The Complete Book Of Judo

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Author: Geof Gleeson
Pub: 1976 by Coles Publishing Co. Ltd.
Pages: 143
Out of Print


A book you will re-read many times, Gleeson expounds on his theories of Judo movement, techniques, and philosophy. Gleeson has been perhaps the second leading influence on Judo since Kano. Many of his ideas such as 'Power hand', 'Drivers & Rollers', and such - are in common usage around the world. Although for the American Judoka, Phil Porter covers all this material... it's coming from Geof Gleeson. Get it at the source! This book will be especially valuable for instructors. Although this is an out-of-print book, it is not difficult to locate, and usually at a reasonable price. Although this is his second of three books, I consider it the most valuable of the three. You should, however, consider picking up his other two books, Judo for the West, and Judo Inside Out.

            Table of Contents

 Acknowledgements                     6
 Foreword                             7
 Introduction                         8
 PART THE FIRST -- RANDORI              
 A Definition                        10
 Essential Factors in Randori        11
 Analysis of Throwing Skills         12
 The Gokyo                           15
 Basic Ne-waza Techniques            22
 Observation and Empathy             25
 Sorts of Players and Coaches        26
 Space and the Two-Part Concept      26
 Internal Space                      28
 Starting Training -- External Space 33
 Dynamic Factors                     38
 Linking of Techniques               40
 Fitness Outside Judo Training       46
 Fitness Inside Judo Training        48
 Diet and Food Supplements           50
 Ritual, Myth and Magic              52
 Imitation and Tradition             56
 Mutual Benefit and Sportsmanship    57
 An Exercise in Comparison:                
   Harai-goshi as described by            
   Messrs. Kano, Yamashita, Koizumi,      
   Oda, Mifune                       62
 PART THE SECOND -- SHIAI                   
 A Definition                        64
 Strategy and Tactics                65
 Tactical Planning                   67
 Personality                         68
 Problem Characters                  70
 Some More Personality Complications 73      
 Some Technical Considerations       77
 Real Match Observations             80
 More Tactical Considerations        83
 PART THE THIRD -- KATA                       
 A Philosophic History               87
 The Standard (Traditional) Kata --
   Kata as Training                  96
 Some New Kata -- The Go-No-Kata    115
 The Senjitsu-No-Kata               127
 A Conclusion                       136
 Bibliography                       141
 An  Appendix                       143



This book, as the title suggests is an attempt to look out over the whole field of judo performance. It is for the intermediate and ambitious advanced performer who wants to know something more about skill than just where to put his hands or feet. It is also for the curious coach who wants some stimulation to think anew in areas of his trade that perhaps he had thought previously were well known and hence somewhat stale.

The object is two-fold.
1. To broaden the horizons.
2. To relate to the past.
Let me elaborate.

Judo has, or should have, come of age. It should no longer be adequate to see it as some occult art, some facile performance that needs only the precise explanation of how the wrist is flicked to rocket the passive blob of opposition into outer space. Judo is far more than that. Judo is a grappling or wrestling skill, devised and developed by several succeeding generations of performers to bring about certain predetermined objectives, taking into account multifarious factors coming together at one point in time. In order to teach/coach physical skills well, they must be understood as comprehensively as possible. Anything and everything that goes to make up that skill must be known, if it is to be understood. If it is known it must be teachable. I have tried to show as many of those variable factors as I know.

Judo is now in the Olympic Games, and it therefore deserves to be treated with professional consideration. When judo was seen as some kind of peculiar activity fit only for the social and physical throw-outs, it may have been sufficient to talk only about where to put the hands or feet. But now, because of its increased status and recognition (due to the Olympics, World Championships etc. etc.) it should be realised how important it is to know, for example, the personality that puts the hand or the foot where it should be put.

The second object is to show how erratic is development. There are short periods of concentrated creativity, when much progress is made; the pace then slackens and there is a comparatively long period of apparent stagnation (during which, it is hoped, consolidation takes place!), then comes another burst of activity and so on. Each burst of activity is directly related to the time, place and environment of that moment. Yet erratic as the progress appears, there is an over-riding sense of rhythm about it all." a rhythm of participation (there are "waves" of people taking part in the sport), rhythms of dedication (some generations seem more able to apply themselves than others), rhythms of styles and performance (see later). I have tried to show, particularly with reference to the early days of judo, how the environment did affect its growth.

A secondary objective has been to try and show a closer connection between the three traditional forms of judo training than I feel has existed in the recent past; for randori, shiai and kata are all essential to each other, and together make up the sport of judo. Over the years I have frequently heard phrases like "I'm just a contest man, I don't like kata"; "I do kata because it's the perfect form of judo"; "I like having a pull-round with me mates, can't get interested in punch-ups or that poncing about called kata". Those and many like them have always given me some concern; they would be quite acceptable of course if the meaning of the phrases were just what they said, but too often I felt the meaning went far deeper than that. The speakers really meant they did not understand or appreciate the real role of the other two types of training. Artificial fences have been built between them, preventing people moving easily from one to the other. I want to try and knock those fences down, or at least put a lot more gaps in them!

By so doing I hope all judo players will, by participating in all types of training -- with understanding and enjoyment -- get to like all the branches. If after that, they still prefer their "contest", their "perfection", or their "pull round", that's grand, for now they are -- or should be -- fully aware of what they are doing, and what they are missing.

Of course books can never replace "doing", any more than "doing" can replace books. A piece of Zen advice was to "burn the books", which has always been a great slogan for the illiterate, but a convenient blind-eye was turned to the unspoken qualification buried in the advice, which was "read them first!" The ambitious man, wanting to be a judo champion, cannot afford to ignore any possible source of information that may help him along the way to his goal. I hope this book as well as my others will at least do that.

As for the coach, I hope he will not burn it after he has read it! I hope there is enough new material in the book to justify keeping it on his bookshelf. If from time to time, it can help him get over a "sticky patch" when he is trying to develop new skills, or "trigger off" a new train of thought, then I shall be well pleased.

Because of my different view of judo as a developing skill (different from that of the recent past) I have had to devise virtually a new vocabulary for the sport. I could use Japanese terminology and where the appropriate words do not exist (which would be often) I could make my own new words -- Japanese ideographs are very convenient for doing that. But I thought as I am speaking largely to an English speaking population I would use English. However, when Japanese words do already exist I have used them, for the sake of those who feel disorientated if there is not a certain amount of Japanese splattered throughout the text. I hope all the neologisms are explained in the texts, but undoubtedly a few will get through the net and remain unexplained; for those I apologise.

For example, it may not be clearly stated that "attacking action" and "throwing action" are not necessarily the same; in such cases I hope it is apparent that an "attacking action" need not be successful, whereas a "throwing action" is. When I speak about a standard grip it refers to the situation when the left hand is holding the (opponent's) right sleeve, and the right hand is holding the (opponent's) left collar.

Some readers may find my custom of including quotes in the texts disturbing. If so, for that too I am sorry. I do it for three reasons:

1. I like doing it!
2. It says what I want to say better than I can (because the authors are better informed on the subject than I!)
3. It shows that what I am saying has a point of contact with another different area of knowledge, and perhaps -- if the reader is interested -- he could, at a later date, explore that area for the same kind of enjoyment and inspiration that I got when I explored it.

Finally may I ask the ladies for their forgiveness? I am in many ways a lazy man. I cannot keep writing "man and/or woman", so I always write only of "men". It is not because I am anti-woman, only lazy! Please accept that the two words are interchangeable, although I must admit that there are many places where I personally would not dare replace the word "man" with "woman". I leave that to you ladies!


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