A Complete Guide To Judo - It's Story And Practice

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Author: Robert W. Smith
Pub: 1958 by Charles E. Tuttle Co.
Pages: 249
Ranking:Four Stars
Out of Print


This book is more correctly a compilation of various articles from many different authors. And quite a fascinating collection of articles it is! One quote that caught my eye came from Mr. T. Shidachi, Secretary of the Bank of Japan, and one of Jigoro Kano's early students... in an address given to the Japan Society in London in 1892, Mr. Shidachi commented that (while discussing the rank structure...) "... No one has yet attained the tenth grade, which is considered to require fully ten years to attain, even with constant application." Hmmm... okay... (I've earned *my* Judan 4 times over now...)

This book also contains the complete Bibliography of Judo, which is extremely rare in it's separate form. This alone is worth the price of the whole book. If you can find this at any decent price, pick it up, it's worth the read!

 Foreword by E. J. Harrison                        9
 Editor's Foreword                                15
 CREATOR OF JUDO, GENTLEMAN R. W. Smith           19
 BY SLEIGHT OF BODY T. Shidachi                   47
 YOSHIRO WADA Y. Fukuzawa                        119
 JIUJITSU L. Hearn                               123
 THE BUDOKWAI IN RETROSPECT E. J. Harrison       139
 JUDO IN FRANCE H. Plee                          167
 A WOMAN'S-EYE VIEW OF JUDO R. Gardner           173
 KARATE-DO G. Funakoshi                          189
 AIKIDO A. C. Holtmann and B. Tsuji              197
 JUDO HUMOR                                      205
 BIBLIOGRAPHY                                    213
                          List of Plates           
   1-4 JIGORO KANO                             31-33
   5-9 JUDO IN ACTION                          34-38
 10-14 PREPARATORY POSITIONS                   87-88
 15-19 FALLS                                   89-90
 20-35 THROWS                                  91-97
 36-48 Holds                                  98-102
 49-52 AIKIDO TECHNIQUES                     151-154
 58-55 KARATE TECHNIQUES                     155-157
 56-69 JUDO PERSONALITIES AND EVENTS         158-166

                                By E. J. Harrison


THE CRY is still they come!" Yet it is a consolation to be able to say with a clear conscience that in this case the part author and entire compiler of the present volume, my good friend R. W. Smith, has placed the judo world under a lasting obligation by adding his invaluable "sum of more" to that which in some respects already has too much.

It was none other than that famous japanologue, the late Basil Hall Chamberlain, who remarked in his classic Things Japanese that at the then current rate of proliferation it would soon rank as a distinction not to have written a book about Japan. Today this remark might fairly be paraphrased to apply more especially to the ever bourgeoning bibliography on judo.

It is in this context that all readers interested either practically or only academically in the "Gentle Way" will welcome Mr. Smith's expert guidance. Himself an accomplished yudansha or holder of a judo dan (grade, degree, etc.), he is well qualified to discriminate amidst the plethora of material under this head and to sift the wheat from the chaff.

Mr. Smith's well-established reputation as a writer on judo, other Japanese martial arts, and cognate subjects is by no means restricted to his native land: he is equally popular in Great Britain on the strength of his frequent, brilliant contributions to the quarterly bulletin Judo published by the Budokwai of London, the recognised headquarters of judo in this country. It is therefore safe to assert that his title to embark upon the present ambitious undertaking will not be challenged.

Quite rightly he has interpreted his "terms of reference" in an eclectic and a catholic spirit, and one can but marvel at the enormous industry, erudition, and research which must have gone to the compilation and classification of this mass of data. Even a cursory review of his Bibliography should suffice to convince the most exacting of prospective readers that virtually every taste has been catered for. Thus the catalogue is not confined to judo and jujutsu but has been amplified to include other Japanese martial arts or bujutsu, notably kendo or swordsmanship, sumo or the heavyweight style of professional wrestling so popular from time immemorial in Japan, and other Western systems of self-defence and unarmed combat which in numerous instances owe their inspiration to jujutsu and judo. Thus the various "offshoots" and progeny, alike legitimate and illegitimate, of all these arts have not been overlooked. But the future reader should be warned to be wary in his acceptance of all such contributions at their face value. Apart from the fact that very many of the listed works are now out of print and therefore unobtainable, it may be taken for granted that among the available residue in English and other European languages there is much that should be deemed suspect and of doubtful worth. Their authors are not always qualified to speak with authority and as likely as not would, if subjected to the rigorous tests imposed upon. candidates in Japan, fail egregiously. But the non-judo and non-jujutsu books and studies are in a different category, and, speaking generally, afford a veritable embarras de richesses for the epicure.

The other chapters of this "omnibus" work are not intended to be technical. They deal rather with the historical, ethical, and philosophical aspects of judo as well as the practical and should be read as such. They stem largely from the lofty objectives which the illustrious founder of this eclectic school, the late Dr. Jigoro Kano, had in mind when he first began to fashion and elaborate it from the older ryugi or schools of ju-jutsu. Perhaps in the light of later developments of the art, both in its homeland Japan and in the West, we are on some-what debatable ground when we examine objectively its claim to be deemed superior to all other kinds of sport as a moulder of its votaries' character and behaviour. I myself should be the last person in the world to arraign an entire nation like the Japanese for the crimes perpetrated by their armies at the be-hest of the war lords, largely typified by the all-powerful Satsuma and Choshu clans, because to all intents and purposes they have never throughout their chequered island story had any real say in the government of their country. It may well be said of these self-styled "patriots," the exemplars of Yamato-Damashii (soul or spirit of Japan) that they taught their dupes "bloody instructions which, being taught, return to plague the inventor," and that they illustrated the mortal peril inherent in "vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself and falls on the other."

But although we may be justified in absolving the Japanese people as a whole from moral responsibility for the reprehensible record of their rulers during the last war, it is surely depressing for us to have to recognize to what an extent at the zero hour the military arbiters of their country's destiny fell short of acting in conformity with their professed belief in the impeccable tenets of Bushido or Way of the Warrior, first disclosed to the West by the late Dr. Nitobe in his well-known work entitled Bushido: The Soul of Japan. "By their fruits ye shall know them," and it must be admitted that the fruits of this loudly vaunted teaching, when the testing time came, proved to be bitter to the palates of their unfortunate recipients. Let me hasten to add that this impartial recognition of unpleasant facts in obedience to Harry Hotspur's adjuration that we should "tell truth and shame the devil," in no way invalidates the esoteric foundations of judo, jujutsu and virtually all the Japanese martial arts, which remain immutable for all time. These can be profitably studied by the curious Westerner without commitment to acceptance of their ethical implications, which may well evoke a note of interrogation.

None the less I am convinced that judo has established its right to be considered as a high-class sport based upon an ethical "concept," and for my part I see no reason why its Japanese and Western sponsors should fight shy of extolling its merits as a fighting art, considering that Japanese exponents of the martial arts, past and present, have not found and do not find any incompatibility whatsoever between a fighting art and a moral impulse or propulsion.

Moreover, granted that postwar discretion might wisely prompt a diminuendo rather than a fortissimo in emphasis on what the Japanese call the MICHI (way or path), almost in-variably in its Romaji version printed in capital letters, I am by no means disposed to deride the sincerity which has from ancient times inspired the insistence of native moralists upon the important part played by it in the ordering of the animate and inanimate world. Thus, according to the philosophy of the Shingaku Michi, or Way of Divinity, most felicitously expounded many years ago by the late Dr. W. Imbrie in his Handbook of English-Japanese Etymology, all things are set in a certain environment. To live in harmony with that environment is to follow the michi or path. All things therefore have a michi to follow: it is the michi of the crow to caw, of the fish to swim, of the willow to be green; and with the exception of man all things follow their michi. Although man does not follow his michi he should do so: for man has a honshin, which is sometimes rendered "conscience," though it means also "one's right mind," "one's senses," or "one's heart," etc., and to obey the honshin is to follow the michi. The source of man's error is this: he mistakes the passing phenomena of the external world-the things which he perceives through the senses-for the unseen reality, in other words, he mistakes the shadow for the substance. The farther man goes the more bewildered he becomes. The way back to the michi is said to be obedience to the honshin. But the honshin is not what it once was, and the wanderer is without a trustworthy guide. It can therefore be only all to the good if both Japanese and Western judoka try to live up to the teachings of the great founder of judo in which he sought to graft upon the purely physical branch of the art that ethical "concept" capable of embracing the synonym of michi. So long as our judoka steer clear of pragmatism and smugness in their attitude to their unconverted contemporaries no great harm will have been done and we may still arrogate to ourselves freedom to doubt whether the typical heavyweight Japanese or Western judo champion of today could pass an examination in the alleged philosophy of the art, even though on the mat he would experience no trouble whatever in demonstrating its dynamic principles to the discomfiture of the most seasoned and eloquent exponent of that philosophy who lacks the ability to administer to the judo philistine a "retaliating thwack" which might land him on the mat with the proverbial "dull, sickening thud."

Lastly, I can heartily recommend Mr. Smith's work to all actual and prospective judoka of any age and both sexes. Study of the philosophy and rationale of the art can advantageously proceed hand in hand with physical practice under a, skilled instructor on the dojo mat. And those who are or feel themselves too old to participate in Randori, Shiai, or even Kata can derive consolation and esthetic satisfaction from browsing on the copious intellectual pabulum to be found in its pages. It is my earnest hope that a work to the completion of which so much skilled research and enthusiasm devoid of egoism have been devoted will speedily establish itself as the vade mecum par excellence in the domain of which it treats.

19 Mornington Avenue
London, W. 14


JUDO, a Japanese art of obscure origins, is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world today. Devised chiefly from the existing Jujutsu schools during the Meiji era, its gospel was carried to the West by emigrating masters and traveler-writers, the latter more often than not distorting its essence in the telling. Until World War II the art was known in the West by its former appellation, Jujitsu (or correctly, Jujutsu).

Before the end of the 19th Century, some 16,000 Japanese had immigrated into the United States, thus forming a nucleus from which Judo could develop. By 1900 it had reached Eng-land and shortly thereafter spread to the Continent. Prior to world War II, in the West it was thought to be an esoteric mixture of black magic and gymnastics, and accordingly restricted to small, closely knit clubs (dojo).

Its present popularity is a concomitant of the post-World-War-II Occupation of Japan. Thousands of Westerners (pre-dominantly Americans) received tuition at the world Judo headquarters, the Kodokan in Tokyo. On returning home these service personnel continued their practices and furthered the sport. Today there is no corner of the globe in which Judo is not represented. It has truly become an international sport and will probably be included in future Olympic games. Carl Sandburg in Abraham Lincoln tells of an Indiana boy who blurted out: "Abe, there's no one likes gingerbread any better'n I do, and there's no one gets less'n I do!" Judo is my gingerbread. It has been my abiding avocation for over a decade. Why was this book compiled? I was depressed by the body of misconceptions concerning Judo. While worthy works have been penned, generally they were narrow and specialized, and none presented a broad and integrated picture. I wanted to read a book which traced the rise, growth, and practice of Judo and felt that others might also. This volume is the product of that desire.

Originally I limited my portion of the whole to a brief commentary, providing some continuity between sections. However, articles on Jigoro Kano and on American Judo not being among the Judo world literature, I felt required to write these. A Bibliography, the result of five years' diligent collection and research, is included for bibliophiles and interested judoka. I have used but few footnotes to explain or amplify the text, although I was sorely tempted to use many more. Instead, other than a minimal polishing and editing, I have allowed the translations and original articles to stand as initially published. The substance is essentially correct throughout, and footnotes would have carried me beyond my self-appointed limits. I restricted myself so that the Reader could savor the original.

In short, this book belongs to the assembled authors and the Reader. It is their conversation. I hovered on the periphery merely to make the introductions. And so to the Reader- pleasant, informative, profitable reading, and good health and living through Judo!



In closing, I wish to thank the following organizations and individuals for courtesies as indicated:

The Budokwai, London (Editor: Dame E. Russell-Smith), for permission to reprint "The Budokwai in Retrospect," "Gamesmanship in Judo," "The Tribe of the Eborites," and two cartoons by JAK, all of which originally appeared in the quarterly bulletin, Judo.

Hokuseido Press, Tokyo, for permission to reprint "Yoshiro Wada" from The Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi (1948).

Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, for permission to re-print "Jujutsu" from Out of the East (1895) by Lafcadio Hearn.

The Japan Society of London (Secretary: J. W. Marsden) and Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., for permission to re-print "Ju-Jitsu: the Ancient Art of Self Defence by Sleight of Body," from the Society's Transactions (1898).

Judo International, Paris (Editor: Henry Plee), for permission to reprint "Karate-Do" from that organization's Judo Revue (September, 1954).

Maruzen Company, Ltd., Tokyo, for permission to reprint selections from S. Arima's Judo: Japanese Physical Culture (1906).

Popular Mechanics Magazine, Chicago, for permission to reprint two photographs from their September, 1930 issue.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Sports Editor: Royal Brougham), for permission to reprint a 1938 eulogy on Jigoro Kano.

Mr. Harold E. Sharp for permission to reprint two photographs from "The Techniques of ludo" by Harold E. Sharp and Shinzo Takagaki (Tokyo, 1957).

John Carlson, staff artist of the University of Washington, Seattle, for line studies of some of the famed Judo masters. Edwin Gunberg, Donn Draeger, and Frank Eldridge for reading the MS and offering constructive help.

Takahiko Ishikawa and Donn Draeger, who posed for new illustrations for the Arima text, and K. Uyeno and L. Miyamoto of the Baltimore Judo Club who provided the facilities of their club for this purpose.

Alex Kalbin, who photographed the technique sequences.

Kelly Nishitani, Seattle, for photographs of Jigoro Kano, heretofore unpublished.

E. J. Harrison, London, who inspired the work.

Bethesda, Maryland
February, 1958
R. W. S.



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