CK 9.7.2014 wrote:
The aims of jūdō are well summarized by Kanō in his 1932 article: Kanō Jigorō: The contribution of jūdō to education. Journal of Health and Physical Education 3, 37: 40-58, 1932. (You can find this article here: http://judoinfo.com/Kano1.htm):
”The final aim of Jūdō, therefore, is to inculcate in the mind of man a spirit of respect for the principle of maximum efficiency and of mutual welfare and benefit, leading him so to practice them that man individually and collectively can attain to the highest state, and, at the same time, develop the body and learn the art of attack and defense. If we closely observe the actual state of society all over the world, notwithstanding the fact that morality in all its forms (religious, philosophical and traditional) is meant to improve man's conduct in society and make the world ideal, the fact seems quite the contrary. We notice vices, quarrels, and discontent in every level of society, from the highest to the lowest. While we are taught hygiene and correct ways of living in school from childhood up to mature age, we still are prone to neglect the rules of good clean living and of hygienic and orderly lives. The actual facts prove that our society is lacking in something which, if brought to light and universally acknowledged, can remodel the society and bring greater happiness and satisfaction to this world. This is the teaching of maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit.” (…)
Secondly, Kanō reacts against dogmas and emphasizes the importance of reasoning and ratio:
”I do not mean to say that our time honored moral precepts and hygienics should be shelved. On the contrary, let those precepts and advice be respected ever as they used to be, but in addition to these; our principle of maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit should ever be paramount. This I emphatically say, because in this age of criticism and new ideas, for any teaching to have effect, it must have behind it, some indubitable reason of fact. We do not hear the thinking man today say, "Because I believe in such and such a thing, therefore you must believe in it, or, I came to such and such a conclusion through my own reasoning; therefore you also must come to the same conclusion." Whatever one affirms must be based on facts or reasoning which no sane person can deny or doubt.” (…)
The first principle of jūdō ―the maximal efficiency problem― is the one that withstands challenge the best, if well understood. It is what we all attempt to achieve, especially in times of economic restraints. Would we intentionally pay more for an identical object if we can get it cheaper ? Would we intentionally desire a car that uses 30 liters per 100 km of driving if we can get the identical brand with similar luxury and performance data that uses only 6 liters per 100 km ? The principle of maximal efficiency therefore is pervasive in our society. Even in things such as medicine. Would I give you 9 different drugs if I know you could get the same health effects by a single drug of which you have to take less ?
There is really nothing new about this principle. Kanō was not the kind of creative genius who created entirely new concepts from scratch. He was a mere compiler who used fruits of original thought of others. The principle had long before been established by mathematicians such as Euler and Leibniz.
As much as there isn't a problem "in se" with this first principle there is a problem in teaching and acquiring it to its fullest. There are two reasons for that. The first reason is that there are errors in Kanō's own understanding of Newtonian mechanics, and secondly there are problems in transferring jūdō skills or teaching. In Kanō's approach, jūdō should be taught according to 4 ways of teaching delivery: randori, kata, kōgi or lectures, and mondō or discussion. Jūdō, however, has never been taught like this in the West and isn't anymore today in Japan either. This is because people in the West never even knew or understood that this is the way jūdō was supposed to be taught. The first Japanese teachers in the West had poor language skills, so the way they were able to market jūdō was by demonstrating their fighting skills and defeating well-known wrestlers in popular catch-as-catch-can contests. Hence jūdō was taught in a single way: randori/shiai. The aspect of kata came into the picture much later when Westerners reached the level of black belts and this part was introduced as an essential aspect of black belt exams. Hence the stage had been said for the awkward position which kata would assume in the learning trajectory and views of many Westerners People did not generally understand the importance of kata which was perceived as something annoying and totally separate from randori/shiai.
When Kanō himself still taught jūdō in Japan, he taught these 4 different aspects which he felt essential. When I discussed with Fukuda Keiko her relationship to Kanō and in how far she had ever actually been taught jūdō by him, it was obviously that the uniqueness of her experience was in the conversations she had with Kanō, the mondō aspect. So even though she was not taught practical jūdō by Kanō, the mondō allowed a kind of mentorship that sufficed to establish her deep commitment to jūdō as conceived by Kanō. Especially Fukuda-sensei’s first book “Born for the mat” still reflects jūdō in its original form. However, the average jūdō instructor either in Japan or in the West by far does not have enough knowledge and depth of knowledge of that what Kanō himself knew to effectively deliver the component of mondō and kōgi.
When you see pictures of Kanō and the Kōdōkan, you sometimes see him simply in formal Montsuki Haori delivering lectures before a large group of jūdōka who have assembled in the dōjō listening to his teachings. Which jūdō dōjō does this today ? Lectures, until a couple of years ago were held as the starting point of the Kōdōkan International Summer Kata course, but they were abolished after the Kōdōkan a couple of years ago did a poll and distributed forms among those who attended asking the jūdōka for feedback about the course. The foreigners complained so much about the lectures, that it was abolished. What they (the Kōdōkan) did not realize was that it was not the lectures themselves that were the problem but how they were delivered. For years these had been delivered by people who simply lacked proper teaching and lecturing skills. They were held in Japanese only with sometimes a crippled part translation by another Japanese whose English was so poor that it was even harder to understand than the Japanese. Moreover, Westerners not used to attending lectures like this, were forced to spend 2 hours in seated, painful positions on the tatami not moving. If one uses his brain, one would know that the legs and joints of Westerners have not been trained from childhood to remain in seiza or even anza for 2 hours; moreover, many people are elderly with health impairments such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, hernias, and most jūdōka with a competitive career who are 65 years of older have knee problems or back problems. In other words, you have to be pretty moronic to organize lectures in such a way. The lectures oftentimes were that bad --even in the rare cases that the content was interesting-- that I politely proposed to the Kōdōkan that I would hold the next year's lecture myself. I could do it simultaneously in English, Japanese and even French if necessary, and I could take questions and answer them in 7 languages. When teaching at university and having gone through tenure a couple of times one has been submitted to numerous teaching evaluations both by peers and students, and has followed numerous teaching workshops. Teaching itself then becomes an area of research and specialization. The lecturing quality of those who delivered lectures at the Kōdōkan was typically worse than that of the weakest of my sophomore students. Since I am trained in multiple areas all of the lectures at the Kōdōkan I had heard in the past fell within my working area. Of course my proposal ignored the simple postcolonial attitude of the Japanese that only another ethnic Japanese would be allowed to lecture or teach at the Kōdōkan; I do not make this up. I did inquire about the requirements to become a Kōdōkan instructor and considerable consternation arose when I pursued if they could please elaborate on relevance of skin color, ethnicity and facial features to one's efficiency as a jūdōka and instructor ... As I recall it, in the past there was only one time that translations at the Kōdōkan were completely intelligible and to the point and that was when our friend NBK was doing the translations. Regrettably, he did not get the full recognition for his skill and help either, and God forbid the idea of him or any other non-Japanese being invited to line up with the other Kōdōkan instructors. In the light of these colonial attitudes which the Japanese still actively practice (do I have to remind that newspapers today still contain many job advertisements that make it clear only people belonging to one race are desired for the job, which is quite stunning coming from democratic country in the 21st century; and these jobs are not limited to sensitive positions of national security). Given that equal rights and nondiscrimination are still hard to find, jūdō's second principle of mutual welfare and benefit becomes particularly cynical. Who exactly is this Japanese-style mutual welfare aimed at when discrimination based on gender, nationality and ethnicity is pervasive in the organizations who are the guardians of Kanō's thoughts ?
It is perhaps an unexpected angle that highlights the severe weaknesses of this principle since at the same time it highlights that it is possible to become very senior in jūdō, even 8th, 9th, or 10th dan and be a total racist, or someone insensitive to human suffering or equality. This is seriously problematic.
In his article, Kanō continues: "none can deny that it is only by aiming at mutual welfare and benefit that every member of society can keep from discord and quarrelling, and live in peace and prosperity. Is it not because of the universal recognition of these facts that people have come to talk so much about efficiency and scientific management and that everywhere these are being advocated? In addition to this, the principle of give-and-take is more and more coming to be the determining factor in the lives of all human beings. Is it not because this principle of mutual welfare and benefit has been recognized that from the League of Nations and the Great Powers of the World we came to meet for the decrease of naval and military armaments? These movements are also automatic acknowledgment of the crying need of efficient and mutual welfare and benefit. The educational forces of every country in which Jūdō should have a prominent part must further them."
"the decrease of naval and military armaments?"
Luckily for him, Kanō bowed out before the atrocities of the Nazis took full shape, he never experienced Vietnam, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia/Serbia, the Cold War, or the whole Israel/Palestinian conflict, the IRA, the ETA, and the concept of terrorism.
Throughout his life Kanō went through different phases, something everyone who does serious research in jūdō history quickly realizes. Kanō made some considerable revisions, and at the end of his life was well aware of some serious flaws in jūdō, the return to koryū being one of the possible solutions.
After his death, jūdō became totally sportified and isn't really delivered any longer as an education although in superficial IJF and federation marketing tools you might still see references to moral values. Jūdō today is nothing but an Olympic sport just like so many others. Being the best, winning, scoring is what counts and to where all the support and sponsorship is going. Jūdō is not supported as education is, and neither the Kōdōkan nor other places where jūdō is taught are accredited institutions or learning. They are either non-profit organization, while others are run as commercial businesses. The IJF is involved with big money, media and TV rights. This is not the kind of thing that an institution of education would be involved with.
So, the second and highest principle of jūdō is the most utopian. Although a discussion was recently held about Kanō and religion, generally suggesting that Kanō was anti-religious, this expression may be too strong. Kanō was not in favor of the vices that religion can bring such as power and dogmas, but that does not mean that someone is anti-religious per se. Much of the moral code and ideals in jūdō is rooted in religion. In some sense one can argue in how far things such as Confucianism are a religion or merely a moral code. Irrespective of that, most of the highest skills of jūdō's and values of jūdō are of Zen-Buddhist and Taoist origin, and the highest principle of mutual benefit clearly is not free of Buddhist influences. At least in Buddhism as a religion, extensive teachings are provided as how to reach these highest goals, but jūdō has no clear strategy for it, and simple long-time practice fails to do so.
Even for its other principle, everyone is in awe of seeing Mifune move on the tatami. No doubt he is a prime example of jūdō performed as practical and physical discipline according to the principle of maximal efficiency. The question, however, is how YOU are going to arrive at that level, or how YOU are going to teach someone else to reach that level ? Who among the readers here has reached that level ? Who among the readers here has taught someone else to reach that level ? Most of us will miserably fail at both, which illustrates the difficulty and the lack of practical tools to make this goal very realistic.
The whole situation is even more problematic for the second goal. For the first goal we can still emphasize and train ourselves like crazy in kuzushi, tsukuri, debana, and we have some training forms that may help, such as kata, kihon, uchi-komi. However, for the second goal there is nothing, other than attempting to understand that the principle of jū needs to be brought to a supra-physical level, a moral level. Even so, if you succeed in doing that, the question is if you now have realized mutual benefit.
Imagine I sleep with your wife, and you get very angry and want to kill me, and I having fully understood the principle of jū do not shout back to you, remain very calm, understanding, and succeed in you dropping your weapon, have I really achieved mutual benefit then ? Sure, a murder has been avoided, but the consequences of my act are still not gone. I still may have destroyed a marriage, caused hardship for a family and its children, etc. You don't prevent children dying in Africa from famine and dehydration simply by applying jū ? Where is the mutual benefit ? If I have to pay a bill and I can't, jū is not going to help me, and me telling the tax agency that they need to think in terms of mutual benefit isn't going to help my cause either. As I said, the second principle is naive and utopian. That doesn't mean it does not sound beautiful. It sounds even marvelous, and it would be great if it would be realistic, but it isn't.
Such problems are not unique to jūdō and we see them often in religion too. What could be a more beautiful picture when a loved one dies and we say they have gone to heaven and their souls are reunited with other loved once, they now "rest in peace". In reality this is of course complete bullshit. All living things die, they putrefy, and dying itself can be process that is preceded by sheer agony. A person who is dead does not rest in peace, he is dead, his consciousness and vital functions have irrevocably ceased. There is no soul, and they do not join other people who previously died. Heaven, etc, are merely concepts that were invented to deal with some of the most agonizing events many of us have to deal with in our lives. The mere idea of realizing that your loved one is gone for ever and is nothing but a lifeless putrefying object doesn't help our suffering hence the fairytale of heaven.
Neither religion nor parts of jūdō withstand the challenge of ratio and science very well. Does it make religion or jūdō completely useless ? Of course not. They allow as a model to enforce good things in our students, and they allow a theoretical imaging of the possible consequences and painful things we all may face. But ultimately it is really the teacher rather than the course he teaches that can install values in our students.
You wondered what my target in teaching jūdō was and What you I can give/teach my students? My target isn't different from Kanō's, but I prefer to word it in a way that I think sounds less naive and perhaps can withstand the challenge of time better. Instead of saying I want to teach them "mutual benefit", I prefer saying I want to make them into responsible and caring citizens. However, I do not need jūdō for that. I teach the same in medicine. I make it very clear to my students that my duties do not end with helping to convey the factual material data of a course, but on how to apply this in a variety of circumstances, always from a humanistic perspective. I will never project to someone that things are going to be fantastic if you just do this and that. The challenges in life can be great and very different for everybody. When two people get married, everyone is all laughs and happiness, as if one pulls a bag over their head as if suddenly all is perfect and the definite solution of happiness is found. No wedding wishes from me will every buy into this, it's unrealistic. When I wish someone something it is a responsibility for me, that takes into account the challenges and realistic outcomes. In many cases in some future either distant or not very distant either one partner cheats on the other, and two people who supposedly love each other turn into each other's worst enemies where materialism and hurting each other become the goal.
You wonder what my teaching goals are ? To be caring and responsible citizen in any circumstance whether on the tatami or in marriage or in business. As a task this goes beyond the tatami, just like it goes beyond the lecturing theater. When I teach at university, I spend much time with my students outside the lecturing theater: in my office, in a lab, in a field, and given the number of them who continue to seek my advice long after they have graduated, I must be doing something OK. The same in jūdō, but the task is harder than it used to be due to the loss of the core ideas of jūdō. As a teacher you are alone. What the IJF does, does not help you in the least achieve your goals and this is a problem. If religion is your thing ―and let's ignore the true abuses of religion for a second― at least your church is still there in theory sharing the same goals. The IJF doesn't share my goals; it has its own goals: commerce, and steering jūdōka to something that isn't and never was the core of jūdō: winning medals. But even the Kōdōkan whose task it is to be the guardian of jūdō, has so far strayed from Kanō ideals and teaching, that one can no longer find support in what they do either. Its painful approach to kata which has reduced this form to a travesty that has nothing to do anymore with its original goals, instructors who have no longer read or studied Kanō, who have no idea what it is about, no longer have the ability of preserving Kanō's jūdō, and its phobia to not involve knowledgeable non-Japanese, exacerbate the problem even more.
I was in awe of those few personalities whose knowledge about jūdō far exceeded that of others, and in this way naturally I came across the writings of the late Trevor Pryce Leggett. It was clear that the man was very knowledgeable. In a time and era that most Westerners saw jūdō merely as a set of tricks, Leggett was talking about jūdō’s moral and educational aspects which he interspersed with personal anecdotes. The man set a standard for me and I devoured his writings. Though I never met the man himself, he still was inspired me. Leggett had an unusually high rank in jūdō long before any Westerner. In January 1955 he became the first and only Westerner in that time to hold a Kōdōkan 6th dan. He had met and known Kanō in person. After the death of Kanō he attended a lecture of Nangō Jirō, the second Kōdōkan kanchō, and commented on how little the man understood about Kanō. The situation hardly improved with Kanō Risei and Kanō Yukimitsu, and these two could hardly be called jūdōka. They were kanchō behind a desk, not kanchō on the tatami. Hopes were high for Uemura, someone who had proven his commitment on the tatami, but so far his main achievement is having become a 9th dan at the very young age of 58, something that only meets the challenge of benefit to oneself, not so much to others …
Towards the end of 1970 Leggett refused being promoted to Kōdōkan 7th dan and as his life continued, he distanced himself more and more from the Kōdōkan and jūdō. I could not understand that. Why would such a knowledgeable man who had had achieved such a senior rank distance himself ? It made no sense. The man had a vast teaching experience, knowledge and commitment, and he understood jūdō much better than any Westerner. The 1970s are four decades in the past, and my experience in jūdō therefore has increased by 40 years. I have studied jūdō through and through, I followed and completed every possible instructors or coaching course, as one of very few people completed a 2,500 hour university degree in teaching jūdō, supervised university students’ theses on jūdō, wrote myself a thesis on budō and bushidō, and another thesis and dissertation on the most complex materials in jūdō, I refereed internationally, I coached, I trained with the best jūdōka and studied with the best and most experienced jūdō teachers, I taught and teach jūdō, and I research every aspect of it, and today I can understand the late TPL's decision very well. Ironically, comprehending jūdō seems a journey that required an enormous investment with very little yield, right the opposite of maximal efficiency, so it seems.
Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:08 pm; edited 1 time in total