Pioneers of Judo






For Reading


Harrison, E.J. (1946, July), Famous judo masters I have known. Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin (p. 16)




Abe Ichiro(1923–)         KODOKAN 10th Dan


Promoted to KODOKAN 10th dan on 8 January 2006, at age 83. Abe was international chairperson of the All Nippon JUDO Federation and has strong links internationally through the coaching he has done in Europe.  



ABE KENSHIRO (1915-1985)


Japanese JUDO champion and pioneer. A 5th DAN in JUDO by 16, Abe also studied aikido, kendo and jukendo. He taught at the JUDO College within the Butokukai in Kyoto in the late 1930s and by 1945 was a 7th DAN. He became chief instructor at Doshisa University as well as instructor to the kyoto Police Department.


Abe went to England in 1955 at the invitation of the London JUDO society and opened his own club ane year later. A leader of the British JUDO Council he became a highly sought after instructor; however, because he believed that competition victory  was not the ultimate goal of JUDO, he encountered opposition at a time when JUDO was gaining popularity as a sport. In 1970, he sufferd serious injuries in an automobile accidnet from which he had not fully recovered four year later when he returned to Japan.



  AWAZU SHOZO (1923-2016)


He came in France in 1950 and was the assistant of Mikinosuke Kawaishi for introduce the judo in France


He was the teacher of Henri COURTINE and Bernard Pariset. From 1953 to 2014, he was professor of judo at the Racing Club de France in Paris.


Awazu was considered to be one of the top experts in ne waza (grappling techniques), kata and tandoku-renshu.








For Reading


Shozo Awazu, 1963. Méthode de judo au sol. Editions Publi-Judo, Paris. Reprinted Chiron-Sports, Paris, 1974.








BRUNO, EMILIO (1914-2003)




Mel Bruno received his first degree black belt from Jigaro Kano in 1935. In 1954, he was recommended by Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodonkan Judo to receive his 5th degree black belt. and he was the first non-Oriental inUnited States to receive that rank. When he retired as a 6th degree balck belt nine years later, he was one of only three non-Japanese people in the world to hold this rank at the time.




Mel Bruno later became known as Mr. Judo both in the California State Department of Corrections and the U.S. Air Force.




Mel Bruno was the foster child of Roy “Pop” H. Moore Sr., a school teacher and wrestling coach at a high school in Inglewood, California. In the 1910’s Moore was a professional heavyweight wrestling champion. It was sometime during the mid to late 1920’s, that Pop Moore and his wife Gracie took Mel Bruno into their home becoming his foster parents. Pop taught judo and wrestling to both Mel, and his much younger son, Roy Jr., in the very early 1930’s. Mel eventually became the National AAU Wrestling Champion.




During the 1920’s, Pop Moore had became friends with Dr. Jigoro Kano. and in 1932 Dr. Kano asked Pop Moore to be the 1932 Olympic Wrestling Coach for Japan. During the same time period Pop Moore was contacted to train some of the top Japanese judoka in wrestling. This included Professor Kotani of the Kodokan. Mel Bruno was one his foster dad’s top wrestlers at the high school, and Kotani and Bruno began training together and it was natural for a friendship to develop between Bruno and Kotani. This life-long association lasted over four decades.


From 1938-1941, Mel Bruno taught judo at San Jose State University. In 1937 he introduced Judo into the San Jose State College Police Science Curriculum. During the next few years Mel Bruno was able to form San Jose’s first competitive judo team and he would actively promote California intercollegiate judo competition.




Mel Bruno is credited with teaching judo to police and military personnel.




In 1940 Mel Bruno accepted a job with the California Department of Corrections as the judo instructor for prison guards. He then worked for Kenyon J. Scudder, the foremost U.S. penologist concerned with modern prison rehabilitation concepts, hired to train the first correctional employees for a newly established honor-type penal institution known as the California Institute for Men in Chino, California.




The II World War forced Bruno to take a hiatus from the Department of Corrections when he was recruited by Gene Tunney, Commander of the U.S. Navy Physical Fitness Program, to work for the Physical Instructor Training School Staff in charge of combatives. Judo became part of the Navy Instructor Training School curriculum because of Mel Bruno efforts. He also introduced and developed judo at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.








Shortly after the war, in 1946, Mel Bruno returned to California and the Department of Corrections where he was appointed to direct physical training and judo. He trained correctional officers in 10 different institutions throughout the state and he also introduced judo to the Department of Mental Hygiene.




In 1950, Mel Bruno was selected as one of the coaches for the U.S. Wrestling Team to tour Japan and he used this opportunity to liason with Kodokan and he acted as a representative of U.S. judo, which was called the Judo Black Belt Federation or JBBF, at that time. He was then able to present judo to the National AAU Wrestling Committee for the purpose of getting judo recognized under the Amateur Athletic Union and later he was asked to begin the organizational steps necessary to build wrestling on a national level in Japan.




Later in 1951 Bruno was appointed supervisor of Judo and Combative Measures at Strategic Air Command headquarters. During his four years there he trained General LeMay and General Thomas S.Power and other key personnel. He also opened the way for Air Force classes and teams to participate in training at the Kodokan Judo Institute. The Japanese recipricated and sent a Kodokan judo theam to visit U.S. Air force bases in 1953. /during this time Mel Bruno was helping to development the Midwestern Yudanshakai.


In the middle 1950’s Bruno was selected as Coach of the AAU and Air Force Team and he intoduced Judo to the USAF Academy. General Curtis Emerson LeMay then hired Mel Bruno to organize and head up United States Air Force Strategic Air Command’s Judo and Physical Conditioning unit and the SAC Judo program was born at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. In 1955 Mel Bruno initiated the first U.S.-Japan international judo meet.


Mel Bruno was as the coach of the U.S. Judo team and they participated in the 1958 Tokyo and the 1961 Paris World Judo Championships. He also introduced and guided implementation of Judo at Stead, AFB and got judo incorporated within the University Physical Training Program. His help and guidance allowed the Air Force to put together a winning team that took national competitive prominence. He prepared the USAF judo team in preparation for the 1964 Olympics tryouts and two USAF competitors made the Olympic Judo Team


Emilio Mel Bruno passed away on September 20, 2003 at the age of 89. He was thought to have suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for two decades.




 CAMPBELL, BEN  (1933 -) American JUDO instructor and champion.


He graduated from San Jose State University where he trained under SENSEI UCHIDA. He started JUDO in 1952. He was three times National JUDO Champion; 1961, 1962 and 1963. He also won  at the Pan-American Games in 1963. A pioneer in introducing JUDO in California high schools.  In 1964, Campbell competed in judo at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He suffered an injury and did not win a medal. He broke his ankle and was out for two years. He has written several articles for Black Belt Magazine and American Judoman. After moving to Colorado in 1977, he won his first Congressional campaign in 1986 and would go on to become a Colorado Senator from 1992-2005




COURTINE, HENRY (1930- )    Non Kodokan 10th Dan (FFDJA 10th Dan; 2007)


He is a French judo champion and pioneer who studied with Mikinosuke KAWAISHI (1899-1969) and his assistant, Shozo AWAZU (1923-2016). He is three times individual European champion (1952, 1958 /+80kg/, 1959 /4th Dan/ and four times with the French team (1952, 1954, 1955, and 1956.


At the 1956 WORLD JUDO CHAMPIONSHIP in Tokyo he received a bronze medal. At the INTERNATIONAL JUDO FEDERATION he served as sports director from 1979 to 1987. From 1982 to 1986 he was the Director of the French National Sporting and Olympic Committee (CNOSF). Henri Courtine was honored the title jūdan (10th dan) in 2007, as the first ever French judoka. This title however is not officially recognized by the Kodokan.




DAIGO TOSHIRO (1926 -)        KODOKAN10th Dan


Japanese JUDO fighter and instructor who in 1950 was promoted to 6th DAN, the youngest JUDOKA to be awarded this grade at the time. His powerful build and fine technique, particularly a neat KOUCHI-GARI brought him success in the early 1950’s. He won the ALL JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS twice /1951, 1954/ and the Tokyo Championship in 1950 and 1951. He graduated from the Tokyo University of Education, and later became the chief instructor at the KODOKAN for many years, and was the manager of the Japanese JUDO team at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, and at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1992, he received the rank of KODOKAN 10th  DAN. He has published several textbooks on JUDO.( See BOOKS on JUDO)  


 DE HERDT Jean (1923-2013) FRA


    He was the first European judo champion, a 4-time European champion (1951, open -3. dan, 1952 4.dan, 1955 4. dan)  actually. He is considered as one of Kawaishi's first judo student and started judo the same year as Fukuda Keiko (1935). As so many, he became the victim of judo politics.




DRAEGER, DONN F. (1922-1985)


Martial arts author, historian, and pioneer Draeger is regarded as the foremost Western scholar of the Japanese classical disciplines, in which he holds numerous black belt ranks and teaching licenses Draeger has lived in Japan, China Mongolia, Korea, Malaysia, and Indoesia. His works include: Practical Karate (six volumes), JUDO for Young Man, Pentjak-Silat, Weapons & Fighting Art of the Indonesian Archipelago, Classical Bujutsu, Classical Budo, Modern Budo & Bujutsu, and with Robert W. Smith, Asian fighing Arts. Scientific weight training were introduce to the Japanese by Donn DRAEGER, who studying JUDO and training at the KODOKAN. He collaborated with Ishikawa Takahiko, one of KIMURA Mashiko’s great adversaries, on a book called ‘Judo Training Methods’.A number of high-level Japanese competitors came to DRAEGER for advice, among the first of them INOKUMA Isao.  DRAEGER taught him to train with them in a planned and systematic progression. In 1967 Draeger doubled for actor Sean Connery and was a stunt choreographer for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. He has for some time been engaged in research for his doctoral dissertation in hoplology, the science of weapons.  (See Books on Judo)










ENDO, SUMIO (1950-  )


Japanese heavyweight JUDO champion, winner of the 1975 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Winner of the 1974 and 1976 All Japan JUDO Championships, he was also a bronze medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympics A former All Japan College Champion as well, Endo is famous for his seolnage, but is also respected for such moves as KOSOTOGARI, OSOTOGARI, and UCHIMATA.






He was a chiropractor and a JU JUTSU master. He was over six feet tall. He began his study of JU JUTSU in the school of Okuyama-Nen ryu. Later he studied Kiraku Ryu and ás a young mán he moved to Edo (Tokyo) and became a student of Masamoto ISO, the master of TENSHIN-SHINYO RYU: It was said that no one could beat him. Fukuda became a SENSEI in a while and was the first teacher of Jigoro KANO. Fukuda was better át the techniques than át the formai exercises (KATA).


In May 1879 former United States president U. S. Grant visited Japán. Eiichi Shibusawa, a noted politician of the Meiji éra, thought the visiting former president would enjoy a martial árts performance. The demonstration was favorably received by General Grant and his party, and widely reported in the American press. Just nine days after performing Master Fukuda died. He was 52 years old. KANO attempted tó keep the DOJO in operation by himself, bút soon realized that he needed more training. KANO continued hi study of the TENSHIN SHINYO RYU with Masamoto ISO, són of the school' s founder.




FUKUDA KEIKO (福田 敬子  (1913- 2013)  Kodokan 9th Dan


She is the highest-ranking female practitioner of JUDO  in the world. She was born in Tokyo, and began the practice of judo in 1935 at the age of 21. She was invited to study judo by Jigoro KANO, the founder of the KODOKAN JUDO, because of his relationship with her grandfather, FUKUDA  Hachinosuke, who had taught TENSHIN-SHIN’YO  JU-JUTSU to Kano a number of years prior. FUKUDA is the last living pupil of KANO. In 1973, Fukuda published Born for the Mat, an instructional book intended for women about the KATA of  KODOKAN JUDO. Fukuda currently holds a 9th degree black belt (9th DAN) in JUDO. She was awarded a rare red belt in judo by the UNITED STATES JUDO FEDERATION in 2001 for her lifelong contribution to KODOKAN JUDO In January 2006, at its annual Kagami Biraki New Years celebration, the KODOKAN JUDO  Institute also awarded her the 9th degree black belt (9th DAN). She is the only woman to ever hold this high a rank from any recognized JUDO  organization. In 2005, Fukuda published Ju-No-Kata: A Kodokan textbook, Revised and Expanded from Born for the Mat (Publisher: North Atlantic Books): A pictorial textbook for performing Ju no KATA, one of the seven KODOKAN KATA. She teaches at the Soko Joshi JUDO Club in the Noe valley district of San Francisco, California.


Fukuda also teaches at the annual Joshi Judo Camp, a camp she founded in 1974 to give women judoka an opportunity to train together. .(See Books on JUDO




SYDNEY HOARE (1939-2017)


He was an Olympic judo competitor, author and commentator.


At 14, while a pupil at Alperton secondary modern school, Wembley, he wandered into WH Smith and found a book on jujitsu, which led to judo lessons at the Budokwai club in Kensington and sparked a lifelong passion for the sport.


Syd quickly became obsessed with judo and underwent intense training, often running the seven miles back to his home in Wembley to lift weights after a two-hour session at the Budokwai. In 1955, at 16 he was the youngest Briton to obtain a black belt and two years later won a place in the British judo team. He respected not only judo’s physical and mental aspects but its link to eastern philosophy.


After a frustrating stint doing national service in the army, he lived for four years in Japan, training at the Kodokan dojo in Tokyo and immersing himself in the country’s culture. He became fluent in Japanese and later gained an honours degree in Japanese language, literature and history at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.




Syd was a member of the first British judo team to compete in the Olympics in 1964 and was a silver medallist in the European Championships in 1965. On retiring from competition he was appointed chief instructor at the Budokwai and later became national coach and chairman of the British Judo Association. He was awarded 8th dan in judo and 5th dan in sumo.


Raising awareness of the sport of sumo in the UK, he founded the British Sumo Association and created the first British sumo team, who competed in the World Championships in 1992. This led to appearances on TV shows including the Jonathan Ross Show and Matthew Kelly’s You Bet, usually tying a mawashi – sumo belt – on to the presenter. Trading on his “tough guy” looks, he played small film roles in films including Guy Ritchie’s comedy crime caper Snatch, the sumo wrestling movie Secret Society (both 2000) and Kenneth Branagh’s As You Like It (2006)




A judo traditionalist who cared deeply about the roots of the sport and how it was maintained and developed, Syd was brusque and unconventional but patient and fair with a mischievous sense of humour.














  KLAHN, KLAUS (1942-)


West German JUDO heavyweight category at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the 1972 Olympics he captured a silver medal, losing the world champion Wilhelm Ruska. Glahn has been European JUDO Champion in 1963, 1968, and 1970, and has won silver medals at 1967 and 1969 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Glahn is noted for his devastating tai-otoshi and superiror matwork.





British JUDO instructor and coach of British National JUDO Team. He was the first non-Oriental to became a special research student at the KODOKAN, studying there from 1952 to 1955. In 1955, he was appointing chief instructor of the BUDOKWAI, and two years later, captained a British team that won the European JUDO Championships. He is the author of JUDO for the West, The Anatomy of JUDO, and Better JUDO.  (See Books on Judo)






British journalist, author, diplomat, linguist, and martial artist. In 1919, Harrison joined London’s BUDOKWAI, England’s JUDO mecca, and remained an active member until his death at age 88. He was the first Caucasian to become a 3rd-degree black belt in JUDO, during the mid-1900s. The first Westerner to write prolifically about  the martial arts, Harrison wrote his classic, The Fighting Spirit of Japan, in 1912. The book examines the esoteric principles of the Japanese martial arts. See Books on Judo)




West German middleweight JUDO champion. Many times a winner of the German JUDO Championships, he became an international star when he won silver medal at 1964 Olympics Games, losing only to All Japan Champion ISAO OKANO. At the 1965 Europan Games, he was a member of the winner West German Team, defeating Anatoly Bondarenbo, a strong Soviet competitor. Hoffman favors uchimata and seoinage, and is especially strong on the mat.






KANO Jigoro ‘s second teacher of JU JUSU, ISO Masatomo took ill in 1881 and died. Later KANO met Iikubo, the master of KITO RYU JU JUTSU. Iikubo awarded KANO a licence of full transmission (menkyo kaiden) in 1883. In KANO’s time the KITO RYU focused primarily on throwing techniques (NAGE WAZA). Iikubo was already over fifty, he continued to train full time, and he was the most skilled martial artist under whom KANO ever trained. (In his memoirs KANO stated, ‘From Master FUKUDA, I learned what my life’s work would be: from Master MASAMOTO, I learned the subtle nature of KATA: and from Master Iikubo, I learned varied techniques and the importance of timing.




IIZUKA KUNISABURO (1875-1958)  Kodokan 10th Dan


Entered the KODOKAN in 1891. As a young man he was very keen to go abroad but in 1906 was asked to become JUDO instructor at Keio (the oldest private University in Japan) and he remained there for more than fifty years, devoting his whole life to the work. He was a member of both the KODOKAN Council and the DOJO Consultative Group He was one of the first of Jigoro Kano's students to be awarded a judan (10th-dan) ranking, in 1946.


After coming to Tokyo to attend Keio University and Nishogakusha, Kunisaburo Iizuka entered Kodokan in November of 1891. He then served as a Judo instructor assistant at the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School, and at the Seventh Senior High School Zoshikan (in Kagoshima). Beginning from 1899, he spent 7 years in Fukuoka as a priest at the Fukuoka Prefectural Shuyukan Senior High School, as a part-time employee of the Fukuoka Teachers Training School, and as the Tenshikan master.


Following the Russo-Japanese war, Mr. Iizuka served for 38 years (until 1945) as Judo master at Keio University.


He also served as master at the Imperial Fisheries Institute, and at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, while at the same time opening the Itogokan dojo in Shibuya where he taught Judo. Mr. Iizuka died on July 25, 1958 at the age of 84.






INMAN,ROY (1946-2015)


British JUDO coach
Roy Inman hold the grade of 8th Dan, and was the High Performance Judo Coach at the University between 1999 and 2006, before moving to the role of Judo Technical Director.


He was the British Judo Association National Coach for over 15 years, has coached at 3 Olympic Games, and his players have won 6 Olympic medals and 13 World Championships.


He is a director of the British Judo Association, was awarded the U.K. coach of the year in 1991, the O.B.E. from H.M. the Queen in 1992 and a Full Blue from the University of Bath in 2001. (See Books on Judo)














ISO MASAMOTO (1818-1881)


He was a master of the TENSHIN SHIN’YO RYU JU JUTSU school, and son of the school’s founder (Iso Mataemon d. 1862). Iso ran a training hall in Kanda, Tokyo. He was a small man only 5 feet tall but his arms and legs were as strong as steel. In 1879 KANO Jigoro entered the Masamoto Iso JUJUTSU school. Masamoto was 62 years old at the time, he no longer engaged in RANDORI but he was still a grand master of KATA. KANO later told his own students that Masamoto’s KATA were ‘the most beautiful I ever saw executed’. When Masamoto died (1881) KANO went to train with IIKUBO Tsunetoshi (1835 -89) of the KITO RYU.




ISOGAI, HAJIME (1871-1947)   Kodokan 10th Dan


Entered the KODOKAN in 1891 and practised assiduously under Jigoro KANO. In 1899, he was selected to go to the Butokukai in Kyoto where he worked for many years spreading JUDO and training new teachers. On December 22, 1937, he was awarded the grade of 10th DAN directly by Jigoro KANO (only a few months before Jigoro KANO died). At the age of 66, he was the fourth youngest person to attain 10th DAN. He is considered to be one of the great figures in Kansai JUDO (Kansai is the mid-western portion of Honshu, the main island of the Japanese group.) Isogai died on April 19, 1947. 




JACKS,BRIAN (  1945-)


He is a British JUDOKA who won Britain's first medal at a world championship, taking a bronze in Salt Lake City in 1967, and gained a second bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He later achieved national fame for his outstanding "Gym Test" performances on the BBC programme Superstars.His victories in the British and European Superstars lead to the creation of the branded computer games: Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge and Brian Jacks UCHI-MATA... After retiring from judo he opened a fitness and martial arts club, and in 1990 he started a company hiring bouncy castles. (See BOOKS ON JUDO)




JIRO, NANGO (1876-1951)


Japanese JUDO administrator; past presidnet of the KODOKAN. He began studying JUDO with founder Jigoro KANO in JUDO’s embryonic era and received his black belt in 1884 while continuing a career in the navy, from which he retired as a rear admiral.


In 1938, when Prof. KANO died, the KODOKAN board of trustees unanimously chose Jiro his successor, a post he held until September, 1946, when he retired due to bad health. While president he established a system of JUDO for juveniles, fixed the KATA and self-defense for women, and founded the institute for the training of teachers of JUDO. He was one of the few juDANs, 10th-degree black belts.






KAMINAGA, AKIO (1936-1993)


Japanese JUDO champion. Kaminaga won the All Japan JUDO Championships three times, in 1960, 1961 and 1964 but lost the Olympics openweight finals in Tokyo to Anton Geesink. Altough extremely shortsighted, he was particulady  proficient at the TAI OTOSHI (body drop) and UCHIMATA (inner-thigh trow) Kaminaga was an Olympics silver medalist in the open class at Tokyo in 1964.




KANOKOGI, RENA (“Rusty”) /1935-2009/


She  was a Jewish-American JUDOKA  from Brooklyn, New York. Born as Rena Glickman, she became the first woman to practise judo in the Kodokan dojo in Tokyo, Japan.  In 1959 Rena competed at the YMCA championship in Utica, N.Y. disguised as a man. To maintain her disguise she changed in a broom closet, cut her hair short, and taped down her breasts. She was an alternate on the team and had to step in when a male member was injured and unable to compete. She won the match against her male opponent and her team won the contest. She was then pulled aside and asked if she was a female. She told the truth and was stripped of her gold medal. 50 years later in August 2009 the New York State YMCA awarded Rena Kanokogi a gold medal to honor her lifetime's work. She sponsored the first women's judo competition and was the driving force behind the introduction of women's judo in the Olympics. Kanokogi met her husband, Ryohei Kanokogi, while in Japan in the 1960s. In 1988, Kanokogi was Coach of the first United States Olympic Women's Judo Team. In 2008, she was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan's highest civilian honors.[






Japanese JUDO chAmpion whose crisp throwing techniques won him the world lightweight titles in 1971. He was an Olympic gold medallist  in 1972 and a silver medallist in the 1973 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.




(1899-1969) Non-Kodokan 10th Dan (FFDJA 10th Dan)


Japanese-born French JUDO pioneer. He studied JU-JUTSU in Kyoto. It is not known exactly what style of JU-JUTSU he learnt. In England he continues to teach this form refer to his teaching as Kawaishi Ryu JU-JUTSU. In the mid 1920’s he left Japan and toured the United States. In 1928, he arrived in the United Kingdom and established a JU-JUTSU club in Liverpool. In 1931, he moved to London, founding the Anglo-Japanese JUDO Club and teaching JUDO at Oxford University. Around this time he was awarded his third DAN by JIgoro KANO. It was common at this time for JU-JUTSU instructors to teach, or call what they taught, JUDO. In 1936, then a fourth DAN, Kawaishi moved to Paris where he taught JU-JUTSU and JUDO. During World War II, he returned to Japan. After the war he returned to Paris to continue teaching. He introduced various coloured belts in Europe. He developed an intuitive style of instruction and a numerical ordering of the techniques that he felt was more suitable for the occidental. This seemed to catch on in France and there was a rapid growth of interest in JUDO. He placed special emphasis on KATA training. He promulgated KYUZO MIFUNE’s Gonosen No KATA (The KATA of Counters) in Europe and possibly his own version of Go No KATA. He also wrote the book “Seven KATAs of JUDO”.
See Books on Judo)




KERR, GEORGE (1937-) Scottish champion


He won three Europan silver and two bronze medals during the 1960s. A member of the British team, in the middleweight category and open events. His excellent range of ground work techniques, superb UCHI-MATA(innerthigh throw) and knowledge of amateur wrestling (he represented Britain in the 1965 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS) contributed to his succes. Kerr won the 1966 and 1968 British Open middleweight titles before retiring.


He was one of the first athletes to go to Japan, study there and brought the skills of physical training and the philosophy of judo to Britain and to Europe. He trained with Anton GEESINK, one of the seven 10th Dan graduates, and still a friend of KERR.


After his judo career where he won European individual medals and with the British Team in the late fifties and early sixties, Kerr developed himself as an international referee. He refereed at two Olympic Games (1972 and 1976) and at three World Championships between 1969 and 1975. He retired as international referee in 1976.


Later Kerr was a coach of many many fighters. At the Edinburgh Judo Club he had an exchange program with the Tokai University where champion came to Scotland to learn English and to train at Kerr’s club. Yoshi Nakamura, Hidetoshi Nakanishi, both world champions were trained by Kerr.


Later Kerr was a coach of many many fighters. At the Edinburgh Judo Club he had an exchange program with the Tokai University where champion came to Scotland to learn English and to train at Kerr’s club. Yoshi Nakamura, Hidetoshi Nakanishi, both world champions were trained by Kerr.


In 2010 he was awarded the grade 10th DAN for international services to JUDO  He is one of only five non-Japanese out of 19 people ever to be awarded this honour. He is the second Briton after Charles PALMER and the youngest person ever to have gained the rank of 10th DAN in JUDO.  (See BOOK on JUDO)






Russian judo champion. Kiknadze won eight European gold medals, four individually and four as a member of the Soviet contingent that won consecutive team titles from 1963-67 .He won a gronze medal at both the 1964 OLYMPIC GAMES and the 1965 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, and a silver medal in the 1968 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS before retiring.






KIMURA MASHIKO (1917-1993)


He was the greatest JUDO champion of all time, he won his first DAN at 15. He was second DAN at 16 and third DAN a year later. At the age of 20, he won the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS for the first time. He was only 5’7”, but his favourite technique was OSOTO-GARI with combination of OUCHI-GARI, and strong NEWAZA. He also used IPPON-SEOI-NAGE and UCHIMATA. He won the ALL –JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1937, 1938 and 1939. His training methods were extreme. Before he went to sleep that night he did 500 press-ups, 1 km of bunny hops, and 500 makiwara strikes. He learned Shotokan and Goju-ryu karate. In 1949, he reached the final of the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS. He faced Takahiko Ishikawa and fought one of the hardest matches of his life. It was declared a draw after two periods of extra time. At the age of 40, he was still fighting professionally and remained outside the central JUDO environment, because professional JUDO was against KANO’s ethics.  He won all his fights – but faded, and he started another professional fighting career abroad.






Chen, Jim. (1997). Mashahiko Kimura, the man who defeated Helio Gracie, http://




KOIZUMI GUNJI (1885-1965)


Japanese JUDO master (8th DAN) who was the father of European JUDO, founding the BUDOKWAI in 1918. He was first proficient in JUJUTSU but switched to JUDO. A dedicated instructor, he founded clubs all over Europe, leading to the establishment of both the British JUDO Association and the EUROPEAN JUDO UNION. He was an Oriental art expert, practiced calligraphy, and helped to introduce Buddism into Britain. He taught at the BUDOKWAI until the day before he died. (See Sec. BOOKS on JUDO)



KOTANI, SUMIYUKI (1903-1991) Kodokan 10th Dan


He received the rank of 10th DAN in April 1984, the oldest person to be awarded this rank (until 2006 when Ichiro Abe was promoted at age 83). Graduated from Tokyo College of Education. He was one of Jigoro KANO's direct students, and only the 7th man to receive a 10th Degree Black Belt while he was still alive. He was very active in promoting JUDO all around the world and was the head instructor of the International Division of the KODOKAN for many years, and a professor of Tokai University. He was the KODOKAN's top ranked official and Vice President of the All Japan JUDO Federation. During his student days, he would practice with every powerful and skillful JUDOKA he could lay his hands on, rather than avoid the "beating" he knew would be coming. To be thrown, immobilized, or strangled, was nothing but delight for him. The thing that really counted was practice. He died on October 19, 1991.




KURIHARA TAMIO (1896-1979)  Kodokan 10th Dan


Kurihara was born in May, 1896. He became the 11th person to be promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death October 8, 1979. He graduated from the Kyoto Budo Senmon-Gako (Martial Art College) and became "shihan" (Master Instructor of JUDO) at Kyoto 3rd higher school. One of his impressive competitions was the May 1926 Emperor's Cup final facing one of the young upcoming strong players, Ushijima Tatsukuma, a 26 year old 5th DAN. He won a decision here after a hard competition to take the title.






British JUDO instructor. For many years the highest-graded non-Japanese JUDOKA and the first Englishman to go to Japan specifically to study JUDO. In 1932, he joined the BUDOKWAI and studied under Yukio TANI. He studied law at the University of London graduating in 1934. He was a 3rd DAN and captain of the British team when he went to Japan in 1938; In 1946, he was appointed head of the Japanese section of the B.B. C. and during the following 15 years trained almost every leading JUDO fighter in Britain at the BUDOKWAI. He is a prolific writer on poetry, Buddhism He published 30 books. He was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese Government in 1984.




MAEDA MITSUYO (1878-1941)


He joined the KODOKAN in 1897. An extraordinary learner, by 1903, Maeda advanced to fourth DAN, winning several leading JUDO tournaments in the process. He went to USA with TOMITA in 1904. Maeda and Tomita soon opened a JUDO club in New York City.


Maeda turned to American professional wrestling in 1906. The 5’5”, 154-pound Maeda was said, some 1,000 challenge matches against all-comers, never once losing a JUDO-style competition. He settled in Brazil in 1915 and he was feted as Conte Comte (Count Combat) and now his system of fighting, now called “Gracie JUJUTSU”. In 1929, the KODOKAN promoted Maeda to sixth DAN in JUDO. He died in 1941, at the age of 63. His promotion to seventh DAN in JUDO was dated in 1941, so the certificate arrived after his death. The KODOKAN did not forget his contributions to the growth of JUDO to Brazil. Japan dedicated a stone memorial to him in Hirosaki City.






Gorsuch, Mark. (2002). Mitsuyo Maeda (Count Coma) biography, http: //








MIFUNE KYUZO (1883-1965)  Kodokan 10th Dan


He joined the KODOKAN in 1903 and remained a member until his death. When he came to Tokyo to attend Waseda University, and became the close disciple of Jigoro KANO, the father of JUDO. After 15 months, he achieved ShoDAN (1st Degree) in KODOKAN JUDO, and after the remarkably short time of four more months, NiDAN (2nd Degree). Though timing and speed, Mifune quickly gained a reputation, and was never defeated. By 1912, he was a RokyuDAN (6th Degree) and an instructor at a number of universities, high schools, and junior high schools. In 1945, he was elevated to JuDAN (10th), the fourth of seven men to ever be so honored. After developing many new JUDO techniques and variations, he came to be known as the “God of JUDO”. In 1956, he wrote his classic book, Canon of JUDO, still a remarkable exposition of JUDO history, philosophy, and technical description. His influence on post-war JUDO cannot be underestimated. His skill was perhaps the most elegant ever seen at the KODOKAN. He passed away in 1965 at the age of eighty-two. At his hometown, Kuji, a Memorial Gymnasium was erected in his honor, called the MifunejuDAN.


Moshe Feldenkrais 1904-1984


Physically active, Feldenkrais played soccer and practiced the martial arts. He studied with Kano Jigoro, the originator of Judo, and in 1936 became one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in that discipline. A chronic knee injury prompted him to apply his knowledge of physics, body mechanics, neurology, learning theory and psychology to a new understanding of human function and maturation. His investigations resulted in the formulation of a unique synthesis of science and aesthetics, known as the FELDENKRAIS METHOD®. Dr. Feldenkrais wrote five books about the method as well four books on Judo.


Feldenkrais, Moshe (1904 - 1984), " Higher Judo : Groundwork (Katame-waza) ", London, United Kingdom, Frederick Warne & Co., 1952, 224p, RS.
Feldenkrais, Moshe (1904 - 1984), " Judo : The art of Defence and Attack ", London, United Kingdom, Frederick Warne & Co., 1941 1944, 176p, 20 cm, BJ.
Feldenkrais, Moshe (1904 - 1984), " Practical unarmed combat ", London, United Kingdom, Frederick Warne & Co., 1942, 96p, RS.
Feldenkrais, Moshe (1904 - 1984), " Science versus brute force or Jiu-jitsu for intellectuals ", Paris, France, M.Feldenkraiz, 1933?, 3292.






MUNAKATA ITSURO (1866-1941) 7th DAN


Itsuro Munakata came to Tokyo in 1883, and entered Kodokan in 1884. At the same time, he also entered the Kano Juku Tutoring School and the Kobunkan.
In September of 1886, he became superintendent of the Kano Juku Juvenile School. He later taught at the Kyoto Nishi-hongan-ji Temple's Daigakurin's literary dormitory in Kyoto, followed by posts as a KODOKAN supervisor in September of 1891, headmaster at Omura Junior High School in Nagasaki Prefecture (1893), teacher at the Advanced Teachers Training School (Sept., 1896), headmaster at the Unebi Junior High School (May, 1900), teacher at the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School (July, 1907).
He later served at headmaster at the Shonai Junior High School and the Sendai First Junior High School where he actively promoted both education and Judo. In April of 1920, he returned to KODOKAN  as a supervisor and dedicated himself to teaching JUDO  and handling KODOKAN affairs.
Mr. Munakata died in 1941 at the age of 76.




NAGAOKA HIDEKAZU (1876-1952)  Kodokan 10th Dan


Came to Tokyo from his birth place, Okayama at the age of 16 to seek out the Shihan. Entered the KODOKAN in 1893 and practised so hard it was said of him, "The technique is Sutemi, the man is Nagaoka." Many of his contests are still the subject of countless reminiscences. All his efforts were poured into the training of young teachers and he was of the greatest assistance to the President of the KODOKAN. He did much to gain for the KODOKAN the secure position it enjoys today and was promoted 10th DAN on December 27, 1937 by Jigoro KANO, just a few months before Jigoro KANO died. He is one of only three 10th DANs promoted to that rank by the founder of JUDO. He and Isogai were the first students of KANO to be promoted to 10th DAN while alive, and he was the youngest man ever to be promoted to 10th DAN. He passed away on November 22, 1952.




NAKANO SHOZO (1888-1977)  Kodokan 10th Dan


He  was born in January 1888. He was promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death on December 22, 1977. He became master instructor at Tokyo Ikashika University (Medical School). He energetically promoted KODOKAN JUDO to the world. His uchimata throw was very famous. He said „My strategy is to let my opponent get his favorite satisfactory grip and then I find my own way of chance to throw my opponent.”






He is a pioneer of US JUDO. He was United States Division JUDO champion three times, in 1965, 1966 1970. In 1965 he retired as the National AAU (Amateur Athletic Union)  Grand Champion. A member of four United States international teams, he won a gold medal in the Pan-American Games in 1967.NISHIOKA was also the British-Colombian Champion in1966, and placed 5th in the WORLD JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1965 and 1967. He is also a black belt in Shotokan KARATE. After retiring from competition, he became a physical education instructor at Los Angeles City College in California, heading its martial arts program. He has authored several books on JUDO. (See BOOKS on JUDO)










  OKANO KOTARO (1885-1967)  Kodokan 10th Dan


OKANO was born April 1885. He became the 9th man to be promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death on June 2, 1967. He was the first graduated student from the Budo Senmon-Gakko (martial art school) and he became "shihan" (master of martial art) in 6th Okayama Higher School and Okayama Police. His mat technique was one of the best among the JUDO world at that time.


 OSAKO, JOHN (1921-1983)


 American born Japanese judo instructor, champion, and referee. He returned to Japan when he was 13 years old and eventually emigrated back to the US in 1941, In 1939 Osako was Kagoshima State Champion.After moving to the U.S. .he won the heavyweight and grand championships at the 1956 AAU Nationals, in 1955 and 1958 he was the 180-lb. champion. He was also grand champion at the first two Pan-American championships, held in Havana, Cuba, in 1952 and 1954. The first certified referee of the IJF, he has since chaired several officiating committees. Osako wrote several handbooks on officiating. Member of Who’s Who in the Martial Arts. He is a member of the Michigan Judo Hall of Fame, was the respected head sensei at Detroit Judo Club, and one of American judo’s true pioneers.




Osawa Yoshimi (1927–) Kodokan 10th DAN


Promoted to Kodokan 10th dan on 8 January 2006, at age 79. Osawa is also still coaching at the Kodokan, and is recognised for his support of women’s JUDO. Osawa was known by the nickname Current Ushiwakamaru (Ushiwakamaru was the childhood name of a legendary twelfth-century samurai who was small but quick.)




OTAKI TADAO ( 1908-1998)


High-ranking KODOKAN instructor, is one of the Japan’ s foremost JUDOists. He has instructed many Japanese national, world, and Olympic champions: he is also a popular teacher among non-Japanese JUDOists both in Japan and abroad. As a professor of physical education at Tokyo Education University, he is engaged in historical and technical research concerning the role of JUDO in education. His long experience in teaching JUDO to everyone from beginners to Olympic champions – and his contributions to its teaching methods brought him worldwide acclaim.




OSAKO, JOHN (1921-)


Japanese-born American judo instructor, champion, and referee. In 1939 Osako was Kagoshima State Champion.After moving to the U.S. .he won the heavyweight and grand championships at the 1956 AAU Nationals, in 1955 and 1958 he was the 180-lb. champion. He was also grand champion at the first two Pan-American championships, held in Havana, Cuba, in 1952 and 1954. The first certified referee of the IJF, he has since chaired several officiating committees. Osako wrote several handbooks on officiating. Member of Who’s Who in the Martial Arts. He was an Olympic referee and was one of the founders of the judo referee training program in the US.




MASUTARO OTANI (1898-1977)


He took up Judo in 1917 and studied for two years under Seizo Usui. 2nd Dan. (Kodokan).


He came to England in 1919. and two years later joined the Budokwai and studied under Hikoichi Aida. For eight years he was absent from Judo and then became trainee assistant to Yukio Tani. Chief instructor to the Budokwai.


Masutaro Otani had been fortunate to study under many of the greatest Judo Masters; including Sensei Kabumoto, Sensei Ishiguro, Sensei Kotani 9th Dan and was personally examined and graded by Shuichi Nagaoka 10th Dan, (The highest rank in Judo).


Sensei Otani was Judo Instructor to Oxford University for six years, and Cambridge University for five years.


During the Second World War, as Sensei Otani was Japanese, he was interned in a prisoner of war camp in the UK, despite protests from many sources, including the Oxbridge Universities.


Promotion to 4th Dan was from Yukio Tani, 5th Dan by Ichiro Hata.


When Kenshiro Abbe came to England in 1955, Masutaro Otani followed him and was promoted 6th Dan.


In 1959 he became 7th Dan and became National Coach of the British Judo Council, taking over from Abbe Sensei.  Membership of the BJC grew rapidly through to the early 1960s. Abbe served as president until 1964 when he returned to Japan. Masutaro Otani, in turn, served as BJC president until his death in 1977. The presidency was then filled by Otani's son, Robin Otani, who serves as president to the present day.




PALMER, CHARLES STUART (1930 – 2001)  Non-Kodokan 10th Dan; IJF 10th Dan


British JUDO instructor. . Palmer was a judo instructor, President of the Budokwai, President of the British Judo Association (1961–1985), President of the International Judo Federation (1965–1979) and Chairman of the British Olympic Association (1983–1988). Palmer was a judoka who attained the sport's highest rank of 10th dan black belt (non-Kodokan)  He started JUDO when he was 15. The founder of British JUDO. Gunji KOIZUMI and 8th DAN Trevor LEGGETT, were his teachers. He won a black belt in 1948 and went to Japan in 1951 to work at the British Embassy and study at the KODOKAN. During his four years in Japan, he studied under Kyoshi Kobayashi and the late 10th DAN Kyuzo MIFUNE. In 1957, he was a member of the British team which won the European title for the first time and the following two years he captained the British JUDO team. As president of the INTERNATIONAL JUDO FEDERATION, he was chiefly responsible for the reintroduction of JUDO to the Olympic programme and for the standardization of the international contest rules which he carried out in collaboration with the KODOKAN  At the time of his death Charles was the Honorary Life Vice President of the IJF and President of the BJA.






PORTER, PHILIP (1925-2011)


American JUDO author, administrator, and referee. Porter did not begin studying the sport until he was 27, yet he competed regularly until age 41. In 1975 he won the 50-55 class competition at the National Masters Tournamnet. A graduate of West Point, Porter began his JUDO career while in the military and wrote the constitution of the United States Air Force JUDO association in 1959. He has founded clubs on Air Force bases all over the world, in 1973, he organized the All American JUDO Club in Sacramento. He was one of the founders of the USJA (United States Judo Association) formed in 1954. He also served three years as National Chairman of the AAU Judo Committee (1961–1964), Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Judo Committee (1964–1968), Secretary General of the Pan American Judo Union (1964–1967), Technical Director of the Pan American Judo Union (1967–1969), President, U. S. Judo Association (1980–1995); Editor, "American Judo" (1960–1995), President and Head Coach, National Judo Institute and National Judo Team, (1980–1995). e served on the six-member Consultative Committee of Referees for the first Judo Olympics in Tokyo in 1964, and was the referee for the team finals in the World CISM Games of 1971 in Vienna, Austria.. As technical director of the Pan-American JUDO Union, Porter rewrote the first international rules. In 1967 he trained referees for the Pan-American Games in Canada. Founder and editor of the American JUDOman Magazin (1960), he is author of the first two JUDO handbooks ever published in the U.S. He also published two instrutional books: JUDO from the Beginning, which he wrote, and Championships JUDO Drill Training, which he edited for author Ben Campbell. A member of the Who’s Who in the Martial Arts, he chaired the National AAU JUDO Committee and the U.S: Olympics JUDO Committee.




ROSS DR, ARTHUR JOHN (1893-1971)


Founder of Australian JUDO. Dr. ROSS brought JUDO to Australia in 1927. He founded the first JUDO club in Australia. He was born in London, England, but he moved to Japan when he was eight years old. In Tokyo he practiced JIU-JITSU and JUDO under Jigoro KANO. He wrote the first JUDO book in Australia (Textbook of Judo, Sydney, 1949). He was awarded 8th DAN in 1968.


For Reading


Ross, Dr. A. J., " Text book of Judo (Jiu-jitsu) vol. 1 ", Sydney, Australia, The Australian Council of Judo, 1949, 71p, 21 cm, UoB.














SAIGO SHIRO (1866 – 1922)


Shiro was adopted son of Aikmijutsu master Saigo Tanomo. He was known for his great ability and strength at a young age. He was particularly well known for his powerful YAMA ARASHI (“mountain storm”) technique (this not the same technique we know today as “YAMA ARASHI”). He was recruited by KANO Jigoro to be his “showman” for the KODOKAN system. He earned the rank of SHODAN in JUDO in 1883, but he was a GODAN (5th degree ) by the age of 23. KANO Jigoro returned to Japan in January 1891. He had been abroad for sixteen months. Unfortunately, Saigo had gotten into trouble in the meantime. When KANO was informed of the incident he had no choice but to banish his most talented student. Saigo fled to distant Nagasaki. He took up KYUDO (Japanese archery, and mastered that discipline just as thoroughly as he had JUJUTSU. In a gesture of forgiveness, upon Saigo’s death KANO posthumously awarded his former student the rank of “KODOKAN JUDO Sixth DAN”. He is also is known to have been the model for the main chracter in Tomita Tsuneo’s 1942 novel Sugata Sanshiro. (The great movie director Kurosawa Akira /1920-1998/ began his career with  Sugata Sanshiro /1943/, a film on JUDO.)Saigo died in 1922 at the age of 57.




SAMURA, KAICHIRO (1880-1964)  Kodokan 10th Dan


One of the two longest living 10th DANs, he joined the KODOKAN in 1898 and received the grade of 10th DAN on April 5, 1948. In 1899, he became the head of the JUDO Section of the Butokukai and later traveled extensively teaching at schools and police establishments. In 1931, he began teaching at the KODOKAN and was a member of the DOJO Consultative Group




SHORIKI, MATSUTARO (1885-1969) Kodokan 10th Dan


Born April 11, 1885 in Toyama Prefecture, educated at Takaoka Middle School, Fourth National Higher School, and Tokyo Imperial University. Director of the Police Affairs Section of the Metropolitan Police Board, President of the Yomiuri Shimbunsha (Japanese newspaper) and later its owner. Appointed Member of the House of Peers and elected Member of the House of Representatives. Served as State Minister. Established Japan's first commercial television station Nippon Television Network Corporation. Started professional baseball in Japan and contributed to its development. President of the Franco-Japanese University JUDO Association, Chairman of Nippon Budokan, and President of National Dietman's JUDO Federation. He is the only non-professional in the history of the KODOKAN to hold the 10th DAN. He was promoted after his death on October 9, 1969.












SMITH, ROBERT W. (1926-2011)


American martial arts instructor, writer and author. He received his first judo instruction while in the Marine Corps (1944-46), then joined the Chicago JUDO Club under John  Osako in 1946. By 1960 Smith held a third-degree black belt from the KODOKAN . As a rersult of his studies in Taiwan (1959-62) he became a leading authority on Chinese fighting forms and techniques. Among his books are A Complete Guide to Judo (1958), Asian Fighting Arts (with Donn Draeger, 1969), Pa-kua: Chinese Boxing (1967), Chinese Boxing, Masters and Methods (1974), Hsing-I, Chinese Mind-Body Boxing, Secrets of Shao-lin Temple Boxing (1964), and under the pseudonym John F. Gilbey, Secret Fighting Arts of the World (1964). He is one of the faremost Western authorities of the Eastern fighting arts-.(See BOOKS of JUDO)


SNIJDERS, JAN (1921-2014


oday the sad story reached us that Jan Snijders, one of the earliest pioneer of Dutch judo and jiu-jitsu,




Jan Snijders was trained in France bij the Frenchman Jean de Herdt and the Japanese Haku Michigami. In 1942, Snijders opened his own fojo in Utrecht, the First Utrecht Jiu Jitsu School. Within 5 years, judo was added to the trainings.


Jan Snijders was the first recipient of shōdan in The Netherlands. He was awarded this degree in september 1948, in Paris, by the Japanese Kawaishi.


Jan Snijders was one of the Founding Fathers of the Dutch Judo and Jiu-Jitsu Association, one of the predecessors of the current Judo Bond Nederland.


Jan Snijders is IJF Head Refereeing Director. He started judo in 1954 and in 1961 won gold at the European Junior Championships. In 1962, he was European Champion in Essen and in 1964 he participated in the first Olympics in Tokyo. During the years 1962 to 1972, he was a member of the Dutch national team. Snijders, like his twin brother Peter, was known for his technical perfection. He was a referee at seven world championships and at several Olympic Games (Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992).

The late Jan Snijders was a former student of Jean de Herdt, Haku Michigami and Mikinosuke Kawaishi. He was also the first Dutch black belt back in 1948 (promoted by Kawaishi), and was a colleague of Dutch 10th dan-holder Jaap Nauwelaerts de Agé.












SONE, TAIZO (-1972)


American JUDO instructor. Sone began judo in 1914 at KODOKAN .Sone’s work for a trading company brought him to the U.S. in the 1930s, wherever he went he instructed in JUDO. In 1958 Sone founded the Florida Yudanshakai. At the time of his death he was Florida AAU  JUDO Chairman, as well as charman of the board of examiners of the Florida Black Belt JUDO Association. Sone was named Sensei of the Year and inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1972.




SONODA, ISAMU  (1946- )


Japanese JUDO champion.. He attended the Fukuoka Institute of Technology, and won a gold medal at the 1969 World Judo Championships along with his older brother, Yoshio, who won the gold medal in the lightweight (-63 kg) division. He joined the Fukuoka prefectural police force in July, 1972, at the invitation of the police force's judo instructor. Sonoda had competed in the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS  10 times from age 19, but Shozo FUJI  had won the competition for three consecutive years prior to 1976, when the championship served as the qualifier for the 1976 OLYMPIC GAMES, and was seen as a lock for Japan's Olympic judo team. However, Sonoda defeated FUJI by a very close decision, gained his first appearance at the Olympics at age 29.. He defeated Valeriy Dvoinikov of the Soviet Union.  Sonoda retired after competing in the 1978Jigoro Kano Cup along with Kazuhiro Ninomiya. He and Ninomiya were rivals and friends for over 30 years, having been born on the same year, entered the same police force, competed in the same World Championships and Olympics, and having retired at the same time.  He worked as a judo instructor for the Fukuoka prefectural police, and one of his pupils, Kie Kusakabe, appeared in the 2000 and 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES.






British JUDO champion. In 1971, he was a member of the British team that captured the European title, and he won the bronze medal  at 1971 World JUDO Championships. In      1972 he captured the silver medal in the light- heavyweight division of the Munich Olympics and also the European title. The following year, he won a silver medal at EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS and a bronze in the WORLD  CHAMPIONSHIPS In 1976 he won a bronze in the Montreal Olympics. Now retired. He currently lives in France where he is a judo instructor and is a credited cliff jumper. His son, Leon, is also a  JUDOKA.  In November 2007 at the Judo World Cup in Birmingham he was awarded his 9th DAN by Densign White, chairman of the British Judo Association.




For Reading


Starbrook, Dave : Wilson, Neil  " Judo - Starbrook style ", London, United Kingdom, Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Limited, 1978, 128p, 29 cm, BJ, ISBN 0354085204.




TABATA SHOTARO (1884-1950) Kodokan 10th Dan


Entered the KODOKAN in 1900 and was promoted to 10th DAN on April 5, 1948. He was the third youngest person to receive a 10th DAN. From 1905, he taught at the Butokukai in Kyoto where he trained many new instructors and contributed greatly to the development and diffusion of JUDO. Together with Isogai, 10th DAN, he occupies a special place in Kansai JUDO. He died on May 25, 1950.




TANI YUKIO 幸雄 (1881-1950)


Yukio Tani was a diminutive Judo, or Jiu-Jitsu, expert, who was 5 foot 1 inch tall and weighed 9 stones. In 1900, the nineteen-year old Yukio, his brother Kaneo and a fellow jujutsuka Seizo Yamamoto travelled to London by invitation of Edward William Barton-Wright, the founder of Bartitsu.The following year he founded the British Society for Jiu-Jitsu with William Bankier, the strongman Apollo, who promoted Tani’s tours. He was also drawn by Cooke. In 1901 Tani demonstrated his skills at the Japan Society and in 1904 opened the Japanese School of Jiu-Jitsu at 305 Oxford Street, London. By 1903 he was in demand at music halls, when rewards were offered to anyone who could defeat him. In 1904, for example, at the Paragon Theatre of Varieties in the Mile End Road in London, the prize was £100, with a silver cup and a gold medal to the best amateurs staying a certain amount of time in the ring with him. At Hanley anyone who beat him was offered £100, and anyone whom he did not defeat within 15 minutes received 21 guineas. Tani appeared on the music hall circuit for several years, but allegedly was beaten only once, by a fellow Japanese.


In 1918 Tani became the first professional teacher at the London Budokwai, created by his countryman Gunji Koizumi initially teaching jiujitsu. The precise details of Tani's early jujutsu training in Japan are unclear, but he is known to have studied at the Fusen-ryu dojo, as Yukio's father and grandfather were friends with Fusen-ryu master Mataemon Tanabe. He also trained in Yataro Handa's jujutsu school in Osaka.




 During a visit to the Budokwai by Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodokan judo, in 1920, Tani was awarded the second-degree black belt rank in judo. Eventually Tani reached the rank of 4th-dan.


Yukio Tani suffered a stroke in 1937 but continued to teach from the sidelines of the Budokwai mats until his death on January 24, 1950.




Noble, Graham. (2000b). The odyssey of Yukio Tani. InYo, http: // Noble_1000.htm


 Tani, Yukio : Miyake, T., " The game of Ju-jitsu - for the use of schools and colleges ", London, United Kingdom, Hazell, Watson & Vinly, 1906, 86p, RS.




TUKU SANBO (1887-1945)


After being discovered by Jigoro KANO, Sanbo Toku came to Tokyo in 1906, and entered KODOKAN in May of that year.
In 1909, Mr. Toku entered the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School (literature and physical education fields, specializing in Japanese and Chinese classics) while continuing his keiko (training) at KODOKAN. He withdrew from school in 1911 in order to devote all his time to Kodokan.
He was known for arriving earliest at the dojo for keiko despite the fact that trains were not yet running at that hour, forcing him to walk 10 kilometers from Komatsugawa (Edogawa Ward). In addition to being the first in the dojo, Mr. Toku achieved a perfect attendance record.
He later became a JUDO  instructor at Waseda University, Nippon University, and Takushoku University. Although he founded his own facility for training apprentices, he was killed in a Tokyo air raid on March 10, 1945 at the age of 59.




TOMIKI KENJI (1900-1979)


Japanese aikido pioneer and JUDO instructor. Tomiki studied JUDO under its found, Jugor KANO, and after achieving a high level of competence, was asked in 1926 by KANO to learn aikido under founder Morihei Ueshiba. After extensive study he formulated a self-defense system called goshin-jutsu-KATA. Tomiki had delved into the possibilities of aikido as a form of physical exercise, while still respesting Ueshiba’s spiritual principles. Already a recognized authority of aikido instruction existed. Tomiki formulated a series of extended his system (originally of 15 basic techniques), adding two more techniques to the KATA and slightly altering some of the others; he called in the randori-no-KATA, or techniques suitable for freestyle fighting. He later devised a series in freestyle situations, thereby introducing a sport element into aikido. Tomiki further extended the formal side of aikido, modifying several koryus, or ancient forms, techniques against various weapons used in other martial arts. Tomiki was teaching at Waseda University between 1950-1979 where he was professor of Physical Education. He authored JUDO with Aikido in 1956, which was the first English text explaining the principles of aikido.




For Reading


Tomiki, Kenji (1900 - 1979), " Judo (Tourist library series, 22) ", Tokyo, Japan, Japan Travel Bureau, 1956, xii,176p, 21 cm, 3021.
Tomiki, Kenji (1900 - 1979), " Judo and Aikido (Tourist library 22) ", Tokyo, Japan, Japan Travel Bureau, 1960 1963[6] 1967[8], 184p, BLC.










Tokio Hirano (1922-1993)


Tokio Hirano (5’5”, 75 kg), obtained Godan (5th dan) at age 19, is perhaps the greatest JUDO technician of all time. He is probably the best known Japanese JUDOKA in Europe. In 1952, Hirano went to teach JUDO in Europe. Within six years, he had accumulated over 4,300 wins.


Hirano revolutionized the order to tsukuru, kumu, kakeru and nageru. This is the current European style JUDO. This is a proven method to defeat bigger opponents, as demonstrated by Hirano's stunning success. Wilhelm Ruska (Holland) 192 cm, 115 kg, was his most accomplished student. Ruska was the world heavyweight champion in 1967 and 1971 and runner up in 1969 (open weight). Wilhelm was the dual gold medallist in heavy and open weight class at the 1972 Munich Olympics.






KANO Jigoro ‘s second teacher of JU JUSU, ISO Masatomo took ill in 1881 and died. Later KANO met Iikubo, the master of KITO RYU JU JUTSU. Iikubo awarded KANO a licence of full transmission (menkyo kaiden) in 1883. In KANO’s time the KITO RYU focused primarily on throwing techniques (NAGE WAZA). Iikubo was already over fifty, he continued to train full time, and he was the most skilled martial artist under whom KANO ever trained. (In his memoirs KANO stated, ‘From Master FUKUDA, I learned what my life’s work would be: from Master MASAMOTO, I learned the subtle nature of KATA: and from Master Iikubo, I learned varied techniques and the importance of timing.


 TUKU SANBO (1887-1945)


After being discovered by Jigoro KANO, Sanbo Toku came to Tokyo in 1906, and entered KODOKAN in May of that year.


In 1909, Mr. Toku entered the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School (literature and physical education fields, specializing in Japanese and Chinese classics) while continuing his keiko (training) at KODOKAN. He withdrew from school in 1911 in order to devote all his time to Kodokan.


He was known for arriving earliest at the dojo for keiko despite the fact that trains were not yet running at that hour, forcing him to walk 10 kilometers from Komatsugawa (Edogawa Ward). In addition to being the first in the dojo, Mr. Toku achieved a perfect attendance record.


He later became a JUDO instructor at Waseda University, Nippon University, and Takushoku University. Although he founded his own facility for training apprentices, he was killed in a Tokyo air raid on March 10, 1945 at the age of 59.








UCHIDA  YOSHI (1920 -) ????????


He graduated from San Jose State University in 1947, he has remained a fixture in the both the San Jose and international JUDO communities for more than 60 years. After graduation, he continued to coach at San Jose and organized the first Collegiate JUDO National Championships in 1962 – two years before being named as the head coach of the first U.S. Olympic JUDO Team in 1964. Most recently, he was the president of USA JUDO from 1996-2000 and remains the head coach of the USA JUDO National Training Site at  San Jose State University. In 1986, he receiv ed in Japan – the highest honors – the Order of the Sacred Treasure with Golden Rays by Emperor of Japan.


Yoshihiro “Yosh” Uchida (born April 1, 1920) is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and educator who is best known for his contributions to judo. Uchida has been the head judo coach at San Jose State University for over 60 years, and has played a leading part in the development of the university’s judo program.








Uchida is the child of Japanese immigrants who worked as farm laborers in California’s Imperial Valley. Yosh studied biology at San Jose State, and in 1940 was made the student-coach of the Physical Education Department’s judo program. During World War II, while members of his family were sent to internment camps, Uchida was drafted into the United States Army during World War II and served as a medical technician. He returned to San Jose State in 1946 to complete his degree and to restart the judo program.




After graduating in 1947, Uchida remained the coach at SJSU, a part-time position, while working as a laboratory technician at O’Connor Hospital and then at San Jose Hospital, before buying and operating a medical laboratory in 1956. During this time, Uchida and University of California, Berkeley judo coach Henry Stone began developing rules to allow their students to compete against each other, including a weight class system, moving judo away from a martial art for self defense to a sport for competition. Stone and Uchida persuaded the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to sanction judo in 1953; the first AAU National Championship in judo was held at San Jose State in that year.




Uchida was elected president of the Judo Black Belt Federation for 1960–1961. As president, Uchida represented the United States at the International Judo Federation meeting in Paris in 1961. At that meeting, the IJF voted to include the weight class system for all future international judo competitions.




In 1962, Uchida organized the first National Collegiate Judo Championship, which was held at the United States Air Force Academy.[citation needed] Uchida’s San Jose State Spartans won the first of their over 40 national championships under his leadership at the inaugural tournament.




Uchida represented the United States as the team coach of the first Olympic Judo Tournament at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The team included two of Uchida’s students from San Jose State, Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Paul Maruyama. James Bregman won a bronze medal in the under-80 kg class, becoming the first American to medal in the sport.




Uchida continued promoting the sport after the 1964 Olympics. He organized the first U.S. High School Judo Championships and the first U.S. Open tournament, both hosted at San Jose State. As of 2012, his San Jose State Spartans judo teams have won 45 of the 51 National Collegiate Judo Championships. In February 2007, the San Jose State program was named one of six USA Judo National Training Sites.




He used the funds from the sale of his laboratory business to found Uchida Enterprises, which is involved in real estate redevelopment in San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood.




For his contributions to judo, Uchida was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure with Golden Rays in 1986 by Emperor Hirohito of Japan. He was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Uchida has also received many awards from San Jose State, including the university’s highest award (the Tower Award) in 1992 and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2004. Additionally, the building on campus that houses the judo dojo was renamed “Yoshihiro Uchida Hall” in 1997. Coincidentally, Uchida’s parents and brothers were processed in this building prior to being sent to an internment camp during World War II.




See USJF article: SJSU Honors Judo Legend Yoshihiro Uchida




source: Wikipedia




In 2002 the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated with a book of USJF history. In it were a number of biographies. including this:




    Yosh Uchida is President of Uchida Enterprises, Inc. and Uchida Travel. He is also Chairman of Miraido Corporation and a founding member of San Jose Nihonmachi Corporation. In 1996, he also founded the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce.




YAMASHITA YOSHIAKI (1865-1935) Kodokan 10th Dan


The son of a minor samurai he received some martial art training as a youth. In 1884, he became the nineteenth member of JIGORO KANO’s KODOKAN. After three months he earned his first DAN ranking at KANO’s school. After two years he received his fourth DAN. In 1898, he received sixth DAN. He was a member of the KODOKAN teams that wrestled the Tokyo Police JUJUTSU club in 1883 and 1884. He was an excellent instructor. He spoke very good English and wrote beautiful Japanese.  In 1903, he went to the USA where he taught JUDO to President T. Roosevelt. Three years later he left the USA for Japan, he attended an important JUDO conference held in Kyoto. JIGORO KANO awarded him the first 10th DAN after his death on October 26, 1935, although he dated the certificate two days before the death.




For Reading


Yamashita, Yoshiaki. (1903, August 26). Letter to Sam Hill in Maryhill Museum of Art collection.






After studying the TENSHIN SHINYO RYU style under Keitaro Inoue of Yushima Tenjin, Mr. Sakujiro Yokoyama entered KODOKAN in April of 1886.
Naturally adept at Jujutsu, Mr. Yokoyama had both a powerful physique and a diligent attitude toward training, and he quickly became a skillful JUDO  practitioner. In 1887, he became a zealous JUDO instructor, taking positions as supporter of the JU-JUTSU department for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and as a KODOKAN supervisor.
He also trained instructors by teaching Judo at the Tokyo Advanced Teacher Training School, etc.
Mr. Yokoyama died in 1912 at the age of 49. (See BOOKS ON JUDO)




YOSHIDA GEORGE (1897- 1984)


Japanese-American JUDO pioneer. He came to the USA. In 1917 from Japan, settled in New York City, and joined the Nippon Athletic Club, where he began his JUDO training. In 1923, he had attained his first Black Belt rank and his second in 1934. In 1939 the month before World War II began in Europe, he was made Third DAN. When the Honorable Risei Kano, President of the KODOKAN (1952-1965) Institute, visited the New York DOJO in 1952, he personally promoted Mr. Yoshida to Fourth Degree, and on his return in 1961 promoted him to Fifth Degree.






Japanese JUDO fighter who won three ALL JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS (1952, 1953, and 1955) and was second in the first WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1956. He was second to DAIGO Toshiro in the 1951 ALL-JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS.