Ippon (clean powerful throws) or Osaekomi (pinning) would have no effect on the results of competition. During Kado's fight he threw Gracie several times. Gracie, who was in excellent condition, demonstrated Ukemi, breaking the throws with little injury. After 10 minutes of frustration, Kado decided to apply a choke. However, the masterful Gracie applied his own choke rendering Kado unconscious. With Kado's passing-out, Gracie was declared the winner and became a national hero of Brazil!
Weeks later, Gracie challenged the remaining two team members, either Yamaguchi or Kimura, to a match. Yamaguchi refused for fear of injury, however Kimura accepted the challenge. There were 20,000 spectators present. A coffin was brought in by Gracie's followers. Presumably, Kimura was to be killed by Gracie. On the day of the match, the President and Vice President of Brazil attended at ringside.
During the fight, Kimura threw Gracie repeatedly with Ippon-seoinage (one arm shoulder throw), Osoto-gari (major outer reap), and Harai-goshi (sweeping hip/loin). He also included painful suffocating grappling techniques such as Kuzure-kamishiho-gatame (modified upper four corner hold), Kesa-gatame (scarf hold), Sankaku-gatame (triangle hold). Gracie proved to be a formidable opponent refusing to surrender after 12 minutes of grueling fight. Kimura then took Gracie down with an Osoto-gari followed by Kuzure-kamishiho-gatame. During the battle that followed, Gracie bridged out of the pin and right into Kimura's Ude-garami (chicken-wing arm lock). The arm bar must have been painful but when Gracie refused to surrender, Kimura applied yet more pressure, and as a result Gracie suffered a broken left elbow.
Even with the broken elbow, Gracie still refused to give up, so his corner "threw in the towel". Kimura was declared the winner by TKO. Although Kimura won the actual fight, it was acknowledged that Gracie had great fighting spirit and will. Kimura later applauded Gracie's tremendous will to win.
Helio Gracie: Any way, a fearful throw by Kimura remains vivid in my mind. It was very impressive to see that Kimura made the opponent KOed with one throw." "----,but I was in his control as soon as we stood close to each other. I had no time to even hold or grapple him..----I was then taken to the ground, and I got choked at first. It was difficult to breathe---" "If Kimura had continued to choke me, I would have died for sure. But since I didn't give up, Kimura let go of the choke and went into the next technique .Being released from the choke and the pain from the next technique revived me and I continued to fight."
The Duel of the Century-1954
Rikidozan was considered to be the greatest professional wrestler in Japan. He quit Sumo after achieving Seki-Waki, third highest rank. After WWII, he was involved in many street fights and was defeated once by a wrestler named Harold Sakada . Within two years training in Hawaii, Rikidozan became the best professional wrestler in Japan. He was famous for karate chopping, yet he received only brief training by Mas Oyama. It was decided that the "Duel of the Century" was to be held between Kimura and Rikidozan on December 22, 1954. Before the fight, Kimura told reporters that professional wrestling was show business, not real fights.
The "choreography" was decided by Kimura, Rikidozan. Kimura would allow Rikidozan to attack with karate chop, and he would throw Rikidozan with Judo. The first fight would end in a draw. After that, they would each win one, on a rotation basis. This Duel of the Century was scheduled for 60 minutes. After 15 minutes, Rikidozan tried to attack with karate chop. Kimura signaled, "Be my guest." Instead of a phony chop to the chest, Rikidozan chopped to the neck, stunning Kimura. Rikidozan, wearing boots, then kicked Kimura's head while he was sitting on the floor.. Kimura was KOed.
Hours later, Kimura's gangster supporters offered to kill Rikidozan. Mas Oyama was among the volunteers. (Kimura was a mentor and good friend.)
Kimura declined the offer to avoid unnecessary killing. Through meditation, the "death" that appeared in his head signified that Rikidozan would someday die violently.
At that time Oyama was confident that he could KO Rikidozan in 3 minutes. So he requested to have a match with Rikidozan. But he never got a positive response. Oyama then decided to have a street match with Rikidozan. Oyama followed Rikidozan to night club,bar, and cabaret etc. His intention was discovered by Rikidozan's supporters. Rikidozan was always surrounded by others,therefore one against one duel was not possible. Then came one night Oyama found Rikidozan alone in a night club called Latin Quarter in Asakusa, Tokyo. Oyama came to Rikidozan and asked for a fight. Without saying a word, Rikidozan turned around and grabbed the microphone and swung at Oyama. It was a shock to Oyama that Rikidozan a professional wrestling world champion would fight like this. Without striking back,Oyawa just walked away. That was the end of fight between Oyama and Rikidozan.
On December 8, 1963 Rikidozan and his friends went to New Latin-Quarter night club. Apparently Rikidozan bumped into a small time yakuza, named Murata. During the fight Murata stabbed Rikidozan with a tanto.Initially Rikidozan was stablized. Despite medical advice, he began drinking liquid and ate an apple. On December 15 he was taken to the operating room for small bowel obstruction.He died on the operating table. Final diagnosis was small bowel obstruction. However one Japanese professor speculated that he died of asphyxia from failure to intubation during the general anesthesia. In other words he died of strangulation by the muscle relaxant used in the procedure. His funeral was held on December 20,1963.
Valetudo in Brazil 1959
Kimura went to Brazil in 1959 to have his last Professional Judo/Wrestling tour. He was challenged by Aldemar Santana. Santana was champion of Gracie Jiujitsu, Capoeira, and boxing. He was 27 years old, 6 feet and 205 lbs. In 1958, Santana knocked out Helio Gracie in a fight lasting 3 hours 45 minutes. Kimura threw Santana with Seoinage, Hanegoshi, Osotogari; then, he applied Ude-garami, and won the match.
Shortly after, Santana challenged Kimura to have a rematch for Vale-tudo. (Everything goes, as it is equivalent to Ultimate Fighting Championship.)
On the day of the competition, there were 10,000 spectators present. From the beginning, Kimura realized that Santana punched and kicked much better. The only chance was newaza. Kimura made a mistake, and tried to throw Seoinage. Since both of them were soaked in sweat, without Judogis, Kimura fell to the mat. Santana followed with a straight punch and head-butt to Kimura's stomach, not once or twice, but three times. Kimura was stunned; however, he maintained his nerve and waited for his chance to counter. When Santana tried to head-butt for the fourth time, Kimura punched Santana's forehead-between the eyes-with all his strength. Santana, his face covered in blood, retreated.
Kimura got up from the mat and chased Santana. The fight lasted for 40 minutes with a draw, as both of them were exhausted, unable to do complete damage. Kimura was 42 years old at the time.
During his prime he ate 7-8 bowls of rice in the morning,12 bowls of rice in the evening meal plus some fish such as red snapper and Iwashi.
One time he ate "waka-moto" a digestive enzyme, that evening he ate 17 bowls of rice. Wushijima sensei was so kind to provide free room and boarding plus stipend. Whenever he got stipend, Kimura went to the restaurant to have 100 yaki-tori in one setting. Before the major tournament, Wushijima would take Kimura to drink turtle's (special kind) blood, presumbly to make him stronger. Banana is Kimura's most favorite fruit.
As a young kid ,Kimura drank quite a lot of carp's blood as his uncle had told him it was good for heart. True or not about the efficacy of the blood, Kimura sure had a strong heart, even though he smoked cigarettes he was very good in long distance running.
When Kimura was a kid, about 10 years old, he began to help his father to collect gravel from the bottom of river. His family was poor to sell gravel. They had to dig out gravel and transported it to the truck near-by. He worked with his father on the Sunday and holiday. It was a long hour work from 4 am to 6 pm. Kimura believes his strong body was benefit from this work.
In Takushoku University, one of the training is to carry 132 lbs sand bag walking around .
In 1936 one day he went to Japanese Royal police dojo to practice. Katsuo Murakami 5th dan who was a police officer from Fukuoka ,the strongest judoka at the dojo, asked for a partner to practice. Kimura accepted the offer. During the practice Kimura was able to throw Murakami 5-6 times to the point , Murakami asked for the rest. In reality Murakami won three All-Japan Amateur Judo Championship from 1936-38. Murakami had defeated Toshio Yamaguchi, Ryoji Miyajima and Bunei Tashiro in the All-Japan Amateur Judo Championship.
In the 1941 All Japan Amateur Judo Championship, Matsumoto scored many impressive wins. In the first round, he won in 23 seconds with Tsuri-komi-goshi for Ippon, In the 2nd round he won with Osoto-otoshi for Ippon in 7 min, 5 seconds. In the 3rd round he scored a 14 second Ippon with Osoto-gari. In the quarterfinals, he won with Harai-goshi for Ippon in 4mins. In the semifinals, he won with Ippon in 9 seconds with Osoto-gari. In the final match, he defeated Sumida (5th dan) with Osoto-gari for Waza-ari followed by Ippon in 5 minutes 6 seconds. This was a very impressive tournament for Matsumoto, a truly gifted judoka specializing in Osoto-gari.
Randori With 50 Black belts Without A Rest For About 4 Hours
In 1936 one day Kimura went to Kodo-Shihan Gakkou(current Tsukuba University, Toshiro Daigo, Isao Inokuma and Nobuyuki Sato were among the famous graduates) for de-kego (to practice judo outside of your regular dojo).
Kimura was surround by 50 black belts, he practiced with all of them, five minutes each. Without a rest, even Kimura felt he was dying, heart beat was so fast he thought his heart was going to explode. He felt he was going to passed out. However he held on and gradually he regained his strength and mental power back. He completed the hardest randori he had ever had. Through this experience he realized that no matter how exhausted he eventually would regain his power back. This belief was one of the reason for Kimura's unbelievable victories.
San-Bai No Do-Ryoku-Triple Effort
At Wushijima's juku, Kimura got up at 5:30am, after cleaning the dorm (juku) and yard. Kimura did 1000 maki-wara strike with knife hand, back hand and thrust 4 fingers into a sand box.
After total 6 hours randori, Kimura typically had his dinner with 13-14 bowls of rice with three Iwashi fish and some pickles. Usually he went to bed around 1-2 am. He did not fall asleep right away. Instead he would review the randori of the day. Was there any room of improvement? It was not unusual for him to get up and do tachi-ki-wuchi-komi (practicing against a tree) when he got some new ideas. Because of Kimura's tachi-ki-uchi-komi, Wushijima suffered from insomnia time after time.
The secret for Kimura's victory is simple, practice, practice and practice.
Wushijima wrote: I remembered randori with Kimura very well. To be thrown once or twice was ok, but three or more time, that was a different story. It was not randori at all, it was a duel (shin-ken shobu), like duel with a real sword
One of the daily 30 minutes meditation at Wushijima's juku (learning center), Kimura was dozing. Wushijima hit Kimura's right hand with a stick. Kimura was awakened in shock. Wushijima was in even greater shock as his stick fell off his hand. Your hand is as hard as steel, my hand is so numb.
Karate great, Mas Oyama wrote: As one of my Senpai, there was a Judo master named Masahiko Kimura. In Judo, simply there has never been a man as strong as this man was. He was such a master in the art of Judo to the extent that is frequently said: Kimura No Mae Ni Kimura Nashi. Kimura No Ato Ni Kimura Nashi. (There has been no Kimura before Kimura. There will be no Kimura after Kimura.)
Shichidan from Age 30 to 75
Kimura returned to teach Judo at Takushoku University in 1960. He trained a few world-class Judokas, Douglas Rogers (Canadian, silver-medalist at Tokyo Olympics), Masaki Nishimura (bronze-medalist at Munich Olympics), and Kaneo Iwatsuri (All Japan champion 1971). His shichidan rank was frozen after disputes with Kodokan over becoming a professional wrestler, refusal to return the All Japan Judo Championship Flag (Kimura was told that he could keep the flag if he could win three consecutive championship), and issuing dan ranks while in Brazil.
Kimura died of lung cancer at age 75. Still hospitalized, shortly after surgery, he had started to do push-ups.
Although this is a biography of Kimura sensei. I 'd like to point out there were many great judoka in his era. Takahiko Ishikawa, Tokuharu Itoh, Yasuichi Matsumoto, Yoshihiko Yashimatsu, Iwao Hirosei, Tokio Hirano, Toshiro Daigo, just name a few, they all continued to compete and win in their 30's at 6-7th dan.
I believe before WW II, judoka trained harder, that is why they were better. How many present day judoka train 6 hours a day?
Also Judo rules should be changed back to pre WW II. Koga, yuko, chui, shido etc are detrimental to true judo.
Haku Michigami Sensei, the judoka trained Anton Geesink. He said chui and shido were unacceptable. Why can one win when he or she has not performed a single move? For example: you randori with 250 lbs who was capable bench press 450 lbs. During the 20 minutes he tried to throw you with osoto-gari, uchi-mata, etc. but all failed. You did not attack much as you were only 150 lbs. Who won? You won, at least it was a draw. But in competition you lost because of rules. Judging from the picture of the Kimura throwing Tashiro, it should be an Ippon, at least a Waza-ari. For unknown reasons, the referee Iitsuka 10th dan (9th dan then) did not offer the score. Who won? Kimura did as Tashiro was injured and unable to continue. A true champion should not be satisfied with the questionable win by koka, yuko, chui, keikoku, and hansoku-make (due to non-combativeness).
Ishikawa 9th dan (7th dan then) attacking Hirosei 9th dan (7th dan then) with Tai-otoshi in 1950 All Japan final.
Hirosei 9th dan (5th dan then) scored Ippon with Harai-goshi in 43 seconds in the 1941 All Japan quarterfinals. At the semifinal he defeated Tokuharu Itoh by seoinage in 14 minutes 10 seconds. He scored ippon with left osoto-gari at the final.
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For more information on Masahiko Kimura please see this excerpt from "My Judo" by Masahiko Kimura, another biography by Jim Chen, or see the videos of the Gracie match. Also read the Interview with Helio Gracie where he reveals that Kimura had choked him unconscious.