Tokio Hirano is a name that is rarely mentioned in American judo circles - at least the ones that I circulate in. But I get the impression that he was more of a household-name in European judo. And there's not a single European nation that fails to beat the hell out of the USA in both grassroots Judo promotion and in Olympic competition. So it probably would behoove us to take a look at some of their revered teachers...
Tokio Hirano (5’5”, 75 kg), obtained Godan (5th dan) at age 19, is perhaps the greatest Judo technician of all time. He is probably the best known Japanese Judoka in Europe. In 1952, Hirano went to teach Judo in Europe. Within six years, he had accumulated over 4,300 wins.
In order to promote Judo, Hirano would fight all black belts in the city where he taught Judo. In November 1954, in Mannheim, Germany, Hirano scored all ippons in 34 minutes against 54 black belt opponents (1-3 dan).
There is a good bit of footage on YouTube of Tokio Hirano in action, much of it very abstract and confusing. But what struck me today was the beauty and power of his sutemiwaza. I can watch his uranage and tomoenage videos endlessly...
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