Yoshitsugu ‘Yoshiaki ‘Yamashita, was the first person to have been awarded 10th Dan (degree) red belt rank in Kodokan judo, although posthumously. He was also one of the Four Guardians of the Kodokan, and a pioneer of judo in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was among his students. (In 2008, I had the honor to promote him to the posthumous rank of 8th Dan, at his boyhood home in Sagamore, New York.)
Advice on learning judo by Yoshiaki Yamashita
1. Study the correct way of applying the throws. Throwing with brute force is not the correct way of winning in JUDO. The most important point is to win with technique.
2. First learn offensive. You will see that defense is included in offensive. You will make no progress learning defense first.
3. Do not dislike falling. Learn the timing of the throw while you are being thrown.
4. Practice your throws by moving your body freely as possible in all directions. Do not lean to one side or get stiff. A great deal of repetition in a throw will be rewarded with a good throw.
5. Increase the number of practices and contests. You will never make any progress without accumulating a number of practices.
6. Do not select your opponents (which means do not say that you do or don't like to practice with a certain person). Everyone has his own specialty. You must try to learn all of them and make them your own.
7. Never neglect to improve the finer points. Practicing without any effort to improve will result in slow progress. Always recall your habits, as well as those of your opponent, while making improvement.
8. In practice put your heart and soul into it. It will interfere with your progress in practice if you keep on without this spirit.
9. Never forget what your instructor or higher ranking members teach you. During practice you will make great progress if you keep in mind what they have said to you.
10. Try to continue your practice as much as possible. Applying half-way will result in a very grave situation in your progress.
11. Watch and study throws as much as possible when trying to improve and advance. The technique and mind are just like the front and back of one’s hand, meaning they are very closely related.
12. Refrain from overeating and drinking. Remember that overeating and drinking will bring an end to your practice and JUDO.
13. Always try to think of improvement, and don't think that you are too good. The latter is very easy to do while learning JUDO.
14. There is no end in learning JUDO!
April 23rd Saturday – Arizona State Championships, Tucson, AZ
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