From the Oldest Book on Judo…

From the oldest published book on Judo:

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 2.06.46 PM
Sumitomo Arima’s Judo, Japanese Physical Culture, Being a Further Exposition of Jujitsu and Similar Arts. CHAPTER II, HISTORY OF JUDO, starts with a thumbnail sketch of judo/jujitsu history that has largely been forgotten, not just by modern jiujitsu folks but by judoka as well. It should shed some light on the debate between competition and self defense, which existed in the judo/jujitsu world long before the current one going on in the BJJ world, and covered the same territory.
Note this was written at a time of high martial ardor in Japan after their victory in the Russo-Japanese war.    – IHW
“Self-defense being natural to everybody, there is perhaps no country where the art of fighting unarmed, whatever its form, is unknown, but perhaps in no country has the art made such remarkable progress as in Japan. In the feudal days of this country there existed various schools of such art, being known by the different names of jujitsu, taijitsu, yawara, wajitsu, toride, kogusoku, kempo, hakuda, kumiuchi, shuhaku, judo, etc. They are so intermingled with one another that any correct discrimination between them is almost impossible: for instance, one being nominally different from but virtually analogous to another, while the other varies from its namesake as regards its essential points.  We may, however, state that, of these, toride and kogusoku are intended for the arrest of persons, while jujitsu and judo make it a specialty either to floor or kill one’s opponent and kempo and hakuda to kick and strike. Generally speaking, they may all be described as the art either of fighting with an armed or unarmed enemy, oneself utterly unarmed, or of engaging by means of a small weapon an enemy armed with a large one.”
(p. 5)
A fascinating set of advice appears in CHAPTER IV. ACTUAL CONTEST. Here it is clear the author is speaking of “actual fights.” Note the drift away from practical combat was already being criticized over a hundred years ago!

“Judo owes its origin to a desire to emerge victorious from an actual contest. As already stated, it rapidly progressed to being used on the battlefield, where by its aid the weak could conquer the strong.  But this means gradually became an end by itself, and those tricks of judo, which are rather remote from practical use, became very popular in recent times. The mental attitude of a contestant in an actual fight, however, ought not to be different from that already stated in the preceding chapter. That is, you should perform the trick appropriate to the conditions confronting you. As already mentioned this state of mind is not easy to attain.  The following precautions will therefore e found useful:


1. Calmly survey the conditions of the opponent and yourself and the environments.(sic)
2. Quick judgment and speedy action are essential for the purpose of forestalling the opponent.
3. According to circumstances, atewaza (trick of making the opponent faint temporarily) is preferable to nagewaza or katame-waza, especially when you are confronted by a number of antagonists.
4. Notice whether your antagonist is armed or not.
5. You may assist your art by briskly shouting at an opponent.
6. When you are suddenly placed in a dangerous position, you must determine to fall with your enemy.
7. Don’t be off guard after you have obtained a victory.
In real circumstances being off your guard constitutes your greatest enemy. When you travel in dangerous places, you must be careful in every respect. Whether your enemy is armed or not or whether he intends to fall upon you suddenly, will all be clearly known to you if you are very attentive.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s