The Judoka

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Author: W.D. Norwood Jr.
Pub: 1973 by Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
Pages: 222
Out of Print


This fascinating book is one of only a few fictional books I know of that cover Judo. This book is written in an alternating style, first, part of the ongoing storyline, then a detailed philosophical breakdown of what's happening in the story. Somewhat 'new-age' flavor, but definitely worth the read... out-of-print, very difficult to find, but absolutely fascinating. One small quote to illustrate:

"My own small contribution to Judo theory is this: Whenever a master Judoman has options, he will select that one which is most pleasing aesthetically. In other words, the more truly poetic and especially ironic a person's responses are, the better he will perform Judo."

(Short story from me, the reviewer, here: Many years ago, in a team tournament, I competed against the then current U.S. National champion... I managed to get him up in the air on Haraigoshi, but couldn't complete the throw. He spun me around, and threw me just moments later with Haraigoshi, a throw that he is not known for performing in competition. Seems to fit the above quote quite well!!)

This book is worth the price to the Judoka of philosophical bent... get it!

 Fighting    3
 Hunting     43
 Making      87
 Knowing     163
 Loving      211



The Judoka is a man-an American-living on a beach. He works only when he must. He eats only what he is able to gather on his own. He lives a life of meditation, of introspection, of deeply spiritual values. He is wedded to the World around him, and he lives in peace with it. The Judoka lives the Way of Judo-his life embodies a philosophy of peace grown out of the precepts of a classic martial art.

In this book, W. D. Norwood, Jr., tells the story of this man-and explains the simple yet ennobling philosophy that nourishes his life. In brief narratives, we are shown moments in the days of the Judoka-fighting, hunting, making, knowing, loving-and we begin to understand the spirit that moves him, and how he uses it to bring balance and harmony to his life. Then, in commentaries on the narrative, we are invited into that spirit, into its meaning and consequence for modern man; we learn to comprehend the apparent paradox of a philosophy of fighting that is predicated on the most deeply human of ideals.

Bill Norwood, who teaches at the New College in Sausalito, California, shares with us a philosophy that speaks directly out of the wisdom of the East, in a book that speaks directly to the anxieties and needs of the West. Grounding his work in his living familiarity with the Way, and his deep understanding of its analogues and derivatives in Western philosophy, he has given us a book that exalts, that informs, that most of all allows us to see.


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