I thought that this story was very interesting, because I too, have heard from Japanese who learned judo in Japan in the 1950s, or whose teachers were 1950’s judoka, that judo (real judo) is dead in Japan. And that it (the judo ideal) only lives on in isolated pockets throughout the world (USA, Brazil, Southwest Mississippi, etc...)..
2 weeks ago at the dojo I was lecturing the students after observing a session of randori. For the first time since I started judo I have a group of high school and early college students. They all want to compete ... After they were watching the Olympic matches from the links you folks sent to me and which I forwarded on to them. They all wanted to emulate the athletes. Well low and behold I started seeing too much grip fighting, the "tee pee" stance. And a reliance of force over technique. I stopped the class and started my tirade. I told them not to emulate these people. They are not doing judo and that they are merely wrestling.One of my students is a 6 year old boy half Japanese and half American. He was brought up in Japan the first 4 years of his life and started judo when he was 5 in Florida. Japanese is his first language and his mother, who is Japanese, comes to class and watches every week. As I was bitching about the muscling of judo I noticed her paying attention and nodding her head. After class she paid me the biggest compliment I ever received. It almost brought a tear to my eye and gave me validation. She told me that she called her mother in Japan to send her some matches of judo so her son could see high level judo from Japanese players. She told me that her mother replied and said judo was dead in Japan. I asked her why she said that. She told me that judo is no longer the same judo that her father and grandfather studied. That the sport has devolved into a form of wrestling and muscle was substituted for techniques. She then went on to tell me that of all the judo schools she checked out that mine was the closest to that of her father taught her. And that I was keeping the principles of Japanese judo and its philosophies alive.
She told me about a conversation she had with her mother that judo today whether American or Japanese was dead as she and her family learned .it. She went on to tell me that "ju" in judo was replaced with "go" something I said on list a few years ago. She also told me that the emphasis in judo was to apply these techniques using kusushi by movement and control of Uke. Not by forcing an opponent off balance but to "lead him off balance. Now by no means am I comparing my judo that I do personally to any figure past or present. But I am trying to teach the art the closest I can from papers I have read and my own personal research I have complied. students have become very adept at applying their techniques fairly slowly and using principles of body rise and body fall. Even though Uke my be attacking quickly by moving off line and leading them to a balance point. they can throw most people the compete against. My past students always win medals from regional on down/ although I had 3 triple crown winners and the same three winning gold s at the junior national a few years back using my methods. So not only did I, and do I get validation from my theories in contest but now I get them from a Japanese citizen who did judo in Japan when she was young as well as her family.
This one compliment from ... the mother, was so near to my heart that if I died today I felt like I accomplished something. Judo may have changed over the years to a mere sport where the object is to get your opponent on his back by any means necessary opposed to getting him on his back with the applied principles of the art. And yes there is a difference.
What do y'all think of that?