Vital Judo - Grappling Techniques

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Author: Isao Okano
Pub: 1976 by Japan Publications Trading Co.
Pages: 192
Ranking:Five star Rating
Out of Print


This two book set looks at Judo from the viewpoint of a competitor, rather than from a classical point of view. This book contains detailed information on various tournament newaza techniques, including such rarely covered aspects as getting your leg free, or attacking from the prone position. The companion book Vital Judo, is the companion volume, dealing with tachiwaza. This is an out-of-print book set, and for the tournament Judoka, well worth whatever it costs... Highly recommended!

 Transition from Throws into Grappling Techniques,            9
 Grappling-technique Attack Patterns,                        45
 Attacks from Above against on Opponent Lying Face Down,     75
 Attacks from a Supine Position,                            127
 Attacks from a Prone Position,                             164
 Drawing Your Leg Free,                                     179
 Genesis and Growth of the Seikijuku,                       188



When what is called judo was still known as jujitsu, it included actual combat techniques like kicks, strikes, joint reversals, and so on, in addition to the grappling techniques and throws popular today. But, as time passed, the dangerous elements were eliminated, making possible the development of the sports-oriented judo of modern times. Today people of all ages can take advantage of the ways in which judo strengthens and improves the human body. This development in the characteristics of judo has contributed to the rapid growth of the sport. Increasing age and internationalization ought to have improved the quality of judo, but unfortunately such cannot unconditionally be said to have been the case.

Undeniably, judo must grow and change with the times, but those of us who practice it must always bear in mind its best qualities and attempt always to judge our actions by those qualities. The basic nature of Japanese judo is the ability to control great strength with little strength. At present, judo is limited to throwing and grappling techniques; and people who study it tend to concentrate on the former to the exclusion of the latter. This has led to an unwarranted emphasis on bodily size and the establishment of tournament classes based on weight. Furthermore, because they concern themselves more with winning than with true development, men who take part in international judo tournaments give precedence to physical strength and orient their training along lines related to power. This set of circumstances has generated a crisis in modern judo, and it is our responsibility to do something about it.

In order to avert the crisis, many problems must be solved. Revisions in judging rules are essential. Judges who know what the best in judo is must be trained to interpret techniques in the light of optimum quality. Intense study must be devoted to the entire field of judo if we are to find a way out of the present dilemma.

All judo men must strive to strengthen themselves. Trainers must inspire this desire in their trainees. There are many approaches to solutions of present problems in judo, but I feel that the most important thing is to reevaluate the relation between jujitsu and judo, to realize the importance of body motions and ways of forcing the opponent off balance and to devote serious thought to stances and the all-important judo basics.

In a manner of speaking, judo today has become narrow and distorted. But the nature of judo is much wider and deeper than people sometimes think. In connection with developing a judo that more fully realizes the best in its nature, we must devote attention to the theories - even if we do not actually employ the techniques - of the strikes, kicks, and joint reversal holds of jujitsu. Such study would cast revealing light on body movements and ways of disturbing the opponent's balance, grappling techniques, and basic postures. For the judo man to be as good at grappling as at throwing is the goal toward the attainment of which maximum effort ought to be devoted. But today too much emphasize is put on throws. It was my hope of doing something to rectify this situation that led me to write this book.

My insistence on the greater importance of actual judo practice in preference to mere theorizing has made this book something unusual. The same thing can be said of its predecessor Vital Judo: throwing techniques. Whether my explanations and executions of the techniques presented are successful is a question that I must leave to the reader.

In the preparation of this book, I was struck by two factors that seem to account for some of the present stagnation in technical judo growth. First is the scarcity of good training books. In spite of their overlapping and repetitions, few of the books written on the subject in Japan since World War II have offered anything new on the subject. Reading through many older books on judo in preparing for this one convinced me that the situation in this connection is grave. The second factor is ignorance on the parts of judges in international tournaments and unsatisfactory judging rules. These two things combined make the use of grappling techniques in international meets difficult, if not impossible. I hope that this book can contribute to the correction of this sad state of affairs.

In the study leading to the production of Vital Judo: grappling techniques, I have enjoyed the inspiration and assistance of many people. My own grappling techniques have been greatly influenced by professor Fumio Hosotani, who is currently a judo instructor with the Kyoto police force. I received much stimulation in this aspect of judo from the outstanding judo expert Yoshiro Okuda. Professor Kenji Tomiki did much to encourage me in the hope of pioneering new kinds of initial attacks. In addition, I should like to express my gratitude to the following judo men, who gave unstintingly of their assistance in the production of this book: Katsuji Seki, Shinobu Sekine, Nobuyoshi Sato, Kazuhiro Ninomiya, Hisashi Tsuzawa, Takafumi Ueguchi, Masami Kina, Hidehiko Asanuma, Shozo Fujii, Yoshimi Hara, Koji Kuramoto, Takao Kawaguchi, Yoshiharu Minami, Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki and Kyosuke Sahara.

March 1976
Isao Okano


Dustjacket Introduction

The judo man must be as good at throws as he is at grappling and as good at grappling as he is at throws. But the modern tendency in many parts of the world is to overemphasize throwing techniques and to place too much importance on physical size, which is of greatest advantage in connection with them. Of course, judo is a living sport that must change with the passage of time and that must suit the needs of many different peoples as it becomes increasingly popular throughout the world. But the core of judo, the depth and breadth it gains by including both grappling and throwing techniques, must never alter. A man who seeks true proficiency in judo must strive for skill in both kinds of techniques.

Isao Okano, who has developed such great skill in both as to have become one of the very top men in his field today, is dedicated to putting his knowledge and experience to use for the sake of the all-round education of all true judo devotees. Vital Judo: throwing techniques, of which he and Tetsuya Sato were coauthors, has already won wide acclaim as an epoch-making textbook because it breaks with standard teaching methods and because it is completely suited to the requirements of actual judo today. Vital Judo: grappling techniques follows the same basic approach. It calls on the services of prominent, active judo men to analyze and explain techniques of utmost value in actual judo combat. This book abandons the usual classifications of pinning, strangle, and the joint techniques and presents the grappling techniques in direct relation to their practical application. The photographs and text examine the positions a combatant will assume during judo bouts and shows the best ways to move from those positions into successful grappling techniques. In addition, the book contains important theoretical material derived from jujutsu, the source from which modern judo has developed. In short, Vital Judo, grappling techniques is at once a technical handbook and a study manual.

The author offers photographic analyses of his own powerful and distinctive grappling techniques that will help the reader cultivate his own individual judo style.


About the Author

Isao Okano, who was born in Ibaragi Prefecture, in 1944, and who was graduated from the School of Law of Chuo University, in 1966, has a long list of judo triumphs to his credit. He took first place in the middleweight category of the Tokyo Pre-Olympics, in 1963; first place in the middle-weight category of the Olympics, in 1964; first place in the middleweight category in the Fourth World Championship Judo Tournament, in 1965; second place in the 1968 All-Japan Championship Judo, Tournament; and first place in the 1967 and 1969 All-Japan Championship Judo Tournament. In 1970, he founded the Seiki-juku, a school devoted to training young judo men from all nations. Okano does not limit himself to judo education alone, however, for he is active in training young people in many social and cultural fields of endeavor.



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