Aikido

The Way of Spiritual Harmony

Aikido
Iaido

The Way of the sword

Iaido
Judo

The Gentle Way

Judo
Kendo

The Way of the Sword

Kendo
Culture

Cultural Matters

Japanese Cultural Matters

Judo

Jigoro Kano

The founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano was born in 1860. He graduated with a Degree in literature from Tokyo Imperial University in 1881 and took a Philosophy Degree the following year. Apart from being the founder of Judo, Kano was also a leading educationalist and a prominent figure in the Japanese Olympic movement.

When Kano began his study of Jiujutsu as a young man, the Jiujutsu Masters of the Martial Arts were struggling to earn a living. Although they were willing to teach the skills handed down to them over many generations, there was little interest among people of the succeeding generation. Additionally the demise of the Samurai (warrior) class had reduced the need for instruction.

At the age of 18 Kano studied the Jiujutsu of the Tenshin Shinyo Ryu under Fukudo and Iso, both instructors at the prestigious Komu Sho. Following the death of Fukuda, Kano remained briefly with Master Iso before finishing his pupillage with Master Ilkubo.

By 1883, Kano had clarified his analysis of Jiujutsu and related methods to the point at which he felt able to instruct the public through a school of his own. To that end he borrowed a small room at Eishoji Temple and opened the first Kodokan for the study of Kano Judo.

A number of machi dojo (backstreet gyms) decided that the Kodokan was conceited and ought to be put in its place. They visited its premises and caused damage so that if honour were to be satisfied a challenge match would have to be arranged. At such matches the Kodokan was represented by Sakujiro Yokoyama, the outstanding player of his day, and the result was invariably a win for Kano Judo.

To gain acceptance from the provinces Kodokan Representatives travelled all over Japan giving lectures and demonstrations on the principles behind the new method. The finale of these lectures was a contest, with limb locks and striking excluded, between the Kodokan lecturer and a member of the local training school. A particularly important match took place in 1886 to decide which system of Jiujutsu should be approved for use in Military Academies, Police Departments and Public Schools. The 15 strong male Kodokan Team defeated all opponents and Judo became a Government approved sport.