Theory of the Essence of Judo with Aikido

Originality of Japanese Budo accepted among Europeans

On the contrary, it is quite ironic that the originality of Japanese budo has been increasingly accepted among Europeans, although it is my belief that they too frequently overvalue budo as an expression of the bushido spirit. In the past when we (Japan) lost the Judo championship for the first time in an international competition, excited foreigners ran up to the mat. However, the victor, Anton Geesink raised his left hand while still pinning the loser Kaminaga under his right arm and stopped them ordering them not to approach. A photo of him taken at that moment was distributed all over the world. I believe that this was a marvelous expression of the budo spirit. Another peculiar phenomenon is that when Judo practitioners who have grown up with the sport return from several years travelling for some particular reason in Europe and America, their manner and attitude changes completely as if by common consent and they behave more like budoka (martial arts practitioners). They even come back manifesting a strong interest in budo other than Judo.

This is proof that it is only Japan which promotes the conversion of Judo into a sport whereas Europe and America promote “Judo as budo”. This is probably because foreigners have been frequently exposed in their countries to situations in which traditional jujutsu is actively practiced which is something of a tragicomedy. Judo is a great innovation as a means of education for fostering both mind and body, but it is after all a “budo” and we should carefully reflect on Jigoro Kano Sensei’s strict admonition against the conversion of Judo into a sport. There are three elements involved in sports: “physical power, development of technique, and the enjoyment of winning and losing”. Budo is a means for cultivating the intellect, virtue and courage and for seeking social justice using the above three elements and these techniques having a direct bearing on life. This leads one to an enlightenment characterized by a clear understanding of one’s view of life.

(Translated by Ikuko Kimura and Stanley Pranin)