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Old 02-26-2001, 10:47 AM   #1
Dan Hover
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out of sheer curiousity, and perhaps an interesting debate or two..
Who does everyone think has or is the most influential Martial artist of the 20th Century and why?
My Vote is For Jigaro Kano, Now before we start the character attacks on me. Let me say a few things: A) I am an aikido instructor b) I do train in Judo c) I research budo a lot.

Kano gets my vote for many reasons.
1. He was a full generation ahead of O'sensei
2. Was the first to organize the Classical systems in a way to preserve them.
3. Wanted to instill the classical bujutsu ideals in the trainees.
4. Advanced the idea of Mutual prosperity of Martial artists.
5. Aikido was able to be spread due to the "riding" of Judo for its initial spread i.e. France.
6. Was an intellectual and scholar.

Now this is in no way to dismiss the contributions of Osensei or everyone elses personal fave, merely an expression of opinion. So let me know what everyone thinks.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 02-26-2001, 11:28 AM   #2
ian
 
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When you say 'most influential', its hard to know in which way.

I can see why you think Jigaro Kano is, and I would agree in many respects because he formalised a martial arts system which is well known and practiced throughout the world.

However, if you asked most members of the public which martial artists they know, it would probably be Bruce Lee and Jacky Chan. Although they may not have developed widespread styles (I've never seen a Jeet Kune Do class advertised anywhere, though I know there are some), I am sure they have had a large influence on popularising martial arts in general.

Kano possibly had a very original concept in the way he developed Judo, though it is well known that he himself thought highly of Aikido. Although I'm not sure whether Aikido rode on the back of Judo in the UK (it is still quite hard to find Aikido classes in some areas); it seems to be one of those martial arts you only hear of when you practise another martial art such as Judo or Karate.

Possibly we have a bit of a Western Centered view point on this. I'm unsure of the situation in martial arts in the East which triggered off this big spread of martial arts to the rest of the world - no doubt much of it was due to the film industry, and following WWII.

Also, who initiated the spread of Karate in the West? I don't know about the U.S. but in the UK Karate still dominates the martial arts circuit in terms of numbers (or maybe Taekwondo has caught up).

Both Ueshiba and Kano were obviously well respected for the efforts in martial arts in Japan (they both received prestigious awards for services to martial arts). I'm glad for both of there contributions and the world would be very different without either of them (at least for me!)

Ian
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Old 02-26-2001, 11:59 AM   #3
Dan Hover
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yes Lee and Jackie Chan are both rather influnetial especially in recent years, and Yes TKD and karate have the numbers to make this even more of a moot point. Lee was able to bring about a change due to his films and his rather charismatic way about himself. And yes I was being vague in my definition of influence too, but that was on purpose. Judo being spread to the West was due to SAC commanders who instituted the study of Judo for airmen and air police units for SAC both in Japan and here in the U.S.. I will check on the Karate spread, but i imagine they share a similar growth in so far as being practiced by allied servicemen stationed in Japan Post WWII and brought it back to their parent countries.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 03-02-2001, 10:19 AM   #4
Jimro
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About TKD and numbers......

Gen Choi "created" TKD in 1955 and it spread like wildfire. I'm sure that this is in part to American Servicemen serving in South Korea.

TKD has been and entry point into the martial arts world for many of us. You will find a lot more "former" TKD students in an Aikido dojo than former Aikidoka in a TKD Dojang.

So for the sheer numbers of TKD practitioners and THIER impact on the martial arts world I'll have to cast my vote to Gen. Choi as the most influential martial artist of the 20th. century. Of course it's all open to debate.

James

You are,
what you do,
when it counts.
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Old 03-02-2001, 11:00 AM   #5
lt-rentaroo
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Hmmm, Most influential martial artist of the 20th Century. Well I agree that Jigoro Kano's philosophies and dedication did much to further the art of Judo. At the same time though, I firmly believe that Bruce Lee did just as much to further the interest in all martial arts, not just Jeet Kun Do. Bruce Lee was a deeply philosophical and educated person who went against the traditional martial arts thinking of the time to create an art that blended the best of many arts (Boxing, Kung Fu, Fencing, and others). Bruce Lee's books are probably among the most widely read books among martial artists; Tao of Jeet Kun Do is popular and has basic applications for all arts.

I believe the reason that Jeet Kun Do is not as widespread as Karate or Tae Kwon Do is because there is only one Jeet Kun Do, unlike the upteen different styles of karate or Kung Fu. Not many individuals trained directly with Bruce Lee (Dan Inosanto is probably the most knowledgeable among them).

Bruce Lee's unfortunate passing at an early age also lends to Jeet Kun Do not being as widespread. Mr. Lee died during his prime, and together with the passing of his son Brandon much of the knowledge of Jeet Kun Do passed as well.

I admire Bruce Lee not for his movies, but for the way he lived his life. Bruce Lee was dedicated to training, not afraid to change classical thinking, and committed to furthering the martial arts.

I'll get off my soap-box now. Have a good day!

LOUIS A. SHARPE, JR.
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Old 03-02-2001, 11:06 AM   #6
Dan Hover
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those are both very good replies, I never would have considered Gen Choi, but you do make a very clear point about more former TKD in aikido than vice Versa. I know that that statement applies to me, as well.

"Bruce Lee was a deeply philosophical and educated person who went against the traditional martial arts thinking of the time to create an art that blended the best of many arts "

This same statement can be made about Kano as well, although, Lee had the very good fortune to being around with Television Movies and other Mass Media, whereas Kano, was not that blessed.

But you have to admit, like it or not, the Marital arts community would be very different without Lee and TKD.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 03-02-2001, 12:09 PM   #7
Matt Banks
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Most influential

Good a nice topic to talk about.

For me personally my top 5 would be.

1) Morihei Ueshiba

2) Jigaro Kano

3)Massaki Hatsumi

4)Bruce Lee

5)Helio Gracie


I could go on but id have to look up names. These are just in my mind, the people in the martial arts I respect most.




Matt Banks

''Zanshin be aware hold fast your centre''
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Old 03-02-2001, 12:31 PM   #8
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Most influence.

There is no doubt that, for me, the most influential martial artists are my current sensei(s), for I have not trained with any of those previously mentioned......


Regards,

Dan P. - Mongo
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Old 03-02-2001, 12:33 PM   #9
Erik
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You might not consider him a martial artist but I'd have to say Muhammad Ali. He's one of the most recognizable figures on the planet and he did have a societal impact.
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Old 03-02-2001, 01:28 PM   #10
MikeE
 
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Let's not forget that influential does not have to mean the most popular or the most well-known.

Of course I am biased as an aikidoka but two others that come to mind are

1)Mas Oyama- Kyukushinkai

2)Doshin So- Shorinji Kempo

And in the present time:

George Dillman



Mike Ellefson
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Old 03-02-2001, 01:42 PM   #11
BC
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In addition to the above individuals, I'd also name Ed Parker as another very influential martial artist. Not only was he a big influence in speading his martial art, but he also was a big supporter of other martial artists in the western US.

Robert Cronin
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Old 03-02-2001, 03:09 PM   #12
Dan Hover
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Okay these are all impressive people and extremely talented Martial artists, but why? What has their impact been on you? or on the future generations of Martial Artists? For example My sensei may have influenced the heck out of me, as being a example of model technique and behavior, but what has he done for the martial arts community?? So what are your reasons for selecting your choice, and could you please share them with us, so we could learn about them as well. knowledge is one of the few powers that is best shared.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 03-03-2001, 06:50 AM   #13
PRapoza
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Bruce Lee without a doubt. It depends on your definition of influential of course. I can remember watching Bruce Lee movies when I was a kid and thinking "Wow" I wish I could do that. He had an incredible charisma and the camera loved him. Once in a while I'll pull "Enter the Dragon" out of the closet and watch it for the hundredth time still in awe of his incredible movement and energy. This is before they had those incredible special effects too. My first interest in Martial Arts started after seeing Bruce. May he Rest in Peace.
___________
Paul
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Old 03-03-2001, 07:19 AM   #14
andrew
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Quote:
ian wrote:
Although I'm not sure whether Aikido rode on the back of Judo in the UK (it is still quite hard to find Aikido classes in some areas); it seems to be one of those martial arts you only hear of when you practise another martial art such as Judo or Karate.

Chiba Sensei was sent to England at the request of some Judo organisation who were to sponsor him, but they changed their mind just before he came and he had to get a private sponsor or something. I read it in an interview on aikidofaq

Here in Ireland I never heard of Aikido. (I thought Seagal did just Karate..) A friend dragged me along to a class one night about two years ago. Recently, though, I've seen it on an ad for a building society here, and in a fairly rubbish Irish sitcom too. So there you go.

andrew
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Old 03-03-2001, 07:26 AM   #15
andrew
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Oh, and Kano Shigoro is obviously the most influential. Who was really influenced by Bruce Lees martial arts, compared to those who just liked his films? Raising the profile of martial arts (Carridine in "Kung fu"?) does not equate to influencing them. (The kyu/dan system, the modern dogi, probably modern martial arts competition too, all from Kano. And judo, lest we forget.)
Andrew
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Old 03-03-2001, 12:29 PM   #16
Jim23
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For me, the following:

---
Morihei Ueshiba (who I never even heard of before looking into Aikido)

Jigoro Kano - Kodokan Judo
http://JudoInfo.com/kano4.htm

General Choi Hong Hi - Taekwon-Do
http://www.itf-taekwondo.com/sub01a.htm

Masutatsa Oyama - Kyokushin Karate
http://www4.osk.3web.ne.jp/%7Enoodle...ofiles/sho.htm

Helio Gracie - Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
http://64.224.111.216/halloffame/html/211.cgi

Bruce Lee - Jeet Kune Do http://themen01.exit.de/user/member/...t_kune_do.html

---
Through the power of movies, for me, it definitely was Bruce Lee! All the others were just people you heard about (I did, however, have the pleasure of meeting General Choi).

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 03-05-2001, 04:53 AM   #17
Sam
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It is interesting how people have different interpretations of the word 'influential'.
Does most influential mean that the person brought martial arts to the forefront of the public mind through the media?
In this case it would have to be Jakie Chan who is apparently the most famous person world-wide full stop. Bruce Lee is more popular in the West because of the more serious bent to his films and life (JKD itself might not be considered as world-changing as a lot of people believe it died with Bruce Lee's passing)

Or....does most influential mean to have developed martial arts/thinking in a physical way, out of the media spotlight?
Ueshiba and Kano Jigoro have to be the two big hitters with probably even numbers practising their consecutive arts. Karate is also very big but was way ahead during the 70's and not so now? (not sure about this one) . I don't know if one man is responsible for the birth of modern karate?
I also heard TKD is now the biggest martial art, but I don't like it so there!
Ueshiba's deshi have to also be very influential and it seems it depends on location when considering who's style is the biggest. In the UK I think Tomiki is probably the biggest, with a strong following in Japan, especially Universities. In France Aikikai has the largest numbers by a log way. In the US I don't know, but I think the Ki development society has to be up there.
Yoshinkan is widespread, but it seems very big in Japan esp. in terms of armed forces training.

Okay, I just read my post and I've been going on far too long, so I'll shut up now
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Old 03-05-2001, 06:01 AM   #18
andrew
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Quote:
Sam wrote:
It
Ueshiba and Kano Jigoro have to be the two big hitters with probably even numbers practising their consecutive arts
I don't think aikido has anywhere near the same numbers...
andrew
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Old 03-05-2001, 06:35 AM   #19
Matt Banks
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Maasaki Hatsumi

I feel Soke Hatsumi has been overlooked. Many feel he tremendously helped the spread of ninjutsu across the world. He is the only man alive really qualified to explain what true ninjutsu is as he is the rightful heir to the Togakure ryu. His bunjinkan organisation gave people a real environment to train in ninjutsu not a phoney school made up by ''ninja wannabe'' physcopaths.


agree/disagree


Matt Banks


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Old 03-05-2001, 09:08 AM   #20
Sam
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Quote:
andrew wrote:
Quote:
Sam wrote:
It
Ueshiba and Kano Jigoro have to be the two big hitters with probably even numbers practising their consecutive arts
I don't think aikido has anywhere near the same numbers...
andrew
You are probably right - but the number of clubs in my city - Judo =2 Aikido = 6. Maybe Aikido is catching Judo up?
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Old 03-05-2001, 10:20 AM   #21
andrew
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Quote:
Sam wrote:
[B
You are probably right - but the number of clubs in my city - Judo =2 Aikido = 6. Maybe Aikido is catching Judo up? [/b]
I'm sure aikidos recent percentile growth has been much larger, but only because you're building from a much smaller starting point.
I can't remember the figures I saw for Aikido practitioners worldwide, but I think at most it was 600,000-800,000 thousand, maybe a LOT less. Judos been an Olympic sport for a long while.
andrew
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Old 03-06-2001, 05:37 AM   #22
Sam
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Andrew - Just out of interest - do you know how many judo praticitioners there are? I notice from another post that you were trying to find out....
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Old 03-06-2001, 06:53 AM   #23
andrew
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Quote:
Sam wrote:
Andrew - Just out of interest - do you know how many judo praticitioners there are? I notice from another post that you were trying to find out....
Sorry. All the help I can give is point out that the FFAB page tells you how many registered Aikido people there are in France.
andrew
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Old 03-06-2001, 07:05 AM   #24
JJF
 
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Mixed stuff

Hi everybody - just a few comments to some of your posts.

When it comes to the number of Aikido-dojos outnumbering the number of judo-dojos perhaps one reason could be that Aikido is divided into different styles to a larger extend than judo. This is not something that I know as a fact though - just guessing.

On the subject of influence: I seem to remeber to have heard something about Jigaro Kano being connected to the Yakuza - I guess that is a kind of influence too.... Please don't flame me on this - I'm just relaying a rumor.

I myself believe that Ginshin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan Karate) had a big influence on Martial arts. He was a very dedicated karakteka and if my memory serves me right, he played a big part in getting martial arts legal again after the ban in the post-WWII years.

In a completely different way an american man by the name of Stephen K. Hayes has been a big influence. His books about Ninjustsu were among the first in many libraries in my country to show broad aspects of martial arts. I think a lot of danish boys have been absolutely captivated by his books after watching every single 'American Ninja' movie available. I'm not much of a fan anymore, neither of the movies or Mr. Hayes books, but it helped me and many other to build a fascination of Japan and to enter the world of MA's.

Finally late movie director Akira Kurosawa often portrayed aspects of japanese MA in his movies, and since he was a highly respected film maker, it was a good way to introduce MA to those who thought movies with Bruce Lee, Dudikoff or Segal was not worth watching.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-06-2001, 09:01 PM   #25
Jim23
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Re: Maasaki Hatsumi

Quote:
Matt Banks wrote:
I feel Soke Hatsumi has been overlooked. Many feel he tremendously helped the spread of ninjutsu across the world. He is the only man alive really qualified to explain what true ninjutsu is as he is the rightful heir to the Togakure ryu. His bunjinkan organisation gave people a real environment to train in ninjutsu not a phoney school made up by ''ninja wannabe'' physcopaths.

I think you might have a point here. Dr. Massaki Hatsumi has quite the resume and very extensive credentials. Looks like an amazing martial artist - wouldn't want to tangle with him.

Jim23

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