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Old 01-16-2014, 09:30 AM   #1
Peter Boylan
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Budo And Sports, A Rant

I read a blog post by the Judo world champion Dr. Ann Maria DeMars in which seemed to value judo as little more than a social exercise with health and travel benefits. I suspect this one of the attitudes that made Ueshiba Sensei declare that there is no competition in Aikido. My full rant on the subject, with a link to Dr. DeMars original post, is at

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/01/...nd-sports.html

Am I off the mark here and missing something, or am I on the right path?

Peter Boylan
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Good read, however it would be nice if your blogs were posted in the proper sub forum. That being said, i have very limited experience with judo but it seems to me that Dr. DeMars doesn't understand the -do aspect of the art she 'mastered.' Also in regards to sport judo...at what point does something drift so far from it's founder's vision that you can no longer call it judo? Sounds to be closer to an MMA match where the only skills trained are the ones useful in a very specified circumstances. Kinda sad actually.

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Old 01-17-2014, 05:31 AM   #3
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

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Kenneth King wrote: View Post
Also in regards to sport judo...at what point does something drift so far from it's founder's vision that you can no longer call it judo?
Who really knows what Kano wanted Judo to be?

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Old 01-17-2014, 07:35 AM   #4
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

We are fortunate to have really good judo at the dojo. Several of our players are/were ranked, and a few have won significant tournaments in their career. We just concluded a coaching contract with an Olympic medalist. The judo in our dojo is overwhelmingly sport-oriented. Honestly, I think the sport stuff is fine. I think there are athletes who have entered the martial arts world via sport competition who otherwise would not be part of the culture.

Now, if you are criticizing the sport for constraining the art, I think there is value in that claim. I am not sure if that is a problem, as many judoka transition from the sport to the art after their careers wind down. To some extend, my opinion on this tends to be, "do what you can now because in 20 years you cannot." If a talent comes to judo and applies that talent to a sport career, good on her. Someday she will step down for another talent and judo needs to be ready to help her learn the rest of the art she held off for a career.

After all, isn't this the same process for American professional athletics? Don't we give a buy to professional athletes who bypass the education process to pursue a career, arguing that they can always go back to school after God takes away what was given?

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Old 01-17-2014, 08:14 AM   #5
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Who really knows what Kano wanted Judo to be?
Pretty much anyone who wants to know can understand. Kano Sensei was beyond prolific in his writings, and quite a lot of them are getting translated and researched.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-...=9781590309162

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/judo...=9781425187712

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mind...=9781568364971

It's clear from Kano Sensei's own writings and comments that he was unhappy with the direction of the Judo organization's emphasis in his own lifetime. Reading his writings is not like reading Ueshiba's stuff. Kano wrote very clearly and effectively, and profusely. His writings in English are excellent because he spoke English fluently. Sadly, his English writings have never been gathered and published. In addition, he kept his diaries in English as well. It would be wonderful to see those published, but I doubt that will happen any time soon.

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Old 01-17-2014, 10:11 AM   #6
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Competition and sport has it's place in budo IMO. however, it does tend to eclipse much of the practice. I believe this is really prevalent in Judo and has become prevalent in BJJ now too. You here the older instructors in BJJ lamenting constantly about how the young kids today are only working on strategies for winning fights in BJJ. Because of the lack of constraint and freedom in newaza, you are seeing some wild stuff that simply does not add any value at all as a form of budo.

It is a big reason why my Combatives organization has began to establish a distinction that we are not about BJJ, although we do continue to teach this as a subset and continue to encourage participation in BJJ and Judo tournaments as well as MMA and others. We feel that competition is a good thing and especially good when you can understand how to adapt your training to fit various rules sets. You may not be the best guy at the tournament or win, but if you can survive and do well, then that is a good thing.

I really didn't have any issue with what she wrote. I think she simply has other priorities now and budo is not here calling at this point. Getting close to 50, I agree, I cannot relate to, or hold the interest of 20 year olds. To get them to train with me I used to get them on the mat and roll with them until they realized I was better than them. I can't do this anymore without risking injury so I don't. Plus I am no longer interested in training those that only want to focus on how they can best someone using speed and strength. There are better people out there to train this than I and more power to them. They can deal with the young knuckle heads!

However, I do think it is a life long process and I concur with your thoughts as it relates to understanding combat distance, weapons, timing etc. There is much to learn and to appreciate in budo that keeps this practice relevant as a life long pusuit.

So in that respect, she is missing the mark. Frankly I think she is looking for an excuse not to practice and has found it. No problem there...maybe the problem I have is that she is blaming the external aspects, and she should be honest and say "I don't want to do it any more!" so I suppose I do have issue with it from that perspective!

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Old 01-17-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

I guess I am just not reading DeMars sensei blog post the same as the rest of you....oh well everyone is entitled to their own opinion I guess.

But FWIW DeMars sensei was the first American to every win a judo world championship. She also raised an Olympic judo medalist who is also the current UFC women's champion (Rhonda Rousey). She Runs a successful business and teaches judo to under privileged inner city kids. I guess what I am getting at here is the lady is legit and has earned to right through 10s of thousands of hours on the mat and a world championship to have what ever opinion she wants about judo. Who are any of us to say she is wrong?

For arguments same If Toshihiko Koga Sensei wrote something similar would any of you have the same response?
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:45 AM   #8
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
I guess I am just not reading DeMars sensei blog post the same as the rest of you....oh well everyone is entitled to their own opinion I guess.

But FWIW DeMars sensei was the first American to every win a judo world championship. She also raised an Olympic judo medalist who is also the current UFC women's champion (Rhonda Rousey). She Runs a successful business and teaches judo to under privileged inner city kids. I guess what I am getting at here is the lady is legit and has earned to right through 10s of thousands of hours on the mat and a world championship to have what ever opinion she wants about judo. Who are any of us to say she is wrong?

For arguments same If Toshihiko Koga Sensei wrote something similar would any of you have the same response?
I also don't read it the same way. She was complaining to what tournaments have become and not necessarily that the budo aspect is not important. Frankly speaking it sounded more like she was pointing out the prevalence of rules and show, rather than anything against the spirit of budo. Her point about ego of the coaches and referees being a problem suggests to me that she is addressing an age old issue.

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Old 01-18-2014, 10:58 AM   #9
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

If you ever hear her daughter talk about budo, it echoes a lot of the same sentiments I am taught, such as shoshin shogai. Not sure how much of that is her training, or her mom's influence....

I feel like Kano sending students to train with Ueshiba speaks to his ideals regarding budo.

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Old 01-18-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
Pretty much anyone who wants to know can understand. Kano Sensei was beyond prolific in his writings, and quite a lot of them are getting translated and researched.
And much is edited and selected to give a specific image of Kano.

Quote:
It's clear from Kano Sensei's own writings and comments that he was unhappy with the direction of the Judo organization's emphasis in his own lifetime.
Mostly because Judo was being used not as a sport ( sport as was understood in the late 19th c. - early 20th c.) but as a "budo" in the sense given to the word in Imperial Japan. Of course Kano was not unhappy with changing the shiai ruleset because the Kosen guys, or sending challengers to Ad Santel.

Kano was a politician, he was way more complex than people think based on the Kodokan approved 'official history'.

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Old 01-19-2014, 07:20 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
And much is edited and selected to give a specific image of Kano.

Mostly because Judo was being used not as a sport (sport as was understood in the late 19th c. - early 20th c.) but as a "budo" in the sense given to the word in Imperial Japan. Of course Kano was not unhappy with changing the shiai ruleset because the Kosen guys, or sending challengers to Ad Santel.

Kano was a politician, he was way more complex than people think based on the Kodokan approved 'official history'.
In this connection I came across the following text as I was researching for a column. It is not about Kano Jigoro, but about Morihei / Moritaka Ueshiba.

 道なるが故に、植芝氏の武道は西洋一切の運動競技の類と全く其の面目を異にし精神を異にする。
 ベースボール、テニス、ラグビー何でもあれ、西洋競技は、道が目的ではなく、相手を負かすのが目的である。相手を負かすのが目的は、對立的であって、目標が常に客観 的である。客観的目的に刺戟さるゝ一切の運動競技は、西洋哲學、藝術、政治の動きてその原則を同じくするものであって、西洋文明の頽廃滅亡と共に同様の運命を持つのである 。植芝氏の武道は主観の深化と客観の向上とが不離一軆の法則として動くそこには驚倒的なる神ながらがある。植芝氏が武道の師にして同時に神ながらの行者であり、神靈の人 であることを特に學ばぬならぬ。

The text has been written by one 三浦關造 and appears on pp. 14-15 of the Budo magazine published by the Omoto Dai Nippon Budo Senyoukai in July, 1934. The paragraph quoted is one of several in an article with the general heading of 植芝守高師の武道: The Budo of Moritaka Ueshiba Shi(han). The paragraph caught my eye because of the reference to baseball, tennis and rugby as examples of all western competitive matches, the purpose of which is aite wo makasu (相手を負かすのが目的である): the defeat of the other. The urge to confront, compete and defeat extends to western philosophy, arts, and government and is the reason why western civilization is doomed to atrophy and extinction.

On the other hand, Ueshiba's budo is a michi and so his movement accords with the rule of 主観の深化と客観の向上とが不離一軆 (shukan no shinka to kyakan no koujou to ga furi-ittai). I will leave the translation to those with more time than I have at present.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:35 AM   #12
sakumeikan
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I read a blog post by the Judo world champion Dr. Ann Maria DeMars in which seemed to value judo as little more than a social exercise with health and travel benefits. I suspect this one of the attitudes that made Ueshiba Sensei declare that there is no competition in Aikido. My full rant on the subject, with a link to Dr. DeMars original post, is at

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/01/...nd-sports.html

Am I off the mark here and missing something, or am I on the right path?
Dear Peter,
I have read the blog listed above.Cannot comment since the comments of the lady [Dr Mars]in question seem to be not fully represented in the blog/Can you say whether all the comment /article by Dr Mars has been posted on this forum?Cheers, Joe.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:47 AM   #13
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Peter,
I have read the blog listed above.Cannot comment since the comments of the lady [Dr Mars]in question seem to be not fully represented in the blog/Can you say whether all the comment /article by Dr Mars has been posted on this forum?Cheers, Joe.
Different Peter but if you go to Peter's blog and click on the quoted text that links to the original article.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:19 AM   #14
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
And much is edited and selected to give a specific image of Kano.

Mostly because Judo was being used not as a sport ( sport as was understood in the late 19th c. - early 20th c.) but as a "budo" in the sense given to the word in Imperial Japan. Of course Kano was not unhappy with changing the shiai ruleset because the Kosen guys, or sending challengers to Ad Santel.

Kano was a politician, he was way more complex than people think based on the Kodokan approved 'official history'.
Demetrio, you keep trying to make the writings of Kano Shihan irrelevant by saying that they have been edited to give a specific image. The thing is, there are quite a lot of us who can read the original Japanese. I have to say that Murata Sensei's translation is good, and that John Stevens' biography was definitely not what the Kodokan would have liked to see. Your objections to referencing Kano's writings as a means of understanding him seem more like obstructionism than anything else.

As for how Judo was being used as budo in Imperial Japan, Kano fought that as well, but he also faced a lot of opposition within the Kodokan over his distaste for the emphasis on competitive judo. He faced enough opposition that there was at least one attempt to remove him from power in the Kodokan by a group within it.

Peter Boylan
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #15
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
Your objections to referencing Kano's writings as a means of understanding him seem more like obstructionism than anything else.
I think that for understanding Kano reading him does not suffice. One has to look at what he did.

Quote:
As for how Judo was being used as budo in Imperial Japan, Kano fought that as well, but he also faced a lot of opposition within the Kodokan over his distaste for the emphasis on competitive judo. He faced enough opposition that there was at least one attempt to remove him from power in the Kodokan by a group within it.
Distaste with the effects of emphasizing competition while at the same time awarding rank and teaching positions based on competitive results.... honne and tatemae maybe?

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Old 01-30-2014, 01:43 PM   #16
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Distaste with the effects of emphasizing competition while at the same time awarding rank and teaching positions based on competitive results.... honne and tatemae maybe?
I think more of a growing understanding that the emphasis on competition was getting out of control and twisting the entirety of Judo into something he did not want. Unintended consequences I suspect. The Kodokan made it's name in inter ryuha matches and so placed great emphasis on demonstrating that your technique worked under those conditions. Over time any other reasons Kano may have originally put forth for competition were forgotten in the dash for competitive glory and rank earned in competition. Since Kano set up the Kodokan as a modern organization run by a board of directors that he didn't choose, it soon was out of his hands. I think the fact that he never supported making Judo an Olympic sport is relevant.

Unfortunately, I have neither the money to buy, nor the time to read, the 14 volume complete collection of Kano's writings. It would be interesting to see if his changes in opinion could be traced through time.

Peter Boylan
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:31 PM   #17
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
I also don't read it the same way. She was complaining to what tournaments have become and not necessarily that the budo aspect is not important. Frankly speaking it sounded more like she was pointing out the prevalence of rules and show, rather than anything against the spirit of budo. Her point about ego of the coaches and referees being a problem suggests to me that she is addressing an age old issue.
Huh, gotta say I'm in full agreement with Peter and Tim before him. I've reread her post a couple times now and I find myself in agreement with her and not finding it anything all that controversial. Nothing to do with budo or the benefits of training in a budo. Just about the underlying problems that have always plagued things like tournaments, camps, etc.

I must admit that I find myself happiest when I'm training with friends at a friendly dojo (with all the gear and other crap) or hitting seminars where we simply take off our shoes, put on some old sweats and a t-shirt, and work on stuff. And the benefits of tournaments are still there, but everyone weighs those things in different way. I enjoyed strong training in Judo. But I never really felt much need to compete except for the chance to get on the mat with folk I may have never met before.

I don't see anything at all in her article critical of budo whatsoever.

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Old 01-30-2014, 04:27 PM   #18
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Re: Budo And Sports, A Rant

I started Judo as a kid in 1974 and did it on and off over the years in the UK, Japan, and Korea until I got injured one time too many in 1998. I consider myself lucky as I did the Kyushin style in the UK and we learned lots of techniques and katas. But I could not continue it while in Asia as all they did was fight - technical skill is just not taught enough, and even if done, is just for the warm up in most places. If you learn it the way it was done in Kyushin, it really is not that much different to Aikido, except of course, we did have randori, and, I was doing ordinary Judo as well. If I had just done typical Judo I would probably have quit a lot sooner. I think Tomiki Aikido gets the balance about right - lots of techniques, lots of kata, and lots of randori. It's not all just about winning a tournament. If so - all you would do would be tournament winning techniques - and in my opinion, its bad for the Art as ... it fails to produce people who can teach the syllabus to a reasonable degree of skill. And that is why, I think, Judo has been disappearing. Even the so called experts in the West (tournament winners?) cannot teach it.

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