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Issue 05 Winter 2017 Contents

Hajime! 2

JQ Interview: Lucie Dcosse 3

A Small Step Towards Tokyo 2020 19

The New Face of Japanese Judo: Baker Mashu 26

Tokyo Winds Blow through the Olympic Hangover 32

Learning through Struggle: A Tribute to Yoshihiro Uchida 45

JQ Tech: Ude-gaeshi 50

Throwing Paint: A Conversation with Artist and Olympian Neil Eckersley 55

New Success for the World Judo Day 62

A Man Called Konde Coma 67

Some Thoughts on Kata Practice in Judo 71

Time for a Change 79

Judoka Quarterly Staff Contributors

Editor-in-ChiefDavid McFall Kasper Burza
Photo EditorRafal Burza Kojima Shinsuke
Layout and DesignBaptiste Tavernier Komuro Koji
Marti Malloy
Contributing Editors Nicolas Messner
Stephen Blower Murata Naoki
Bill Caldwell Yamaguchi Kaori
Lance Gatling

JQ would like to thank the following people and organisations for their valuable cooperation:
All Japan Judo Federation International Judo Federation Komatsu Limited
Bunkasha International/Kendo World Jeff Girard Neil Adams Effective Fighting
Hakuhodo Inc. Kodokan Judo Institute

COPYRIGHT 2016 Judoka Quarterly. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without written permission from the publisher, except by writers who are permitted to quote
brief passages for the purpose of review or reference. Kindly contact Judoka Quarterly at
H appy New Year! As we enter our second year of publication, we also embark upon
a new Olympic cycle. One of the first orders of business is a revision of the rules
from the last cycle. Among the revisions was the reduction of the mens regulation time
from five minutes to four minutes (making it equal to the womens time). Yamaguchi
Kaori wrote a fine piece on the inequality of the mens and womens regulation during
this past Olympic cycle. One of the more surprising Olympic performances of the
2016 Rio Olympics was that of gold medalist Baker Mashu and we have a profile on
this exciting Japanese judoka. Harking back to the 2012 Olympics, we interview Lucie
Dcosse whose triumph in London was one of the feel-good stories of those Games.
Since then she has taken on prominent roles for Mizuno and the French Judo Federation.
Continuing on our Olympic theme, we present the striking artwork of 1984 Los Angeles
bronze medalist Neil Eckersley who has gone on to a coaching career in Norway as
well. One of the trailblazers for Olympic judo was Yoshihiro Uchida who has coached
some of Americas greatest Olympians including Mike Swain and Marti Malloy. Marti
has written a moving piece about her mentor and coach at San Jose State. Going back
even further in time, Murata Naoki has written the first in a series of articles on Maeda
Mitsuyo (aka Konde Coma) who helped spread judo around the world and taught the
founders of Gracie Juijitsu. Speaking of newaza, Komuro Koji has a nice technique piece
about transitioning from tachiwaza to newaza using ude-gaeshi. In addition, we have
coverage of the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam and the 2016 World Judo Day. As our compass
turns from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020, we hope you will enjoy our introduction to the
new cycle. Once again we thank you for your patronage and support.


David McFall
Th e JQ in te rv ie w


Photos by Rafal Burza

As a four-time European champion, three-time ...Maybe its psychological. There are many small details
world champion and an Olympic silver and gold but today he seems very good. I wish that the break
medalist, there is little doubt that Lucie Dcosse is [between the preliminaries and the final block] will
on the short list for the next class of the IJF Hall of not change this. Sometimes for people who do their
best [in the preliminaries] they gain
Fame. These days, she is busier than ever, working as
a judo ambassador for Mizuno, a French judo TV
The confidence?
commentator and a cadet coach for the French Judo
Federation. Her unique attacking brand of judo as
Yes, confidence. But sometimes during the break they
a competitor and engaging manner in her new roles go back to the ...
make her a favorite of many judoka around the
world. I spoke with Lucie on the sixth day of judo The way they were.
competition at the Rio Olympics. We sat down in
one of the staff rooms during the break between the I really want [to see] a good semifinal. The semifinal will
preliminaries and semi-finals of the -78k women be very important. Sometimes, after the semifinal
and -100k men. Up until that point, the French
judo team had had a difficult Olympic Games with Your motivation goes down. Its difficult, the
only Clarisse Agbegnenou winning a silver medal bronze medal match, if you lose the semifinal. If
in -63k. France would have a banner last two days you win the repechage, then you feel, Im winning,
with a bronze medal for Cyrille Maret at -100, a winning again.
silver medal for Audrey Tcheumo at -78, and gold
medals for heavyweights milie Andol and Teddy Yeah, but sometimes you win from the repechage and
you lose too. Sometimes people lose in semifinal, but
Riner. David McFall
they are better, they are higher [ranking].

Hes going to have to face Luk Krplek . Thats

OK, so Im here with Lucie Dcosse. Thank you very
tough, because Krplek is a European rival.
much for taking time to talk with me this afternoon.
Yeah. From this morning, hes very concentrated, I
Thank you.
know that Krplek is good.
What did you think of todays judo so far? Its going to be a good match.
Really good for the French team, because we had two I wish its the day of Cyrille Maret, today is the birthday
good judoka. For the men, he had no medal in the of Cyrille Maret.
world championships.
I did not know that. Today is his birthday, so this
For Cyrille Maret? would be the best birthday present ever. How about
Audrey Tcheumo?
For many, many years, we wish to get a medal for
him. Last year in the bronze medal [match] he lost, Audrey Tcheumo, shes a very good athlete. Shes
but normally he can win. Today we are all motivated very strong.
to give him [our support].
Physically strong.
Cyrille Maret is always amazing at the Paris
Grand Slam, but outside of Paris he seems to have Yeah, and this morning against the English[Natalie]
problems. Powell. [She used] only the power of the arms and no
legs. In the afternoon, I needs to use the whole body.
Yes, its true. He won Paris two times, and he does his
best judo in Paris. Sometimes when we go overseas What is her best throw?

Dcosse has always had the killer instinct

Harai goshi. Harai goshi with the right hand There is +70 kilo Romane Dicko. She won the European
Cadet championships, and she was on the mats for
R i g ht n ow y our e w or k i n g f or t he Fr e nc h maybe one minute for the whole competition.
broadcasting doing commentary?
Wow, so its very quick. What are her strengths?
Yes, French television.
Shes got big tachi-waza. Shes very tall and very
Do you do that normally, or do you do some athletic. Shes very fast with the leg, so shes very, very,
coaching as well? very strong. In September, she will come to the national
training center in Paris, because shes very good.
Yes, I have coached the cadets for two years now.
Whats her favorite throw?
Can you tell me some names of cadets who you think
are really doing well? Harai goshi, +70 Harai goshi [laughter].

Judoka Quarterly 5
Dcosse loves Paris
...And Paris loves Dcosse
Judoka Quarterly 7
Dcosse showing her strong gripping

The women heavyweights like harai goshi. Youve this unique pressure that its a Japanese sport, and
seen Sarah Asahina, right? Shes this big Japanese they have to get enough gold medals
girl, and its all harai-goshi-makikomi. Youll see
her in Tokyo. Today the -78 lost.

The Japanese team, they are very good. Yes. Umeki Mami

Theyre good, but only one gold medal for women Umeki and the -63 kilo [Tahiro Miku], so its very hard.
this competition.
Lets talk a little bit about you. I was reading your
I dont know what is the best thing, have many bronze mother is from Guiana?
medal and one gold medal, or have only two gold
medal and other girls nothing. In France, they want Yeah, from French Guiana.
gold medal.
Right, but you were born in France.
Yes, Japan too. Theres only one color that counts,
gold. Yes, I went to French Guiana when I was 13.

Yes, but if you have seven girls, like in London seven 13 years old, but you started judo when you were ...
girls one title and four bronze medal. Thats good.
In France at the age of six.
The Japanese press will not talk about four bronze
medals. Its all about the gold. The Japanese have You start judo at six. Did anyone push you into

Dcosse knows how to finish with newaza

judo? Was it your mother? rigor, the discipline. I like this. I fought against
boys and I won. I liked it because when I was young
No, I start in the school, and after I discovered it in I practiced soccer. In the soccer I was good, but it
school I continued. was only for boys. I was a little shy, so not much
communication. In judo, everybody practiced together
Was it a physical education class in school, a regular and I beat the boys. So I was a good player in my club.
school class?
So you preferred the individual sports over the team
Yes, because in France you have three months for one sports You started at 6 years old, and youre learning
sport, three months for to discover a sport. When I in a physical education class. Then you started to
was six it was judo. go to a private dojo?

Do you remember, who was your first teacher, your Yes, I started at the school, but I take my license at the
first sensei? club the same year.

Pasqual Duval Why do you think in France judo is very successful

compared to other countries, especially in Europe?
What was your memory, or what was the thing that Why do you think its so successful in France?
he taught you?
Judo in France had been imported very ... early. It was
I think when I was young I practiced many, many the Japanese Mikinosuke Kawaishi, so we started judo
sports. I practiced judo, football, tennis, many sports, very early in the history of sports. I think thats why
but in judo it was very calm and serious. I liked the the tradition is very strong. Now many, many parents

Judoka Quarterly 9
London 2012 Olympic triumph at last
think that judo is very good for the discipline. When activities. In French Guiana, the club was very good.
they have the children who are not excitable, they put We go to many cities outside the city of the club to
them in judo, and they saw that the children became make weekend together with the club, go to the river. I
more like the ambiance of the club. For judo it was not [very
good] My teacher was not big champion or big teacher,
Focused. but everybody liked him. Everybody loves him in the
club. Its a really special guy, always talking.
Focused and calm. When the children are shy, when
they go to judo, they become confident. He has lots of energy.
When I meet parents, all the parents told me that, My
children does judo, its very good. 600,000 license in A lot of energy, so everybody does judo and liked him.
France. In Japan 150,000. It made [tight] group within the club, and I liked the
Yes, judo is more popular in France than it is in
Japan, by far. In Japan, the problem is that judo Like a family atmosphere.
participation is going down. If you were going to
promote judo in Japan, how would you do it? Do Yeah, like a family atmosphere. Thats why I loved
you have any ideas? my years in French Guiana. When I fought in French
Guiana [there were] not many girls, so I always fought
I think that they are to make a mix between the against boys, strong boys. I think that maybe that
discipline and the play. In France, its a mix between explains my judo. Distance, because they were very
discipline and play. strong. Maybe thats why I make the distance and do
my ouchi-gari distance.
Its becoming popular or increasing in popularity.
Your background is going to affect how your style
Yes, because the children are trying to have fun in judo develops. Then you come back to France. Youre 17,
session. In Japan, when you see the children in judo right? Did you go right into competition right away?
lessons, they are doing uchikomi, uchikomi, uchikomi. How was your transition?
If you do that in France, its impossible. They will stop.
Maybe the Japanese federation has to introduce some My transition physically was very hard, because in
fun into the judo. French Guiana I trained two days a week. When I
came to France I entered a sports institute, so [I had]
There are many ideas in Japan on how to increase judo every day. Physically I was not prepared; it was
participation in judo. I think your idea is very very hard. After three months, the teacher said maybe
refreshing. I have to back to ...

Yes, I think thats why they send the champion go to Guiana? No way, really?
[other countries]. Tanimoto [Ayumi] came to France.
Ueno [Yoshie] goes to Brazil. Many Japanese go out No, physically I was not in good [shape] because I never
into the world. I think thats to come back with new ran. I had to run one hour [but before that] nothing.
ideas. [Lucie gestures some physical exercises]

You started judo at 6, and you did it for seven years Climbing ropes? Chin-ups?
until you were 13. Then you went to French Guiana.
How was the judo in French Guiana? I never did this. Yes, it was very, very bad. The first
competition I won, so the teacher said OK.
Its popular. Its a little popular, but there are not
many, many competitors, so when I fought during Conditioning-wise you were out of shape. You had
the competition, [I had] only one or two fights. talent, so he let you stay. Your image is that even
The ambiance was very good, because in my club in when you were competing you were physically a
France we do some training camp with judo and other strong competitor.

Judoka Quarterly 11
Fighting Yuri Alvear of Columbia at the 2013 Rio World Championships

Yeah, but I didnt really do weight training or physical we had Marie-Jos Prec. In judo, I didnt watch judo
preparation. I only did on TV, so I didnt really know the champions. When
I was young, I heard about the Olympic champions
You didnt concentrate or focus on strength; your Cathrine Fleury and Ccile Nowak. I know, I heard
body just got stronger from judo. about them, but I was not a fan of judo, I liked the
other sports more. I was fan of Jordan but not judo.
Exactly. I did a lot of randori
At what point in your career did you think maybe I
What was your favorite technique when you were could be like a world-level judoka? When you came
younger? back at 17, or was it later?

No, I dont know. Maybe harai-goshi. I saw pictures No, later, later, later. Maybe after my first world title.
or video when I was young that was harai-goshi, but
ouchi-gari, not yet when I was young. Senior world title, tell me about that experience

Who were your judo heroes when you were young? I did my first World Championships in 2001, and I
Who did you look up to? Did you have them? lost. I lost in 03. After I did my first Olympic games
in 2004; I lost. In 2005, when I came to Egypt, I was
When I was young I practiced many sports, so I liked very mad in the morning [of the competition], because I
champion like Michael Jordan, in athletics in France thought I lost two World Championships, one Olympic

games. Everybody said that Im very good, but I lost. times. Me, I worked on Gonzalez, so I lost three
On that morning I said if I dont have medal at the penalties. [but] I knew that the next time I would win.
World Championship, I will stop judo. Ayumi I knew I often won, but I know that I could
lose. I dont want Ayumi at the the head of the fight.
Really? So, you were going to give up judo? Everybody thought that when I came to the final I
was ...
Yeah, because its very hard to continue judo and
training when everybody says that you are the best, Calm? You were nervous?
and you win the European Championships, you win
all the tournaments, and when you go to the World Yes, but they didnt know that. The people think that
Championships or the Olympic games you do nothing. when lose against someone you often win, its because
I was very ... you think about you will win, its normal, but no.

You were disappointed. Inside theres the fear of losing.

Yes, so I had this pressure and I won [laughter]. Like Clarisse Agbegnenou. I think that Agbegnenou, she
does not think that she can win against against the
Did you compete better when there was a lot of Slovenian. [Tina Trstenjak].
pressure or less pressure?
One of the most interesting rivalries is Yarden Gerbi
I dont know, because this day I had pressure, but I and Agbegnenou. Theyre friends, but did you have
won. After this day I won often, so everything changed. friends in judo when you were rivals?

Who was your biggest rival once you had gotten to No. Yeah, now its changing. Before there was not
this world championship level? Facebook, so [there was] no communication with the
other athletes. You had to ask them their mobile phone
My rival? The Japanese, Ayumi Tanimoto, because I [number], its weird. Now youre on the computer and
won against Ayumi many times, but each time I knew you click your friend. You see the life of the girl, and
that I have to fight Ayumi, I knew that it will be a hard after you send message and are friends.
fight. She practiced very good judo. The other fight that
I lost, like the Cuban girl [Driulis Gonzalez]. I was not You become friends.
afraid of her, I lost but.
Yeah, so its different. Theres change. Gerbi and
Gonzalez did not intimidate you. With Tanimoto, Agbegnenou, [are] they still friends? I dont know. I
was it because she was so technical? dont really go on Facebook, only my athlete fan page.
Since Im here [at the Olympics] I have not posted.
Yes. She attacked very good. I dont know why, but
Ayumi was my favorite rival. Tell me about your first Olympic experience, your
first Olympics.
You have this respect. I think probably the same
kind of respect is between Kayla Harrison and 2004. Before, in 2003, the [top] five athletes in the
Mayra Aguiar. They both respect each other, World Championships qualified for the Olympic
because they know this great rivalry. games. That was the system of the qualification, and
I didnt have the qualification. In 2004, I go to the
Since they are juniors like Ayumi and me. In Beijing, I tournaments, and I won three tournaments, so I was
won my semifinal, and I saw the other fight, Tanimoto qualified. It waswhew! [Gestures wiping her brow].
and Gonzalez. Gonzalez got a yuko, and I said OK,
because I dont want to fight Tanimoto, but everybody You were relieved.
wanted Tanimoto. Because I lost to Gonzalez in the
World Championships final one years before. They Yes. I wanted to make the Olympic games, and I
preferred Ayumi, because I won against Ayumi many wanted to finish Olympic games. During the year

Judoka Quarterly 13
Judoka Quarterly 15
there was a lot of pressure to make the qualification. I know [laughter]
In my head, I thought you go to Olympic games, and
you get the medal and finish. Maybe, I was not really Youre making your attack, because shes doing the
concentrated on the Olympic games. In quarterfinal, counter. Can you remember any thoughts you had
I met the Argentinian [Daniela Krukower]. I lost the as you feel youre losing the attack?
one yuko in the golden score and in one minute I take
shido. After in the repechage final, I lost against the I dont really remember, but I saw the video. I feel
Canadian [Marie-Hlne Chisholm]. It was bad. nothing, because I only feel whoosh ... It was not like
you know when you make an ippon with the pressure.
Do you think that the loss to the Argentinian It was very little pressure ... it was very fast, so I didnt
affected your repechage match? realize. It was shocking, because I know there is people.
After the video, I saw that I want to do an ouchi-gari
Yes, because the Argentinian beat me in the World and take sleeves at the same time. I did this, and when
Championships one years before with uchi-mata for I did this I missed the sleeve and put the sleeve here.
ippon. At the Olympic game, the fight was very close.
During the fight, I thought I can win. I can have a I think most judoka, when you through, youve got
medal in the Olympic games, and when I lost, I was your perfect through, the perfect kuzushi, theres
finished in my head. It was very hard. no power. Its like that, youre throwing air.

Then you came back in 2008 in Beijing. Yes, but normally its not really simple from this
position to do this and this. Normally from this
Yes, I was really good in Beijing. I think I was better position you go here. When I work on Ayumi for the
than London, physically. Mentally, I dont know. Beijing Olympic Games, I work about his position
Physically, yes. ouchi-gari like this, but I dont think about this side.

When you were preparing for Beijing or preparing The other thing about this photograph, of course, is
for London, did you train differently? that she has this incredible smile as shes throwing
you, like shes posing for a picture. If youve seen
Yes, because for Beijing I prepared. I was a World the picture, she has the biggest smile.
Champion. I did some good training, and I think I
did the best. The final was very special, special moment Yeah, its normal, I think for Ayumi. It was amazing,
for Ayumi. After this, I changed categories, so it was because normally Ueno was the best that year. Ayumi
different. I had the experience of medal in Beijing, and had a big injury of her back, I think back or knees. I
I was more cool. spoke with the Komatsu coach, and she explained to
me that Ayumi, it was amazing that she could go to the
Relaxed. Olympic games and go the finals, and against me was ...

More relaxed, no pressure, and I work on all the phases. It was her day.
I work with the national coach for judo, and I work
with my club coach, and I work with another coach, Really good, and she win, so it was a good title for
a technical coach. I work with another guy for the Ayumi.
video. I work for all the phases each person. That was
the difference between Beijing and London, because Right, so youre going to London. You have your
before Beijing it was my national coach and the one team. You have all the details down. Was there any
technical coach from my club. After Beijing, I take one particular opponent that you were worried about
person for each phase. going into London?

You put together a team of experts. The gold medal The Colombian.
match in Beijing with Tanimoto, the picture of
her throwin you is now one of the most famous Yuri Alvear.
pictures, I think, in judo and even in the Olympics.

Judoka Quarterly 17
Yes, because when I fought against Alvear, I was not I have something.
happy. She was the only girl that ...
What do you do for Mizuno?
Could counter you.
Ambassador. I do judo many places in France, like
Yes. The others, like [Edith] Bosch, the Japanese clinics. During the shops promotions, I come and I
[Tachimoto Haruka] or all the girls I know I can sign autographs for people, and I participate at the
control with my arm. I can control the feeling, but with meeting for the products for judo. Its not every day.
Alvear I know that left, right, she whoosh Its not a job every day, but its good. I enjoyed my
career. I study journalism, so I promote judo and try
That osoto makikomi is just so powerful. to write some reports.

Yes, so I know I do the first fight against Colombian OK, thats a nice transition. Many athletes dont
in Tokyo in 2009 after the Beijing games, and she have this kind of transition. Its very difficult.
[threw me for] waza-ari ... It was the first time for
many, many years. Yes, but I dont want to be [just] a journalist now. I want
to write some reports. I have opportunity to be on the
First time for you to get slammed after Beijing, TV for this year. I had a small clinic on TV, and it was
right. good. I do Mizuno, TV and now cadets, so its good.

I dont really struggle during my fights. I saw here, I What is the future for you?
could not anticipate herI was afraid of the Colombian
and I worked many, many, many, many systems, fought I dont know, because I like to have many activities.
against her, many, many things. And in London I beat I like it, but I know its hard to do different things at
her by ippon. the same time. The French federation asked me if I
want to [coach] not cadets, but seniors. I dont know.
She was still out here today, this week, Alvear won
a silver medal. Perhaps youll go into coaching.

She is good, a three-time world champion. She beat me I dont know, but I did not want to be a cadet coach,
in the World Championship in 2013, my last quarter- and I say that I do not want to coach senior or junior,
final with osoto-maki-komi. so I dont know, maybe. Sometimes you say something
and you do it.
It must be a different experience for her, because
she is from Colombia. Shes pretty much the only Never say never.
one. She has to go to different dojos and train, go
to countries, travel a lot. Much different experience Yes, never say never.
than a big country like Japan, Korea, France.
Great, maybe well look forward to seeing you in the
Yeah, for many athletes they are very ... In France or future on this side of the tatami, coaching.
in Japan you have many training partners. Here I saw
that other countries, they would not believe that they Maybe.
can be the best.
Thank you so much for your time, Lucie.
When you finish your career, one of the things
thats a problem for many athletes dont have a plan
after they retire from their athletic career. Did you Postscript: Lucie Dcosse is now one of the French
have a plan? national team senior coaches

I dont have a precise plan. Before my last year I signed

a contract with Mizuno for four years, so I know that


Abe Hiromi at -66k looked spectacular with two ippons in the early rounds
only to fail in the third round and the repechage
Text and photos
by David McFall

The Kodokan Cup is a cup of opportunity. Its the its time to show the coaching staff that they are
inroad to get a slot at the Tokyo Grand Slam. A ready for the big leagues. With the Olympics
strong finish in Tokyo will get you a ticket to the coming to Tokyo in four years time, Japan as the
European events of the spring. From there, its a host nation will be able to field a full team, free
hop, skip and jump to the Japanese national squad of the constraints of the IJF points qualification
(if you can manage good results at the international system. For some athletes, the Chiba Port Arenas
level). For veterans who lost a spot on Inoue Koseis Kodokan Cup could be the first small step toward
shortlist, this is an opportunity to get another shot their Olympic dreams.
at the brass ring. For the hungry up-and-comers,

Former world champion Udaka Nae made it to the -57 final but only managed a silver medal

-100k gold medalist
Wolfe Aaron was the
standout judoka in Chiba
and could give world
champion Haga Ryunosuke a
run for his money

All eyes were on -60k high

schooler Koga Kenta (and
his famous father) who
lasted two rounds

Judoka Quarterly 21
Asahina Sara powered through
this haraigoshi on the way to a
fourth +78 Kodokan Cup title

Former -57 prep sensation

Yamamoto Anzu lost in the
second round

Ishikawa Megumi had the
Assassins stare and put in
a Matsumoto-like -57 gold
medal performance

Nagayama Ryuju surprised

Shishime Toru in the -60 final

Judoka Quarterly 23
Shichinohe Ryu held his
own in the first round and
then fell by a quartet of
shidos in the second round at +100

All-Japan champion Oojitani Takeshi had his

koshiwaza in gear enroute to +100 gold
The Japanese cheering sections were in full force

Sato Ruika took -78 gold and is

looking for a big comeback
Judoka Quarterly 25

by David McFall of half-Japanese big names including Shichinohe Ryo,
photos by Rafal Burza Deguchi Kurista, Nun-ira Karen and Wolf Aaron.
Perhaps, if one of these judoka had broken through
with an Olympic gold medal there would be a similar
An Olympic gold medal can change lives. There is
fame. There are endorsements. There are interviews.
However, I suspect that it is more of Baker Mashus
There are celebrity appearances. However, even in
back story and personality that have endeared him
the spiritual home of judo, the judo celebrity is not
to the Japanese public. Bakers father is American
as common as you would think. Yamashita Yasuhiro
and his mother is Japanese. His introduction to judo
became a judo icon for his ten-year undefeated
was a result of a healthy coincidence of geography
All-Japan championship streak and the 1980 Los
and a piano teacher, who thought that judo would
Angeles gold medal. Tamura/Tani Ryoko took the
improve his posture through all the bowing. In my
nickname Yawara-chan (a manga and animation
early childhood, on the advice of a piano teacher I
series originally based Yamaguchi Kaori) for her seven
was studying under, I enrolled in the Kasuga Judo
world titles and two Olympic gold medals and then
Club which was quite close to my house. I dont have
parlayed this into a political career. Koga Toshihiko
pleasant memories of judo at that time but one thing
applied his dynamic ippon-seoi-nage towards three
that made a big impression on me was winning a
world championships and an Olympic gold medal
competition called the Eishinkan Cup when I was
and then shifted into a successful judo entrepreneur,
in my second year of primary school. I was really
coach and television commentator. Recently retired
happy. You could say that my life of judo began with
three-time Olympic gold medalist, Nomura Tadahiro
that first championship. The Kasuga Judo Club just
has transitioned into a television personality. Finally,
happens to be the youth program that practices at
Inoue Koseis three world championships, Olympic
the Kodokan.
gold medal and three All-Japan championships has
placed him as the mens national team director and
Bakers parents divorced just after he started
coach. Beyond these five judoka, it is not easy to find
practicing judo and his mother raised him herself
examples where Japans thirty-seven gold medals in
while working to support the family. Baker attended
judo translated into the kind of celebrity enjoyed by
an international school at that time and also met
other sports figures.
his future teammate Wolf Aaron. Baker was one of
the smaller children in the program and fought in
Which brings us to Baker Mashu. After the 2016 Rio
the -40k weight class as a fifth year primary school
Olympics, Baker Mashu was all over the airwaves
student. At the Interscholastic Japan Championships
in Japan. Even though Ono Shohei had a far more
that year Baker lost in the first round to Oshima
dominant Olympic performance, it was Baker that
Yuuki who currently competes for Japan at -60k.
stole the spotlight. It is not easy to discern why the
Baker transferred to a public school after fifth grade
public has latched on to this first-time Olympian.
but had some trouble holding his own at the Kasuga
One clue may be Japans gradual recognition of its
Judo Club. Nonetheless, by his third year in middle
half-Japanese ethnicity citizens in what is generally
school Baker was ranked second in Tokyo.
considered to be a somewhat closed, homogenous
society. Japans views on mixed race have evolved
Baker entered Tokai Urayasu High School as a -66k
over the past few years. Talents like baseballs
competitor. By his senior year, Baker was competing
Yu Darvish, model and television celebrity Lola,
at -90k, after a brief stint at -81k. When I entered
and television announcer and presenter Takigawa
Tokai Urayasu High School, I was think I was able
Christel are mixed-ethnicity stars in Japan. In 2015,
to make great strides because there I was under the
Miyamoto Ariana became the first Miss Japan of
tutelage of judo coach Takeuchi Toru. Under the
mixed ethnicity. Among judoka there are a number
instruction of Takeuchi-sensei, in order to move up

Judoka Quarterly 27
Baker Mashu

Baker may not be the most talented judoka in his weight class but he has the most drive

weight class, I increased my number of meals and high school, my judo life made a one hundred eighty-
piled on, not only strict judo training, but also weight degree change. Baker won both individual and team
training and running. He kept after me to make a competitions with all ippon performances at his
hard effort through my three years in high school. final Inter-High competition. However, in the All-
As the results came in, I was able to accumulate a Japan Junior Championships Baker lost to Tsukuba
number of victories. One competition that made a Universitys Kobayashi Yusuke in the quarter finals
special impression on me was the All Japan High with an uchi-mata for ippon.
School Championships (Inter-High) during my
senior year in high school. In both the individual 2013 was turning point for Baker. He entered
and team competitions, I became number one in Tokai University in March of that year and had a
Japan. It was my first national championship. When I contributing role in their team championship at
entered high school I was a -66k athlete who had lost the All-Japan Students Championships in June.
in the second round of the student championships, Later that fall, Baker defeated Nishiyama Daiki in
but by the time I graduated I was an athlete who the Kodokan Cup with a yoko-shiho gatame in the
had gone up to the -90k weight class and had won semi-finals only to fall to All-Japan champion Kato
a national championship. During my three years in Hirotaka by deashi-barai in the final. In spite of this

One of the defining moments of Bakers 2016 campaign was his win over Iliadis at the Masters

defeat, the Kodokan Cup result got Baker a slot in the Yet, Baker had higher aspirations. In my senior year
Tokyo Grand Slam in December. At the 2013 Tokyo of high school, the night of the Inter-High victory, the
Grand Slam, Baker made his mark. His low squatting London Olympics judo -90k mens competition took
posture was not particularly pleasing to the eye at first place. I feel that it was kind fate that the day I became
but he would explode out of this crouch for big scores. number one in high school judo overlapped with the
The biggest tests were in the semifinals and the finals. London judo competition. As I watched Nishiyama
In the semi-finals Baker faced off against Georgias Masashi receive the bronze medal on television, I
Varlam Liparteliani, who he would fight three years thought Four years from now, I want to enter that
later in the Olympic final. The big Georgian scored competition. That is when I got my first sense that I
a waza ari in the opening seconds but Baker fought would compete in the Rio Games. In 2014, Baker
back earning a yuko and then a waza-ari for the win had solid finishes with a pair of bronze medals in the
with his strong ashiwaza. In the final Baker had to Paris and Tokyo Grand Slams. While not creating a
contend with former world champion Lee Kyu-won great deal of distance between himself and his -90k
of Korea. It was a tight match but an ouchi-gari for Japanese rivals Nishiyama and Kato, Baker managed
Baker at the half way point sealed the win and Bakers to get Inoue Koseis pick for the world championships
first Grand Slam title. despite losing to Yoshida Yuya in the All-Japan Selects

Judoka Quarterly 29
The key weapon in Bakers arsenal is his driving ouchi-gari

Masters in Guadalajara. His semi-final win against

Ilias Iliadis in Golden Score, despite separating
his shoulder in the quarter final, was a truly gutsy
performance and lead to a gold medal in the
competition. As a result of his Masters victory, Baker
was the number one seed going into Rio. Yet, even
with these kinds of performances, Bakers Olympic
victory took many as a surprise. Perhaps, it was this
lack of pressure that was the key to Bakers triumph.
On the day of the Olympic competition I was in
the better condition than in any other competition
up until that point. From the very first match I
thought I feel in really great condition. I can win
this competition. In the second and third rounds I
thought I would have a perfect tournament. In the
semi-finals I fought against Chinas Chang Xunjhao
for the first time and took a wait and see approach
and ended up receiving a shido. However, with time
running down I thought If I keep going like this, it
will turn out badly so I took an offensive approach
and the result was that I was able to win by ippon.
In the final against Georgias Varlam Liparteliani,
I thought, I will grab the first point and after that
Baker is one of the more expressive
protect the lead. I had repeatedly trained in this
of the Japanese judoka
endgame strategy of protecting the lead and I was
able to put everything into getting that result.
that year. At the Chelyabinsk World Championships,
Bakers second round loss to Celio Dias of Portugal One more key to Bakers appeal may be his
by ippon looked like a serious setback for his Olympic personality. Off the tatami, he is a positive upbeat
aspirations. However, in the team event Inoue Kosei person and has a quick, warm smile. On the mats,
made a gutsy call and put Baker in the penultimate he has a kind of earnestness; a quiet desperation as he
position of the five-man team in the final match tries to will things to go his way. He may not have the
against Russia. With Vladimir Putin and Yamashita speed and technical abilities of an Ono Shohei or even
Yasuhiro in attendance and Japan down two contests some of his Georgian opponents but Baker has that
to one, Baker performed well in the clutch when he strong desire to win that separates champions from
held down Magomed Megomedov with ura-kesa- the merely talented. The 2020 Tokyo competition
gatame for ippon. That contest set up for a Japanese will be held in my own country. Since I am from
team world championship when Shichinohe Ryu Tokyo, I think that probably many people will come
pinned Aslan Kambiev for ippon. Baker had earned out to support me. That said, as someone who has
the trust of the Japanese national coaching squad. been awarded a gold medal, I have great memories
of this. I want my name etched in history, so I have
From that point on Baker was on a tear. In 2015, he to win. Now that he tops the IJF rankings for all
won the Tyumen, Baku and Tokyo Grand Slams. He men, it will curious to see how Baker Mashu evolves
only stumbled when he lost to Beka Gviniashvili of as a judoka and whether he can stay in the Japanese
Georgia in the Astana World Championship quarter spotlight for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
final for a third place finish overall. In the 2016 *Quotes in this article were originally published in
Olympic year, he put on an impressive display at the

Judoka Quarterly 31
Grand Slam
By David McFall
Tokyo Winds Photos by Rafal Burza and Kasper Burza

Blow through the In Tokyo, with the arrival of Decembers winds, the
autumn leaves which peaked in late November began
to fall. It is the season of decay preceding a rebirth
Olympic Hangover next spring. With memories of the Rio Olympics
fading, the judoka on the IJF circuit are following
their own cycle. Among the champions from last
Augusts Olympic Games, many are still taking a
break. Recovering from the Olympic campaign that
takes its toll, both physically and mentally; none of
the Japanese gold medalists competed in the Tokyo
Grand Slam, and only two of the other gold medalists
jumped back in the mix. Lets call this the Olympic

However, for those who did not live up to their

Olympic expectations, the Tokyo Grand Slam was a
way to reset the clock and even redeem themselves.
Local judo fans clamoring to see their Olympic
heroes may have gone home disappointed, but there
was plenty of great action from Japans second and
third tier athletes hoping to break through. (Younger
spectators got a treat with an autograph session with
Japans top judoka on Day Two). For a non-Japanese
competitor, even getting to the podium is a challenge,
and the top almost insurmountable. Only four
managed this task, two men and two women, and
none of them were Olympic champions.

Despite the absence of current Olympic and world

champion Paula Pareto, the womens 48 category
draw of sixteen athletes looked like a Masters
event: Olympic silver medalist Jeong Bokyeong
(Korea), Olympic bronze medalist and former world
junior and senior champion Kondo Ami (Japan),
Olympic bronze medalist Galbadrakh Otgontsetseg
(Kazakhstan), former world champion Munkhbat
Urantsetseg (Mongolia), and world junior champion
Abe looked spectacular all Tonaki Funa (Japan). The lightweight category had
day at -66 with Hashiguchi been a strong hold of the Japanese womens team
doing his best ju-no-kata until recently. With the passing of the eras of Tamura
impression in the final Ryoko, Fukumi Tomoko, and recently retired Asami
Haruna, it appeared that Kondo Ami looked secure
as the next Japanese lightweight standard bearer
despite a disappointing third place finish in Rio. The

Judoka Quarterly 33
Japanese had four of their athletes in the draw but as Ebinumas heir apparent. In the 2016 Fukuoka
only Tonaki Funa emerged from the pool finals. In Selects, Abe throw Ebinuma twice in spectacular fashion
Pool A, Galbadrakh showed some spark early when for awasete-ippon with osoto-gari and sode-tsuri-goshi.
she scored a twisting yoko-guruma for yuko to defeat However, Abe is not a sure bet. When he is on, Abe
Endo Hiromi. In Pool B, Morizaki Yurie was upended can be brilliant. However, he can also bomb out early,
by Milica Nikolic of Serbia with a leaping uchi- as was the case in his second round loss at this years
mata. There were no Japanese in Pool C, allowing Kodokan Cup in November. The 66k category showed
Munkhbat a slightly easier trip to the quarter finals the depth of the Japanese mens squad when they won all
with a juji-gatame in the opening two minutes of four pools. Former world junior champion Hashiguchi
her contest with Kang Yujeong of Korea. That meant Yuuki took pool A when An Baul performed a waki-
that Kondo and Tonaki had to square off in the Pool gatame during a throw for hansoku-make. (Its been a
D final. It came as little surprise when this contest tough autumn for world champion An after losing the
between two junior world champions went down to Olympic final to Fabio Basile and placing seventh in
Golden Score. Kondo did not seem to have the same Tokyo). In Pool B, Takajo Tomofumi, a gold medalist
spark as she does in her better outings and she fell in Paris and Tokyo in 2015, baited Dovdon Altansukh
to Tonaki by waza-ari with a big kosoto-gari. In the with a seoi-nage for waza-ari that was good enough
first quarter finals, it was Galbadrakh versus Jeong. to take the match. The real shocker was in Pool C.
The Korean was fortunate not to face a Japanese in Credit should be given to Rio Olympic gold-
her preliminary fights and was very aggressive from medalist Fabio Basile for making the trip to
the call of Hajime. Jeong has had an impressive Tokyo (although perhaps the All-Japan Judo
year with a fifth in the Masters, a gold medal in Federation was able to sweeten the pot).
Dusseldorf, and an Olympic final and has been in Against this years Kodokan Cup winner
attack mode since last spring. Against Galbadrakh, Isoda Norihito, Grande Fabio did his
Jeong looked like she had lost none of her fire and best to work his sprawling ashi-waza as
attacked constantly. Galbadrakh really was fortunate well as yoko-tomoe-nage. The Japanese
not to have been called for passivity. The Kazakhstan stayed toe-to-toe with the Olympic
representative did just enough to keep her card clean champ and in the closing seconds of the
going into Golden Score. However, in Golden Score, fight Isoda methodically worked the Italian
Jeong wheeled Galbadrakh with a sasae-tsuri-komi- into osaekomi to win. That left Pool D,
ashi for yuko and the win. In the second semi-final, where Abe faced two-time world championship
Munkhbat showed her strategic skills shading Tonaki silver medalist Mihhail Puliaev. Against a judoka
by a single shido. Tonaki had a potential ippon in the of Puliaevs caliber, Abe wasnt able to explode as he
final fifteen seconds but it was waived off for no score did in his first match against Kim Limhwan with two
by the video referees. The final between the Korean big ippon seoinage for wazai-ari and ippon. However,
and the Mongolian was a quiet affair. Without a when the Russian attacked with a subtle kouchi-gari,
Japanese in the final contest, the crowd was hushed. Abe spun around for a perfect little counter for waza-
Jeong was tentative at best and the gold medal was ari and the win. In the semi-finals, Hashiguchi got a
decided by two shido to the Korean. Munkhbat walk-out win due to a Takajo injury. Abe meanwhile
showed poise and did just enough to secure a Tokyo kept pouring on the big moves with another seionage
Grand Slam elusive gold. variation for waza-ari to take down Isoda. When Abe
turns in, he exhibits such control over his opponents
Three-time world champion Ebinuma Musashi had that you can see their legs kicking feverishly as they fly
another disappointing Olympic run this year. It remains over Abes shoulder. The final was a better than average
to be seen if he can mount another campaign, but all Japanese affair with Abe tossing Isoda in a blistering
considering the punishment his body has endured over seoi-toshi for ippon. Abes judo has matured immensely
the last few years, it is doubtful. That would leave former over the last three months and it will be interesting to
junior world championship silver medalist Abe Hifumi see what he can do in Paris next year.


Kondo recovered from a loss to Tonaki with a -48 bronze medal

Tokyo Grand Slam

Koreas Jeong capped a great year with a -48k Tokyo GS final but couldnt get the better of Munkhbat of Mongolia
At last years Astana world championships, three
Japanese judoka emerged as surprise champions,
Nagase Takanori, Umeki Mami, and Haga
Ryunosuke. Unfortunately for Japan, none of these
champions could convert their world titles into
Olympic gold in Rio. In fact, only Ono Shohei, Tina
Trstenjak, and Teddy Riner were able to achieve
back-to-back the world championship and Olympic
gold. At the Tokyo Grand Slam, Nagase and Umeki
chose to compete, but Haga stayed off the tatami.
Perhaps Haga was still suffering from the shoulder
injury that plagued him last autumn, or maybe he
was avoiding a confrontation with an improving
Wolf Aaron. Wolf has been developing into a solid
100 competitor while following in the footsteps
of Baker Mashu his teammate at Tokai University.
Wolf has had a good year with bronze medals in
Paris and Baku as well as first place finishes at the
Fukuoka Selects and the Kodokan Cup. This autumn
his style has become more upright and aggressive
as he stalks his opponents with a potent uchi-mata
power attack. Wolf was able to handily take care of
Koreas Kim Hyeoncheol in his first fight with an
ura-nage for waza-ari followed up with a kami-shiho
for awasete-ippon. However, in his second bout, the
young Japanese was soundly beaten on the ground by
Swedens Joakim Dvarby with a juji-gatame that had
Wolf flopping back and forth and on to his stomach.
The submission by Dvarby also took Wolf out of the
competition: being unable to report for his repechage
match due to injury. The 100 category featured not
only Dvarby but a cadre of strong competitors from
Europe including Olympic bronze medalist Cyrille
Maret of France and two-time world championship
runner-up Kiril Denisov of Russia. Maret used his
skill and savoir faire to slip by opponents Shimowada
Shohei of Japan and Estonias Grigori Manaskin by
a single shido each. Meanwhile, Denisov worked
through a difficult draw with an ippon via kosoto-
gake over Dashdulum Ishdorj of Mongolia, followed
by shido wins over high school phenomenon Iida
Kentaro (who finished second in the Kodokan Cup)
and Dvarby. The final was an all-European affair
with Maret and Denisov trading attacks. Denisov
Tonaki thought that she had grabbed prevailed with a slow turning kosoto-gake for yuko.
yuko in the closing seconds of her Kirill Denisov has now won this autumns Qingdao
-48 semi-final against Munkhbat of Grand Prix and the Tokyo Grand Slam after moving
Mongolia but the call was reversed
Judoka Quarterly 37
Wolf looked good in his first two
fights until Swedens Dvarby
caught him with juji-gatame

Tokyo Grand Slam

Russia's Denisov
controls Iida enroute
to his second steaight
-100 gold this year

Nagase looked like the world champion in the -81 final against Germanys Ressel

The -90k final was an All-European

affair with Serbian Kokolj countering
Frances Clergets uchi-mata for gold
Judoka Quarterly 39
up from 90k to 100k. It will be interesting to see Japanese charge toward a medal sweep. Having had
how he fares in 2017. mixed success at the cadet level at 57k, Tatsukawa
dropped down to 52k just this year. The result was
Another one of the Japanese Olympians that will the junior All-Japan title (Tastukawas brother took
probably not make it to Tokyo 2020 is Nakamura the junior 73k gold at the same championships)
Misato. This two-time Olympic bronze medalist and a runner-up at the Kodokan Cup. Her first
won the first of her three world titles way back in match was against experienced Pan-American fighter
Rotterdam in 2009. As an indication of the depth Ecaterina Guica of Canada. Over the years, Guica
the Japanese have at 52, this was the only womens has also swung between the 57 and 52 weight
category where they swept all four medals, and classes. From the beginning, Tatsukawa was on the
without Nakamura in the draw. Pool A was captured attack, and Guica was unable to keep up with the
by Shishime Ai (whose brother Shishime Toru Japanese onslaught of uchi-mata and harai-goshi for
competed at 60 for the men). On paper, Shishime, a pair of yukos and a waza ari. Diyora Keldiyorova of
who won in Dusseldorf and Tyumen this year, looks Uzbekistan was Tatsukawas second victim, losing by
like the strongest contender for Nakamuras spot. tate-shiho-gatame at the midpoint of the match. In
She utilized her spunky uchi-mata against Zarina the Tsunoda-Shishime semi-final, a low harai goshi
Babinyan of Russia as well as Ha Juuhee of Korea scored a for Tsunoda but she wasnt finished there,
(supplemented by some nice little kouchi-gari moves). she pursued Shishime aggressively on the ground and
In pool B, the rather unheralded Tsunoda Natsumi finally secured a juji-gatame for ippon. Meanwhile,
has emerged as a real candidate as well. A former in the second final, Abe wasted little time catching
standout in high school, Tsunoda has flown under the Tatsukawa with osoto-gari thirty-eight seconds into
radar, probably due to fact that she did not graduate the match. The final was a blistering affair with Abes
from a major judo power university. However, exuberant attacks against Tsunodas sutemi-waza
Tsunoda earned her spot at this years Grand Slam to newaza tactics. In the end, Tsunoda was able to
with a gold medal performance at the Kodokan Cup. manipulate Abe into a juji-gatame. If this Tokyo
In her first fight against Chen Chin-yin of Chinese Grand Slam is any indication, the 52k weight class
Taipei, Tsunoda worked a two punch combination could become as competitive as the star-studded 57
with harai-goshi for waza ari to juji-gatame for ippon. weight class for the Japanese women.
In the second match against Charline Van Snick of
the Netherlands, Tsunoda had a bigger challenge Finally, hats off to Austrias Kathrin Unterwurzacher
but still managed a slow twisting tomoe-nage for and Aleksandar Kokolj of Serbia, who won gold
yuko and the win. The Japanese lightweight always medals in the 63k and 90k weight classes
seems to have room for a protg or two and this respectively. Any victory in Tokyo
year it was high school freshman Abe Uta from by a foreigner, even in a
Shukugawa Gakuin. If the surname sounds familiar post-Olympic event, is a
it is because she is Abe Hifumis younger sister. This fantastic result worth
All Japan cadet champion may be looking beyond celebrating. Going
the Tokyo Olympic Games. Abes first big test was into the New Year
against Francess Astride Gneto, who is following in with a fat check and
her sister Priscillas footsteps and has just came off bunch of Grand
a gold medal performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam points is
Slam. Abe was able to fight off the taller Gnetos certainly a good
attacks and then bashed the Frenchman over with way to start 2017.
her signature sode-tsurikomi-goshi in Golden Score.
Against Koreas Kwon Aerim, Abe scored two waza-
ari in the opening thirty seconds with her favorite
throw again. In Pool D, Tatsukawa Rina led the Grand Slam
In an -52 quarter-final,
Shishime's youth overcame
Canadian Guica's experience

Trstenjak fought back hard for a -63 bronze

Judoka Quarterly 41
Trying to bounce back from
a Rio diasspointment Kitadai athletically rolled out of this
for yuko but the Brazilian lost to Nagayama in the -60 semi-final

Tokyo Grand Slam

Austrias Unterwurzacher
broke through with -63
42 gold in Tokyo
Bernholm of Sweden struggles to get out of Onos grasp in the second round of -70

In the -78 quarterfinal, Takayama had her

eyes on the clock with this terribly effective
ude-garami osaekomi combo
Tsunoda completed this
44 jujui-gatame on the ground for -52 gold over Abe


By Marti Malloy

It might be hard for the modern day judoka to

imagine a time when judo was not included in the
Olympics. Even harder to imagine a time when it was
not even considered a sport at all. But for 96-year-old
Yoshihiro Uchida that memory is as fresh as the day
it happened, even if it was more than sixty years ago.
And while its easy to take for granted the opportunity
judoka have to make their mark on the world through
the Olympic Games its important to remember how
and why that opportunity came to be.

Yoshihiro Uchida or as I have always called him, Uchida Family in Garden Grove in 1937
Mr. Uchida, is one of the most iconic people I have (Yoshihiro is third from left)
ever met but is relatively unknown to younger judo
players. He is almost a hundred years old but you of the judo team at different points. As an Olympic
wouldnt know it from looking at him or from his bronze medalist from 2012, I have had been witness
busy schedule. When hes not being inducted into to just a small part of the legacy Mr. Uchida began
some kind of hall of fame or accepting another award forging back in the 1940s. I have had the honor of
you will often find him in the dojo teaching, inspiring standing on the shoulders of those SJSU judoka that
and motivating the next generation of student judoka. came before me, including Olympic silver medalists
Kevin Asano and Bob Berland and bronze medalist
He was the first coach of the United States Olympic Mike Swain. Not to mention the fourteen other
Judo team in 1964, and he recently returned from the Olympic team members and two coaches Mr. Uchida
2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro where he watched produced. The aforementioned judoka have always
two of his students compete. Mr. Uchida has always been well aware of Mr. Uchidas contributions to judo,
had a talent for identifying potential. So its no surprise especially his work to make it more than just a martial
that he went to Rio to watch Colton Brown and art. He has advocated for educational development
myself compete. We are both alumni of San Jose State along with judo development and coincidentally it was
University (SJSU), and we both served as team captain his own students that ignited the spark within him to
transform the martial art into a sport.

To understand what happened, its important to

understand the political climate at the time and the
series of events that led Mr. Uchida to take action.
World War II had just ended and many soldiers were
returning home and cashing in on the G.I. Bill,
an act that provided American war veterans with
numerous stipends, including tuition and related
expenses. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, an act
that effectively drew the United States into the war,
Mr. Uchida was drafted into the Army. Although his
siblings were American citizens they were still forced
into Japanese Internment camps. Mr. Uchida is nisei,
The Uchida brothers (from left to right) George, a second generation Japanese-American who served
Yosh, Sam, Henry holding Yosh's trophies in 1936 four years during the war as a medical technician.

US judo? Mr. Uchida replied calmly with a simple
Yes. Jarvis shook his head and told him, I used
Japs like you for bayonet practice in the morning.
Mr. Uchida responded by saying Maybe you did.
Jarvis then picked Mr. Uchida up by the lapels, held
him in the air, and asked him What are you going
to do if I pick you up like this? Put me down,
Mr. Uchida demanded while his class watched and
laughed. Jarvis then began spinning him around
so fast that his body became horizontal to the mat.
That was when he became scared, realizing that if
Jarvis let go he could get seriously hurt if he crashed
into the equipment around the room. But he knew
1937- Ninth-dan Judo master Uto Tora visiting eventually he would be put down and Jarvis would
Los Angeles (Uchida is on the far right) be off balance. And sure enough, as soon as Jarvis
put him down and he felt his left foot touch down he
It was on the SJSU campus that many Japanese- immediately executed an Osoto-Gari and slammed
Americans were processed to be sent to those camps. him to the mat. Mr. Uchida then turned to his class
Ironically, the building where that took place was and said THIS IS JUDO! That experience was
renamed Yoshihiro Uchida Hall in 1997, and is where meaningful for many reasons but more importantly
the SJSU Judo team still trains to this day. it forced Mr. Uchida to begin thinking about the
significant size discrepancies that existed in judo.
Mr. Uchida served as a student-coach of the SJSU
Judo team before being drafted and assumed the He continued to teach the class incident free after
same role upon returning home while completing that but it wasnt long before a couple of his students
his degree in Biology. Things were different this time approached him and said they didnt think they
around though. Animosity toward the Japanese was needed to take his course anymore. When he asked
still high and Mr. Uchida found himself in a difficult why, they explained that they had been to the Civic
position. Many of the students he was teaching were Auditorium over the weekend and had watched an
vets who were now studying criminal justice and exhibition fight between a judo player and a wrestler
attending police academies. They were required and a judo player versus a boxer. They said both of the
to take a self-defense course and many enrolled in judoka were black belts and they both got beat up,
judo. At that time, you had to be a minimum of 59 therefore they didnt see how judo could be helpful
and 160lbs to become a police officer. So when Mr.
Uchida walked into the dojo that first day he found
himself surrounded by more than twenty-eight larger
men, at least compared to his modest 52 135lb
frame. On top of that, he was of Japanese descent.

He recalled his memory of the first day of class for me

with stark clarity. There seems to be one person he will
never forget; a man he refers to as Jarvis. He described
him as the biggest guy in the class, weighing about
250lbs. He played tackle on the football team; he was
a veteran, a tough guy, a bully, and the leader among
his peers. When he saw Mr. Uchida he walked up to
him and said incredulously YOU are going to teach The 1956 San Jose State Judo team

Judoka Quarterly 47
begin governing itself and operating
as its own organization. Mr. Uchida
kept the records of competitions and
operations for those five years and in
1952 judo officially became recognized
as a sport.

Safety was Mr. Uchidas goal all along.

He knew that if judo continued to be a
part of the exhibition atmosphere that
eventually someone would get seriously
injured or even killed. He knew that
was the worst thing that could happen
to judo and that it might never recover.
The Olympics were not his initial goal
but once judo became a bona fide
sport that became the next challenge
Judo House in the 1960s (Uchida in the center) to conquer.

to them. Mr. Uchida was shocked and dismayed by Not everyone shared his goals though and he was
the news and told them that he would look into it. met with some animosity. I had to fight everybody,
So he called his friend Henry Stone who was the Mr. Uchida remembered, I was not popular at all,
Chairman of Physical Education at the University of especially in Japan. I asked him if he thinks someone
California and also worked for the Amateur Athletic else might have stepped up and tried to advance judo
Union (AAU). He asked him how they could put a in the same way and he said, Someone else maybe
stop to these types of dangerous fights and Stone told would have tried to do it, but they wouldnt have
him plainly, We cant because judo is not a sport. fought as hard as I did, I was not well loved. He
What do you mean its not a sport? Mr. Uchida believes that when he was named the first Olympic
asked, Jigoro Kano himself was in Germany during team coach of United States judo for the 1964 Games
the Berlin Olympics and he said it was a sport! That it was because the selection committee knew how
may be, Stone replied, but its still officially just a hard he fought to get there. In that Olympics there
martial art. He recommended that Mr. Uchida speak were twenty-seven countries participating in judo
with the Commissioner of Wrestling and Boxing in and in the 2016 Games one hundred thirty-eight
San Francisco. It was the commissioner who asked
him, You mean to tell me that if we have a judo fight
and I win that means Im a champion? How is that a
sport? You call that fair? Well in judo we call that
fair, Mr. Uchida told him. That wont pass, you
cant make that kind of thing into a sport. You have
to have weight classes so everyone has a chance,
the commissioner replied. Mr. Uchida realized then
that the weight class answer was also the answer to
the safety issue he had been running into. He met
again with Stone and they began working to develop
weight classes and started the process of getting judo
recognized by the AAU under this new system. After
a trial of five years the AAU would allow judo to At the London Olympics

countries participated in the sport. Mr. Uchida says every single Olympic Games since judo was added
that judo has finally gotten where it was meant to to the docket, if a couple of his students had never
go. Its a great sport that he realized was in danger approached him about the exhibition fights they had
of being destroyed if it wasnt regulated to make it witnessed. It is perplexing that people are still unaware
safer. He believes that judo needs to keep moving of these contributions and how they transformed the
forward and in order for that to happen there need potential for judo not only the United States but
to be educated coaches working together for the good around the world. Uchida realized that judo needed
of the sport. He explained that the most dangerous to be recognized as a sport in order for it to grow
thing for judo is people who think they know it all and grow it has. Once I asked Mr. Uchida, Why
and that there is nothing else to learn. do you like judo? He replied, I like judo because in
the struggle, you have to learn. It seems that he has
One of the most ironic things about Mr. Uchidas been leading by example and learning during the
fight for judo is that he may have never coached struggle his entire life.
a single Olympic team, let alone attended almost

Still coaching in 2012...

Judoka Quarterly 49
by Komuro Koji
Photographs by Kojima Shinsuke

Opportunities for Transition from Throwing to Newaza

If you can see opportunities to make transitions into ne-waza from tachiwaza and take advantage of
them, you have a better chance to win matches. In most cases, transitions are made from tachi-waza
to ne-waza. I call it ne-giwa, the moment you go down to the ground from standing. Below are
examples of ne-giwa:

1. When throwing your opponent

2. When being thrown by your opponent

3. When you break your opponents balance
4. When your opponent breaks your balance
5. Ne-Waza from sutemi-waza (sacrifice throws)
6. Ne-Waza from kaeshi-waza (counters to your opponents throw)

We normally practice tachi-waza randori and ne-waza randori separately, but in the actual competition
these two cannot be separated. They are continuous. Talented judoka who achieve good results have
fairly decent ne-waza skills as well as excellent throws. When two players are of the same skill level, it is
difficult to throw for ippon. This is why ne-giwa is very important. When you and your opponent have
the1same level of tachi-waza skills, transition skills at the moment of ne-giwa can help either player win.

Think of the ne-giwa as kumite (grip fighting skills) in tachi-waza. If your opponents kumite is better
than yours, it is difficult for you to execute your favorite techniques. If you have better kumite than your
opponent, you have the advantage. This is why I emphasize that you need to practice transition skills
from standing to groundwork. Ude-gaeshi is one of those throwing techniques that makes transition
from tachi-waza to newaza easier.


In the kenka-yotsu (opposing left and right hand) gripping situation, grab your own lapel and pull it
away from your opponent and twist your left arm to put the elbow out. Grab their right wrist forcefully
3 your right hand (thumb facing up). Keeping the distance between you and your opponent, turn
your body. This locks their elbow and they will have to go with your throw.

After youve thrown your opponent with ude-gaeshi, you have two options. The first option is to submit
them with ude-gatame by twisting their arm. The second option is to quickly close the gap to hold
them down in osaekomi. When you throw your opponent locking their elbow joint, no score would be
awarded for the throw. Therefore, you must make a quick transition into ne-waza. If you throw them
without locking their elbow joint, the throw is categorized as yoko-wakare.
1 5

2 6

3 7

4 8

Judoka Quarterly 51
9 11

10 12

Key Points

How to Control Opponents Tsuri-te (lapel-grip)

Grab your opponents wrist with your thumb facing up when controlling their tsuri-te hand (hand grabbing
your lapel). You can also grab near the end of their sleeve. Make sure to twist your left elbow out to have your
opponents right elbow inside.

1 2

3 4

Keeping Your Distance

When you rotate your body, you need enough space between you and your opponent and you have to perform
this move fast. If your opponent is standing upright or there isnt enough space, you will fall into their hold-

The photos below illustrate what happens when you do not keep enough distance.

1 3 1

2 4 2

Judoka Quarterly 53
5 7

6 8

Training to Improve Transitions

Now the question is: How can we improve quick transitions at the ne-giwa?
The answer is that when you do randori, keep these in mind:
1. Ne-waza randori -> For improvement of your ground fighting skills
2. Tachi-waza randori -> For putting into practice ne-waza techniques under the same conditions as competition

In my competitive days, my partners complained when I made transitions into ne-waza in tachi-waza randori.
If you do, some partners may like it, either. That said, you should not hesitate to follow-up with newaza in
tachi-waza randori. After all, that is what you have to do in competition. I suggest that before you do tachi-
waza randori, you agree to some conditions with your partner such as:

1. Allow 15 seconds of ne-waza after a throw/take-down

2. No ippon score for throws
3. The ippon score awarded for katamewaza only

Some people are very strong in ne-waza randori, but it doesnt necessarily mean that they are capable of using
their newaza techniques in competition due to the rules that restrict time and strategies on the ground. You can
train to transition quickly from tachi-waza to ne-waza to give yourself the best opportunity to win matches.

Komuro Koji is a graduate of Tsukuba University. . A former full-time instructor at the Kodokan,
Komuro has produced a series of successful newaza videos. He is also a two-time world champion
in katame no kata. He recently published the English version of his book, The Judo Newaza of
Komuro Koji.

How did you get your start in judo? art? What lessons did you take away from being an
elite judo competitor?
I started judo at the age of nine at a local club where
I lived in Manchester. I was introduced to the sport Never assume you know everything, and manage the
by a neighbour, whose son was my best friend at controllable. Never underestimate your opponent.
the time. We were both driving her mad during the Respect and value the people around you. Never take
summer holidays. She suggested that we needed to things for granted. If you go there in the mind, the
do something and would we consider starting judo body is sure to follow. Its important to have a strong
because she had seen an advertisement in the local work ethic. Dream mighty things you never know.
paper, forty-one years later I am still involved in this
amazing sport. Transitioning from an athletic career is often a
difficult and not necessarily a successful process,
My fascination with art world is totally different I've how did you manage it?
always had a natural affinity with art and somehow
feel it's in my DNA. I also use art to help me manage First, I stopped thinking in the four-year Olympic
and escape for the frustration and effects of having plans. I changed my mind set to the here and now
dyslexia. My art allows me to speak without the use and I very much live in a mindful way. I transferred
of the written word. my judo work ethic into everything I do. I curbed
my competitiveness and I am never afraid to question
I became serious about my art over twenty years ago and ask for help. I also try to be non-judgemental and
after the sudden and tragic loss of my older brother. I very open to ideas and suggestions. I embraced my
was struggling to come to terms with his death. It was creativity and use it to my advantage.
suggested at the time that I needed to find something
to help me with my frustration and aggression, which W here do you see your artwork and judo
reflect the space I was in at this time. My first pieces intersecting?
are very aggressive and used a large amount of black
and reds. I still have these pieces today and over the Even though there is a link between my judo and
years, I have come to appreciate and value them. my artwork, I kind of view them both individually
probably because I tend to compartmentalise
What is your most cherished memory from your everything. I think this is one of the reasons why I
judo career? have been successful in both careers. I now consider
myself as an artist who competed in the Olympics.
I have so many cherished moments in my judo career. On the occasions when both sides come together,
I would imagine everybody would say Wasn't it I have produced some amazing pieces of work, for
the moment when your won your Olympic medal? example I have created a digital piece called Judo
The answer I'm going to give you may sound a little Movement. To answer your question, judo will
strange but it's the matches that I lost. I cherish these always be a part of me and my life and my experiences
most, because the decisions that I made during this will surely influence my work. So, both will kind
period have changed, altered and to some degree of walk hand-in-hand without much discussion,
shaped my life to bring me to where I am today. probably like an old married couple.

Without overcoming these difficulties, I would not What led you to live in Norway? What impact has
be the man I am today. We have a saying in the it made on your artwork?
dojo in Kendal where I grew up preparing for two
Olympic Games. A brief quote, "Far better it is to I was working in social services in Kendal considering
dare mighty things. what to do next when an email came into my inbox
suggesting that I may be interested in a position in

Judoka Quarterly 57
As a kid sitting at the back of the class and always
sketching New York cityscapes it was a form
of escapism from a suppressive comprehensive
education. Deep down I think I'm an urban kid
at heart and I seem to have an affinity with cities,
especially cities that have a waterfront. I eventually
visited New York five years ago, it was a childhood
dream come true. and the city and its skyscrapers
lived up to its reputation.

The background of the painting Judo Movement"

seems to draw from Roy Lichtensteins pixel Pop-
art while the figures almost seem like something
out of Francis Bacon. Who were your influences
in terms of art?

Roy Lichtenstein is a new artist to me, but I love his

work- very pop- but has a slightly darker edge from
Norway. I successfully applied for the job and now the well-known pop artist, Andy Warhol. Francis
run both a regional and club program in the west of Bacon on the other hand has been a massive influence
Norway. I really loving being back involved in judo. on me, I find his work fascinating and controversial.
I am very creative and my out of the box thinking is What impresses me the most is that Francis Bacon
gaining great success. Norway now has an English was not a professionally trained artist. If I had to
coach managing the National Program and I have pinpoint an artist that has influenced my work I
started to link nicely with his vision. Norway is a would choose the American artist Jackson Pollock, I
fantastic environment to live in, especially as an
artist. The light out here is pretty amazing and very
unique and the environment has really changed the
way I look at landscapes. The skies are a massive and
the colours are vivid and we are surrounded by either
the sea, a fjord or a lake. The elements and conditions
and experiences have started to sneak into my work.

Do you see any parallels between yourself and Yves

Klein in terms of judo informing your art?

I have always been a big fan of Yves Klein. Before I

was asked this question, I didn't see the link, but now
I can see the similarities. So maybe subconsciously
he has been an influence on my work, especially the
piece called Judo Movement where the colours are
very bright and vivid especially the blue in one of the
moving figures.

Your cityscapeshave a strong geometric element.

When did you develop this style?
Yves Klein

Judoka Quarterly 59
love his technique and freedom and the techniques promoting the organisation. He asking for artists who
he used to producehis works. had competed in the Olympics to contact him to join
the organisation, which I did and the rest is history.
How you did you become involved with Art of the Welcome to my world. I was recently involved in an
Olympians? exhibition organised by AOTO in Hong Kong. What
I like about the organisation is that we have the same
I was contacted by a friend on Facebook, who ethics we used in the Olympics but express them in
had heard a radio interview with Roald Bradstock a totally different way by using a different medium.
by Nicolas Messner

For the past few years, October 28 has become a year was the sixth edition and is has now become a
date to be noted in the calendars of all the judokas global event that belongs to all judokas.
around the world. This symbolic moment is now an
inevitable rendezvous for those who like or appreciate More than 60 countries have organized activities
the judo and its educational values. that were related to the theme of 2016 (JUDO FOR
THE WORLD) and nearly 200 projects have been
Initiated by the International Judo Federation in 2011 sent to the IJF. The theme was chosen by Internet
(Past themes: 2011: RESPECT - 2012: JUDO FOR users and the fans of the Judo Facebook page
ALL - 2013: PERSEVERANCE - 2014: HONOR ( in a vote held a
- 2015: UNITY), the World Judo Day, which takes few months before. Eponymous title of the series
place on the 28th of October every year, is the of films produced by the IJF, Judo for the World,
birthdate of the founder of judo, Jigor Kan. This the theme has inspired thousands of judoka around


Judoka Quarterly 63




Judoka Quarterly 65

the world. Numerous initiatives have been launched One of the elements that makes the World Judo Day
individually, while many clubs have also contributed easy to organize is that it can happen around the
and the national federations themselves have been symbolic date of 28 October (before, during and/
increasingly involved. or after) and can therefore easily adapt to everyones
needs. After the success of this sixth World Day, the
The notable fact of this sixth edition is the large International Judo Federation looks forward to the
number of renowned athletes who have either next edition, which will take place on October 28,
organized an activity themselves or spread the 2017, and whose theme will be revealed later in the
information through the social networks. This shows year.
how judokas have now captured the World Judo
Day and are ready to expand the event even further. List of the participating countries
Thought as a day dedicated to a value and to the Angola - Argentina - Australia - Bangladesh - Belgium
principles of Judo, the World Judo Day addresses the - Bolivia - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Botswana - Brazil -
20 million practitioners in the world. Everyone can Burundi - Canada - Chile - Colombia - Croatia - Djibouti
therefore organize an activity related to the theme - Dominican Republic - England - Finland - France -
Germany - Ghana - Guinea-Bissau - India - Indonesia
or simply in accordance with the values of our sport.
- Israel - Italy - Ivory Coast - Kazakhstan - Kosovo -
Kyrgyzstan - Lebanon - Lithuania - Macedonia - Malta
As early as October 20, it was already possible to - Mongolia - Morocco - Nepal - Netherlands - New
discover on internet the first activities organized on Zealand - Nigeria - Norway - Pakistan - Peru - Philippines
the five continents, while on October 28 sharp, the - Portugal - Puerto Rico - Romania - Russia - Scotland
messages flourished on social networks. - Senegal - Spain - Tanzania - Turkey - Turkmenistan -
UAE - Uruguay - USA - Uzbekistan - Venezuela - Whales
- Zambia



Murata Naoki is the curator of the Kodokan Judo
By Murata Naoki Museum and Library. He is the author/editor
of several books including Mind Over Muscle:
It is not my purpose to spend day and night reiterating Writings from the Founder of Judo, Wa-ei taisho
about judo spreading to two hundred countries as you judo yogo kojiten (A Small Japanese-English
probably already know this. For in the beginning, Dictionary of Judo Vocabulary) and .DQ-LJRU
there is a process by which things flourish. Normally shihan ni manabu (Learning from Jigoro Kano).
there are a series of difficulties. We give thanks to the
blood, sweat and tears of the committed individuals
who blazed the trail by embarking on a trip overseas strikes and groundwork, did whatever was requested.
to spread judo. The Kodokan dispatched Yamashita Throwing, controlling the opponent on the ground
Yoshitsugu to the United States of America, sailing on and submitting the opponent for the win. As for
the Shinano-maru from Yokohama on September 26, judo, taking this body of techniques en mass, in the
1903, and Tomita Tsunejiro also to the USA, sailing on Kodokan judo, Kano Jigoro advocated that dangerous
the Iyo-maru from Yokohama on November 16, 1904. techniques such as thrusting kicks shall be classified
as a separate genre of kata (kime no kata), excluding
Maeda Mitsuyo (known then as Maeda Hideyo) went them from the Gokkyo. However, Maeda was not
with Tomita. After working for a while with Tomita, in accordance with the idea of not utilizing these
Maeda went out in his own. After journeying from dangerous techniques.
the USA to Europe he landed in Central and South
America. It can be said that he lived with judo as his Maeda died on November 28, 1941 when medical
main sustenance through an itinerary of fights. This attention proved ineffective. He was 63 when he passed
time lets take a look at Maeda Mitsuyo from the away. His last words were I want to drink the water of
standpoint of the history of the flourishing of judo Japan, I want to return to Japan. In December of the
overseas. same year, Maeda, who had put everything on the line,
was awarded the posthumous rank of seventh dan by
Maedas techniques fall out of the range of todays the Kodokan for his many achievements contributing
judo. The proof lies in a new kind of self-defense that to the spreading of judo.
he taught to Brazilians and afterwards established and
christened with the name Gracie Brazil Jujitsu. Gracie Although there is a countless number of people
for some reason named this not judo but jujitsu. It practicing unarmed martial arts (bud or bujutsu) in
must have been the influence of Maeda. When he was the world today, few have never heard the name Konde
teaching techniques, Maeda was talking and teaching Koma. He is legendary amongst Japanese martial
about jujitsu, not only judo. In judo at that time, there artists, and his name continues to shine brightly to this
were various advanced jujitsu techniques to control day. Such is the greatness of Konde Koma. Nothing
opponents in order to kill or maim them by bending makes me prouder than the fact that I am a compatriot
back the fingers, twisting the wrists, and joint lock of this remarkable figure in the history of judo.
techniques for twisting the ankles and knees as well
as scissoring the legs around the torso, etc. However, Even though the name does not suggest so, Konde
in judo competitions finger and toe joint locks as well Koma was in fact Japanese. His real name was Maeda
as wrist and ankle locks were forbidden. In 1916, in Eiyo, which later became Maeda Mitsuyo. As noted
an amendment of the official rules, Kodokan forbade above, he had previously accompanied Tomita to the
scissoring the torso and other dangerous positions. U.S. After that, his fame grew as he traveled alone
along the east coast of America, through Europe, and
In his life after Japan, Maeda continued competing then down to Central and South America. Defeating
against different kind of fighting opponents. In boxers and wrestlers as he went, his reputation preceded
contests allowing the use of fists and kicking, Maeda, him, and he garnered immense popularity as he taught
fighting with freely with all manner of throws, judo to locals. He came to be known as Konde Koma

as a sign of respect. He eventually settled in the city as . On his family register, however, his name is
of Belem, Brazil. Being a man of great virtue, in the recorded with the glyphs . In 1905, a pamphlet
latter years of his life Maeda dedicated himself to was produced for a judo demonstration at Columbia
helping Japanese immigrants in Brazil. Maeda was a University on which the words Demonstration of Jiu-
highly skilled and honorable practitioner of judo, and do by Professor E. Maeda are inscribed. It is plausible,
the part that he came to play in the popularization of therefore, that could actually be read as Eiyo
judo is immeasurable. in accordance with alternative readings of the character
. Perhaps Maeda changed his name after this from
Early in the summer of 1906, there was considerable Eiyo to Mitsuyo. It was during his sojourn in Spain
opposition voiced to sending Maeda to America when Maeda started to call himself Konde Komaa
with Satake Nobushir as members of the Kodokan point which I will elaborate on later.
wondered what would become of their organization.
Kan Jigor Shihan persuaded those who harbored Maeda Mitsuyo has now attained legendary status,
doubts that it was the right time for Kodokan Judo to and his deeds on the mat have been the subject of
be known throughout the world. Even if Japan was a considerable number of books, the main ones of
to gradually become depleted of exemplary judoka, it which are listed below. The first two publications
behooved Japan, Kan Shihan surmised, to send its were compiled through correspondence from Maeda,
best people overseas. Besides, the Kodokan had an and edited by Usuda Zanun, a close friend from his
obligation to nurture second and third generations hometown.
of Maeda. Kan Jigor Shihan allegedly raised the
funds for the trip himself, which is surely testament - Maeda Mitsuyo, Usuda Zanun ed. Sekai k jd
to Maedas sublime skill as a judo practitioner. mushashugy (Judo Journey Throughout the World),
Maedas given name is Mitsuyo, written in Japanese Hakubunkan, 1912.

Judoka Quarterly 69
- Maeda Mitsuyo, Usuda Zanun ed. Shin jd Instead, I will focus on certain aspects of his life, and
mushashugy: Sekai k dai ni (New Judo Journey: will start with an inscription found in a corner of
Throughout the World II), Hakubunkan, 1913. Hirosaki Castle Park in his hometown of Hirosaki
- Usuda Zanun. Nihon jd damashi Maeda Mitsuyo in order understand what type of a man Maeda was.
no sekai seiha (Japanese Judo Spirit: Maeda Mitsuyos
World Domination), Tsurushob, 1943. Maeda literally devoted his life to showcasing the
- Yamamoto Ginji, Maeda Kinsaku, Takahashi Seiichi superiority of judo as an unarmed combat art, and
eds. Maeda Mitsuyo Konde Koma no shgai (The Life of to promoting it throughout the world. I will look at
Maeda Mitsuyo-Konde Koma), self-published, 1980. his contributions later on while referencing Kodokan
- Sakurai Yasuo. Puroresu tai jd (Pro-Wrestling vs. sources. Chronicling the international spread of
Judo), Tokyo Sports Shimbunsha, 1974. judo requires analysis of the work and ideas of
- Kojima Teiji. Rikidzan izen no Rikidzantachi (The the practitioners at the helm. As such, we need to
Early Rikidzans), San-ichi Shob, 1983. understand Maedas take on tackling such a project,
- Yokota Junya. Meiji bangara kaijinden (The Meiji and the Kodokan materials provide us with substantial
Period Scruff), Kfsha Shuppan, 1989. information.

More recent works are: Actions exist because of thought. It is possible to

- Kyama Norio. Raion no yume: Konde Koma = Maeda see valor, but not thought. Still, the root of valor
Mitsuyo den (The Lions Dream: Konde Koma / Maeda is thought. Let us now turn to the aforementioned
Mitsuyo), Shgakukan, 1997. inscription in Hirosaki Castle Park.
- Maruyama Takao. Maeda Mitsuyo: Sekai jd
mushashugy (Maeda Mitsuyo: World Judo Journey), Maeda Mitsuyo was born in the village of Funasawa
Shimazu Shob, 1997. on November 18, 1878. He studied at Hirosaki
Middle School and Waseda Middle School before
enrolling in the Tokyo Vocational College. Maeda
There are also comic books which feature Maeda commenced training at the Kodokan in 1897. By the
Mitsuyo: time he was awarded 4-dan in 1904, he was already
- Nabeta Yoshio (story), Fujiwara Yoshihide (artwork). recognized as a leading exponent of judo. He also held
Konde Koma, Shgakukan, 1999. judo teaching positions at institutions such as Waseda
University, Hitotsubashi University, Gakushin and
the Tokyo Higher Normal School. He traveled to
Maeda is also the subject of discussion in many other America and Europe to teach the art there. Standing at
works, such as: a height of 1.64m and with a weight of 67.5kg, Maeda
- Ishiguro Keishichi. Jd senjjiki (Judo: Thousands demonstrated the strength of Japanese judo throughout
of Tatami), Nihon Shuppan Kyd, 1952. the world and progressed to 7-dan.
In 1915, Maeda went to Brazil and became a head
- Ishii, Chiaki. Burajiru jd paionia (Judo Pioneers instructor at the naval academy. He subsequently
in Brazil), self-published, 2003. resided in Belem where he concentrated his efforts on
land reclamation projects in the Amazon. He also took
The books mentioned above are non-fiction, so it is an active role in the Nanbei Takushoku Kaisha (South
easy to imagine that the life of Maeda Mitsuyo was a America Colonization Company) and assisted Japanese
immigrants who were settling there.
tale of bravery. I recommend reading these books if Maeda Mitsuyo had a warm personality and a kind
you wish to understand more about the man, however, face, and with the name Konde Koma, he was seen as
those published before 1989 are rare and hard to find. an affectionate father figure.
He passed away in Belem on November 28, 1941, at
These books contain an immense amount of the age of 63.
information pertaining to Maedas life. This series of
articles cannot possibly cover all of his career, and if This is the first in a series of articles that JQ will
you are interested in his fights and conduct, I suggest devote to Maeda Mitsuyo/Konde Koma.
that the reader peruse the books I mention above.


Are you Practicing a Martial Art?

Some Thoughts on Kata Practice in Judo
Text and photos by David McFall exception of Wednesday nights and special training
camps. Hence, the Kodokan has become more of an
Kata seems to a kind of litmus test in judo. There are educational facility than a hard-core competitive dojo.
those who embrace it as an important part of Kano The Kodokan is also the reliquary of past judo masters
Jigoros vision of judo and there are others who see it and their shared history. It stands as the preserver of
as something that you have to suffer through in order judo traditions and as an exemplar for technical judo.
to receive a dan grade promotion. Perhaps, the latter Traditional events such as kangeiko (special winter
folk see kata as some vestigial link to judos past that training), shouchugeiko (special summer training) and
has no relevance to randori and competitive judo. That kagamibiraki (opening of the dojo for the new year) are
may be true if you conceive of judo as merely a sport. held throughout the year. In the case of kagami-biraki,
However, if you want to practice judo as a martial the highlight of this event is the performance of the all
art, then kata should be a regular part of your judo major kata of Kodokan judo. The kata are performed
curriculum. by the members of the instructional department of
the Kodokan and specially invited guests.
A few decades ago, many of the universities around
Tokyo, even the top judo universities, did not have Every December, prior to the following years kagami-
their own dojos. At that time, the university students biraki, you can see the Kodokan sensei vigorously
trained at the Kodokan on a nightly basis. As a result, (and sometimes frantically) practicing to get ready
the Kodokan had a reputation as tough place to train. for these kata performances. It is practically the only
For many older Japanese, this image of the Kodokan time that you see the sensei working on their kata. In
remains. These days, the universities all have their own my opinion, this is not true kata practice. In order to
judo facilities and do not train at the Kodokan with fully grasp the meaning of kata, it must be practiced

regularly. You need to absorb it in your bones. If you without an instructor, putting the pieces together from
have to continually review texts just to remember different sources and consulting different sensei in
the sequence, you will never fully embrace the various countries.
beauty of Kanos vision of how judo should look and
feel.Nevertheless, the Kodokan has official monthly The practice of kata in Kodokan judo has a historical
and weekly kata training sessions. In addition, there basis that comes from Kano Jigoros conception of
are several private kata groups who practice at the judo. Kano-shihan did not see judo as merely a sport
Kodokan on a regular basis. or even just as a martial art. In the Meiji period (1868-
1911) when doing sports as a leisure time activity was
A few of the difficulties in practicing kata are: 1) a relatively new concept, Kano saw his brand of judo
finding a dedicated partner 2) finding a sensei with an as a way for people to engage in physically activity
understanding of kata and3) finding a dojo that will with much higher aims than just winning or losing
allow time for kata practice. This is not only difficult a game. He saw judo as an all-encompassing system
overseas, but also in Japan. However, if properly for the betterment of the individual on a micro level
motivated, there are a decent amount of resources and society on a macro-level. Hence his mantras of
available for kata practice from YouTube videos to seiryoky-zenyo or maximum efficiency (individual)
free pamphlets from the Kodokan that will enable and jitakyoei or mutual benefit (society). One of the
a dedicated student to learn much of the kata even driving forces behind Kanos system of judo practice
without the guidance of a kata teacher. Its noteworthy was the integration of randori, kata and competition.
that the current world champions in ju-no-kata Ulla Kano had adapted the core of judo techniques
Loosen and Wolfgang Dax-Romswinkel usually train primarily from two schools of Japanese jujitsu, the Kito
school and the Tenjin Shinyo school. These schools into koshiki no kata (the fun part is that perform this
featured the throwing, strangles and armlocks that kata imagining that you are wearing samurai armor).
we associate with todays competitive judo but they There is a lifetime of study contained solely within
also include strikes, leglocks and other techniques that these six different forms of kata.
Kano prohibited in randori and competition.
If you look at other Japanese martial arts, kata is not
However, Kano did not want to completely only preserved but cherished and even revered. Karate
expungethese techniques from the syllabus as they is a good example. Not only are demonstrations of
would be vital for preserving the martial art aspect of kata celebrated in karate but the practice of kata in
judo (and prove beneficial for teaching self defense). karate has become a part of the zeitgeist of mainstream
Instead, Kano incorporated them into the kata. If one popular culture in movies like The Karate Kid. In
is interested in teaching judo as a martial art or for the famous Wax on, wax off scene of this motion
self-defense, Kano has already laid out the basis for picture, Miyagi-sensei, after putting his young
your curriculum. You need look no further than kime disciple Daniel-san through a series of seemingly
no kata and Kodokan goshin jutsu.In addition, Kano mundane work projects while admonishing him to
devised kata for practicing judo principles outside the pay attention to strict form, demonstrates the value of
dojo without a judogi (ju-no-kata) as well as situations repetitive practice of body motions in order to apply
of attack and defense for randori practice (nage-no- them without thought for the purposes of attack and
kata and katame-no-kata). If you want to understand defense. This is the essence of kata practice. How is
the roots of judo practice and its essential underlying one supposed to use judo as self-defense if one has not
principles, Kano adapted the kata of the Kito school practiced it in situations that require it?

Judoka Quarterly 75
Another example is aikido. Without any competitive introduced in small digestible chunks, it is crammed
aspect, aikido can be considered to be in essence 100% in at the last minute. No wonder, people loathe kata.
kata (there is a school of aikido associated with Tomiki Even if kata was as sweet as pie, its hard to enjoy if it
Kenji an early judoka who was sent by Kano to explore is stuffed down your throat with some kind of final
Ueshibas aikido techniques that experiments in a kind exam at the end.
of aikido randoribut its rarely practiced). While aikido
can sometimes appear to be overly choreographed, the As for finding the relevance of kata to randori and
thinking beyond their practice is consistent with how competitive judo, I can only speak from experience.
the kobudo schools or classical martial arts schools I have caught many judoka in newaza with escapes
have practiced for hundreds of years. That is, their and attacks from uke position using techniques taught
techniques are too dangerous to perform in any kind in katame no kata. In tachiwaza, I tend to attack
of competitive format.Kano took the same approach with ura-nage and yoko-guruma when faced with
by taking jujitsus more dangerous techniques and an opponent who takes a high grip in kenka-yotsu
assigning them to kata practice in order preserve these (opposing right and left grips). These sutemi-waza
techniques and provide a safe way to practice them. are not always easy to practice in uchi-komi so I
So, if karate and aikido embrace kata, then why do have worked on these techniques by doing nage-no-
many judoka seem uninterested in kata. I suspect it kata. Furthermore, I find ju-no-kata to be a perfect
has to do with the presentation of kata. Most judoka warmdown after a randori session.
are only introduced to kata just prior to a promotion.
It isa final hurdle that you have to jump before you One of the main stumbling blocks that has inhibited
receive the next dan rank. The problem with this the growth of kata is the belief that kata practice is
approach is that instead of having kata gradually boring (funny how the aikido and karate people dont

Judoka Quarterly 77
seem to share in this thinking). In the beginning, it there are hints and special details of kata that only a
is true that learning the sequences and details of kata knowledgeable kata sensei can confer, there are no
can be tedious. However, this is true in the initial outright secrets that are forbidden to teach those at
stages of many hobbies and athletic pursuits. The lower ranks. This was true of the old system of menkyo
payoff is that once you have mastered the essentials certificates, wherein you were only taught certain
of most kata, your body will adjust to it and enjoy secret techniques when you have passed a certain
it. I am not a great fan of running. However, after a level and received a certificate.Most judo federation
few weeks of consistent training, the body conditions and yudanshakai have a kind of order of the kata for
itself and running becomes a more efficient activity promotion (for example, nage-no-kata, katame-no-
and, yes, even enjoyable. However, you have to get kata, ju-no-kata, kime-no-kata, Kodokan goshin-jutsu,
through those initial four to six weeks when you are itsutsu-no-kata, koshiki-no-kata). However, there
out of breath and feeling sore the next morning. The are no restrictions on which kata you are allowed to
same can be said for kata.Kata can be fun; it just takes practice. I started learning koshiki-no-kata as a third
some practice and perhaps an attitude adjustment. I dan, even though it is a promotion requirement for
ran a training session on koshiki-no-kata a few months eighth dan. Some friends of mine run a YMCA judo
back. Prior to the seminar, I did some randori at the camp in the summer and they teach everyone itsutsu-
club where the seminar was going to be held. I invited no-kata. Why? Well, even though itsutsu-no-kata is
the students to join me with a simple question: Who a considers a high level kata with many esoteric
wants to become a samurai this weekend? elements, it is also a lot of fun. In the end, once
you strip kata of all its trappings and focus on good
One of the things that Kano liberated from the technique with a partner of a similar a similar mindset,
kobudo schools was the idea of secret teachings. While you will find kata to be informative, useful, and fun.

A C H A N G E!


By Yamaguchi Kaori

Editors Note: Just as this article was going to between male and female athletes. Wrestling,
press, the IJF released their new rules for the next boxing, and taekwondo are all combat sports
Olympic cycle. Citing pressure from the IOC similar to judo and all have the same contest
for gender equity, the competition for the men times for male and female athletes as a matter
was reduced to four minutes making the time of course. The womens marathon, which had
competition time equal for both men and women. been excluded from the Olympic Games on the
basis of it being too hard for women, is raced
After the London Olympics 2012, out of the over a distance of 42.195km, the same as the
blue, the IJF reduced the competition time for mens distance, and has been included in the
women from 5 minutes to 4 minutes. According Olympic program since the 1984 Los Angeles
to the IJF, this was done in consideration of the Olympic Games.
physical capability of female athletes. To date,
the rules have frequently been changed, each In the past, prior to research being carried out
time with divided opinion on the merit of those on female physiology, there was a lot of prejudice
changes. Japan has consistently taken a negative towards women participating in sport. Amongst
stance to IJF rule changes, the introduction of other things, it was thought that women who
the blue judogi being a good example. With underwent intensive physical training would
judo being an international sport, contrary develop too much muscle and would unable to
to traditional thinking in Japan, I have held bear children. Currently the world record for
the view that rule changes to make the sport the mens marathon is 2 hours 2 minutes and 57
more internationally recognisable and easier to seconds while the womens record is 2 hours 15
understand are a positive thing. minutes and 25 seconds, a difference of about 13
minutes, or some tens of seconds per kilometre.
However, in this case, the change of the Looking at these records, it is hard to argue that
competition time for female athletes is without there is any merit to the idea that the physical
merit and is not something that I can agree with. capability of female athletes is inferior to male
First off, looking at other sports, there are none athletes. If, as the IJF claims, the reason for the
where there are differences in the contest rules rule change is the physical capability of female
athletes, then they should show medical evidence to support (male) womens head coach. I believe that it is important for
this, otherwise it can only be concluded that the decision the IOC to respect the rules of each IF; however, I feel that
was based on nothing more than a bias towards women. they should be prepared to provide guidance where there
are clear cases of unfounded inequality against women.
I have not had the time to properly research any statistics, but
the number of 5 minute fights where the lead was reversed In combat sports, including judo, there remains an outdated
and fight won in the last minute is not insignificant. In way of thinking whereby only the strong hold the right
combat sports, a 1 minute difference is extremely big. Under to speak. However, if we want to promote the diffusion
the current rules, points scored from techniques heavily and development of the various combat sports, then it is
outweigh points scored as a result of penalties such that, essential to also take on board the concerns and perspectives
for an athlete with a technical score to lose by penalties, of women. As for the rule in question, it seems that the male
they have to be penalised 4 times. A lead reversed win by directors of the IJF had a decided lack of interest in having
penalties in a 5 minute mens fight is extremely difficult, any meaningful discussion on the issue before jumping to
but in a 4 minute womens fight it is almost impossible. take the decision to implement it. In order for judo is to
The counter argument would be that if the losing athlete continue as an Olympic discipline, I believe that those male
were to throw their opponent then there is no problem; directors need to change their conservative ways. There is
however, when an opponent can take multiple penalties a history of female sports pioneers speaking out to secure
while employing a totally defensive strategy, then this is the status of womens sport. I strongly believe that female
not a realistic argument. Additionally, we are seeing more judo athletes should not just be concerned with how to
and more contests that are being decided by a single shido win under the rules imposed on them, they also need to
penalty. During the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games there be vocal in pushing for being able to compete under the
were a number of fights where the outcome could have been same conditions as their male counterparts.
very different had there been an extra minute of contest
time. Four minutes to determine a true champion is too
short. If the IJF persists with 4 minute contests for women,
then they should at least also be considering other rule
adjustments such as reducing the number of shido penalties
resulting in disqualification to 3. There is a rumour that
womens contest times were reduced from 5 minutes to 4
minutes because womens contests are boring. It may very
well be that womens contests are not as dynamic as mens
contests; however, the result of shortening womens contest
times to 4 minutes is that contests have become even less
expansive and less interesting.

The IOC is working to realise gender equality. Women

participated in all 26 Olympic disciplines in London,
and there were female entries from all 204 participating
countries and territories. The IOC is encouraging all IFs
(International Federations) to increase the proportion of
female officers; however, the number of female directors Yamaguchi Kaori is a ten-time A ll-Japan
of the IJF is still zero. Judo at the Olympic Games consists champion. She has won four silver and one
of 7 mens and 7 womens divisions. In spite of women gold medal at the world championships and
competing for the same number of medals, there not being a a bronze medal in -52k category of the 1988
female director means that there is no representation of the Seoul Olympics. In 2011, she was elected as a
female perspective within the IJF leading one to conclude member of the board of the Japanese Olympic
that the IJF has no concern for its female participants. Commit tee. In 2013, she wa s appointed
The All Japan Judo Federation appointed female directors as a special advisor to the All-Japan Judo
for the first time in 2013 as one of the outcomes from Federation. Ms. Yamaguchi currently holds
an external investigation into physical abuse and power the post of Assistant Professor at Tsukuba
harassment of national womens team members by the University.