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Old 04-25-2005, 02:12 PM   #22
sanskara's Avatar
Location: Austin, TX
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 52
Re: Tohei throwing Judoka in Hawaii?

That's a very good point, Craig. A lot of people do forget that Tohei had enough experience in Judo to have a pretty good idea of what these guys were going to do strategically, and that that consituted a significant advantage. Especially if they as challengers had never seen Aikido.

I would also add that no one I've talked to really thought of these challenges as anything even remotely approaching a life and death scenario (the unsourced quote at the beginning of the thread notwithstanding.) That sure, these Judoka tried hard to take him down (they didn't want to be shamed in front of their consituency.) But it was far from a knock down drag out fight, and somewhere between that and a friendly public relations indulgence--which means they didn't tank for him either.

I would contend that motives affect aggression levels, and that as cool as these stories are, we have no idea how differently this might have played out if they were really pissed at Tohei or had there been stronger incentive for these guys to win, say, in the form of substantial monetary remuneration, as in some of the high profile tournaments of today. None of this is meant to take away from Tohei's accomplishments, of course, a win is a win, and there's no way it could have happened "accidentally" so many times in a row, if the margin for error had been razor thin, and luck had simply been on his side.

In fact, if I recall correctly, once the first challenge took place in Hawaii and word got around, some Judo guys were upset that it was being said in the martial arts community that Judoka dropped like flies against Tohei because of the "superiority" of Aikido. Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, I believe it was just that annoyance that led to further challenges like the ones in San Jose. But without footage, we simply don't have enough info to judge the level of attack. All just food for thought...

Last edited by sanskara : 04-25-2005 at 02:15 PM.

James Bostwick
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