Theory of the Essence of Judo with Aikido

“Great Kanoism”

At that time (beginning of the Meiji Period), a young and energetic educator named Jigoro Kano Sensei began to study jujutsu for his health and out of a necessity to learn self-defense. As he progessed in his training, he realized that the techniques were highly rational (dynamically and in terms of physical relationships) and concluded that this rationality would be truly appropriate and beneficial for educating the youth of Japan which was at that time developing a culture as well as a society. Moreover, he realized that this rationality was related to Confucian ethical principles and Kano Sensei organized the three aspects of education – physical, intellectual and moral – into a completely new method of education. He decided to rename the traditional martial arts of “jujutsu” to “judo”. This was an innovation of great importance in the history of Japanese education and became the philosophy of education known as the “Great Kanoism”. Herein lies the essence of Judo. In order to adopt this philosophy more widely in academic education, Kano Sensei appealed to Sasaburo Takano Sensei, the greatest figure in the Kendo world and others, and, as in the case of Judo, succeeded in changing the name of the traditional “kenjutsu” (sword arts) to “Kendo” (sword way) as a training means for physical education and mental and moral development. He further succeeded in introducing Judo into the regular curriculum of secondary schools. This led to the unparalleled development of kenjutsu and jujutsu, under the names of Kendo and Judo which had, since the Meiji Restoration, become stagnant and in danger of disappearing. Since that time, these two “bujutsu” have come to be called “budo”. (This may be confirmed through a careful reading of the biography of Jigoro Kano and his writings published by the Kodokan.)
Emphasis on Judo as Budo

In the middle of the Taisho period (1912-1925), however, as sports began to flourish in Japan, those advocating that Judo become a sport began to increase. The main reason for this lies in the fact that it was Jigoro Kano Sensei himself who was most responsible for promoting sports in general and for guiding their development in his capacity as Olympic representative for Japan. Also he himself was a most active participant. It was, therefore, quite natural for people to think that Judo should become a sport. Furthermore, a sad event occurred where his closest disciple, Mr. Heita Okabe, who had been dispatched to Europe and America for the purpose of making an on-site inspection of the status of sports, returned to Japan an ardent believer in making Judo into a sport. The two had a serious argument which lasted all night and Okabe parted from Kano for good. This caused turmoil even in the Tokyo Koto Shihan Daigaku (present Education University) which constituted the center of support for Kano Sensei. To counter this tendency toward the transformation of Judo into a sport, Jigoro Kano Sensei persistently emphasized “Budo Judo” as a means of ducation. It was in March of 1928 when he, in further support of his views, established and supervised a research department in the Kodokan (World Judo Headquarters in Tokyo) dealing with the old martial arts forms (kobudo). Using the Otsuka Kaiunzaka Dojo (located next to Kano Sensei’s house) as the training center and, on the advice of Master Sasaro Takano, he initiated efforts to study and preserve kenjutsu and bojutsu (staff arts) as well as other generic old-style martial arts. Here, again, we can see the views of Kano Sensei on the essence of Judo at play. The only two remaining members of that study group are Mr. Yoshio Sugino, 10th dan in kobudo (old-style martial arts) of Kawasaki City and this writer, (Minoru) Mochizuki. Takasue Ito Sensei, who was at that time the chief secretary of the Kodokan, was well-versed in the situation at that time. He worked as the chief secretary for more than 30 years and was said to be Kano Sensei’s right hand. He unfortunately passed away in the fall of 1957 at the age of 94. He was a dyed-in-the-wool believer in the “Great Kanoism” and took a stand against the conversion of Judo into a sport until the end of his life. Up through 1956, he would gather together several hundred like-minded persons from an All-Japan association whose members were high-ranking judoka and lecture at length on “Judo as Budo”. (For the subsequent four years, I gave the lectures).