View Full Version : Why isnt Judo more popular here in America?

Jody Holeton
18th July 2000, 05:51
Dear all,

Being a new convert to Judo I am rather surprised that it isnt more popular in the USA.
Its fun, its effective, the ne-waza is just like Gracie Jujitsu (from what I've seen), most schools have ALOT of randori, its a great workout etc. etc.

Is it because most Judo teachers dont charge alot for classes? Working out of rec centers and YMCAs...
Judo isnt very flashy like TKD or some types of kung-fu?

What do you all think?

Jody H.

Joseph Svinth
18th July 2000, 07:51
Judo, like boxing and freestyle wrestling, has been around a long time, thus it has no novelty, and people do like novelty.

Also, without meaning to sound unduly crass, part of the problem is that there are no scholarships. For example, a friend's granddaughter was nationally ranked as a teenager -- she beat Hillary Wolfe -- but gave up judo for baseball. Why? Because in baseball she got four years of college out of the deal, and made several all-star teams, too. After graduating, she may be able to get a job teaching or coaching.

This is no different in men's sports. I mean, think about it. You may never make the NFL, but you've got a choice of going to a small college on scholarship or giving up college altogether to train with world-class judoka in Europe, Japan, or Korea? What do you do?

18th July 2000, 09:36
Hi, Jody,
Joe is correct but it wasn't alway so, at least where the Kodokan was concerned. They were offering scholarships along with schooling, at the Kodokan and a private American or British school, in the 1960's. This is not a scholarship in the truest sense, but I was offered this one back in 1967/68 when I was in high school. My family didn't have the money to send me, as plane/ship fares were much more (compared to today's dollar), and although they offered to take a loan for this and the new clothing I would need for the harsh winter in Japan (I lived in Los Angeles), it would have meant one of my parents adding another job to pay it. It may have been nice but this was in the old Kodokan Bldg., and it was said to have no heat nor air conditioning, and my judo studies would be six days per week with up to eight hours perday of training. But this isn't what Joe means, and this is true with most martial arts, not just judo.

Judo was popular for a while until Bruce Lee made his American TV debut as Kato on the short-lived series "The Green Lantern. It seemed all of sudden people wanted to lear to kick butt just as Bruce did, and his kung/fu, which was mistaken by many to be karate, was much more flashy, so judo had to take a more non-profit status in the community which basically was the YMCA, some part-time dojo, such as Gene Lebell's, and although there are millions world wide, many must make sacrifices in order to teach it. From the Kodokan's beginning in 1882, the numbers of players worldwide numbered 400,000 in the thirties. The rest, as they say is hitory. I am happy you are sticking with it, Jody.

Jody Holeton
18th July 2000, 12:45
Dear Mr.F and Mr.Svinth,

I'm from Michigan and we have a ton of karate and TKD schools (due to they large Korean pop.). I had a real hard time even finding a Judo or jujutsu school in my area.
One of my good friends recommended the school I'm at now and it took me 2 months to find the place.
The real interesting thing was that when I went around asking jujitsu people and karate people I took some flak (especially from aikido people but thats nothing new for me).

Seems that alot of people I talked to just considered it a "sport". That I should be studying a real "art" and that judo isnt effective. Well I disagree, I think judo is just as martial as any of the arts even more so than most.

What do you all think---Jody

Joseph Svinth
18th July 2000, 16:22
If you were interested in Olympic TKD, you'd get the same reaction. Part of it is the Olympic people themselves; I had a senior member of USJI write me to say in so many words that judo was not a martial art, but a combative sport.

As for effectiveness, well, boxing is just a sport, too. So invite all your too-deadly-for-words friends to visit Detroit's John F. Kronk Recreation Center sometime, and have them show their stuff by going one-on-one with some of the kids there. I mean, boxing is just a sport, so surely trashing Emanuel Steward's kids should be fresh meat in the hands of the Death Touch Killers out of the local McDojo. Of course, if the Death Touch Killers are truly confident, suggest parking lot instead of NCAA or commission rules. I'm sure somebody out of west Detroit would be willing to take you up on parking lot rules, $1000 side bet, winner takes all.

But in the end, what does it matter? Are you meeting nice people? Are you learning something? Most of all, are you enjoying yourself? Then what more do you want?

As for history, the Detroit Judo Club was established by Johnny Osako, and that IS something of which to be proud. Out in Jackson, the guards at the State pen were practicing judo during the 1930s, and during the 1920s there was a Michigan schoolteacher named Sherwood who taught judo in his high school classes. And in the early 1930s a Meiji University 4-dan named Yasuji Fujita was arrested in Detroit and then deported because he was wrestling professionally as Iota Shima instead of attending college at Dick Nixon's alma mater as his visa said he was supposed to be doing.

Michigan has a proud history of judo, you just have to look a bit.

Joseph Svinth
18th July 2000, 16:26
Oh. Mark mentions the Green Hornet. Although Jet Li is going to play Kato this go-round, in the orginal comic books he was Kato (kaw-toe rather than kay-toe), the jujutsu master. During WWII jujutsu masters weren't very popular in the US media, so he became a Pinoy boxer instead. (There were some GREAT Pinoy boxers during the mid-20th century.) And afterwards of course during the 1960s they hired Bruce for that season of comic book BIFF! and POW!

19th July 2000, 04:08
Hi, Jody,
Interestingly enough, aikido people will say things like that, but if you go to your local Barnes and Noble or other such book store, you will not find aikido books, etc., in the martial art sections. They will be found in departments such under such headings as "new age" or "philosphy." John Lindsey posted something about that on the forum somewhere recently. Joe is right about finding judo programs. There are many in the detroit area, but most will not be found in the yellow pages, or even the white pages. Most are found at the universities, YMCA, or Parks and Recreation. The other martial arts are in big numbers almost anywhere, especially Karate and TKD. A lot of aikidoka I've met are honest enough when it comes to the basics to admit that judo and aikido are basically the same thing. You will find that especially true off Shodokan (Tomiki) stylists. Kenji Tomiki was a 7-dan under Jigoro Kano, and the latter sent Tomiki off to study aikibudo with Morihei Ueshiba.

BTW: I agree with you. Judo is just as effective as any martial art. You just have to ask. Some of us dinosaurs who teach more than Olympic judo are out there.

It was the Green Hornet? I guess that makes sense. why does the Green Lantern sound so familiar?

19th July 2000, 04:13
Wasn't Kato (pronounced Kay-toe) Peter Sellers house boy in the Pink Panther series?:D

Jody Holeton
19th July 2000, 05:33
Whoa Mr.Svinth,

Hang on, I originally went to a judo school because
1. a good friend of mine recommended it
2. That same friend showed me how effective it was (especially on bullying aikidoka which is another story)
3. The jujitsu instructor I was studying with at the time recommended I do more randori (once in 3 months IS NOT enough).
4. I hate to state this BUT from watching UFC matches, knowing ne-waza, being in shape and knowing how to box or punch and being used to someone taking your center has made champions and HAD small people beat larger opponents (Thank you Gracie family).

I agree 100% with you on boxing BUT I think Judo is also put into a sport category and "snubbed". I like randori and I like the rules (it keeps the injuries down).

I'm going to flak for this BUT if its effective in fighting AND you can kill with it; its martial. Ask police officers about big guys who grapple with them, I have, I'll cross train to cover my bases. Just like Draeger did:percussion, weapons and grappling.

Going back to why Judo isnt popular as it should be.
People consider it a sport (which is snubbed in Michigan), it is usually low cost (thus low profile) and judo by nature is NOT flashy and is usually very quick (very hard to do in my opinion). It is pretty sweaty, are Michiganers wussed out by that?

What do you all think?--Jody

Mitch Saret
19th July 2000, 05:44
That's funny! Knowing that it was the Green Hornet, I just read over Mark's post without even noticing the Green Lantern reference until I saw it in his later post and went back.

The Green Lantern is also a comic book hero, with the fancy ring that sent out plasma(?) in shapes to do the job, controlled by the Lantern's will. The Green Hornet just beat people up! Well he did a little more.

As far as Judo's declining popularity, it might be a couple of things. First, when I started in the early seventies, it took a long time for your first test and promotion; close to two years for green belt. And that was the first rank..we went white, green, blue, 3 levels of brown, then black...and it took forever. Lot's dropped before the first test. Now there are a bunch of colors before green in some areas, so progress, tests, and rank are quicker, but it still takes almost two years to green belt.

Another reason might be how tough it is to watch. If you are new to judo and see the match on the ground with very little movement taking place, you will be bored. When the match is up and the combatants are trying for the throw it's very visual, but on the mat you really have to understand what you are looking for in order to enjoy it.

Personally I love watching and particpating in judo. It is part of the curriculum in our style of kempo-jujutsu. And I wish there was a judo dojo near me so I can finally get that judo black belt. I got hurt in football and didn't go back for my test...big regret.

19th July 2000, 07:29
Hi, Mitch,
Thanks for clearing up the Hornet/lantern business. I never could keep my super heroes straight, except for superman and "Bizarro Superman."

You are right about judo being a difficult sport to watch unless you know for what to watch. The blue judogi was supposed to take care of that, but it only helps to tell who from whom, and supposedly cut down on shimban error, which it has, at least from 1997 through 1999, it has cut it down by about 35 to forty percent.

Even if there is a lot of nage waza, it still makes for a boring match between two big guys. The best thing to do, especially at state or local tournaments, is to watch the smaller guys/girls, or even the kids as this is where the technique is found, namely nage waza. Being a referee is advantageous for this reason, but taking sides is a no-no:)

[Edited by MarkF on 07-19-2000 at 01:36 AM]

Joseph Svinth
19th July 2000, 09:21
"Today, judo is not a martial art but a sport. The International Judo Federation (IJF) in 1981 at Maastricht, Netherlands, declared that judo should not be a martial art. Judo is like wrestling and boxing. It is a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an Olympic sport."

Letter from Dr. Eiichi Karl Koiwai to Joseph Svinth, Oct. 23, 1997. Dr. Koiwai, 7-dan, was president of the US Judo Federation from 1968-1976 and chairman of the US Olympic Judo Committee from 1969-1973, and in 1997 headed the sports medicine and promotion committees for US Judo, Inc.

Bullying aikidoka is a contradiction in terms. True, individual practitioners surely can be that way, but regardless of the grade stuck on their bathroom walls they are not good aikidoka if they are.

19th July 2000, 11:16
[i]Originally posted by Joseph Svinth:

. Judo is like wrestling and boxing. It is a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an Olympic sport."

I wish Karl had said something to my teacher in 1963. He thought it a martial art, but Karl's description is fine with me, just so long as it isn't confused with that game of tag called "karatedo";)

Mark "Tongue eating all the way through my cheek" Feigenbaum

19th July 2000, 15:38
My understanding that the new rules for shiai were intended to increase the 'watchfullness' of judo matches along with the colored gi. Texas has a bigger judo following than I've seen in a long time. We have at least 4 to 5 fairly large tournaments a year in the Dallas/Fort Worth (North Central Texas) area. By big, I mean at least two to three mats going at the same time. Vince Tamura's Dallas Invitational is the biggest in the area with 4 mats going at a time.

20th July 2000, 07:50
Judo is popular, as a sport and otherwise. We mustn't forget that Karl is promoting judo as an Olympic sport, which it is. That only means that is its political intention. I have no problem with it being a sport as long as it is not forgotten that the entire syllabus of judo is not for sporting purposes, and if that is what you want, you can get it. Competition is not mandatory, contrary to belief, but I was a competitor, and later when that wasn't possible, I began to learn more of judo through the "kata only" parts of judo,EG, atemiwaza. It is much easier to off-bablance the bad guy with a punch or two instead of the "you push, I pull" variety. Even so, judo is whatever you want it to be, including Karl Koiwai's definition, Jody's as well. Competition was well on its way in ryu of jujutsu before judo existed or was known. The only thing which made it different was the regulation of it and limiting randori to anything but atemi. Even with this limitation, judo hit the 400,000 mark in the 1930s, and is practiced by millions world wide. International judo may have changed, but in the smaller circles, as Kano intended, it is doing just fine. It is hard to find because it is not advertised in the same way as karate, aikido, etc., is. Mostly, as Jody mentioned, it is by word of mouth, but if you do some digging, there is a good chance it is available in good numbers. A call to the universities or community colleges, as well as Parks and Recreation and YMCA will lead you to a dojo.

BTW: When I competed, there were always four mats going, and even today, and in a smaller state, four mats are necessary unless you want to be there well into the night.

20th July 2000, 08:16
The new rules of 1997 did include things to make it more interesting, such as the blue judogi, but there were others which have had a mediocre effect, and some are downright nuts. While I do see the need for different colored dogi, they also made sure to make more exact measurements of the sleeves, pants, length of obi ends after tying it, and an "official" way of tying your obi as well. I guess that some never learned properly. The standard dress for shimban was also included. Dark blue blazer, dark blue or black trousers, and black socks. This is the standard of dress for women shimban as well. With the earlier inclusion of eighth points (Koka) and quarter points (yuko), winning by ippon began to take a dive, but it wasn't too bad; yet. Then with rules of passivity, which includes shido (taking an eighth point away), chui (taking a yuko), and direct hansokumake from competition for these "grave" errors, is having a direct effect on katamiwaza, EG, going for a choke, pin, etc., and if no advantage is taken within about a ten second time limit, it made it almost impossible to do anything but nage waza (btw: Four yuko do not equal ippon and eight koka do not equal ippon, either). Also, the "pistol grip" went the way of the obi grip (It cannot be used, except for going for a waza within a few seconds, and the shimban is soley responsible for enforcing this rule, as they are the obi grip. Sometimes, even when you are right, you're wrong. I remember going through the lists of matches and how they ended, and the ones which ended in ippon or waza-ari, were almost absent, and that was the Korea games. It should be interesting this time around to see if these rules made a difference in maintaining of interest.

1st August 2000, 04:04
As a non-judo person, I can tell you why I didn't go back to matches after the first one I saw in the 70's. It was because I didn't have the faintest idea what was going on and there seemed to be no way of finding out short of attending a judo school. I heard the same complaint from some friends. All we saw were a group of people in gi's doing stuff that looked like wrestling. I mean, look at this post. Obviously, at this site you'd expect knowledgeable practioners discussing their art with the correct terminology, but this is also what it sounds like from the stands if you're just going to watch a match. Maybe there is now, but at the time I never heard of any match that provided "translation" sheets for visitors so they could follow what was going on. It's like going to a Japanese or Chinese restaurant and having no idea what's on the menu because everything is in a foreign language. I know you're using the language of the originating country, but if you want "popular" it helps to have the person watching not feel as if he/she is too stupid to follow what's going on. Once you've hooked them on the intricacies of the art, they'll come back again and again and learn the terminology as they do.

Frank Mosca

Joseph Svinth
1st August 2000, 09:34
On December 7, 1941, due to the actions of others, Japanese Americans became quite unpopular in the United States. As a result, the Green Hornet's houseboy/chauffeur/bodyguard was suddenly changed from a Japanese named Kato to a Filipino named Kato, and the pronunciation of the name changed with it.

Lots of Americans still call Japanese Americans named Kato "Kay-toe," just as it many Japanese Canadians pronounce the word kata as "kah-tah."

Of course, that pronunciation is not nearly so bad as what the Japanese do to "middleweight" (midoru-kyu). But I guess boxing remains boxing no matter where it goes, unlike Japanese martial arts and combative sports, which become something else the instant they leave Japan.

1st August 2000, 10:16
This isn't a complaint, or anything:redhot: but I will assume you all have Internet access? You do? Great!:burnup: Here are a couple of websites to get all the complainers of not knowing how to watch a judo tournament to at least change the channel for a moment. Try: http://www.ijf.org . They have a pretty nifty guide with pictures and everything.:idea: After that, you can go over to http://www.nbcolympics.com . On this site, not only can you get a taste of terminology, but they have quicktime movies with the US best hopes of medaling this year showing you the ropes of watching a match. Geez, I know how to watch what you do. If your interested in seeing more judo after this, especially if you want to support your patria, you can sign on for updates by signing on for judo as your favorite sport. If this isn't enough, do a little surfing, you maggots!:smash:

BTW: Judo, as a sport, is the second largest in the world, second only to futbol (soccer).:wave:

1st August 2000, 10:44
Actually, folks, I just wrote Mr. Park, President of the International Judo Federation and asked for specifics in how to watch, and where, on the web, one can learn the basics. If you want a glossary of throws, chokes, how matches are scored, etc., go to http://www.nbcolympics.com . Then, on the left of your screen, you will be asked to choose a sport. Select "Judo" from the drop-down menu, and it will automatically take you to a video/literal glossary to learn what you may be watching.

You need to do a little work here. You will be asked to fill out a form for updates on the Olympic Judo venue. Give it a go. There will be coverage this year, probably on MSNBC, or NBC. Thanks.

1st August 2000, 17:40
Hey, Mark, thanks for the info on web site availability of judo info. I'll use it and pass it along also. Also, don't sweat the maggot comment. I don't - with my name, I've heard every fly joke that could possibly be made.

Frank Mosca

1st August 2000, 23:54
Originally posted by bluebar
I know you're using the language of the originating country, but if you want "popular" it helps to have the person watching not feel as if he/she is too stupid to follow what's going on.
Frank Mosca

I am by no stretch of the imagination a Japanese speaker; hey I can barely make it in English! But when you try to talk of Judo in English, by the time you have finished describing what you mean, you may as well have taken a Judo class, it would take that long any way?
Just take the Basic elements of a throw:

Kuzushi = Disturbing balance or posture, there are 8 basic variations of this alone! And all involve yours and your opponent’s entire body!

Shintai = Advancing or retreating, again 8 basics.

Tsukuri = Workmanship, to make! This is concerned with building or constructing the throw.

Kake = Beginning, starting. This refers to the very act of the throw.

Tai-Sabaki = the way you turn into an attack.

Now if you look at the English versions/ translations, due to their briefness the are still meaningless, and would need at least a page on each one, however the Japanese terms we use have very distinct and accurate meanings and when spoken to a Judoka, who have been taught the traditional way, will never be misunderstood or confused.

I do not believe having “English” used would have any bearing on popularity or increase the non-judoka’s interest. Lets face it; Judo to the unenlightened is just two guys in pyjamas rolling around on the floor.

Judo Tournaments will always look like this but if there were some TV coverage with good commentary by knowledgeable commentators, this would greatly increase interest. I say this as a “Brit” who had no idea what was going on when American football was first screened on TV over here, but with the first seasons games we had explanations of the rules and highlighted replays as examples. I now have a basic understanding and thoroughly enjoy it. If we could only find a TV station with the same courage and insight to do the same for Judo, we could forget all this rubbish of “how do we change a tradition” and concentrate on a more professional and polished presentation of tournaments.

2nd August 2000, 09:38
Well, let's face it. You do have to do some work to find out, and Ray, you are correct. The language doesn't matter here, anyway. But terms such as kake, Tai sabaki (actually posturing and gripping), etc. are not important to the fan. Like anything, practice. There are websites which show the throws you may see, and the NBC link does had Jason Morris and Jim Pedro showing, for example, Pedro's ko soto gari, probably his best (and only) back throw (Inner reaping throw, and he shows how it is done in kata as well as how he personally does it. Listen to Pedro for correct pronunciations. Morris sounds like the gringo trying to trill his tongue while saying "Ferro Carril (railroad train) in English.

An interesting tie in here, Frank. I know the Spanish for fly but I have no idea how it is differentiated. Mosca is fly, so is Mosco, although a different one, and mosquito may mean the same thing to us, but not necessarily to the Spanish speaking. Also, fly (mosca) is the same in Italian.:p

OK, you want me to pay for this, right? My name is German for Fig Tree, so there!

Chuck Clark
2nd August 2000, 15:41
Hey Mark,

I thought Jimmy Pedro's (OUTSIDE) Kosotogari was his favorite throw to the rear. He has a kouchigari (inner) also but not as strong.

I know that there's always been a move in the West to try and "popularize" and make KDK judo a "spectator sport" since the late 50's and then nowadays a "sport spectacle" to make money for the promoters. However, I have always been part of the traditional camp who loved what Kano seemed to want judo to be. It hurts my heart to see what is being done in the name of "judo" today.

I was visiting with Pascal Krieger from Switzerland this past week at our jodo triennial gasshuku for the International Jodo Federation in Ohio, and he and some old judo friends are doing the same as many (I suspect) old traditionalists are doing. Serious judo training (strong "play") often centering around kata, light but lively randori, and very strong newaza. From the mid-1960's Draeger worked mostly newaza in his judo practice (Krieger was a kohai) and then finally gave up judo pretty much in favor of koryu weapons arts due to the politics and changes which were coming out of the west. Meik Skoss reported that the dojo he's training in now is doing pretty much the same. We have similar activity in our dojo and I suspect there are many more who love traditional judo who're doing the same kind of practice without any connection to the shiai groups. Stan Conner sensei and I feel very strongly that traditional (tadashi) judo will survive.

If I was a youngster again (no cracks!!!) I would be training with Kubota sensei of the Kodokan and Tenshin shinyo jujutsu in Japan. I think his budo is very strong and shows proper principle in all he does.

Well, enough growsing...judo lives and will survive without being "popular!"


2nd August 2000, 21:32
Hi there!

As mentioned previously, Judo is extremely successful as is evidenced by its distrubtion and numbers throughout the world.

As far as non-paricipants not watching matches...this I agree is due to non-martial artists, or perhaps more specifically non-grapplers not having a clue what they are watching.

I believe that in a sport context, formats such as the Olympics are as great a service as they are for jymnastics, diving etc...for the simple reason that most of the viewing audience doesn't have a clue what they're watching...but as the slow motion replays, and commentators explain what's happening the audience becomes educated and begins to understand why a jymnist scored a 10 on the uneven bars, or for why one Judoka was able to triumph over the other.

While I don't care for the no-holds barred events ( which isn't really true since they ie UFC do have rules regarding what actions you can or can't do ). These events have shown that, so far...a plain striker has never won any of these events. The winner has always been a grappler of sometype...and this has not been lost on the public.

In alot of colleges, martial arts are often offered as P.E. classes. When I attended Sacramento State, they offered Judo as one of these options. Lots of women enrolled in the Judo class preffering it to a striking style because they thought it would serve them better. Most of those I polled had chosen it because they were afraid of being jumped while leaving their night classes. Most indicated that they were allowing for the element of surprise to allow their attacker to grab them, thus they had chosen a system that delt specifically with this problem.

While my above example is not explicity universal, it relates to your question in that people choose styles as they are tailored to their needs.

For example, some people in the military or law enforcement love Judo. Seeing it as a great means for dealing with an assailant, while others find a different art as they may be worried about developing the habit of not striking their enemy or suspect because their training in Judo has conditioned them not to strike.

As with all things it comes down to an individual needs
and their perception ( right or wrong ) as to what will fill them.

Eric Bookin

3rd August 2000, 03:38
Thanks, Mark. I figured anyone who lived in N. Mex. would catch the allusion. If it's any consolation, I love figs!

Osoto2000 - Thank you for the lesson. It helped.

Back to the thread - please, understand folks, I have no problem at all with the use of the Japanese, itself. It's your sport and your hobby and you can do as you please, but the original post was a query as to why judo wasn't more popular in the U.S. I attempted to answer that from an outsider's perspective. I agree with all of you that knowledgeable sportscasters and slo-mo replays would do wonders for educating the masses, but since the chances of seeing next week's judo matches from Peoria on NBC are slim to none, maybe the education has to come from the judo community itself. What I gather from this thread is that even within the judo community you have factions - call them traditional vs. non-traditional and I don't want to step on any toes, so I'm simply going to mention something that I've done in other hobbies.

I raise pigeons. I also train in San Soo. One thing I suggested, which has worked well in both venues is that when we have demos or show, we try to designate a participant who's not busy, or a non-participant to greet newcomers and explain a bit of what's going on. The important thing is simply to have someone readily identifiable so a first time visitor feels comfortable bothering them with a question. It wouldn't even be all that difficult to post a small section at a minor meet for first timers to sit in. Once there, a designated person could answer any questions; explain what's being done, comment on some of the techniques and their execution, and in general let the people go home with more than they came with. I get the feeling from many arts that a lot of folks still feel that because they've historically been "secret" that they still have to be -- or if not secret, at least something that only the initiate who's passed thru the gauntlet of rank should understand.

I understand grappling, I simply get lost in the language - Frank Mosca

3rd August 2000, 08:22
Hi, Chuck,
Boy, when I am wrong, I am wrong!:o I did mean his ko UCHI gari. I bow to the master. Thank you for the pickup.

Also, that is a very good way of putting the lack of understanding of judo, and I am sure it was this way for gymnastics, as well. I suppose it is like soccer (football) here. It still is in need of an audience, and in Sydney, it may be a do or die for Olympic judo. This may not, necessarily be a bad thing, but it is going to be interesting.

For anyone who thinks I was being serious concerning learning how to watch judo, even the explanations do not tell the story so it was meant with every intent to be humorous, not a put down at all. But it does make one wonder how it became the second most popular sport in the world, just behind soccer.

BTW: Chuck, I did ask and received an email not too long ago from Diane Skoss concerning with whom and where he was training. Thank you for your imput.:wave:

4th August 2000, 00:26
Hi Frank,
Sorry for the lecture, i'll come down off my soap box and humble myself, as you have, and make, some very good points.
I think the biggest problem we have with judo is it's amatuar status and the very amatuar way most of the tournaments are staged, ( ican only comment about here not the states as unfortunatley i have never been.
tanks once again.

4th August 2000, 23:59
Thanks, Ray, but there's was no need to apologize. I never took what you said as a lecture. I really meant the thank you. In two paragraphs, you told me more about some of the terminology than I'd learned in years. Also, I'm a professional writer. I long ago learned to separate my ego from my writing. --- Beside, I simply assume if someone doesn't agree with me, it just shows that my thoughts, feelings and understanding of the world are simply so superior to mortal men, that I must be almost an avatar. (That's a joke, folks, and I'd post one of those cute little smiling guys here if I could figure out how to do it.) Again, thanks, and thanks to all of you. I'm actually learning stuff on this board.

Frank Mosca

6th August 2000, 22:20
Originally posted by MarkF
Well, But terms such as kake, Tai sabaki (actually posturing and gripping)

HI Mark,
Just to disproove my statement "when spoken to a Judoka, who have been taught the traditional way, will never be misunderstood or confused" , It would appear two "old timer" Judoka's are going to have a debate as to what Tai Sabaki is.
The way I understood it, it was made up of two character;
Tia = Body
Sabaki = Managment
This meant it related to the way in which you "managed" the movement of your body, mostly turning with a fliudity that maintained your ballance and center as you monuvered both yourself and your opponant to the moment of Kake.
Actually having reread what I have just said posturing and gripping does fit. So in order to proove my original statement I will post this anyway :)
As I type really slow and don't have the heart just to delete it.

Chuck Clark
7th August 2000, 02:48
Hi guys,

Grips were always referred to as "kumi kata" in the dojos I grew up in,

Kano said there were three basic parts to a waza: kuzushi (balance breaking), tsukuri (fitting), and kake (finish of the technique) If kuzushi and tsukuri were done properly, kake happened as a dynamic result of the other two.

Tomiki sensei talked about waza a little differently. He said there were two parts to a waza: kuzushi (which included jibun no tsukuri (fitting yourself) and aite no tsukuri (fitting the opponent) and then kake (finish) as a result. He felt that kuzushi and tsukuri really were parts of the same action as I understand it.

Shisei is basic posture and shintai is body movement. Tai sabaki or body turning was used as a general term used to describe movement of the body in relation to the opponent's movements.

It has always been interesting to me to see the different ways the technical language is used in different areas or countries. I have never heard of kake used for the start of a throw though. Interesting.

Just another direction heard from....


7th August 2000, 08:12
Well, kake, as understood in general, was "at the point of throwing uke through the floor!":smash: Yes, that is the way I have always interpreted it; finishing.

Chuck, isn't that from Tomiki's book Judo and Aikido? This is one of my favorites and should be on everyone's reading list. Too bad it is out of print. In fact, mine is a copy. I haven't been able to find one, a least one I could afford:burnup:

I don't think terminology has changed, it just seems that there are any number of ways to explain the same thing, but starting is definitely one I wouldn't apply to kake, or achieving kake. I don't find myself disagreeing with Tomiki Kenji very often.

Chuck Clark
7th August 2000, 15:11
I think there are more "gems" in Tomiki sensei's little book "Judo and Aikido" than in many others combined. The problem is that you need to already understand what he's talking about or it seems so simplistic that you read right past the gems without realizing what they mean.

I gave my original first edition to my son years ago but was lucky enough to find another in a garage sale (believe it or not!) at a huge cost of $2.50 along with two other books.

The original had his version of the basic fifteen aiki waza and then the revised edition has the kata with the seventeen basic techniques as practiced by the Shodokan style today (more or less...).

14th August 2000, 00:54

as a British judoka can i just say that its not only the U.S
that Judo isnt that popular, its the same over here my classes seem to be getting smaller every year.

I think the reason being is that the Power Rangers dont throw the "baddies" on the floor and do groudwork, but kick,punch and do all sorts.So where do they go? They go to the nearest Karate Dojo where they learn to punch and kick.
If only people would come and see us "play" and give it a go i think they would like it.

As for being a sport i think the powers that be are being silly, its not a sport but a Martial Art!!!!!!

i feel better now


14th August 2000, 08:59
Hi, Darren and welcome to E-budo.com!:wave:

Let me get this over with. Take a moment to look at forum rules at the bottom of the page, and note that it is policy to sign your posts with your full name, and not a nickname. You can do this by putting it in your signature box, or you can, of course, just sign your posts each time you reply. The sig. box is the easiest way to remember.
Is judo becoming less popular in the UK? With the recent passing of Trevor Leggett, this leaves a huge whole in British judo and judo all over the world.

Traditionally, there is no judo in the summer, especially before WWII. It is much different than today, but you are right. Many leave because they want to put a hurtin' on something, usually there friends, family, and the dog, but I digest:D

The last time I looked, judo is the second most popular sport in the world, behind football (soccer). I doubt it is close but the numbers apparently show this. But if it is the juniors who are leaving in droves to go to Great o'sensei's masters of masters, karatedo and two hundred "ancient" "real" martial arts, then that is a price we all pay, and have been since the end of WWII, but it probably, the attendance, dropped significantly after Kato (no not Peter Sellers' Kato ["my little yellow friend :laugh:]), Bruce Lee made his appearance. I know in my dojo, many left in the early/middle sixties to study karate (no gung fu as of yet) to put moves on and break stuff. You are right that judo is a martial art, as karate, boxing, and other non-lethal combatives, but it is best said as a combative sport. If you have been studying judo for just its martial aplication then you are missing a great deal. On the other hand, if you are doing both, including shiai, then you have a good dojo with a teacher who doen't want to keep the "forbidden" waza locked away, but wants to share it in the way of kata, as it should be. For the most part, I see this happening much more frequently in Europe (France, Germany, and England) than here in the US.

Don't worry about it, Darren, most judoka know it is both, and there are few you must convince of that. Others call it stricly a sport, as some have never read books by the greats of judo; J. Kano, K. Mifune, or K. Tomiki. It does't help when the international bodies governing sport and judo have made the rule of shiai so complex as to almost remove completely, the will to win by Ippon, either on the ground or tachiwaza. Some of the newer penalties of passivity are so perverse as to render newaza almost useless. No more than ten seconds to put on a shimewaza, or your opponent receives koka and you shido. Nevertheless, judo must be supported if it is going to retain international randori, and that would be a shame.

Judo is a complete combative art and sport, but those who are doing "the real thing" have a problem with this. By denying the sportiveness of any MA, some also deny the past of his/her koryu, or classical ryu of jujutsu, as contest was not only common, but after the "samurai laws" took effect, competition took a big upswing in koryu, and then Kano gave a hand up to jujutsu by inviting all to join the Kodokan. Those who stayed made the history books, and those who left went back to what one did before the Kodokan, or, as in Tomiki Kenji's example, arrangements were made so that he could go on, even after earning his 7-dan, to study under Ueshiba Morehei and his aikibudo, or aikido. Even those who disrespect sporting competitions in MA, must give credit to Kano and the Kodokan for what he did. Aside from making it safe for all to learn, he saved jujutsu from its impending doom. OK, so I rant now and then.:smokin:

BTW: I lose students for the same reasons, but also school plays a role, as does holiday from school, and the beginning of summer. Sometimes I have to close down for anywhere from a couple of weeks to months. Sometimes, there are not enough to have classes four times a week, and then classes are rescheduled for twice a week. There are three dojo in Albuquerque and all three are in the same boat. Of course, there is one club, Sandia Judo Club has been here since the fifties, I believe, and the grand poohbah then was one of the Tamura brothers. Times is tough everywhere.:redhot:

15th August 2000, 13:24
Hi MarkF

Thanks for the reply and ooops! i will remember next time to sign properley next time.

You are right in what you say about the governing bodies of Judo have made it complex, But in away made it more into a sport than a MA.

As for my training in Judo i am very lucky to be a student of W.S Wood 8th Dan who was in turn a student of Sensei Abbe. So i and my fellow students are taught the old way in the fact that nothing is a secret and we are taught everthing from Ogoshi to Katsu, plus other MA as well.

Also you are right in saying that during the summer the classes are smaller, but in my case they seem to get smaller every year with out including holidays.

Darren Lyons


carry on ranting as it is giving me more knowledge

William F. Kincaid
15th August 2000, 17:12
Well Mark as usual you hit the nail on the head. While I do not do shiai anymore,(due to an injury), I will agree it is important. There is a problem with how we, (Judo community at large), tend to view the shiai, we are seeing it at as the "only" reason we train. With this mentality in place is it any doubt that schools are dropping attendence? Not to me, this mentality tends to attract only the very stong and aggressive to your school. Then coupled with a "ever increasing of rules governing competition in Judo" doesn't make a good enviroment in which Judo can survive.

I do see the importance of rules. Hey, if you are to have a civilized competition then guess what? RULES are a must. But what is these rules coming out here as of late. Is it true there is now a rule stating and I am paraphrasing here..."That the lapel to a competition Judogi shall not excede 1 centimeter in width??? WHAT THE.........?????? If this is true then there goes a number of my gi's.

What I am trying to say is that rules are important,but an over indulgence in them will kill the dynamic nature of Judo. I try to tell my Judoka that "Pick any throw and punch or kick and look at them.. If you go out and punch or kick 10 people 7-9 out of 10 are going usually to be affected the same way. Now go out and throw 10 people and you will have to do your throw differently on each and everyone of these people becaues guess what??? Every one is different and has different off balance points, so you will have to alter the way you do your throws against everyone you face in life that is the nature of our Art.

Everyone take care and have fun

15th August 2000, 22:55
I too have just started Judo again. I was not interested previously because I was under the mistaken impression that it is "just a sport", not a martial art. In fact, my previous Judo teachers even told me so (they viewed their Jujutsu as their "true" martial art and Judo as a complementary, sportive activity to their Jujutsu). This is not to denigrate sports or athletes by any means - I sure wouldn't want to run into elite athletes such as Lennox Lewis or Warren Sapp in a dark alley. I was also deceived by the "simplicity" of the art. When I was younger, I thought that more techniques=better, but now I know better.

My enlightenment came when a previous teacher of another martial art brought in an old Judoka and his students to give us an "intro to Judo" type seminar, with emphasis on ne-waza and some self-defense applications. There I got a taste of a depth to Judo that I wasn't aware of previously. I learned that day that the combative Jujutsu side of Judo is alive and well today in the kata, provided a teacher is there to teach them. What motivated me to make the switch back to Judo was finding a traditional dojo where the kata is taught and ne-waza is a major part of the training (about 50% of class is spent on it and we have two randori sessions every class - once for newaza and the second for standing up) and finding out that a skilled, high-ranking player from the Kodokan is coming to be the guest instructor for 20 months.

What I like so far are the workouts and opportunities presented by randori to try things unrehearsed and see what works or doesn't work on different training partners. I don't what effect shiai has on the popularity of the art - I have no idea of whether the number of people attracted by the shiai is equal to, greater than, or less than the number of people turned off by the idea of competing for a prize. I know for me, winning a prize isn't as important as the process of learning from what works/doesn't work.

Paolo Valladolid

[Edited by PaoloV on 08-15-2000 at 05:04 PM]

16th August 2000, 10:47
You have a teacher who teaches katsu (kappo jutsu)? Wow, you do seem to have a well-rounded curriculum. Some think atemi has vanished. Kappo jutsu (katsu) is transparent! Very few today give katsu a chance anymore.

Yep, William, and it has recently been posted. It actually reads as no more than a centimeter in "thickness" and no more than five C. wide. The explanation is since most manufacturers were pretty much the same in making these types of judogi that a rule mentioning the size of the lapel was not needed. However, some judoka have had dogi specially made to be nearly impossible to grip easily and quickly. I agree that the rule of international judo has gone so far as to leave no room for centering, passive aggression, and the list goes on and on. In fact, I just saw that rule concering the thickness of the lapel on the main page of The Judo Federation (http://www.ijf.org) . Go back to 1997 and see all the new rules and you will be reading for a week. No, even in this, the sport of judo is taking a beating, as well as Kodokan judo, itself. J. Kano saw this well before he died and said the main cause was the lack of qualified teachers. Strength was overtaking good waza in randori (shiai) and reiterated the return to Kodokan judo style randori. He meant, I believe, in the constant in judo of Minimum Effort and Maximum Efficiency. Strength was to be limited to short bursts, and only exactly when necessary, with the hips and shoulders, but nowhere else. BTW: Some do not like to grip at all. Generally, they cover themselves as a turtle, and stand to the side, avoiding the natural posture and the tai sabaki. In fact, I think they call a person like this, a turtle. This is where de ashi barai comes in handy. There are some throws which are made for this situation, and you only have to practice this with an uke. Grasping at the top of the neck is good, but if not, you can always grasp the back of the dogi anywhere. If he constantly avoids "kumi kata," and the shimban is not from his home country or state, he will be penalized for passivity. Before point scoring, a warning was given, and if this didn't work, one culd be disqualified, or if let go, the judges would have no choice but to raise the color of your team, white or red, as the winner.

While I have become more traditonal (read "old") in teaching, I will still support shiai, and the combative sport element of judo, but the "just a sport" comments are unfair, as people read this differently from boxing which is also combative sport, and a great means of self-defense. But if you limit your class in anyway, just sport or just kata, or just go no sen, you will lose students. It is a difficult balancing act, but we all have differing ways of arriving at the end of the road. There are judoka out there in their seventies, eighties, and even ninties who still play judo, have students in their mid seventies who compete in masters shiai, and they have always profited by the mimimum effort needed to do judo. Look what happened with kokusen judo which is stricly based on self-defense, with the almost total exclusion of everything else. There must be an interest factor applied here. This is not koryu. Judo needs the support and contribution, not only of the player, but of the family as well, if possible.

There is nothing inherently wrong with randori, and doing only what will get you through a tournament, as long as you realize that the few waza you do will not hold in post competitive days, and there is so much to learn that one lifetime will rarely cover it. Randori, as has been stated, is a test on this maxim, and while playing randori, the teacher should break up the partners and play with another of differing size, weight, and of differing waza. Same is true in newaza. Many do not teach escape. This is a shame. Learning to escape is the best way of learning to keep an opponent in a pin, choke, arm lock, etc.
Here, you can learn to keep your center down, way down, as to not allow any way of escaping a pin. Your center is the beginning and ending to every waza, but if there is any blame in the pushing of nagewaza, it is in the misinterpretation of what Kano meant when he said nagewaza is most important. This does not mean to exclude everything else. He meant if there is only one choice than nagewaza comes first.

Anway, as to rules, originally it was meant only to give everyone a chance, and to be able to train without serious injury. Today, the rules are geared more toward "cheating," but there will always be a way around such things. The length of each end of the obi being under a certain length really makes no sense to me, but if I were younger, I would still be competing. I am still thinking of competing again, but right now, my time is taken.

See you in the basho.:wave: