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Trevor Leggett, The Dragon Mask “Plum Blossoms Open Because of the Frost and Snow” by Hakudo Nakayama (right). Lovely plum flowers bloom under the harshest conditions. Adversity does not cause a budo practitioner to wither; it helps him or her to flourish.
Budo Secrets by John Stevens I have been asked by people of various sections as to the wisdom and possibility of Judo being introduced with other games and sports at the Olympic Games. My view on the matter, at present, is rather passive. If it be the desire of other member countries, I have no objection. But I do not feel inclined to take any initiative. For one thing, Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment. Only one of the forms of Judo training, so-called randori or free practice can be classed as a form of sport. Certainly, to some extent, the same may be said of boxing and fencing, but today they are practiced and conducted as sports. Then the Olympic Games are so strongly flavored with nationalism that it is possible to be influenced by it and to develop “Contest Judo”, a retrograde form as ju-jitsu was before the Kodokan was founded.
Judo should be free as art and science from any external influences, political, national, racial, and financial or any other organized interest. And all things connected with it should be directed to its ultimate object, the “Benefit of Humanity”. Human sacrifice is a matter of ancient history.
Another point is the meaning of professionalism. With Judo, we have no professionals in the same sense as other sports. No one is allowed to take part in public entertainment for personal gain. Teachers certainly receive remuneration for their services, but that is in no way degrading. The professional is held in high regard like the officers of a religious organization or a professor in the educational world. Judo itself is held by us all in a position at the high altar. To reconcile this point of view with the Western idea is difficult. Success or a satisfactory result of joining the Olympic Games would much depend on the degree of understanding of Judo by the other participating countries.
Jigoro Kano in a 1936 conversation with Gunji Koizumi (Budokwai Bulletin, April 1947) Once when Kyuzo Mifune visited a karate dojo, he was shown a demonstration of tile-breaking by one of the karate men. After the karate man had smashed a number of tiles piled on top of each other, he asked Mifune, “Can a Judo man do this?”
“Yes, it is very easy,” Mifune replied.
“Is that so? Can we see what kind of technique a Judo man uses?” the karate man challenged.
“Of course. Please set up the tiles. I’ll be back in a minute,” Mifune instructed.
Mifune returned with a hammer he had brought along in his bag.
“You are not going to use that to break the tiles, are you?” the karate man protested.
“Yes. I told you it was easy. Efficient use of energy is a key principle of Judo.”
Budo Secrets by John Stevens Joe Hyams relates an incident that occured between him and Ed Parker. Hyams, an inexperienced student, was trying to defeat his sparring partner with tricky, clever moves, and getting nowhere. Later, Parker took Hyams aside, drew a line on the floor with chalk, and asked Hyams how to make the line shorter. Hyams offered several suggestions that included cutting or erasing the line. Then Parker drew a second line on the floor that was longer than the first. He asked if the original line did not now look shorter. Parker commented: “It is always better to extend your own line or knowledge than to try to cut your opponent’s line.” Hyams applied the lesson to his tennis game as well as his martial arts, and commented “I realized I had to play to my best ability rather than trying to worsen my opponent’s play. Keeping Parker’s advice in mind, my game soon improved.” What I was given, I made better.
What I made better, I then improved.
What I improved, I now strive to perfect. It’s better to fall flat on your face, than lean over too far backwards. Teaching is not gate-shutting but gate-opening, yet still the dull or the scared or the lame calf does not walk out into the open field. All this does not imply the popular sentimental corollary that teachers should never be strict, demanding, peremptory or uncondoning. It is often the hard taskmaster who alone succeeds in instilling mistrust of primrose paths. The father may enlarge the child’s freedom of movement by refusing to hold his hand, and the boxing instructor or the philosophy tutor may enlarge his pupil’s powers of defence and attack by hitting him hard and often. It is not the chocolates and the sponge-cakes that strengthen the child’s jaw muscles. They have other virtues, but not this one. A man who is afraid yet gives it all he’s got has more courage than the man who fears nothing. Injuries to the knee always leave it weak and often develop into a form of rheumatism. This is the reason leg locks are barred in judo contests.
Gunji Koizumi In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice; but in practice there is! The man who is at the peak of his success, and the man who have just failed are in exactly the same position. Each must decide what he will do next.
Jigoro Kano Proper pre-planning prevents piss-poor performance. Do not criticise any other martial arts or speak ill of others, as it will surely come back to you. The mountain does not laugh at the river because it is lowly, nor does the river speak ill of the mountain because it cannot move. Koichi Tohei The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he asks his pupils that they can readily answer, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer. After the game the King and the Pawn go back in the same box. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. Kihon-Dosa Wo Mamoru (Do not neglet the basic movements) Jukuryo danko — Decisive action after careful consideration Tomaru tokoro o shire — Know when to stop Saki o tore — Anticipate If you win, do not boast of your victory; if you lose, do not be discouraged. When it is saafe, do not be careless; when it is dangerous, do not fear. Simply continue down the path ahead. Generally speaking, if we look at sports we find that their strong point is that because they are competitive they are interesting, and young people are likely to be attracted to them. No matter how valuable the method of physical education, if it is not put into practice, it will serve no purpose—therein lies the advantage of sports. But, in this regard there are matters to which we must also give a great deal of consideration. First, so-called sports were not created for the purpose of physical education; one competes for another purpose, namely, to win. Accordingly, the muscles are not necessarily developed in a balanced way, and in some cases the body is pushed too far or even injured. For that reason, while there is no doubt that sports are a good thing, serious consideration must be given to the selection of the sport and the training method. Sports must not be undertaken carelessly, overzealously, or without restraint. However, it is safe to say that competitive sports are a form of physical education that should be promoted with this advice in mind. The reason I have worked to popularize sports for more than twenty years and that I have strived to bring the Olympic Games to Japan is entirely because I recognize these merits. However, in times like these, when many people are enthusiastic about sports, I would like to remind them of the adverse effects of sports as well. I also urge them to keep in mind the goals of physical education—to develop a sound body that is useful to you in your daily life—and be sure to consider whether or not the method of training is in keeping with the concept of seiryoku zenyo. — Jigoro Kano Judo is like climbing, if life were the mountain. We must first be strong enough to climb it. The bigger the mountain, the more help we may need from others. We must map our path out and follow it through. The higher up the mountain we go, the more we can see that there are other roads or ways to reach the top. The higher we go, the more we can appreciate the struggle and accomplishments of others. — Hayward Nishioka, Black Belt Magazine February 1971
Judo: we put the “harm” in harmony
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