Judo Blog: Kano was an Educator

Judo Blog: Kano was an Educator

Although Jigoro Kano invented and promoted judo whenever he could, he earned his living as an educator. In his 1932 lecture Kano spoke on Judo and Education noting, these movements are also automatic acknowledgments of the crying need of efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit. They must be fostered by the educational forces of every country in which judo should have a prominent part.

Judo zoom seminar

Photo by Gary Goltz

From Nanka's - Jigoro Kano & Judo: The Secret Behind the Man Zoom Seminar featuring Lance GatlingIn formatting judo, Kano established a Syllabus for Kodokan Judo much like a college course.It is broken down in components based on the relationship and difficulty of the techniques. Kano also utilized belt ranks to designate degrees of knowledge based on testing.These became the foundation blocks of judo, all rooted in Kano's professional education and teaching experience.

Kai zen

It revolutionized the martial arts and brought them into the 20th Century. Further by making judo a way, Kano further differentiated it from the martial arts of the past. Learning is endless and a life long journey. Kaizen in Japanese means continuous improvement, Masaaki Imai, Founder of Kaizen Institute.

More thoughts and wisdom from the Nanka Zoom Seminar with Lance Gatling on Kano

Lance Gatling

Photo by Gary Goltz

A few Key Definitions from Lance Gatling's Nanka Zoom Seminar which had 124 pre-registered judoka

Energism is a doctrine that certain phenomena (such as mental states) are explicable in terms of energy. It is an ethical theory that the supreme good consists in the efficient exercise of normal human faculties rather than in happiness or pleasure : self-realizationism. This was Kano's goal of seeking perfection of one's character. Utilitarianism is a doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority. In Judo, a win according to Kano - is sticking to 'the way'.

Dr. Mike Callan, 7th Dan is a quality judoka and a well-established contributor/consultant on education to many of the world's top tier Judo organizations. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Sport and Geography and head of the i-dojo International Judo Research Unit at the University of Hertfordshire, Mike's extensive experience of providing coach education has regularly been sought around the world. He is the Education Director of the Commonwealth Judo Association and Managing Director of the Judospace Educational Institute. His PhD relates to support for judo players in an educational environment. Mike was awarded the International Judo Federation Special Award for his services to education and research. Overall Dr. Callan is one of the world's experts on judo and coach education.

The video recording of Lt. Col Gatling's Seminar will be made available soon. It is Nanka's intention to release it under the umbrella of the Sharp Foundation.

Hayward Nishioka

One of my closest friends and mentor's is Black Belt Magazine 2x Hall of Fame Member Hayward Nishioka, 9th Dan who is a lifelong professor and very much of the same mind as Jigoro Kano. From my extensive discussions with him over the years I've come to appreciate the paradigm from which an educator views the world. It is an organized menu leading to self-discovery and personal growth.

Hayward once wrote in answer to the question of What is a Judo Sensei? A coach, a teacher, a guide, somebody a cut above a friend? Who are some famous sensei's? Why are they famous? What are they remembered for? Perhaps for the many champions they helped to develop. Maybe something even more simple. They were there to help you develop into more than you could be by yourself.

Hayward Nishioka

Photo by Gary Goltz

Hayward lecturing a coaching symposium at the Judo Winter Nationals®

Here are Hayward's thoughts on Kano's concept of randori free practice

Randori practice was one of the things that differentiated judo from much of jiujitsu. Jiujitsu practice for the most part consisted of prearranged forms of dangerous techniques. Both practitioners could safely, without injuring, work with each other because they both knew when the technique was to be applied and when the defense was to occur. These set prearranged sequenced of moves and were referred to as a "kata."

Judo's founder, Dr. Kano, took a different approach. He either eliminated or found a way around including dangerous techniques and rather than using kata to practice techniques he employed randori. Ran meaning chaos and dori or tori means to take. To take chaos was the name of the game. Both persons are at liberty to attack or defend at will while randomly moving all over the dojo floor.

So in this chaotic confusion of moving about both opponents are to seek out moments in which they can take and make sense of the moment by executing a beautiful technique.

Randori, in a sense is a kind of stand up sparing match, where the main object is to throw the opponent to his back cleanly. It is somewhat like what dogs do when they are play fighting. Their free-flowing movement back and forth and side to side in various directions allows them to develop a sense of movement and control over their body and to understand the limits of their ability in play, which if needed in a fight for their lives, will have been developed, ready to go.

What you are developing through this type of practice is to prepare the body for the "unknown factor," In kata practice you know what's coming next, in randori you don't. One has to instantly react to changing conditions and respond appropriately or lose. There is no time to think, the body has to have developed neural pathways that fire up muscle, some to contract and others to relax in a coordinated way to result in a positive reaction, be it to throw or to thwart. This often comes about faster for those who really have a burning desire to throw and have trained for years at randori practice. In highly trained individuals they will often say, " My body just moved, I only realized I threw my opponent after he or she was already on the ground. Sometimes when I'm about to fall off to sleep I'm still seeing the perfect throw and I'll see myself about to enter, and twitch hard and wake myself up. Crazy huhn?!

This hardly happens for the beginning student. Your first randori will feel as if you have turned into Robocop. Opponents will be hurky-jerky resistive, worried about being thrown more than trying to throw. Everything will seem angular and contracted if you are working with another beginner. The key thought will be, "I've just got to survive!" You will upon gripping the opponent start contracting every muscle you have even if you were told to relax and take the fall if it's a good throw. Because you are giving your all, your heart will be pounding against your rib cage, from the inside. Your chest will be heaving while taking in as much air as you can. You'll find yourself using up all the energy you had fairly quickly. Advance judoka know this and wait for you to burn yourself out, then they'll throw you. You'll think about what is being read here, but it will still happen. It's Okay! You're just a beginner and you are learning. You're right where you are supposed to be.

Half Randori Not to fret, In the beginning stages of randori it is too big of a step to go from learning how to fall and to throw and suddenly be tossed into the Lion's den as "fresh meat" ready for the kill. That's where ½ randori comes into to the play. In the beginning stages you don't want herky-jerky, you don't want Robocop judo, you don't want everything tightening up so hard you squeak when you walk.

It takes up too much energy, and you don't learn how to glide into techniques when moving about the mat. It's called ½ randori because while you move around and enter and defend randomly at will, the half you leave out is the throwing and resisting portion. To get you accustomed to entering into throws while in motion here are the rules.

1. There will be moving about but no resistance while moving about the mat.

2. At random whoever tries first enters into a throw, any throw. but no throwing is allowed, just moving, and entering. Slight lifting is okay.

Because there is no resisting, the person trying the throw will find it easier to enter and find the most comfortable way to do so. The person on the receiving side because he is not going to be thrown, can relax and not get so tensed up, and use up his energy. Generally for beginners there should be 3 to 5 rounds of ½ randori sessions lasting 3 to 5 minutes each round. The rounds should be with a mixture of opponents. Guys and gals, Some tall or economy size, some larger, some weaker, some stronger, with everyone getting a chance to practice with a different body type. This will bring to light the fact that certain techniques are better for some than others. Everyone gets to understand there is an advantage for everyone.

This is an important point for beginners as well as sensei. Don't just go from learning a stationary example of a throw and throw the beginner in with a class of intermediates who have been doing randori for some time. As a beginner at least get the feel of what it's like to randomly move about the mat and enter into a throw. Otherwise like may, you may get discouraged without this important intermediate step to get the feel that you can move and do the throw that you learned while standing in a stationary position. Even advanced athletes are advised to do ½ randori, especially when expanding your repertoire of techniques with new techniques, combinations, or entries. You need to get the feel of the technique before advancing on to regular randori. What I now know…

1. I now know that just because I know about how a throw is done it doesn't necessarily mean I can do it at will on a moving person who is resisting.

2. I can see the genius of Jigoro Kano's method of employing randori practice to prepare for the "unknown element" of an engagement that was superior to learning by the kata method. It's challenging and fun, to boot.

3. The difficulty in this type of randori training of the body is to relax and/or contract the appropriate parts of the body, at the appropriate times, under stressful uncertain conditions of a battle for supremacy,

4. I now know that the intensity level of this type of randori practice has in understanding one's own "ego verses physical reserves" has as the escalation factor comes into play. One has to spend their energy wisely or you will find yourself bouncing around the floor more than with checks without adequate funds to meet the bill.

5. I now know that if I want to get a better feel for a technique, I should do it over and over as many times need to in order to engrain the entry into my nerves and muscles. I can better understand the feel of the moving entry if I do more series of entries with a helpful partner. The instructor terms this practice ½ randori, where both at random move about and enter at will. Both are not to throw or to be excessively defensive.

Here are Hayward’s Think Tank Ideas

The following are ideas that may be used in the Nanka Think Tank (NTT) Group. They are not in any particular order currently, just listed 1, 2, 3. Etc. and will possibly be prioritized later. The purpose of the NTT is to stimulate thinking and to solve problems that confront us, not only in judo but possibly in our greater world. It's an organon.

1. Use the Stanford Design School Model. Ted Talks > Tim Brown have differing views, even opposite views/diversity

2. Apply heuristics and biases. (Daniel Kahnaman) availability heuristic,

3. Thinking backward: Start from the outcome and go backward to see where the problem came from. Think effect, and what caused it.

4. Problem solving approach: Problem>write it down(capture), Look at its origins, not just the symptoms,>List solutions>prioritize them>Problem may be multifaceted>list solutions for each problem> prioritize them.> Study them all and see if they are salvageable in a specific order that may require rearranging the priority order of solutions.>Select the best solution(s),> go for it!> Always review your outcome and study to see if it was done correctly or if corrections are needed in your thinking. Writing everything down is important in this process.

5. Related to biases is "traditions" and experiences, and trail treaded thoughts and mottos. i.e. Self-perfection, Mutual Welfare and Benefit, Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort.

6. Inclusive/participatory thinking: Often we exclude people of opposing views. Instead, include them to get a different perspective. It could have benefits.

7. Play as an important concept in learning: be playful rather than ridged. Sometimes it's like going to pee when your full and can't right away. Relax and things seem to flow better.

8. Thinking with your hands. Get the feel of things to solve a physical problem. You might use objects to represent an idea that you can move around or in place. Like physically pushing a person's hip or foot into place in order to get a proper throw in, like ogoshi.

9. Role-playing. Understand the conceptual idea from playing the role. Kids do it all the time when they play adult roles by dressing up like an adult. doctor, nurse, firefighter, etc.

10. Thinking back from the future: Picture yourself two or three years into the future. If your decision was a success or a failure, write down all the reasons that come to mind why? List also what you internally feel about your situation. What if you had taken a different path?

11. Think like the opposition: Often you are holding an opposing view to another person. Think what he is thinking. What he will gain. What he will lose. How much effort he will expend to get what he wants.

12. Faces are not always the result of an emotion. The reverse may also work to trigger the emotion. Didn't your mother ever tell you, "keep making stupid faces you may wake up to that reality? Stupid is as stupid does. Smile even when sad, it seems to help. Why?

Hayward on the Early Days of Judo in America

Nishioka and campbell

Photo by Gary Goltz

Hayward Nishioka & US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of CO Retired, July 2021

(Senator Campbell was a member of the 1964 US Olympic Judo Team)

Photo by Gary Goltz

I'm always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to gary@garygoltz.com, thanks.

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