View Full Version : military judo team?

4th October 2000, 09:41
It seems that I saw somewhere a poster that listed tryouts for an Army Judo team or something, but now I cant find any information on the subject...its pretty easy to find info about the wrestling team and the golf team and the TKD team (or at least the competitions) but cant find anything on Judo....

Anyone know anything?

Kyle Cooper

Joseph Svinth
4th October 2000, 10:12
Have you written "Soldiers" magazine?

There is, by the way, a Virginia Army National Guard judo team. The POC listed at http://www.judoinfo.com/clubsusa.htm#va is Dave Wooten.

There is also a Marine judo club at Quantico.

These may not be official organizations, but if not I'd guess that they could put you in touch with folks who were.

4th October 2000, 10:58
Thank you very much for the info...will explore!

5th October 2000, 03:38
In the Marine Corps, it's the 'Special Services' people that would help... you know, the people that run the gym. I don't know what the Army calls 'em, but check there. They should be able to put you in touch with the appropriate people.

6th October 2000, 08:36
Hi, Guys.

The Air Force has a long history of sponsoring Judo competition. When I was a trim young brown belt of 19 years, I used to play at Mather AFB in Sacramento, and I believe other (Primarily SAC) bases had member clubs of the Air Force Judo Assn. which became the Armed Forces Judo Association which became the United States Judo Association. There should be some remnants in existance today (even though that was over 30 yrs ago.)


Joseph Svinth
6th October 2000, 09:37
Ed --

There should be, but there aren't. When I wrote them to ask, SAC Museum at Bellevue and the USAF Historical Branch in Mississippi both replied that they were essentially unaware that the USAF ever had an official judo program. The Survival School at Fairchild (the descendent of the Stead and Larsen AFB schools) is aware there was a program, but that is about it. (See http://www.fairchild.af.mil/336trg/336trg_3.htm .) The Fairchild museum, however, didn't bother replying when I asked about the Fairchild program of the 1950s -- Mel Augustine was the first instructor -- even when I sent it a copy of my research on the subject.

Ditto for USAF Academy archives. A couple years ago the archivist at USAFA knew that the USAF had a Yudanshakai during the 1960s, and recommended that I write the descendent organization. I did, but of course that was a waste of my time, for just as everybody told me, they don't bother answering letters unless they relate to your giving them more money.

Now, according to this site, http://shell.rmi.net/~blueeagle/archives.htm , the current USAF Academy coach's goal is to get judo accepted as an intramural sport.

BTW, don't go to the bank with the history you find on the latter site. It may be the guy's recollections, but the details don't always match contemporary accounts.

6th October 2000, 14:16
Thanks for the History lesson, Joe. I mean it. It just shows how little our society values roots and traditions. If it didn't happen 1. TO "ME" and 2. "YESTERDAY" it can't be worth remembering.


7th October 2000, 06:30
Just a note to let you know that one of my teachers received nearly all his judo instruction and training from the Air Force, 1950's to very early 1960s. Although I didn't know it at the time, his judo came with some "extras," some of which my more traditional and Japanese-born sensei had not seen. I still do them today. On his performance as a teacher, I would say the air force, or the armed forces judo programs were very good.


Joseph Svinth
7th October 2000, 07:29
Glad you appreciated the history, Ed, and please don't get me wrong -- those USAF judo programs of the late 1950s and early 1960s were grand.

Now, in all fairness, let's admit that having a draft certainly improved the quality of ALL military sports teams of the era. During the Korean War, for example, Tommy Kono avoided going to Korea by dint of training for the Olympics, and some years Army boasted better football teams than did the NFL. Be that as it may, the USAF exchange program with the Kodokan was outstanding, and US judo, karate, and aikido would not be what they are today without it.

In my opinion, what killed the AF program was a combination of things. Curt LeMay and Tom Power retired, so fifteen years of top-level support went away in the mid-1960s. At the same time the Vietnam War came along, and over Hanoi B-52 crews decided that judo-ing their way past angry North Vietnamese farmers with pitchforks wasn't too practical. Morale went over the hill for awhile following the war, and these days morale is back but there are so many overseas deployments that you have to wait until you get out to start any serious training.

Nevertheless I find it sad that such a good program is documented almost solely by that article in Judo Illustrated that Corcoran and Farkas reprinted. (Ignore the Helm history next to it in Corcoran and Farkas, that is all wrong. The USAF history, however, is good.)

FYI, next February or March I will start posting some USAF judo history and manuals from the 1950s at EJMAS. (I have several other manuals to complete posting first, and I only keyboard and scan so fast.) For now, though, you'll have to live with Corcoran and Farkas and what I have posted at http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncart_svinth3_0100.htm .

Now, if you're TRULY motivated, check the post newspapers at the nearest AF base. My guess is that from about 1949 to about 1965 you should find more judo history than you would expect. A problem is that many important training bases are now civilian airports; Stead AFB in Las Vegas and Larsen AFB in Moses Lake come to mind. As a result, I'm not sure where the relevant newspapers are, but I'm guessing the National Archives, which means College Park, Maryland.

Some Army and Marine bases also had judo clubs during the 1950s, and as a result their base papers may have information about judo, karate, kendo, and jodo, too. (Seriously -- Fairchild had a SSgt Martin DeFrancisco who was graded in kendo during the 1950s, and of course he was trotted out on Japanese television to be the monkey who pretends to be a human being.)

8th October 2000, 02:35
My Judo Sensei Henry Lyon Horne, of Lima, Ohio,was a member of the U.S. Air Force Judo Team,and received his Nidan at the Kodokan after dumping I believe two nidans in shiai.

His coaches included Phil Porter, Ben Campbell, George Harris, and a Korean named Ahn on Guam.

His training was the best as was his skill.

I also met, when I later joined the Air Force( and yes folks I do have a DD 214:-, honorable discharge),one Master Sergeant Hatch, a Yondan who had been trained at the Kodokan in SAC Air Police, and he had also taken part in a Kodokan program, long discontinued, called Combative Measures, possibly that something extra mentioned here.

This combined Kodokan Goshijutsu waza, and kata, with karate and aikido and heaven knows what other types of Oriental Barroom brawling, into as nasty a mixture as I ever wanted to see.

My Judo training was wholly from Air Force sources, and its a shame they stopped the program.

Inerestingly, along with the Kodokan competition style Judo, we were taught self defense, about 360 waza in four and a half years,during the last fifteen to thirty minutes at the end of each session ,as well as how to turn all competition waza of Judo back into Jiujitsu techniques.

For the history minded among you. My training was 1967-1972 in Judo, and my teacher's was in the early sixties, 1960-1964 or some such. He had the Air Force times or base paper that showed
him dumping one of the two or three nidans in competition at the Kodokan prior to receiving the nidan grade.

Joseph Svinth
8th October 2000, 10:45
The training films are available from the Library of Congress, both on film and videotape. Other recommended resources include the US Navy's V-5 program manuals from WWII.

An interesting part about the USAF program was that it clearly distinguished between judo as used for "Physical Conditioning" (HQ Offutt AFB Instructional Guide Feb 1952), "Air Police Control and Restraint Techniques" (SACM 125-2 Sep 1958), and "Air Crew Self-Defense Techniques" (Stead AFB Study Guide 140004-3 Feb 1963). The latter is actually more karate than judo, but it would be nice if more programs were so specific about what they were about.

Your trivia for the day: Francois D'Eliscu, who wrote "Hand-to-Hand Combat" for the US Army, was a boxing official in Hawaii during the 1930s.

And yes, I fit in this category too, as one of my Goju Ryu instructors, Bill Reuter, learned karate while in the Air Force, and his training included a six-week trip to the Kodokan. (As I understand it, the Kodokan had the contract, and regardless of their own style or method, the instructors went there to teach.)