Judo From The Beginning

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Author: Phil S. Porter
Pub: 1974 by Zenbei
Pages: 128
Out of Print


This is volume 1 of a two volume set. Volume 2 is Championship Judo Training Drills by Ben Campbell, and edited by the author of this book. They are both equally valuable, and equally scarce! Judging by the Title and Table of Contents below, you may think this book is aimed at beginners, far from it! This book contains information equally valuable to the beginner, or the instructor. For example, see Chapter 10, "Strategy and Tactics in Judo"... the type of detail rarely covered elsewhere. Filled with excellent action photos and line drawings. Although out of print, I've heard that Phil Porter has a few more of these sitting around... worth getting!!

                                Table of Contents

(Note: There is no "Table of Contents" in this book...
 I've 'created' one for inclusion here.)

Preface .................................................... 4
Chapter  1. The Game of Judo - How it's played and scored . 10
Chapter  2. How to Throw and Hold in Judo ................. 20
Chapter  3. Three Basic Rear Throws & Defenses ............ 28
Chapter  4. Five Basic Forward Throws & Defenses .......... 42
Chapter  5. Three Basic Body Throws & Defenses ............ 72
Chapter  6. Three Basic Judo Holds & Defenses ............. 80
Chapter  7. Three Basic Chokes of Judo .................... 90
Chapter  8. Three Basic Armlocks of Judo .................. 94
Chapter  9. Grips and Grip Breaking ...................... 100
Chapter 10. Strategy and Tactics in Judo ................. 110
Chapter 11. How to Teach Judo ............................ 116



Thinking about the complete impact which Judo has had on the life of those who have been obsessed with the sport, I want to write an ode to joy to introduce this book rather than just a technical explanation of the Judo movements.

I mean to say that there is something more to Judo than throwing and holding, losing and winning. But this thing is not separate from the practice. To be sure the practice will eventually bring you some measure of ability to win, but it will also get you much more: Peace, to be exact.

Most of us have a low regard for counterfeit Judo philosophers who don't practice. But that shouldn't put us off from thinking about main purposes and how to reach them. I hope that a personal review of my Judo experiences will be meaningful to the reader, who is also going through this search for peace, and I hope I may be forgiven for taking space to record my love and gratitude for a great many Judo people.

Twenty-three years of Judo lie behind this volume and the series it starts. These years of study, competition, coaching and writing on Judo have been all of my life.

In the beginning, when I clutched at Judo like a drowning man taking hold of a floating board, I thought that Judo was the only meaningful activity in my life-that is, the only thing which seemed to lead somewhere.

Even later, when I found that other ways of life can lead toward the same truth, I believe I found them because Judo led me that way. Thus, it was Trevor Leggett in London who made me aware of Zen and Yoga.

Because Judo has meant so much to me, this book means a great deal-it is a start toward trying to catch some of Judo's beauty. It is a chance to describe the search we are going through. If this preface is such a description, then it is autobiographical, and the search can be put in the form of a haiku:

Far off in the night,
Wild wind ever calls my name.
This is all my life.

Whatever wild wind is calling, we will reach the crest of the hill and feel the fresh breath of truth in our faces if we practice, that is my conviction.

Beyond describing a few of the individuals who have searched the paths of Judo with me, this preface gives me the space to thank them, a thing I have ardently wished for these many years.

Walter Todd of Oakland, California was my first teacher. To him I owe that special debt which every Judoist does to the teacher who started him in the sport. His philosophy, humbleness, and technical understanding are great.

Almost the first friends I had in Judo were George Harris, who started under Walt Todd at Travis AFB in 1952, and Ben Campbell, who had just come back to Sacramento Judo Club in 1953. These men are unique. Their depth of character makes them examples for our young people. The fact that they were both several times national champions, Pan American Gold Medalists, and U.S. Olympians of the first U.S. Olympic Judo Team in Tokyo is the fruit of their endless energy and work. Those days are gone, other technicians will come, but none in American Judo will surpass the fighting hearts of these two men. To know and work with them is a privilege I still enjoy.

I was fortunate in the beginning to spend four years in London working at the Budokai. Ah, those wonderful British! Their courtesy, their candor, their humor. As Geoff Gleeson says, they have "left their thumb print on the pages of history." In those days we had Charlie Mack, Pepper Stepto, Alfie Graber, Rab Smith, Geoff Gleeson, Syd Hoare, George Kerr, Doug Young, Dickie Bowen, John Newman and Charlie Palmer on the mat of the Budokai.- I was lucky to stay on my feet 10 seconds! Over it all in London stood Trevor Leggett and Gunji Koizumi. Leggett still remains the finest teacher of Judo I have known. Of him it can be said, "The most important things he teaches are the things he never says."

To have Leggett walk into the main hall of the Budokai and sit watching was to start a volcanic eruption. He once said to me. "Find out for yourself!" Unforgettable words from an unforgettable man.

When I returned from England to Omaha, Nebraska I was afraid that I would be cut off from kindred souls in the Judo world. Far from it. Dr. Sachio Ashida of Lincoln, Nebraska and Loran Braught of Des Moines proved to be strong friends in those years. Dr. Ashida's concepts of Judo were a step toward a further understanding of our sport.

To my dear friend Loran Braught, I owe more than I can say for his fighting spirit, his friendship in adversity, and his shining and inspiring integrity. I am fortunate to still share, nearly 20 years later, the ideas of Dr. Braught in the area of education, as he is now one of America's foremost scholars in the analysis of teaching.

There were also years of being helped by the great Japanese sensei brought to the United States by the Air Force. Sumiyuki Kotani, Tadao Otaki and Sadaki Nakabayashi all looked after us like mother hens. At first we thought that all Judo teachers must be like these priceless and kind people. But in later years when we went to Japan ourselves to study, we realized that Japan had sent us their very best. The fact that we had studied under them set us apart and gave us honor even in Japan.

Sometime in 1960, several of us undertook the sometimes agonizing reconstruction of American Judo. Then there came to the fore a small group of leaders - visionaries if you will - who can never be repayed for what they have done for our sport.

When a group of dedicated people are able to look ahead to plan for our sport, and then have the energy to follow through with their plans, they make a contribution not understood by the mass of Judoists.

Because of these men and women, someday we will have international youth tours for our young boys and girls, we will have many summer camps, we will have all of the structure which allows so many to enjoy Judo.

It all starts with vision and energy. Men like George Bass, President of the USJA for the second time in 1974; Jim Nichols, our great AAU leader; Charles Lambur, Maccabiah Coach on several occasions and a fine leader in New York, and many, many others have shared a common dream-and have backed it up with constant endeavor. And women like Joan Millay, Diane Pierce, Marie Wick, and Bonnie Korte, who are both technical and organizational leaders, are in this select group.

Rick Mertens for instance, rented and gave to the old Armed Forces Judo Association the space for the first Central Office we ever had in the country. His incessant work, his optimism, his practicality, his great ability to coach and inspire young people, give him a special place in American Judo. Karl Geis of the Karl Geis Judo School of Houston, Texas and I have spent many hours working on the mat on a theory of Judo coaching. His stimulating ideas, his hospitality, which I have enjoyed on many occasions, and his drive for perfection make him an outstanding contributor to Judo.

Another giant of Judo is Jim Bregman, the finest technician ever produced in American Judo. There is no doubt of this. An overview of the past 23 years, from the first Nationals in 1953 in which I competed to the present, shows one technician above all others: Jim Bregman. He is our only Olympic and World Games medalist to date.

But Bregman's vision goes far beyond the mat. Starting Camp Olympus East in 1967 with Ben Campbell, Jim continued insisting that the rapid diffusion of technical knowledge through summer camps was the best way of pulling American Judo up by its bootstraps.

It was because Jim Bregman provided the planning that Geoffry Gleeson, National Coach of Great Britain; and Anton Geesink, former National Coach of Holland and now technical adviser to both. the Austrian and Spanish Judo Associations, were brought to this country over a period of years starting in 1971.

Jim Bregman also put together the first national training camp of a long duration (nine weeks in 1973). This is the Target '76 program. We proved with Target '76 that beyond a doubt we can improve our fighters to a point where they would be competitive with those of other countries. Jim Bregman's thinking and vision is far ahead of his time, but the example is there when we come to our senses and wish to move our international fighters ahead.

Judo is a great study, both off and on the mat. This study must continue. I have no doubt whatever that the goal of Judo, the harmonious perfection of human character, is attainable through devotion to practice, although I have only begun the process.

To those who would say, "If Judo is so great, how does it happen that you are so inferior?" one can only reply, "You should have known me before Judo." Sri Ramakrishna once said in answer to the same question, "Yes, it is true, I am nothing; but a broom, even though it may be soiled, can still sweep."

Looking back, it is easy to see we have selfishly created tensions in American Judo through abandonment of our principles. In this we have failed. I regret those failures deeply and seek to repair their ill effects, every day being an opportunity to forgive and forget.

On the other hand, in that we have fashioned the beginning of a truly American technical foundation for Judo and have created the great and good United States Judo Association we have succeeded in following the principles of Dr. Kano. We must carry these successes forward.

Great moments there have been in American Judo, but greater ones are still to come. The American flag has never yet been raised in first place in the World Games or Olympics to denote an American gold medalist. We have this to aim for, as well as our own personal goals in Judo.

But I believe also that the prayer of Judomen should not be for victory, but that we may do our best and be a credit to our teachers and the ideals of our sport. Swami Vivekananda said, "Pray for knowledge and light; every other prayer is selfish."

Even to have known that there is such a wonderful thing as Judo - only to have been exposed to these beautiful and harmonious ideas and the people who believe in them-that alone is a blessing indeed. One has only to look about at the world of bewildered humanity to see how lucky we Judoists are.

For the Judoist can honestly say with the writer of the 40th Psalm: "He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my going."

We may not see the goal clearly, but in Judo we have a way. I believe we should always remember that practice, practice, practice, is the remover of doubt and uncertainty. Not for a week, a month, or a year, but for as long as the body draws breath. Dr. Kano gave us the secret of Judo in three words: "Never Miss Practice."

Starting in 1964 when I became Secretary General of the revitalized Pan American Judo Union, I had a chance to work with many outstanding men of the international Judo community. The world of international refereeing was also one of the doors that opened to me in 1964 when I had the honor of being appointed as a member of the Consultative Committee of Referees for the Tokyo Olympics.

There in Tokyo, and the next year, 1965, when I refereed the finals of the heavyweight division in the World Games at Rio de Janeiro between Geesink and Matsunaga, I started a friendship with Anton Geesink, an astounding personality who revolutionized world Judo by his fighting and later by his coaching. Each country has its Judo stars, and we are more like them than we are like some of our own countrymen.

Those steadfast international friends with whom I had the pleasure of working include Heli Cabeiro of Guatemala, Carlos Bislip of the Netherlands Antilles, Frank Hatashita of Canada, Rudolph Hermanny of Brazil, Kurt Kucera of Austria, Charles Palmer of Great Britain, and Jon Bontje of Holland. In particular, I have shared an interesting personal and technical exchange with the great Russian Coach, V. Andreyev.

After I became primarily a professional coach of Judo, it was my pleasure to work with some of the finest of America's competitors. I remember in particular Bill Wecker and Jim Tanaka (a fellow coach) at the Air Force Academy; Jerry Dean, later an intercollegiate champion; Paul Maruyama, U.S. Olympian and World Military Games gold medalist; Dean Tower of our 1967 World Games Team; Rene Zeelenberg, twice World Military Games silver medalist; all gave me much more than I gave them. They have the inspired dedication to force themselves beyond normal limits to achieve superlative technique.

In only the past few years have we had a new phenomenon in Judo: women in leadership and competitive positions of greatness. In 1962 when I was National AAU Judo Chairman, I was fortunate to be able to work out a plan for women's Judo competition with Phyllis Harper. We started with kata, and then seven years later, we convinced Ruth Horan that there should be a separate women's championship, which she ran for two years. Finally, in 1972, the USJA ran the first women's competitive tournament under the direction of Ohio's fine Judo leader, Jim Nichols, now a USJA Board of Directors member.

Now we see in the faces of America's women champions, Joan Millay and Judy Baker in kata, and Diane Pierce and Bonnie Korte in the tournament competition, the same determination and championship effort we looked for in the faces of our boys and men. It is a great honor indeed to have had a part in bringing women into Judo in greater numbers. We have learned much from them.

And now in Zenbei, my own club, I work with the finest group of coaches, young people and parents I have ever known. Their devotion to the ideals of Judo never leaves my mind as I write this book. For Judo is in the club, the place where an instructor begins to show the little boy or girl the wonder of physical education. In the club we have our best friends and do our best work.

Having "come home" to Northern California, it is now my privilege to work from day to day with Willy Cahill, of Cahill's Judo Academy, the foremost Judo Club for juniors in the country; Fletcher Thornton of the Napa Judo Club; and Wally Marr and Gil Loomis, my fellow coaches in Zenbei. Their contributions to Judo are known to all, and I want to thank them for their constant and energetic work for our sport as well as their kindness and help to me.

I must also express my gratitude to Anton Geesink and Geoffry Gleeson, two fellow international coaches of great renown to have made the search for a rational coaching method for Judo a pleasure over many years. At Camp Olympus, and when we have been together at the World Games and Olympics in Tokyo, Rio, Salt Lake, Ludwigshafen, and Munich, their company and brilliant minds have inspired me more than I can express.

Especially to my dear friend Geoff Gleeson I wish to express my belief that he is the foremost thinker on Judo I have met in the world. He stands alone as the man who has made the greatest of contributions to coaching Judo.

When we look over the field of books and films which have made Judo more understandable to us, we find that they have been produced mostly by Geoff Gleeson. But more than that, he has been a source of light to me. We have sat on the shores of Lake Tahoe or in the Napa valley talking of Judo, and he has said to me: "I shoulld think you would write about anything that touches your soul." He believes that Judo should produce joy: it should touch the soul, and I believe he is right.

Another of the fine coaches I have worked with is Jack Oliver, now Director of Camp Bushido in Colorado. Together with Ben Campbell, we have spent many profitable hours of happy intentness on coaching. Jack is moving ahead with Judo coaching in many valuable ways. I am indebted to him each time we meet.

My thanks to Joe Holcombe, Paul Wagner of Zenbei and Malcolm Hopkinson of London for helping with some of the photos in this first volume. Alan Cramer has made this book a labor of love, and although I have tried in the section below to tell something of his Judo experiences, I cannot adequately thank him for his artistic accuracy and constant good humor.

So to all the wonderful friends who have made this book possible, I bow down in love and respect. They have made it possible, the good of it is theirs. The incorrect is my own faulty glimpse of the truth. In the technical handbooks of the U.S. Judo Association I have recorded some of the debts I owe to other Judoists. To them, to those respectfully mentioned in this preface, and in fact to every Judoist I have known, I can only say thank you.

Sacramento, California
June, 1974



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