The Contribution of JUDO to Education
BY PROFESSOR JIGORO KANO
Honorary Professor and former President of Higher Normal College and Member of House of Peers, Japan; President of Kodokan (an institution for the study and practice of Judo) (Original Founder of Judo and Kodokan) ; Honorary President Japanese Amateur Athletic Association (founder and former President) ; given at the University of Southern California on the occasion of 10th Olympiad, 1932.
The object of this lecture is to explain to you in a general way what Judo is. In our feudal times there were many militaryexercises, such as fencing, archery, the use of spears, etc. Among them there was one called Jujitsu which was a composite exercise, consisting principally of the ways of / fighting without weapons; using, however, occasionally daggers, swords and other weapons.
The kinds of attack were chiefly throwing, hitting, choking, holding the opponent down, and bending or twisting the opponent's arms or legs in such a way as to cause pain or fracture. The use of swords and daggers was also taught. We had also multitudinous ways of defending ourselves against such attacks. Such exercise, in its primitive form, existed even in our mythological age. But systematic instruction, as an art, dates only from about three hundred and fifty years ago.
In my young days I studied this art with three eminent masters of the time. The great benefit I derived from the study of it led me to make up my mind to go on with the subject more seriously, and in 1882 I started a school of my own and called it Kodokan. Kodokan literally means "a school for studying the way," the meaning of "the way" being the concept of life itself. I named the subject I teach Judo instead of Jujitsu. In the first place I will explain to you the meaning of these words. Ju means "gentle" or "to give way," Jitsu, an "art" or "practice," and do, "way" or "principle" so that Jujitsu means an art or practice of gentleness or of first giving way in order ultimately to gain the victory; while Judo means the way or principle of the same.
Let me now explain what this gentleness or giving way really means. Suppose we assume that we may estimate the strength of man in units of one. Let us say that the strength of a man standing in front of me is represented by ten units, whereas my strength, less than his, is represented by seven units. Then if he pushes me with all his force I shall certainly be pushed back or thrown down, even if I use all my strength against him. This would happen because I used all my strength against him, opposing strength with strength. But if, instead of opposing him, I were to give way to his strength by withdrawing my body just as much as he had pushed, remembering at the same time to keep my balance, then he would naturally lean forward and thus lose his balance. In this new position, he may have become so weak (not in actual physical strength but because of his awkward position) as to have his strengh represented for the moment by, say, only three units, instead of his normal ten units. But meanwhile, I, by keeping my balance, retain my full strength, as originally represented by seven units. Here then, I am momentarily in an advantageous position, and I can defeat my opponent using only half of my strength, that is half of my seven units, or three and one-half, against his three. This leaves one-half of my strength available for any purpose. In case I had greater strength than my opponent I could of course push him back. But even in this case, that is, if I had wished to push him back and had the power to do so, it would be better first for me to have given way, because by so doing I should have greatly economised my energy.
That is one simple instance of how an opponent may be beaten by giving way. Other instances may be given.
Suppose that my opponent tries to twist my body (as here demonstrated by my assistant and myself) intending to cause me to fall down so. If I were to resist him I should surely be thrown down, because my strength to resist him is not sufficient to overcome his. But if, on the other hand, I give way to him, and while doing so I pull my opponent (as demonstrated) throwing my body voluntarily on the ground, I can throw him very easily.
I will give another example. Suppose that we are walking along a mountain road with a precipice on the side (as demonstrated) and that this man had suddenly sprung upon me and tried to push me down the precipice. In this case I could not help being pushed over the precipice if I attempted to resist him, while, on the contrary, if I give way to him at the same time, turning my body round (as demonstrated) and pulling my opponent towards the precipice, I can easily throw my opponent over the edge and at the same time throw my own body safely to the ground.
I can multiply these examples to any extent, but I think those which I have given will suffice to enable you to understand how I may beat an opponent by giving way, and as there are so many instances in Jujitsu contest where this principle is applied, the name Jujitsu (that is, the gentle, or giving way art) came to be the name of the whole art.
But strictly speaking, real Jujitsu is something more. The way of gaining victory over an opponent by Jujitsu is not confined to gaining victory only by giving way. We sometimes hit, kick and choke in physical contest, but in contra-distinction to giving way, these are forms of direct attack.
Sometimes an opponent takes hold of one's wrist. How can one possibly release oneself without using one's strength against one's opponent's grip? The same thing can be asked when somebody grips one from behind. If, thus, the principle of giving way cannot cover all the methods used in Jujitsu contest. Is there any principle which really covers the whole field? Yes, there is, and that is the priciple of the maximum-efficient use of mind and body, and Jujitsu is nothing but an application of this all-pervading principle in attack and defence.
Can this principle be applied to other fields of human activity? Yes, this same principle can be applied to the improvement of the human body, making it strong, healthy and useful, and so constitutes physical education. It can also be applied to the improvement of intellectual and moral power, and in this way constitutes mental and moral education. It can at the same time be applied to the improvement of diet, clothing, housing, social intercourse, and methods of business, thus constituting the study and training in living. I gave this all-pervading principle the name of "Ju-do." So Judo, in its fuller sense, is a study and a method of training in mind and body as well as in the regulation of life and affairs.
Judo, therefore, in one of its phases, can be studied and practised with attack and defence for its main object. Before I started Kodokan, this attack and defence phase of Judo only was studied and practised in Japan under the name of Jujitsu, sometimes called Taijitsu, meaning the art of managing the body or Yawara, the "gentle management." But I came to think that the study of this all-pervading principle is more important than the mere practice of Jujitsu. Because the real understanding of the principle not only enables one to apply it to all phases of life, but is also of great service in the study of the art of Jujitsu itself.
It is not only through the process I took that one can come to grasp this principle. One can arrive at the same conclusion by philosophical interpretation of the daily transaction of business, or through abstract philosophical reasoning. But when I started to teach Judo I thought it advisable to follow the same course as I took in the study of the subject, because by so doing I could make the body of my pupil healthy, strong and useful. At the same time, I could assist him gradually to grasp this all-important principle. For this reason I began the instruction of Judo with training in Randori and Kata.
Randori, meaning "free exercise" is practised under conditions of actual contest. It includes throwing, choking, holding the opponent down, and bending or twisting his arms or legs. The two combatants may use whatever methods they like provided they do not hurt each other and obey the rules of Judo concerningetiquette, which are essential to its proper working.
Kata, which literally means "form", is a formal system of prearranged exercises, including hitting, cutting, kicking, thrusting, etc., according to rules under which each combatant knows beforehand exactly what his opponent is going to do. The training in hitting, kicking, cutting and thrusting are taught in Kata and not in Randori, because if they were used in Randori cases of injury might frequently occur, while when taught in Kata no such injury is likely to happen because all the attacks and defences are prearranged.
Randori may be practised in various ways. If the object be simply training in the method of attack and defence, the attention should be especially directed to the training in the most efficient ways of throwing, bending, or twisting, without special reference to developing the body or to mental and moral culture.
Randori can also be studied with physical education as its main object. From what I have already said, anything to be ideal must be performed on the principle of maximum-efficiency.
We will see how the existing systems of physical education can stand this test.
Taking athletics as a whole, I cannot help thinking that they are not the ideal form of physical education, because every movement is not chosen for all-round development of the body but for attaining some other definite object. And furthermore, as we generally require special equipment and sometimes quite a number of persons to participate in them, athletics are fitted as a training for select groups of persons and not as the means of improving the physical condition of a whole nation. This holds true with boxing, wrestling, and different kinds of military exercises practised all over the world. Then people may ask, "Are not gymnastics an ideal form of national physical training?"
To this I answer that they are an ideal form of physical education from their being contrived for all-round development of the body, and not necessarily requiring special equipment and participants. But gymnastics are lacking in very important things essential to the physical education of a whole nation. The defects are:
1. Different gymnastic movements have no meaning and naturally are devoid of interest.
2. No secondary benefit is derived from their training.
3. Attainment of "skill" (using the word "skill" in a special sense) cannot be sought for or acquired in gymnastics as in some other, exercises.
From this brief survey of the whole field of physical education, I can say that no ideal form has yet been invented to fill the necessary conditions for such physical education.
This ideal form can only be devised from a study, based on maximum-efficiency. In order to fulfil all those conditions or requirements, a system of all round development of the body as a primary consideration must be devised as in the case of gymnastics. Next, the movements should have some meaning so that they may be engaged in with interest, Again, the activities should be such, as require no large space, special dress or equipment. Furthermore, they must be such as could be done individually as well as in groups.
Those are the conditions or requirements for a satisfactory system of physical education for a whole nation. Any system that can meet successfully those requirements may, for the first time, be regarded as a programme of physical education based on the principle of maximum-efficiency.
I have been studying this subject for a long time and have succeeded in devising two forms which may be said to fulfil all those requirements.