This article is written by
Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo - 1882. From his book
entitled “Kodokan Judo”, reprinted by Kodansha International Ltd.,
my success in applying the principle of maximum efficiency to the
techniques of attack and defense, I then asked if the same
principle could not be applied to the improvement of health, that
is, to physical education.
have been advanced to answer the question, what is the aim of
physical education? After giving the matter a great deal of
thought and exchanging views with many knowledgeable persons, I
concluded that its aim is making the body strong, useful and
healthy while building character through mental and moral
discipline. Having thus clarified the purpose of physical
education, let us see how closely the common methods of physical
education conform to the principle of maximum efficiency.
The ways in
which persons train their bodies are many and varied, but they
fall into two general categories: sports and gymnastics. It is
difficult to generalize about sports, since there are so many
different types, but they share one important characteristic: they
are competitive in nature. The objective in devising them has not
been to foster balanced physical development or sound health.
Inevitably some muscles are consistently overworked while others
are neglected. In the process, damage is sometimes done to various
areas of the body. As physical education, many sports cannot be
rated highly-in fact, should be discarded or improved-for they
fail to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy
and impede progress toward the goal of promoting health, strength
gymnastics rate highly as physical education. Practice is not
injurious to the body, is generally beneficial to health, and
promotes the balanced development of the body. Still, gymnastics
as commonly practiced today are lacking in two respects: interest
There are many
ways in which gymnastics can be made more appealing, but one that
I advocate is to do a group of exercises I have tentatively worked
out. Each combination of limb, neck and body movements is based on
the principle of maximum efficiency and represents an idea. Done
in combination, they will effectively promote harmonious physical
and moral development. Another set of exercises I created, the
Seiryoku Zenyo Kokumin Taiiku (Maximum-Efficiency National
Physical Education), is practiced at the Kodokan. Its movements
not only lead to balanced physical development but also provide
training in the basics of attack and defense.
education to be truly effective, it must be based on the principle
of efficient use of mental and physical energy. I am convinced
that future advances in physical education will be made in
conformity with this principle.
TWO METHODS OF TRAINING
So far I have
touched on the two main aspects of judo training: development of
the body and training in the forms of attack and defense. The
primary training methods for either purpose are (1) kata and (2)
means "form," is a system of prearranged movements that teach the
fundamentals of attack and defense. In addition to throwing and
holding (also practiced in randori), it includes hitting, kicking,
slashing and a
number of other techniques. These latter occur only in kata
because it is only in kata that the movements are prearranged and
each partner knows what the other will do.
"free practice." Partners pair off and vie with each other as they
would in an actual match. They may throw, pin, choke and apply
joint locks, but they may not hit, kick or employ other techniques
appropriate only to actual combat. The main conditions in randori
are that participants take care not to injure each other and that
they follow judo etiquette, which is mandatory if one is to derive
the maximum benefit from randori.
Randori may be
practiced either as training in the methods of attack and defense
or as physical education. In either case, all movements are made
in conformity with the principle of maximum efficiency. If
training in attack and defense is the objective, concentration on
the proper execution of techniques is sufficient. But beyond that,
randori is ideal for physical culture, since it involves all parts
of the body, and unlike gymnastics, all its movements are
purposeful and executed with spirit. The objective of this
systematic physical training is to perfect control over mind and
body and to prepare a person to meet any emergency or attack,
accidental or intentional.
Both kata and
randori are forms of mental training, but of the two, randori is
the more effective.
one must search out the opponent's weaknesses and be ready to
attack with all the resources at his disposal the moment the
opportunity presents itself, without violating the rules of judo.
Practicing randori tends to make the student earnest, sincere,
thoughtful, cautious and deliberate in action. At the same time,
he or she learns to value and make quick decisions and to act
promptly, for, whether attacking or defending, there is no place
in randori for indecisiveness.
In randori one
can never be sure what technique the opponent will employ next, so
he must be constantly on guard. Being alert becomes second nature.
One acquires poise, the self-confidence that comes from knowing
that he can cope with any eventuality. The powers of attention and
observation, imagination, of reasoning and judgement are naturally
heightened, and these are all useful attributes in daily life as
well as in the dojo.
randori is to investigate the complex mental-physical relations
existing between contestants. Hundreds of valuable lessons are
derivable from this study.
In randori we
learn to employ the principle of maximum efficiency even when we
could easily overpower an opponent. Indeed, it is much more
impressive to beat an opponent with proper technique than with
brute force. This lesson is equally applicable in daily life: the
student realizes that persuasion backed up by sound logic is
ultimately more effective than coercion.
of randori is to apply just the right amount of force-never too
much, never too little. All of us know of people who have failed
to accomplish what they set out to do because of not properly
gauging the amount of effort required. At one extreme, they fall
short of the mark; at the other, they do not know when to stop.
In randori we
occasionally come up against an opponent who is frantic in his
desire to win. We are trained not to resist directly with force
but to play with the opponent until his fury and power are
exhausted, then attack. This lesson comes in handy when we
encounter such a person in daily life. Since no amount of
reasoning will have any effect on him, all we can do is wait for
him to calm down.
These are but
a few examples of the contributions randori can make to the
intellectual training of young minds.
Let us now
look at the ways in which an understanding of the principle of
maximum efficiency constitutes ethical training.
people who are excitable by nature and allow themselves to become
angry for the most trivial of reasons. Judo can help such people
learn to control themselves. Through training, they quickly
realize that anger is a waste of energy, that it has only negative
effects on the self and others.
judo is also extremely beneficial to those who lack confidence in
themselves due to past failures. Judo teaches us to look for the
best possible course of action, whatever the individual
circumstances, and helps us to understand that worry is a waste of
energy. Paradoxically, the man who has failed and one who is at
the peak of success are in exactly the same position. Each must
decide what he will do next, choose the course that will lead him
to the future. The teachings of judo give each the same potential
for success, in the former instance guiding a man out of lethargy
and disappointment to a state of vigorous activity.
One more type
who can benefit from the practice of judo are the chronically
discontented, who readily blame others for what is really their
own fault. These people come to realize that their negative frame
of mind runs counter to the principle of maximum efficiency and
that living in conformity with the principle is the key to a
forward-looking mental state.
judo brings many pleasures: the pleasant feeling exercise imparts
to muscles and nerves, the satisfaction of mastering movements,
and the joy of winning in competition. Not the least of these is
the beauty and delight of performing graceful, meaningful
techniques and in seeing others perform them. This is the essence
of the aesthetic side of judo.
OUTSIDE THE DOJO
judo have as their rationale the idea that the lessons taught in
matches will find application not only in future training but in
the world at large. Here I would like to point out five basic
principles and show briefly how they operate in the social realm.
First is the
maxim which says that one should pay close attention to the
relationship between self and other. To take an example, before
making an attack, one should note his opponent's weight, build,
strong points, temperament and so on. He should be nonetheless
aware of his own strengths and weaknesses, and his eye should
critically assess his surroundings. In the days when matches were
held outdoors, he would inspect the area for such things as rocks,
ditches, walls and the like. In the dojo, he takes note of walls,
people or other potential obstructions. If a person has carefully
observed everything, then the correct means of defeating an
opponent will naturally become apparent.
point has to do with taking the lead. Players of board games like
chess and go are familiar with the strategy of making a move that
will entice the other player to move in a certain way. This
concept is clearly applicable to both judo and our daily lives.
succinctly, the third point is: Consider fully, act decisively.
The first phrase is closely related to the first point above, that
is, a man should meticulously evaluate his adversary before
executing a technique. This done, the advice given in the second
phrase is followed automatically. To act decisively means to do so
without hesitation and without second thoughts.
how to proceed, I would now like to advise you when to stop. This
can be stated quite simply. When a predetermined point has been
reached, it is time to cease applying the technique, or whatever.
The fifth and
final point evokes the very essence of judo. It is contained in
the saying: Walk a single path, becoming neither cocky with
victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when
all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens.
Implicit here is the admonition that if we let ourselves be
carried away by success, defeat will inevitably follow victory. It
also means that one should always be prepared for a contest-even
the moment after scoring a victory. Whether a person's
surroundings are calm or turbulent, he should always exploit
whatever means are at hand to accomplish his purpose.
The student of
judo should bear these five principles in mind. Applied in the
work place, the school, the political world or any other area of
society, he will find that the benefits are great.
To sum up,
judo is a mental and physical discipline whose lessons are readily
applicable to the management of our daily affairs. The fundamental
principle of judo, one that governs all the techniques of attack
and defense, is that whatever the objective, it is best attained
by the maximum-efficient use of mind and body for that purpose.
The same principle applied to our everyday activities leads to the
highest and most rational life.
the techniques of judo is not the only way to grasp this universal
principle, but it is how I arrived at an understanding of it, and
it is the means by which I attempt to enlighten others.
of maximum efficiency, whether applied to the art of attack and
defense or to refining and perfecting daily life, demands above
all that there be order and harmony among people. This can be
realized only through mutual aid and concession. The result is
mutual welfare and benefit. The final aim of judo practice is to
inculcate respect for the principles of maximum efficiency and
mutual welfare and benefit. Through judo, persons individually and
collectively attain their highest spiritual state while at the
same time developing their bodies and learning the art of attack