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    when did Kano shihan cease judo?

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    NBK

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    when did Kano shihan cease judo?

    Post by NBK on Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:19 pm

    I found a reference to a demo when Kano shihan was in his twenties, demonstrating an unspecified Tenshin Shin'yo ryu jujutsu kata, acting as uke for a number of students demonstrating techniques, then finally performing randori.

    My suspicion is he continued that up into his thirties, maybe forties, but does anyone know?

    Thanks,
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: when did Kano shihan cease judo?

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:23 pm

    I have always read that Kanô had quit randori by the time he reached 40, but I can't give you the exact reference off the top of my head, and it is not something I could easily find back.

    Note that there aren't really any fights known of Kanô other than with his friends and teacher at the dôjô he was a student at, and some story about a guy on a boat. This is very different from the founders of most koryû school who all established legitimacy by defeating some legendary fighters from other schools. Kanô never did, and it is doubtful he would have been able to. He had his student do so, and really he pretty much cheated having the Kôdôkan team stuffed with students who mostly had croos-trained in koryû arts. The fame of Kôdôkan was really made by people like Saigô Shirô, Yokoyama Sakujirô, Inoue Keitarô, and later Toku Sanpô and Mifune Kyûzô. Kanô was not even seen in keikogi anymore and appeared usually in his montsugi haori, which sent a pretty clear signal  --if there still was any doubt at it-- that he was not available for randori.

    While the official verion is always that Kanô selected the parent schools he was mot satisfied with, the reality is that he selected the two schools that by then had grown out two of the most 'fake' schools, schools that according to many hardcore budôka from that era had lost all realistic fighting ability and that had evolved into mere aesthetic performance art schools. This is in fact the major reason for the most significant schisms in Kitô-ryû and some of the internal troubles in TSYR. There is documentary evidence that some of the problems we perceive in jûdô kata today long predate the creation of Kôdôkan. One of the fist people to have the guts to seriously address this was Draeger. To some extent even Geesink had done so too, but he did not have the intellectual authority to be followed, and most Japanese considered him a freak of nature anyhow.Let there be no doubt that it is no coincidence that Kanô did not select Takenouchi-ryû or Sekiguchi-ryû, etc. These schools would have probably beaten him black and blue, as he could never have gotten away with intellectualizing the whole discipline into a mere aesthetic performance art as these schools had not yet lost most of their real fighting skills and instinct.


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:14 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correction of typo)


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    NBK

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    Re: when did Kano shihan cease judo?

    Post by NBK on Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:51 am

    Interesting take on the issue.

    I wonder how Kano chose the schools he did stick with. There's a bit of evidence that he studied other schools, and didn't progress. The death of one of his teachers and the presentation of the traditional scrolls and the responsibility for the 'school' by his deceased instructor's wife must have had a great impact on the young Kano - if that had not happened, perhaps judo would be very different today if he had wandered off to practice yet another art such as Takeuchi ryu or Sekiguchi ryu. Would judo be much more of a combative art? Frontal pulldowns and rear mounts for control, as we still practice in Takeuchi ryu? Sekiguchi ryu jujutsu is just about gone, but as a Takeuchi ryu offshoot, there are a lot of similarities.

    I have a reference to an exhibition circa early 1890s and Kano shihan performing randori, and acting as uke in a number of kata. Not much after that.

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: when did Kano shihan cease judo?

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:20 pm

    NBK wrote:Interesting take on the issue.

    I wonder how Kano chose the schools he did stick with.  There's a bit of evidence that he studied other schools, and didn't progress.  The death of one of his teachers and the presentation of the traditional scrolls and the responsibility for the 'school' by his deceased instructor's wife must have had a great impact on the young Kano - if that had not happened, perhaps judo would be very different today if he had wandered off to practice yet another art such as Takeuchi ryu or Sekiguchi ryu.  Would judo be much more of a combative art?  Frontal pulldowns and rear mounts for control, as we still practice in Takeuchi ryu?   Sekiguchi ryu jujutsu is just about gone, but as a Takeuchi ryu offshoot, there are a lot of similarities.  

    I have a reference to an exhibition circa early 1890s and Kano shihan performing randori, and acting as uke in a number of kata.  Not much after that.

    NBK

    Yes ... indeed. Kôdôkan generally keeps silent of Kanô's participation in other schools or represent it as something really positive as "how he studied all these things and finally selected the best". One could write it more neutral like you do: "There's a bit of evidence that he studied other schools, and didn't progress." (...) Or one could go also a step further and write: "he was unable to progress and dropped out".

    The comparison with Ueshiba is always interesting; they studied some of the same schools, but whereas Ueshiba is seen to actually qualify, Kanô turns out to "not progress" to say things in a polite way ...

    Their exploits in Tenjin Shin'yô-ryû and Kitô-ryû are pretty well known, although not their extent. So far not a single document is available that shows that Kanô ever qualified in TSYR, meaning ... not a rolled up scroll, that anyone can claim to be his qualifications, but an actual page with his name on and that of the issuing teacher that shows that a specific qualification in this school was given to him, or even just the scroll as not all schools gave actual kirigami that showed a specific qualification.

    Kanô once more "didn't make it" (= failed) Yagyû shingan-ryû, in which Ueshiba again --though not the top qualifiation-- at least obtained shodan. The Kôdôkan remains remarkably silent about Kanô's membership as a student of YSR.

    You may be surprised to hear that Kanô also had a go in Katori shintô-ryû, another and quick failure ...

    Can you imagine --and I mean seriously-- someone being a martial arts master in a school, when the only "defensive techniques" the person learnt is Koshiki-no-kata ? Would you send anyone to a battle field with only that experience behind his belt ? Sure, Kitô-ryû once in the days of Chûsingura was a feared and glorious sôgô budô school with all kinds of sub-disciplines including use of the jinkama, iaijutsu, bôjutsu, ô-dachi, etc. But by the time Kanô started and in his branch with Iikubo, nope, this was all already gone from the curriculum. So, that's it, that is the basis on which Kanô became "a master of jûjutsu" and as a 23-year old kid in October Meiji 16 got his certificate: the 21 techniques of Koshiki-no-kata, nothing else (apart from ukemi). There is no evidence of Kanô ever having qualified in anything else martial arts but then, and as a kid. Can you imagine someone being 23 years old introducing him to you as a master of judo with the only thing he qualified in is nage-no-kata ?

    Apart from whether one believes the ki-stuff regarding Ueshiba, the man is seen moving, and seriously moving using tai-sabaki with uke until old age. Even if you argue that his uke are just being respectful, just like Mifune he will be breaking sweat, and his heart rate and ventilation will be going up. Nothing like that with Kanô who carefully steered free of any of that, and left not material to judge his actual combative judo skills, only a limited aesthetic display.

    Moreover, as you know Ueshiba's major skills were in Daitô-ryû in which he obviously qualified too, and I don't think that this was limited to merely intellectual work and polite kata displays at all. I am not suggesting that Kanô had zero skils, the short clip that has survived with him showing uki-goshi shows the man knows what tai-sabaki is, debana, and kuzushi, no doubt, and his cultural-intellectual study was quite serious. And of course koshiki-no-kata wasn't practised as a static display as it is today but almost as randori. I am only saying is that he wasn't some really skilled fierceful master who had a stellar career in other martial arts schools when the Kodokan started, and that he compiled stuff rather than created, and that he imported this information without being actually fully qualified as a master in those schools, and that much of the practical spread of judo outside of polite lectures for notable guests was rather done by his associates than by the man himself. Really, he wasn't that different from many of the soke, dai-shihan that pop up everywhere wearing their red gi and who quickly become 10th dan in their own school. Many of them also evolved to shodan or nidan in karate or judo or goshindo in one or another school. But they are mocked and labeled charlatans, whereas Kanô who wasn't very different apart from that he was accepted in aristocratic circles an obtained some important positions in the Olympic committee, ministry of education and a number of schools. Basically, through his position and connections he got the legitimacy despite a questionable martial arts background whereas others now with such backgrounds would never get that legitimacy because they don't have the network to give credence to their skills as originator of a new school and martial art.

    Then again, there are some --not many, but some-- examples of decent music conductors who never learnt how to properly play an instrument yet became decent conductors. I don't think this would work in everyone, but I think it is possible in exceptional cases that someone can become a successful leader in a branch he himself was not particularly successful in. I can imagine that someone might become a decent teacher of law, while not being a particularly good trial lawyer, for example. Therefore, one should not confound Kanô with the art of jûdô itself. I just believe that part of the fighting effectiveness of judo was filled in by people other than Kanô.

    You are probably referring to 1894 large demonstration at the occasion of the opening of the new Shimo-Tomisaka Kôdôkan..





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    DougNZ

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    Re: when did Kano shihan cease judo?

    Post by DougNZ on Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:13 pm

    Kano may not have worn a red gi but he introduced the white keikogi, which was the red gi of the time, was it not?

    That was a wonderfully frank and objective view on Kano, CK. It will probably get you burned at the stake but I, for one, found it enlightening.
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    NBK

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    Re: when did Kano shihan cease judo?

    Post by NBK on Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:32 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    NBK wrote:Interesting take on the issue.

    I wonder how Kano chose the schools he did stick with.  There's a bit of evidence that he studied other schools, and didn't progress.  The death of one of his teachers and the presentation of the traditional scrolls and the responsibility for the 'school' by his deceased instructor's wife must have had a great impact on the young Kano - if that had not happened, perhaps judo would be very different today if he had wandered off to practice yet another art such as Takeuchi ryu or Sekiguchi ryu.  Would judo be much more of a combative art?  Frontal pulldowns and rear mounts for control, as we still practice in Takeuchi ryu?   Sekiguchi ryu jujutsu is just about gone, but as a Takeuchi ryu offshoot, there are a lot of similarities.  

    I have a reference to an exhibition circa early 1890s and Kano shihan performing randori, and acting as uke in a number of kata.  Not much after that.

    NBK

    Yes ... indeed. Kôdôkan generally keeps silent of Kanô's participation in other schools or represent it as something really positive as "how he studied all these things and finally selected the best".  One could write it more neutral like you do: "There's a bit of evidence that he studied other schools, and didn't progress."  (...)  Or one could go also a step further and write: "he was unable to progress and dropped out".

    The comparison with Ueshiba is always interesting; they studied some of the same schools, but whereas Ueshiba  is seen to actually qualify, Kanô turns out to "not progress" to say things in a polite way ...

    .....
    Moreover, as you know Ueshiba's major skills were in Daitô-ryû in which he obviously qualified too, and I don't think that this was limited to merely intellectual work and polite kata displays at all. I am not suggesting that Kanô had zero skils, the short clip that has survived with him showing uki-goshi shows the man knows what tai-sabaki is, debana, and kuzushi, no doubt, and his cultural-intellectual study was quite serious. And of course koshiki-no-kata wasn't practised as a static display as it is today but almost as randori. I am only saying is that he wasn't some really skilled fierceful master who had a stellar career in other martial arts schools when the Kodokan started, and that he compiled stuff rather than created, and that he imported this information without being actually fully qualified as a master in those schools, and that much of the practical spread of judo outside of polite lectures for notable guests was rather done by his associates than by the man himself. Really, he wasn't that different from many of the soke, dai-shihan that pop up everywhere wearing their red gi and who quickly become 10th dan in their own school. Many of them also evolved to shodan or nidan in karate or judo or goshindo in one or another school. But they are mocked and labeled charlatans, whereas Kanô who wasn't very different apart from that he was accepted in aristocratic circles an obtained some important positions in the Olympic committee, ministry of education and a number of schools. Basically, through his position and connections he got the legitimacy despite a questionable martial arts background whereas others now with such backgrounds would never get that legitimacy because they don't have the network to give credence to their skills as originator of a new school and martial art.

    Then again, there are some  --not many, but some--  examples of decent music conductors who never learnt how to properly play an instrument yet became decent conductors. I don't think this would work in everyone, but I think it is possible in exceptional cases that someone can become a successful leader in a branch he himself was not particularly successful in. I can imagine that someone might become a decent teacher of law, while not being a particularly good trial lawyer, for example. Therefore, one should not confound  Kanô with the art of jûdô itself. I just believe that part of the fighting effectiveness of judo was filled in by people other than Kanô.

    You are probably referring to 1894 large demonstration at the occasion of the opening of the new Shimo-Tomisaka Kôdôkan..
    I think the past paragraph has a lot going for it - I see him as the intellect and organizer, the connection that got the money for the entire enterprise, go it accepted by the Ministry of Education and spread around Japan, rather than someone claiming to be the alpha male / Grand Poobah of All Things Judo. Actually, I'd love to see how often he got to the Kodokan to teach or observe, between travel and all his organizations. He also loved food, so must've been out to dinners a lot (the hagiographies would have you believe he didn't care about food - he cared about it a lot.) (Was Mr. Mayo a great doctor or an organizer to build the Mayo Clinic? No idea....)

    Clearly he had folks with him from the earliest days that had a lot more MA experience than he did, and they continued to teach when he was not around.  The great Kodokan absorption of every school in sight also added tons of more experienced teachers of older schools - you can see their influence on any number of old prewar judo books and really combative moves. He gives them credit in many places, forewords to books, mentioned in his sparse personal history, but most of that ends up left out of the latter versions.

    Also, I see a huge difference between Kano shihan and the self-proclaimed 10dan 'soke' - he always refers to judo as something that is whole and has a separate existence, not as something he invented.  'Judo is this.... judo is that....' there's very little ego (e.g., 'I invented judo as.... to do this.....') simply 'judo is'.  

    And, I don't recall him ever claiming a particular technical expertise.  At one point he does say that he spent decades trying to master Koshiki no kata - didn't he once say he was starting to get the hang of it in his late 60's or early 70's?  

    Anyhow, maybe this info is buried in his diaries and other papers.  Would be interesting to see.

    NBK

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