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    Interview with Uemura Haruki (president of Kodokan, olympic judo champion)

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    noboru

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    Interview with Uemura Haruki (president of Kodokan, olympic judo champion)

    Post by noboru on Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:00 am

    http://judotalk.com/profiles/blogs/judo-news-day-3-results-grand-slam-tokyo-2014

    This last day of competition was the occasion to meet with Mr. UEMURA Haruki, Olympic and World Champion and President of the Kodokan, where Judo was created by Professor Kano Jigoro in 1882.



    Mr. UEMURA, could you describe what is Kodokan today?

    Judo was created in 1882 by Professor Kano Jigoro. Since then, dozens of thousands of people studied and spread judo around the world. Today, I think that the Kodokan has a big responsibility to help spreading 'proper judo' throughout the five continents. If I look at the number of judoka who do judo, from small children to elders, I think that we don't have only to focus on the top level and to see judo as a fantastic Olympic sport, but we also have to stick to our common roots and to develop Randori (practice) and Kata.

    Today and as it has been the case for many decades, the Kodokan is ready to welcome people from around the world. (right, Kano Jigoro's Judogi)



    In 2014, we have for instance started a new programme called 'Youth Camp' to welcome children. Any country is able to participate. During these Youth Camps, the children can discover the Japanese culture like the KIMONO (traditional dress) or even the Kendo. We want them to have a good taste of Judo and to have a better idea of what is, according to us, 'proper judo'. This will continue on in 2015 and every year.

    Mr. UEMURA, could you explain to us, what is proper judo?
    You know that judo is based on strong principles. Technically speaking those are tsukuri-kuzushi-kake gathered into the RIAI concept (unbalancing the opponent - fitting or entering - execution). Judo is also based on the principle of 'maximum efficiency, minimum effort' (seiryoku zen'yō). It means that we must use what we have, the main target being to improve ourselves and through the practice of Judo to study the respect for others. Talking about 'proper judo' means that we are trying and willing to spread Professor Kano's words: 'Judo is the way in order to use your body power.' Through Judo practice (attack and defense) we can improve the technique but also the spirit and through judo practice we contribute to improve the humanity and we help the development of the society.

    Everything starts from the judo spirit and in judo everything starts with the bow to show respect and appreciation to the opponent or the partner. For instance, if one judoka doesn't properly bow or doesn't have a proper judogi, this is against the spirit of judo. Proper judo is to grip your opponent and then use the technique plus the power and the spirit to overcome him or her. Fighting is not only about technique and spirit but it is also about how the humanity and the world go.

    Through judo training we try our best to reach our goals and for that we have to show respect to the teacher, to the dojo. Judo started in Japan and in the Kodokan. But today Judo is not any more a Japanese activity. It is part of the worldwide culture and Kodokan is not only meant to represent Japan. We are open to the world and we are happy to welcome anybody who is interested.


    The Kodokan Museum

    For instance, at the Kodokan, we have a museum, which objective is to display the judo history to the world. In judo, we have also many kata and the history shows that there are even more kata to be taught. That's what we want to offer to the next generations. Next year, we will also publish a judo dictionary.

    Over the past year, judo changed a lot because Judo is a major Olympic sport and we have to adapt and follow the dynamic of sports. Judo is like a living body. But if some elements, especially technical elements can be adapted, we must not change the nature of judo. Concerning the leg grabbing for instance, it was necessary to adapt if we consider judo as a sport. Nonetheless, as Kodokan we want to guarantee that judo remains the same in its essence and we have to keep the culture.

    Mr. UEMURA, could you explain in more details, what must not be changed?
    The most important thing is to 'try to get ippon' and to always look for the best technique. When we have a fight that didn't conclude with an ippon, at the end of the regular time, we must be able to determine who tried his/her best to score ippon.

    Judogi is very symbolic of judo as well. In judo, we must grip in order to get ippon. It is important to secure that we have proper nage-waza (standing) and katame-waza (groundwork) technics. And of course last but not least, we must preserve the bow. We are the only Olympic sport that shows so much respect and appreciation to the opponent.

    Do you have the feeling that today, Kano Jigoro's spirit is still alive?
    Definitely yes! Even if I think that people must show more respect. Our society needs it. It is important in judo for instance not to explode with joy when you win or to show too much sadness when you lose.

    When you are a judo teacher, it is not only important to teach, but it is important to make people think about what they are doing.


    Could you please detail this concept?
    SHU-HA-RI. Everything is resumed in this buddhist concept: the way and process of improving. First you have to learn the basics (SHU). Then you have to practice again and again (HA) and finally you have to think about what you did and develop you own judo (RI) that is adapted to you. This whole process must be initiated with young children and can be applied all through the life of any human being. As judo people, we have an important responsibility. It is not important to win or to lose. What is important is to look for the beautiful technique. As I already said, Japan doesn't want to keep judo for itself. When I am asked by non-judo people why we don't keep our 'secret' for us, so we could defeat anybody, I prefer to say that we want to teach to everybody and then we try to defeat them. It is more valuable. Coming back to what proper judo is: 1 - It is the bow. 2 - Proper gripping. 3 - Proper technique. 4 - Ippon. 5 - To Show respect.


    The main dojo of the Kodokan


    Mr. UEMURA, did you see proper judo over the weekend here in Tokyo on the occasion of the Grand Slam?
    Yes, I did see great and spectacular judo with beautiful ippons, but the quality still needs to be improved. But you know, even myself, I need to improve and I am still on the way to it. We must never stop working. For that, I am really keen to cooperate with the IJF for the development of judo at an international level. We have that responsibility. In Paris next year, we will hold a kata seminar for instance and we are already collaborating with the Brazilian Judo Confederation. The first contact with Brazil were made 120 years ago, when many Japanese people moved to South America. I am myself ready to get involved on the field to spread judo at a wider scale.

    It is also important to involve our champions. Sometimes, people think that the best athletes are not necessarily the best teachers. I don't agree with that. Good competitors have the potential to become the best teachers, but they need to work and study for that in order to be able to transmit their passion. Judo is beautiful and can bring so many things to the world, to the humanity and can help the development of a better society. That's what we believe in at the Kodokan and I know that the IJF does the same.
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    NBK

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    Re: Interview with Uemura Haruki (president of Kodokan, olympic judo champion)

    Post by NBK on Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:51 am

    Nice interview, but he's off on the Buddhist concept.

      Current date/time is Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:21 pm