Judo Quotes


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photo © Bob Willingham

  • clear.gifThe technique and mind are just like the front and back of ones hand, meaning they are very closely related. Yoshitsugu (Yoshiaki) Yamashita
  • clear.gifOur greatest glory consists not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.
  • clear.gifYou progress not through what has been done, but reaching towards what has yet to be done. Kahlil Gibran
  • clear.gifHe who can suppress a moment's anger may prevent many days' sorrow.
  • clear.gifJujitsu: the art of self-protection
    Judo: the art of self-perfection.
  • clear.gifBy what I did yesterday, I win today. Such is the virtue of practice.
  • clear.gifA Taoist story tells of an old man who accidentally fell into the river rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for his life. Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls. People asked him how he managed to survive. "I accommodated myself to the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived."
  • clear.gifMan at his birth is supple and tender, but in death, he is rigid and hard. Thus, suppleness and tenderness accompany life, but rigidity and hardness accompany death. Lao-tsu
  • clear.gifLearn from the mistakes of others, you may not live long enough to make them all yourself.
  • clear.gifIf you think you are good enough, you have just started your decline.
  • clear.gifWith an open mind enter into the mysteries of nature, and with inaction master the principle of change.
  • clear.gifThus the principle of Judo, from the very beginning, is not one of aggression, but of flowing with things. Carl B. Becker
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    photo © Bob Willingham

  • clear.gifThe serious Judo exponent trains every day. Takahiko Ishikawa and Donn F. Draeger
  • clear.gifI only train on days ending in a Y. Neil Ohlenkamp
  • clear.gifThe main object of Judo lies in this point. It seeks to augment human strength, morality and intellect by human means and efforts. It tends to train young people in the habits and condition conducive to the accomplishment of great undertakings. T. Shidachi
  • clear.gifA contestant shall be deemed to have been defeated when from any cause or causes he may become unconscious. Kano Judo Contest Rules
  • clear.gifIn those days contests were extremely rough and frequently cost the participants their lives. Thus, whenever I sallied forth to take part in any of those affairs, I invariably bade farewell to my parents, since I had no assurance that I should ever return alive. Sakujiro Yokoyama
  • clear.gifAsk for practices. S. Kotani is a fine example. During his student days, he would practice with every powerful and skillful Judoka he could lay his hands on, rather than avoid the "beating" he knew would be coming. To be thrown, immobilized, or strangled, was nothing but delight for him. The thing that really counted was practice! T. Ishikawa and D. Draeger
  • clear.gif"Ouch" is not a Judo term. Neil Ohlenkamp
  • clear.gifBefore and after practicing Judo or engaging in a match, opponents bow to each other. Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect. In effect, you are thanking your opponent for giving you the opportunity to improve your technique. Jigoro Kano
  • clear.gifI thought all the time
    I was learning how to win;
    But I realize now:
    To win is no more,
    No less, than to lose.
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    photo © Bob Willingham

  • clear.gifJudo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength. By training you in attacks and defenses it refines your body and your soul and helps you make the spiritual essence of Judo a part of your very being. In this way you are able to perfect yourself and contribute something of value to the world. This is the final goal of Judo discipline. Jigoro Kano
  • clear.gifA ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
  • clear.gifTo lose is to learn.
  • clear.gifThe wise learn many things from their foes. Aristophanes
  • clear.gifThe lame man who keeps the right road outstrips the runner who takes the wrong one. Francis Bacon
  • clear.gifDuring my eighty-seven years I have witnessed a whole succession of technological revolutions. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual or the ability to think. Bernard M. Baruch
  • clear.gifVictories that come cheap are cheap. Those only are worth having which come as the result of hard fighting. Henry Ward Beecher
  • clear.gifGreatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. Henry Ward Beecher
  • clear.gifViolence is the last resort of the incompetent. Lorne Bozinoff
  • clear.gifNothing is more terrible than activity without insight. Thomas Carlyle
  • clear.gifSeiryoku zenryo: strive for maximum effect with minimum effort. Jitta kyoe: strive for mutual welfare and benefit. Jika no kansei: strive for perfection as a whole person.
  • clear.gifThrough concentrated effort learn effortless action.
  • clear.gifOffense is defense, and defense is offense.
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    photo © Bob Willingham

  • clear.gifResist with nonresistance.
  • clear.gifSince the fundamental principle acquired through the practice of Jujitsu has been elevated to a finer moral concept called Judo, "The Way of Gentleness", it may well be said that the primary objective of practicing Judo is perfection of character. H. Seichiro Okazaki
  • clear.gif"Ju" means being natural or in other words the way which is natural and in accords with the truth of the universe and the one that human beings have to follow. Also, "Ju" may mean anything reasonable, just and honorable, accordingly noble: namely the realization of Truth , Good and Beauty. Kyuzo Mifune
  • clear.gifNature is your friend; it helps you to win. Your enemy will have unnatural movement, therefore you will be able to know what he is going to do before he does it. Masaaki Hatsumi
  • clear.gifWhen you fall down 7 times, get up 8 times.
  • clear.gifThe 2 rules of Judo training: 1) the teacher is always right and 2) when you think the teacher is wrong, refer to rule one.
  • clear.gifTechnical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art becomes an artless art, growing out of the unconscious. Daisetsu Suzuki
  • clear.gifIt has been said, in regard to a judo expert's level of mental development, that "the arms are an extension of the mind." Watanabe and Avakian
  • clear.gifThe judoist has no time to allow himself a margin for error, especially in a situation upon which his or another person's very life depends. The secret of judo is serenity of mind. Watanabe and Avakian
  • clear.gifThe true value of any art form--whether it be music, painting, flower arrangement, sculpture, or Judo--is that it has the goal of discovering and developing the true potential within the artist. Watanabe and Avakian
  • clear.gifIn Randori we teach the pupil to act on the fundamental principles of Judo, no matter how physically inferior his opponent may seem to him, and even if by sheer strength he can easily overcome him; because if he acts contrary to principle his opponent will never be convinced of defeat, no matter what brute strength he may have used. Jigoro Kano
  • clear.gifIt has been said that a person may have ten years of experience, or one year of experience repeated ten times. Yukiso Yamamoto
  • clear.gifAgainst those skilled in attack, an enemy does not know where to defend; against the experts in defense, the enemy does not know where to attack. Sun Tzu
  • clear.gifFirst learn to become invincible, then wait for your enemy's moment of vulnerability. Sun Tzu
  • clear.gifTo secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating an enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Sun Tzu
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    photo © Bob Willingham

  • clear.gifTo win 100 victories in 100 battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill. Sun Tzu
  • clear.gifIn order to achieve victory you must place yourself in your opponent's skin. If you don't understand yourself, you will lose one hundred percent of the time. If you understand yourself, you will win fifty percent of the time. If you understand yourself and your opponent, you will win one hundred percent of the time. Tsutomu Oshima
  • clear.gifIt isn't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog that counts.
  • clear.gifWhen someone attacks you, he gives you a present of his strength. To make use of this gift you must know how to receive it. Yukiso Yamamoto
  • clear.gifThe angry man will defeat himself in battle as well as in life.
  • clear.gifIn defensive tactics it is not a matter of matching your strength and power against the strength and power of your opponent but, rather, the direction of all your strength and power toward your opponent's weakness. FBI Training Manual
  • clear.gifAs the snow gathers on the bamboo leaf, the leaf does not resist. Yet when the snow gets too heavy the leaf, while staying relaxed, gives way and throws off the weight. Non-action in action.
  • clear.gifSoftness triumphs over hardness, feebleness over strength. What is more malleable is always superior over that which is immoveable. This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them, of mastery through adaptation. Lao-tsu
  • clear.gifThe softest aspect of nature is water. It follows the path of least resistance, and is the humblest of all the elements as it always seeks the low point, yet in the end it always overcomes.
  • clear.gifWhen water and fire wage war, the water will be the victor.
  • clear.gifJudo is akin to water--non-resisting but the vital agent for every aspect of the life process. It can be as serene as a lily pond or as wild as the stormy sea. It can be as vaporous as steam or as solid as ice. Yet it is most serviceable to life when in its liquid state.
  • clear.gifThe less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be. Bruce Lee
  • clear.gifThe fact, however, to which I want to call attention is that the master of Judo never relies upon his own strength. He scarcely uses his own strength in the greatest emergency. Then what does he use? Simply the strength of his antagonist. The force of the enemy is the only means by which that enemy is overcome. Lafcadio Hearn
  • clear.gifThe Professor took the old practices and studied them, worked out their mechanical principles and then devised a graded scientific set of tricks, but is based on the elementary laws of mechanics, a study of the equilibrium of the human body, the ways in which it is disturbed, how to recover your own and take advantage of the shifting of the center of gravity of the other person. The first thing that is taught is how to fall down without being hurt, that alone is worth the price of admission and ought to be taught in all our gyms. John Dewey yoko otoshi
  • clear.gifMastery of ju or "giving way" is not so simple as it sounds. It is the result of sincere effort. The device of giving way until the proper time involves the use of perfect balance, rhythm and harmony, and perception--the kinesthetic or "sixth-sense" feel--of the opponent's off-balance movements. It is this that enables the judoist to gain eventual victory. When his opponent attacks, he must harmonize his own movements with the opponent's brute force in order to gain victory. Thus his preliminary retreat is performed with the goal of ultimate victory in mind. Watanabe and Avakian
  • clear.gifThere are two types of people in the world. Those that find excuses and those that find a way.
  • clear.gifNo time like the present to re-examine our Judo and see if we measure up to the founder's standards. Steven R. Cunningham
  • clear.gifChange is inevitable. Growth is optional.
  • clear.gifI 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
  • clear.gifNothing would be done at all if a man waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it. Cardinal Newman
  • clear.gifCitius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger) Olympic Motto
  • clear.gifIf you want to obtain the secrets of such wonderful techniques, drill yourself, harden yourself, undergo severe training, abandoned body and mind; follow this course for years and you will naturally reach the profoundest levels. To know if water is hot or cold you must taste it yourself. Yamaoka Tesshu
    sankaku jime
    Neil Ohlenkamp performing ura sankaku jime

  • clear.gifA gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
  • clear.gifKnife sharpens on stone, man sharpens on man.
  • clear.gifIf there is effort, there is always accomplishment. Jigoro Kano
  • clear.gifPain is the best teacher, but no one wants to go to his class.
  • clear.gifIn Judo, as in life, when something blocks your path, step aside and move around it.
  • clear.gifThe mind, if slackened even a little, will cause defeat, the same as fearing the opponent will make you unable to use full strength. Kyuzo Mifune
  • clear.gifTrue spirit of Judo is nothing but the gentle and diligent free spirit. Judo rests on flexible action of mind and body. The word flexible however never means weakness but something more like adaptability and openmindedness. Gentleness always overcomes strength. Kyuzo Mifune
  • clear.gifThose who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win. Zhuge Liang
  • clear.gifDo not think of attack and defense as two separate things. An attack will be a defense, and a defense must be an attack. Kazuzo Kudo
  • clear.gifThrough the study of attack and defense in Judo we learn to harmonize our spirit and body, learning to both fight hard and let go softly.
  • clear.gifIt is not the accumulation of extraneous knowledge, but the realization of the self within, that constitutes true progress. Okakura Kakuzo
  • clear.gifThe judoist has no time to allow himself a margin for error, especially in a situation upon which his or another person's very life depends. The secret of Judo is serenity of mind. Watanabe and Avakian
  • clear.gifTeachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
  • clear.gifTo me, Judo is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers knock each other down.
  • clear.gifWhile the old form, jujutsu, was studied solely for fighting purposes, Kano's new system is found to promote the mental as well as the physical faculties. While the old schools taught nothing but practice, the modern Judo gives the theoretical explanation of the doctrine, at the same time giving the practical a no less important place. T. Shidachi

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"I should explain here that the underlying purpose of Judo is to enable a physically weaker person to defend himself against a physically stronger opponent, alike in mimic combat on the mats of the Dojo or exercise hall and in a genuine struggle for survival outside it. Other things equal it is simply axiomatic to say that the stronger man must eventually win, but seeing that not infrequently the relatively poorer physique of one man is largely offset by his superior intelligence, skill, and agility, he may conceivably prove the victor in contest with his physically more powerful antagonist. And admitting that there are always numerous gradations of sheer bodily strength among the pupils of any Dojo, the cumulative effect of assiduous study and practice of Judo is bound in the end to convert even a veritable tyro weakling into a physically vigorous and technically skilled Judoka." --E.J. Harrison, Manual of Judo