Kangeiko and Shochugeiko

In 1939, I was told about the Kangeiko and the Shochugeiko at the Kodokan for the judo. I was then a strong 3rd dan in Britain and I was not at all upset by the idea of practising during the heat or practising in the early morning in the extreme cold of the winter. There were one or two foreigners at the Kodokan at that time. They told me that the Kangeiko especially was terrifying. It was freezing cold in the Japanese winter, much colder than in Britain, and there was no heating in the Kodokan. But I thought, “Oh no, I know all about this”, and I waited for the winter without any anxiety at all. I had thought it would be like some of the Western austerities which sportsmen do. I did not know that the real idea of the Kangeiko is something quite different from the Western …

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The second kind of pupil

When I began to train at Judo under Yukio Tani, I was in my late teens. I was very ambitious, and at first thought only of getting more skilful and winning contests. The other teacher at the London Budokwai, Gunji Koizumi, was an artist and a man of great culture. From listening to him, I learnt that Judo should mean much more than showing off on the tatami. He said that the principles of Judo must be applied in every situation in life. This seemed almost meaningless to me at first. After graduating in Law I worked in an office in a big company; how could Judo be applied to my job there? Koizumi showed me that even sitting in a chair can be done properly. Most people sit in an unbalanced position. So they must keep re-adjusting themselves. I practised his method, and found that sitting in a balanced …

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Too much Man, Too little Man

The principle of Maximum Efficiency — Saidai Noritus Genii,was stated in these words by Dr.Jigoro Kano. When I was sixteen, I heard him explain it, in his beautiful English, at the Judo hall in London. He said that it applies in every action in life: do not use too much force, and do not use too little. Use exactly the amount of force that is necessary. To do this, he said, is Right Use, Zen-Yo. He slso told us that this is the true meaning of the word Ju in Ju-do; to use too much force is Wrong Use, what he called  Hardness or Go-do. (The next day, he brushed some huge Chinese characters on a long roll of paper; it was framed and hung high on the wall of thd judo dojo in London. The words were read and then translated for us: Ju Sai Sai Go o sei-su: …

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Do Social Service social service, on an entirely voluntary and unpaid basis

About 5,000,000 people in Britain do some form of social service, on an entirely voluntary and unpaid basis. That is about 9 per cent of the total population. In terms of man-hours, these volunteers make a contribution greater than that of all the paid staff in the social services departments of the local authorities. It has been found that the Welfare State cannot do all that is required. In many places, voluntary organizations are the only providers of, for example, youth clubs, advice centres, or preschool playgrounds. It is an interesting and important fact that more  than half these volunteers are young people under 24. Many of them spend one or two evenings a week in some form of service. Some go out in groups to do repairs and cleaning for old people living in dilapidated houses. Of course, often the work is not done with professional skill, but as …

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Tips and icebergs

As you know, the iceberg is supposed to be ten per cent, or one per cent some people say, on the surface and the rest is hidden. My method of presentation here (it’s not the only one) is to present just a small proportion and people can find out the rest of the iceberg. In this method of teaching, a number of illustrations or stories are given, but they’re meant as, so to speak, seeds to work on. And unless they change our lives, then they’re just entertaining stories. I’m telling these stories because some of them have been helpful to me and so I have confidence in them. But it’s necessary that, like a seed, it should go into the ground. You know the parable of the sower in our Christian Bible. There’s a famous paint­ing of ‘the sower went forth to sow’ which has been adopted as the …

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Kata judo introduction second part

‘Katame ’ is a Japanese root meaning to harden or tighten or hold still; to clench the fist, for instance, could be rendered in Japanese by this word. The Katame-no-kata, or form of Katame, is in Judo often referred to as the ‘groundwork’ Kata, but the last one, for instance, begins in a standing posi­tion. The Katame-waza or Katame techniques are really the methods of immobilizing the opponent, whether by restricting his movement by a technical hold, or by threat of causing pain or unconsciousness. It is true that in general it is easier and more appropriate to use the Katame techniques at present permitted in Judo when on the ground. In this connec­tion it may be noted that this same final technique of the Kata, namely Ashi- garami, involves a lock on the knee which would not now be permitted in contest. The great difficulty with Katame-no-kata is to prevent …

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Kata judo introduction first part

Kata or formal demonstration is an important part of Judo training. A pre­arranged opportunity is given and then the appropriate technique exe­cuted. Under these ideal conditions, a far greater degree of perfection is required than when a throw is brought off in the flurry of Randori or free practice. It is now compulsory for students to prepare themselves for examination in the Kata here described before they can take the ist Dan (first Black Belt grade) in the British Judo Association, the official Olympic body in this country. This book is designed to help them; by studying the explanations and pictures, it will be possible to master all the main points and most of the fine points as well. I introduce each throw with the formal ‘standard’ text, as laid down by the Japanese Convention on Kata held in i960. This text can be taken to be the official version …

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Sparks from the flint of the heart

In the last article, the case was given where something (say a garden) has been created with work and sacrifice. Then someone comes at night and deliberately destroys it. If he later admits doing it, and is asked why, he says: ‘Oh, I don’t need a reason. I just wanted a bit of fun.’ Now how is a man of Budo to react to that situation? I wrote last time how a Zen teacher said: ‘It’s no good trying desperately to forgive him a little. You have to drink that poison down, to the last drop.’ A Budo teacher said about a similar case: ‘Your personality is like a little cage; the bars are your feelings of Me and Mine. The bars are not fixed to anything; the only reason they are there is because you are hugging them to yourself. What has happened is like a crow, and it …

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Onshi: Revered Teacher

Onshi: there is no single word in English. Revered teacher, beloved teacher: these are not natural English phrases. The single word ’teacher’ can refer to anyone from Verrocchio who taught Leonardo da Vinci, to an irritable old lady forcing spelling into unwilling children. Master can mean the head of an Oxford College (Master of Balliol College) to a barber with one apprentice boy. Some Continental languages distinguish: they use maestro for instance to mean a master pianist or artist, who also teaches, and a quite different word for an employer. In English we borrow the Italian word Maestro with that meaning. I suppose this shows that though we have respect for art and learning and science, we do not revere them or their teachers. Recently a new word has been introduced to fill the gap, but again it is a foreign word: guru. Originally this is a Sanskrit word meaning …

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Principle of Highest Efficiency

Dr. Kano put forward the Principle of Highest Efficiency as one of the central pillars of his system. He used to give illustrations in the physical field, which are familiar to all students of Judo; for instance, unnecessary force should not be used in making a throw, but just enough to make it succeed. This was contrary to some of the older Ju-jutsu teachings that the whole of the body-force should be put into the throw. Dr. Kano gave some illustrations from the field of ordinary behaviour. I remember when I heard him speak about argument and debate. I was then about seventeen years old, and very energetic. I sometimes used to get excited in an argument, and begin to shout. As I was big and even then fairly strong, sometimes the opponent would become nervous, and would stop arguing against me. So I found this quite a good method …

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They put on fierce expression and attitude, though they have no intention of actually fighting Judo

When I lived at the British Embassy, there was a British bulldog who used to sit on the steps of the central building. The bulldog is a thickset animal, bred for fighting, and with a terrifying face. This one was supposed to be a symbolic guardian of the Embassy. A dog normally regards himself as a guardian of the house where he stays, and he barks at (and if necessary attacks) any strangers who come, not accompanied by a member of the family. But in this case there were people coming and going all day, and he had learned when he was a puppy that day-time visitors were not to be challenged. So in the end he tended just to sit there and occasionally walk round a little. At night he changed, and challenged any outsider. Even in the daytime, he would occasionally bark excitedly at nothing, just to prove …

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Judo should naturally lead to meditation

Trevor Leggett, 8th Dan Judo, scholar and author of several fine books on judo and Buddhism, head of the B.B.C. Japanese service until his retirement, has had an enormous influence on Western judo. He is regarded by many as the greatest non-Japanese judoka. Background The 17-year-old Leggett started judo seriously at the Budokwai about 1931 because of bad health. “The doctor said I must do some physical exercise. I tried several things but found them boring. My parents forbade me to do judo, so I practised secretly for about a year. Tani and Koizumi were the two instructors, then, at the little club near Victoria Station, and they had very different styles,” explained Leggett. “I trained every day and did a lot of running at weekends, realising for the first time how bad my health was. I soon became fascinated by the variety of technique in judo. If you do …

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The student must realize that the teacher has faith in him, the student himself

The cherry tree blossoms for three weeks. For the remaining forty-nine, nothing shows above the ground, but the roots are going deeper and deeper. The phrase in the Chinese Book of Change is: ‘The thunder is buried in the earth The vitality is in the roots.’ That long time of apparent inertia, and the short period of blossoming, form a unity. It is not that the cherry tree is depressed and sad, and a failure for a long time, but then has a wonderful success, but that success is, alas, all too passing, all too quickly taken away. No: this is a single tree, not two trees. The human being, especially the poet, sees the moment of qlory, and a long dull stretch when the life is in the roots as two things. But they are one. In the West there is a tendency to think of a tree or …

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Why do we do judo? The true answer is to train body and mind to act efficiently in life

EVEN EFFORT There has to be some effort in a judo technique, but Dr.Kano’s principle was to make that effort efficient. In his time there were still some flourishing jujutsu schools, though not as flourishing as they had been. He studied their methods, and found that a good many techniques relied on surprise and extra strength developed by particular exercises. They were not using the body as an efficient unit. For this reason, they tried to keep their techniques secret. Although judo is no longer generally taught in this way, one sometimes sees something like it. If a man has a very strong right arm, he can get results with a poor technique because of the extra strength he has with that arm. Unless something is done to check it, he will develop more and more limited judo, and cannot acquire a real mastery of it. But it is not …

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In the Far East the Dragon is the spirit of transcendence

At the Kodokan in the 1930s national Judo contests were held every year. Each county in Japan provided at least two contestants, and these were reduced to 64 and then to 32. In those days contests were decided by a full point – throw, lock, or hold – and there were no half points. This meant that were a fair number of drawn contests. Even though on contestant was clearly superior to the other if he failed to score the full point the contest was drawn. The winner was then determined by chance: the two contestants stood by the side of the mat, and the referee presented one of them with two straws and if he choose the long one he won and if he pulled the short one he lost. I was deeply impressed by an incident that I saw on one such occasion in the forth round. The …

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Judo spontaneity, the blind spot and Bushi of the Yin, Bushi of the Yang

When the time comes, we have to jump. We should learn the right technique, but there is something else that judo can give us if we really train. We have our tokui waza – this is how I am going to win. We rely on it. But the psychological training is to go in and forget all your favourite things and just throw yourself in totally. It is very difficult to do. But if you succeed in doing it, something new will come. The body seems to move by itself. And quite often it is something that you are not very expert at. This is one of the things which the old masters stressed. That the Way comes to an end. You train and train and now you have got to forget that training and open yourself. This applies to life. We have got our pet techniques in life. I always look …

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Trevor leggett on Judo and Shuji

When I had been a few months in Japan and had learnt a few hundred of the most frequently occurring Chinese characters, and became able to read a sentence here and there which was written in those common characters, I felt quite pleased  with my progress. But then I found that for anything beyond simple sentences, one would need to know not a couple of hundred more, but a couple of thousand more. I set to work, but began to get bored with the drudgery of it. Like most foreigners at this stage, I experienced a sort of oceanic weariness. Each new character had to be written out twenty times in order to learn it, but for each  hundred new characters one learnt, it seemed that one forgot some old ones. ‘You cram them into your head in the day,’ complained one student, ‘but you find that in the night …

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Imagination and Open Judo : Weaknesses, Stances and Training

Judo is not football. When we are young, we play football, and we are told, ‘Try and win, try and win’. But the main purpose is to develop our physique. It’s not for most schoolboys to become professional footballers. In the same way, judo is to give you something for life, and for most of us it is not to become contest leaders. Dr Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, regarded judo as a training for life. He thought it was much better for this than ball games which are not natural activities. But fighting is a natural activity and if the natural activity can be spiritualised and made rational, so that instead of making enemies, you are making friends, then it will give you something for life. Imagination and Open Judo But it is much more than that. In order to safeguard the health of competitors, contest judo has …

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Judo is not football.

When we are young, we play football, and we are told, Try and win, try and win’. But the main purpose is to develop our physique. It’s not for most schoolboys to become professional footballers. In the same way, judo is to give you something for life, and for most of us it is not to become contest leaders. Dr Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, regarded judo as a training for life. He thought it was much better for this than ball games which are not natural activities. But fighting is a natural activity and if the natural activity can be spiritualised and made rational, so that instead of making enemies, you are making friends, then it will give you something for life. Imagination and Open Judo But it is much more than that. In order to safeguard the health of competitors, contest judo has become narrower and narrower. …

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Cutting off the bull’s horns in Judo

In judo, when the teacher tells us (and he says this only to people who are determined to improve), ‘You’ve mastered that technique. Now give it up for six months,’ we think, ‘What? I’m not allowed to do that? I go on the mat and I’m not allowed to do my big throw? I’ve got to try and do other things that I can’t do? I’ll get countered, I’ll look an absolute fool!’ Now many of us fail this test. We think, ‘Oh no! I’m not going to do this.’ And we go back to what we can do, and we get some success. But those who have faith in the teacher and who realise the teacher has got faith in them, follow his advice and give up their favourite technique for a while. They begin to develop a free movement, not fixed on one point. They can move freely. …

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