Judo - The Art Of Defense And Attack

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Author: M. Feldenkrais
Pub: 1944 - 1961 by Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.
Pages: 176
Out of Print


This book is written in a format of a number of 'lessons', each covering several techniques. Interestingly, it shows the Aikido method of chugairi, (Leg on the 'slapping' side bent, rather than straight). Although there are occasional nuggets of good information, this is a fairly simplistic book, line drawings only to illustrate, and a rather limited set of techniques discussed.

     Contents         PAGE
 INTRODUCTION           9
 PRELIMINARY           15
 FIRST  LESSON         18
 SECOND LESSON         39
 THIRD LESSON          62
 FOURTH LESSON         79
 FIFTH LESSON          96
 SIXTH LESSON         111
 EIGHTH LESSON        144
 NINTH LESSON         155
 GRADES               166



A few years ago I proposed to Messrs. Frederick Warne & Company to publish in English one of my earlier books on Ju-Jitsu, the French edition of which was honoured by an introduction by Professor Jigoro Kano. They made the counter-suggestion that it would be more desirable to write a book, a complete treatise on Judo, specially intended to assist the student to acquire a practical knowledge of this art. The extent of Judo and the difficulty of teaching the art by a book are responsible for the fact that even the original language has not a complete manual on Judo, but many excellent works treating more or less extensively on parts of it. Professor Kano himself told me when I last met him in Paris that he hoped to live at least until he could compile such a work for the future generations.

My publishers' suggestion decided Professor Mikonosuke Kawaishi (fifth Dan) and myself to materialize the work we planned long ago.

We spent almost two years preparing the photographs, and had the satisfaction of obtaining some illustrations showing both of us in action which I am not afraid to call unique. We have covered the entire field of Judo, including counters, combinations, and all the Katas. We have also added the best and most ingenious tricks of ancient Ju-Jitsu; special attention has been devoted to self-defence tricks as taught in Dojo and to their application in real fighting with and without weapons. The occupation of Paris unfortunately brought to an abrupt end our long and instructive collaboration since I founded the Jiu-Jitsu Club de France. Now I have written this first book single-handed. Most of the illustrations, however, are made from photographs where the incomparable skill and grace of Mr. M. Kawaishi are to be seen. I also wish to express my thanks to Mr. A. F. Stuart for the care he has taken in preparing the illustrations from the photographs.


I have aimed at producing a textbook on Judo that will give a sound basic knowledge of the subject. It covers the whole field of Judo in the sense that every kind of technique used is represented by some outstanding examples. The beginner will find that he is being guided by an experienced hand and that he is getting clear and reliable information. The work should also prove invaluable to more advanced students and instructors. Those among the latter who had not the opportunity of learning Judo at its source will find here hints, advice and explanations they may have been unable to find elsewhere. Judo is an art, and only with a clear understanding of its technique and a true insight into its principles can one attain a higher level and greater skill.

The novice should not try to master all the details of the throws and holds from the very beginning. The best way at first is to practise the tricks in their essentials. Then read the instructions again, looking for more detail and perfection. The knowledge and skill so acquired will enable one better to appreciate further developments, which might be overlooked. or considered superfluous by the inexperienced. This way of proceeding is strongly recommended, as it will make training hours interesting right from the start.

Modern Judo has been built up by Professor Jigoro Kano out of the ancient Ju-Jitsu systems. The essential aim of these was to overwhelm the opponent. Judo is planned to make men fit both in body and mind, making use of all the knowledge of attack and defence accumulated in nearly twenty centuries by Ju-Jitsu experts, methodically arranged into a single system and based on a single principle. Judo includes Ju-Jitsu and is superior to it in every respect. The word "Ju-Jitsu" itself has been superseded by "Judo," so that "Ju-Jitsu" has become obsolete in Japan, though still used elsewhere.

The meaning of the words "Ju-Jitsu" and "Judo" emphasizes the explanation I have just given. The word "Ju-Jitsu" is derived "giving way," "Jitsu" meaning "art," so that "Ju-Jitsu" means the "gentle art," the "soft art," or "the art of giving way." As "Do" means "principle, "Judo" means "the principle of giving way" or "the principle of the gentle art." The word "art" is not conspicuous in "Judo," but it is understood.

Judo is far more than a method of attack and defence, though it is the effectiveness of Judo as a means of defence that has made it famous. For Judo is the art of using the body in general. It is planned to improve general well-being and a sense of rhythm, and develops coordination of movement as no other method or sport can possibly do.

The senses of time and space are so much bettered by Judo practice that soon every disciple becomes aware of a certain improvement and progress in whatever occupation, hobby or sport he may have followed previously.

Indeed Judo should be considered as a basic culture of the body, much as matriculation is necessary before starting serious work in any of the sciences. Young boys and girls prepared by a few years' Judo practice will not only be magnificently equipped for any physical emergency in life, but will also find themselves possessing an alert, strong, and well-trained body. Judo training will prove to be an invaluable preliminary to such artistic professions as dancing or acting, as well as to any sport or occupation where physical fitness and grace of movement are essential.

Professor Kano describes Judo as the art of the highest or most efficient use of mental as well as physical energy directed to the accomplishment of a definite purpose or aim. One may wonder why stress is put on the word mental. The reason is that in Judo the body is educated to respond faithfully and materialize the mental image of the desired act. There are no aimless, mechanical, unintelligent movements in Judo as in gymnastics. There is always an opponent in front of you and the exercise consists always in using the body to the accomplishment of a definite purpose or aim.

Here is another point that makes Judo practice absorbingly interesting. It trains the body into submission to the personality. The violinist's fingers are trained to purposeful movements and are utterly submitted to his will. They express his personality when he has attained complete mastery over them. So do the feet to the dancer. So does the whole body to the Judo expert. To call Judo an art is not to use a far-fetched phraseology.

The constant presence of an opponent gradually develops a special attitude of ever-readiness to meet any emergency. Observation and watchfulness are trained by the constant attention to the opponent's actions. The powers of judgment and imaginative enterprise are brought into play when seeking to find the weak point in the opponent's position and contriving instantly the means of taking immediate advantage of it. Judo develops quick decision and prompt action, without which no opportunity of attack or defence is of any avail.

The ever-increasing speed and smoothness of movement taught in Judo make the body graceful, alert and strong. The muscular development resulting from Judo practice is harmonious and physiologically sound. We do not, indeed, make use of special arbitrary movements unless abnormal defaults or under-developments of particular muscle groups are to be corrected. The body is left alone to adapt itself in a natural way. This and the almost inexhaustible variety of movements make hypertrophy or under-development of certain muscular groups impossible.

There is a great deal to say about the fighting spirit (in the best sense of the words) fostered by Judo. The irascible, quarrelsome character is indeed gradually weeded out, and none is more reluctant to get into a squabble than a Judo expert. He does not make use of his skill against you for the same reason that you do not avail yourself of your physical superiority to a child. But when fighting is unavoidable he will stick to it with the tenacity of an Irish terrier, ignoring pain, never losing his temper, and certain to win. For constant attention is paid in Judo, simultaneously with the teaching of attack and defence in the most efficient way, to the paramount aim of enabling men and women to have perfect control over mind and body.


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