A Song of Judo

by Kyuzo Mifune

In time of practice, without distraction,
light in heart and light in limb.
Let us endeavor with full attention,
to concentrate our mind within.
This is the genuine way of Judo.
This is the genuine way of Judo.

Trained through practice to perfection,
skilled in the art of rise and fall.
Let us enter the way of salvation,
freely moving like a ball.
This is the genuine way of Judo.
This is the genuine way of Judo.

The way of Judo knows no bound,
the mild of heart no enmity.
Let us, all nations hand in hand,
build the ideal of amity.
This is the genuine way of Judo.
This is the genuine way of Judo.

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion

Ode To My First Judo Gi

by Nathan Goltz

At the tender age of four
It appeared
A shadow of infinite power.
At first I refused,
Dared not accept.
Soon it caught me like a net.
I tried it on.
My first Judo class!
It was beautiful.
A white tooth made for wearing.
Beauty only I can see.
To wear it
Was to give in.
Its fine stitching
Was an art itself.
It was like a friend
Always there
A friend.
Its collar symbolized combat
rough, white, thick.
Collar made for combat.
It now lies tattered
broken and unwanted.
Its collar is worn, punctured,
Stitching is gone.
The gi misses the stench of battle.
The stench of perfecting character.
Still it lies,
Drenched in the blood of my soul

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion


by Brandon Lee
(Nenndorf, Germany) 2002

J. Judo is for everyone
U. Utilizing one’s potential to the maximum
D. Doing justice for self and others
O. On the same path of Kano Sensei, bettering human harmony.

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion

Yawara (The Song of Judo)

Traditional, translated by Philip S. Porter
Originally placed online by George Weers

On the outside a Judoka is calm and beautiful
Like a clean willow tree
But on the inside
A red flame is burning

This is the way, this is the Life
Like the eternal snows on Mount Fuji
Never ending
Revere Judo, Love Judo, Our Judo

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion

Judo Pioneers

by Philip S. Porter
Originally placed online by George Weers

When I don my Judogi,
Then my heart feels light,
Like an eagle soaring free,
In the dawn’s pure light.

Always working, always striving,
Judo Friends are gathered here,
Pure and clean forever more.

Like the pioneers,
We will fight to build our strength
and learn our Judo.

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion

Camp Kodokan Judo Song

by Linda Gibson
Encino Judo Club, 1979

Fighting Judoka dressed in white
Throwing bodies left and right
Trained to work in heat and sweat
Aches and pains are all we get

Morning runs and awful food
Sweaty gis and cabins crude
Back at home we ache and groan
And try to ease our weary bones

Bouncing high with every fall
Getting choked and getting mauled
A high IQ of 63
Is what we’ll get eventually

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion

A Judoka’s Dream

by Clyde Tichenor
Encino Judo Club, 1999

Among all of the Judoka,
The most feared of the Yudansha,
Was the great champion, Kazuka.

Now mighty was he in both arm and chest,
And he was known to be the very best,
In seiryoku zenyo and waza.

When he went into action,
An opponent’s reaction,
Was airborne flight to the mat.

His problems were not then ended,
For Kazuka had appended,
A newaza on the mat.

The shiai was a most fine one to see,
Where the crowd and contestants all wished to be,
And for some time now they had all competed.

A Yudansha had a clever thought,
They would honor the best that had fought,
By a lesson for them all to see.

In honor of their best effort,
In a way to improve the sport,
The black and brown belt champs would meet.

The Yudansha had all smiled knowingly,
Some Ikkyu would go into apogee,
But most honorably then in demise.

All the Kyu grades had fought most nobly,
As if they each meant to disagree,
And concluded with their champion too.

Well, Mogadi was his name,
Ashi waza was his game,
His speed impressive to see.

So then that’s how it came to be,
Just Kazuka and Mogadi,
The lion would honor the lamb.

Kazuka came forth flashing confidence,
Mogadi might wish now divine guidance,
But his manner was cool and deliberate.

They each found their way to the center,
Few envied the brown belt defender,
But he calmly walked out to his fate.

They faced each other most precisely,
These fighters who moved so politely,
And there came a hush at the call, “Rei.”

Then the next call was, “Hajime!”
So they now began the foray,
Kazuka and Mogadi took hold.

All assumed it would go fast,
Mogadi would not get past,
Kazuka’s onslaught to be.

Kazuka took hold of Mogadi’s lapel,
And Kazuka let forth a tremendous yell!
An attack that surely left no one in doubt.

There was a fluke in the mat,
Just where Kazuka was at,
And so he stubbed his great toe.

An o-uchi gari was planned,
His tokui waza now banned,
This made him a sukoshi bit slow.

They saw a pause of only an instant,
An opponent who was not yet buoyant,
Kaeshi waza now threatened Kazuka.

Could Mogadi seize the moment?
The crowd paused in breathless torment,
Little time to see the action.

As Kazuka swept out with his heel,
Like a piston on some great flywheel,
Mogadi’s leg lifted just over.

What good waza should now be applied?
Tsurikomi ashi could be tried,
But what plan was in Mogadi’s mind?

Suddenly his reaction came,
With surely an instant of pain,
Mogadi choose UCHIMATA!

Kazuka rose up high in the air,
As Mogadi turned down with a flare,
And all of the crowd gasp in surprise.

Kazuka kept his mind all clear,
He thought there was nothing to fear,
If he could still land on his feet.

Kazuka schemed in that instant,
And was yet very confident,
While turning about in the air.

With great horror he found Mogadi meant,
To append newaza to the event,
And down they came with a loud “KIAI!”

The kiai and follow through,
Meant that Kazuka would now rue,
The fact that his back hit the mat!

All sound faded out,
They’d seen a great rout,
All stared, mouths agape.

“IPPON!” was the cry,
The arm was held high,
And the end had come!

Kazuka’s mind was in a blur,
Such an event could not occur.
He lay there stunned as all around,

The mat judges gripped their chairs.
One scratched his very few hairs,
They all watched with mouths agape.

The Yudansha froze in all action,
Their mouths tasted of putrefaction,
Then they swallowed and blinked at the scene.

The O-sensei stood up,
Holding the biggest cup,
Smiling, and stepped up to the mat.

The opponents bowed out,
Amid deafening shout,
All knew then what they’d seen.

The O-sensei bowed onto the mat,
His purpose to change the old format,
And honor this special occasion.

The contestants froze where they stood,
Kazuka would vanish if he could,
The master was facing Mogadi.

They both bowed low to each other,
Mogadi smiled at his brother,
Who winked an eye from the crowd.

So then the O-sensei came up,
And slowly presented the cup,
Telling all each could learn from this.

“There is no guarantee when you come on the mat,
As to who will prevail in such combat.
Judo is not owned by any one of us.

And it’s ways are a gift to all,
From the first time you just learn to fall,
To the next time you enter a bout.

You all can reach out and take from its wealth.
Remember this sport will increase your health,
With disciplines to prepare you for life.

Mogadi, with Judo you surely have won,
And forthwith I promote you in batsugun,
To Shodan and now all here shall be witness.

Mogadi has surely shown to us all
That Kazuka too can have a downfall,
But now he also may take some solace.

For it’s proper for Kazuka to say,
He lost to a Shodan this day,
And taught a lesson for us all to learn:

I guarantee when you enter the fray,
A lesson will be learned on that day,
As with every other day that you do Judo!”

judoka Essence of Judo: Poetry in Motion

Success does not happen by spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.