What is Kosen Judo? by Steve Cunningham
With the rise in popularity of Brazilian Jujutsu (BJJ),there has been a resurgence of interest in matwork and the style of Judo called Kosen judo. Many people have asked me to explain the historical roots of Kosen judo and the meaning of the term “kosen.”
“Kosen” is an abbreviation for koto senmongakko, which is, in turn, a compound of two words— “koto gakko” meaning “senior high-school” and “senmon gakko” meaning “professional or technical university.” Specifically, the term “Kosen” refers to a network of prestigious prep schools and universities. It is analogous to the American phrase “the ivy league.”
In the early 1900s, when rules for Judo competition weretaking form, the rules that came to be used for interscholastic contests in this “ivy league” tended to encourage and reward newaza more than rules used elsewhere. As a consequence, Kosen newaza tactics became highly developed and refined.
So Kosen judo is not something distinct and separate from Kodokan Judo; rather it is one of the many varieties of judo within the Kodokan tradition. As such Kosen judo could not defeat Kodokan Judo, because Kosen judo is Kodokan Judo.