As you may know already, I’m looking at Jūdō from the outside. That could be an advantage, as you have to observe a system from the outside, to get a full, or, at least, a more global view, and to see it as a whole. Regarding the cultural origin and heritage of Jūdō, it, ironically, may even make it easier to talk “honne” instead of “tatemae”. I write “ironically”, as, at this time and to me, it looks a little like if I would argue in the “tatemae” style of a (Japanese) jūdōka.
For insiders, on the other hand, it may be a detriment as well, because they may think “what does he know … he doesn’t have the insight and all the details we know”.
While Kanō Jigorō usually is referred to as the “founder of Jūdō”, regarding technique – “his” style of Jūjutsu, as I see it – I’d rather call him a “starter”, who, with technical influences by himself, of course (the emphasis of the importance of Kuzushi for the execution of Nage waza may be an example for that), has started a “joint venture”, that was named “Kōdōkan Jūdō” by himself. He, as well as many of the students, at different times, to different degrees, and from different sources, contributed to the technical development of the style, something that, amongst other things, may have separated this style from many other styles of Jūjutsu.
But, for me, regarding the “Way”, the doctrine, the philosophy, the moral, and with that the intention, meaning, aim and purpose for practicing and teaching this techniques, Kanō-shihan is clearly THE founder of Jūdō, the originator of this specific “dō”, and therewith was THE man to define “Jūdō” and to determine the correct answer to the question “What is Jūdō?”.
Therefore, the question is: is there ONE Jūdō, interpreted with some differences, of course, as well as not really (let alone: fully) understood very often, or are there two different, independent entities, one “Nihon-den Kōdōkan Jūdō” abbreviated “Jūdō”, and founded/started by a certain Kanō Jigorō, and a second, the “Jūdō” practiced throughout the world today, that has nothing to do with the first one, apart from its derivation from the former?
The first one undoubtedly includes concepts like “Jita kyō-ei”, as well as techniques like Mae mawari ukemi, Seoi nage or Kesa gatame. If there really is a completely different entity, also called “Jūdō”, it may include the last mentioned three techniques, without including the first mentioned concept. I don’t really believe that. I think, that, while there may be different occurrences in several respects, finally, in the strict sense, there is only one Jūdō, with important parts, or even the most important meaning of it, neglected by many.
Some comments and/or questions regarding comments made by others in this thread:
Ben Reinhardt wrote: "I don't think the ideals of Judo are original (not the original point of the OP) to Judo, nor are they specific to Judo."
That may very well be totally true. But I think, since Kanō-shihan has determined them as maxims of his art, system or way, they, carefully attended or not by the practitioners, are integral parts of Jūdō.
BillC wrote: ”… some of us may be speaking out of experience on and off the mat. …”
Of course, I’m aware of the situation. Therefore I wrote: “… I understand the regret. …”. But for me a simple “status quo” doesn’t change explicit formulated, principal goals.
BillC also wrote: “…many "elite" judoka would actively ridicule such thinking. …”.
I’m also aware of this, and I even can understand such a behaviour to some degree, as, for most people, there are both: a time and age to win tournaments (and I know, that to be able to do this, from a certain level onward, is a very demanding task today, that requests all the energy that can be applied by a competitor), as well as a time and age to look for more (or, for something different, at least). Otherwise, Jūdō would be something, primarily, if not only, for children, teens and twens. For me, the example you gave from the other forum, clearly comes from someone being in the former phase. Or, he is one of the (assumably) many, that stay caught in that (pure “technical”) stage, although their time to win tournaments is long over.
You also wrote about some things, that “they are very difficult to master”. Here I couldn’t agree more with you.
Anatol, you seem to accept, that “Sei-ryoku Zen’yō” more often seen and acknowledged as technical concept than in its wider meaning, can be applied in life, “outside” of Jūdō. Do you not think, that, on the other hand, "Jita kyō-ei" as well can be, and should be, applied within the practise of Jūdō, by sensei as well, as by sempai, for example? Do you think, for emotional reasons as well as for health reasons, many beginners could be kept in a dōjō long enough, where it is completely neglected?
Kanō Jigorō may have got his ideas, or even written out concepts from different sources, but nevertheless, he has explicit named it as parts, or better, even as goals of his Jūdō, and that’s why I think Jūdō proper cannot be defined without them. Moreover, I think Kanō was a wise man to do this, as in a modern, human society, fighting arts and –techniques like these HAVE to be embedded into, and restrained by, moral concepts.
On the other hand, while there were similar techniques in other styles of Jūjutsu, perhaps Kanō-shihan have got the idea for his “Kata guruma” from western wrestling. The idea of Dan-i, that he introduced for the first time into a Japanese Fighting Art, may have been inspired by a system already used for Gō players at that time, and the Kuro obi he used since some time later to distinguish his graduated students, may derive from the ribbons used in Japan to label more experienced swimmers of that period.
Do Kata guruma, Dan-i or the Kuro obi now suddenly no longer belong into Jūdō, because of their (possible) pedigree from somewhere else?
BTW, Anatol, you cite the last part of Laozi 78 with “... yet utilized by none”. I always thought it is “... yet utilized by so few”. Is it really “ ... by NONE”?
CK, you wrote about Sei-ryoku as Kanō’s replacement for the concept of “Ki”. While I think, that it may by such a replacement, and, to a certain degree, even a good one (and even to partly explain, what “Ki” could be), didn’t Kanō-shihan himself explain it primarily as his replacement of "Jū yoku go wo seisuru", or “softness control hardness”, a principle, for which’s imperfectness regarding his Jūdō he even gave examples?
You also wrote: “Kanō was hardly an original thinker and about everything he wrote or did he copied from elsewhere and put together.” I’m sure, this observation is not wrong. I’m likewise sure, that it’s a typical attribute for "the", as well as "a", Japanese. They don’t seem to be the inventor geniuses, but they surely are people, who successfully try to bring to perfection everything they chose to adopt. Even in our times. I’m remembering well the times when, especially for electric or electronic devices, the label “Made in Japan” was a synonym for cheap imitations. But how quickly did they change that into a meaning of high, sometimes even leading level in that field!
The concept of “Ji” 慈 undoubtedly is a Buddhist concept, even if it may be used elsewhere too. Harada-sensei, a priest of Wa-Buddhism and the founder of my school "Jigenryū" (慈眼流), chose that name, inspired by an expression used in the Lotos sutra. To him, Ji was a way to achieve Wa 和 (harmony, peace). And while Buddhism ultimately may be without self, Buddhists (still) are not, and the quest for self-improvement, to be able to execute mercifulness at all, may be viewed as venial “sin”.
Taking into account the cultural heritage of Jūdō, to me it isn't a surprise, to find the same multitude of influences in it, as in the Japanese culture as a whole. Shintoism, Daoism, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism, and so on. And even western influences, as Kano, and Japan at his time, was very eager to learn from the "West", and to become “modern”, after a long time of seclusion from the rest of the world. I think the whole idea of Jūdō as a “sport”, comes from this last influence, including Kanō’s efforts regarding the scientific examinations of “his” techniques.
Regarding some realistic, even bitter remarks: I remember a good assertion I once heard, regarding the question of the goal, a budōka strives for: Perfection. Knowing exactly, that he will never gain it. But always trying, nevertheless. I don’t think, that that goes only for techniques or fighting capacity.
Instead of telling stories of how good one thinks to have implemented concepts like Sei-ryoku Zen’yō and Jita kyō-ei in his own life, I think it could (perhaps in another thread, or much later at least, as the OP seems to primarily want to collect more of the original writings here) be of interest to discuss the question of when, where, and HOW exactly concepts like that can be “taught” at all, in the dōjō or elsewhere, something, that I’m contemplating for considerable time now.