Brian Kagen pick: “An Analysis of Competition,” by Donn F. Draeger

“Judo, as a classical budo, or martial “way”, of Japan, was intended by its founder, Jigoro Kano, to be less martial and to be rather a vehicle for the spiritual and physical development of man; it was deliberately designed as an educative system which gives built-in play man’s ability to demonstrate perseverance in useful endeavor. By perseverance, regardless of the superficial achievements (rank, contest successes, prestige), every judoist can realize improvement of mental and physical self, and can be prepared, therefore, to make a better application of his mental and physical energies in his daily living. Idealistically, it was additionally hoped by Kano that such concomitants would bring about a more cooperatively-harmonious society, since it was composed of persons matured as responsible citizens by Judo.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. briankag says:

    Look up Draeger on the front page…lot’s of old postings from past issues.

  2. A lucid article full of valuable key points. And what he says applies across the board. From the horse’s mouth: “It is patent that no budo can house a sport form and still be a budo form.”

  3. bruce baker says:

    Two things must be realized about this article.

    One, it was written in 1968… and Two … it was written by a middle-aged relatively physically powerful Donn F. Draeger.

    As one of the little more than middle age, quickly passing into the boundaries of old age, members of society … I realize that my youth and physical strength will no longer by my saving grace when I meet a younger more physical opponent. I will have to either incapacitate them, or injure them should their physicality be too much for my own physicality, and that is what the mindful observation of Ma-ai is all about. It is not just that you recognize your physical capabilities but you find more efficient and less physical ways to incapacitate your enemy, or opponent.

    You will have to employ knowledge, skill, and put aside your moral judgements, which for some people is their emotional empathy, as you might be forced into using techniques and applications that are not always the “SAFE PRACTICE” you have been training in, either for Judo or for Aikido.

    Indeed, the references to original techniques and then the ‘safe training practice’ allude to the fact that we train to learn the shorthand, but we pursue the “deeper meanings” of those shorthand lessons so we grasp the depth of the martial art we practice to it’s full meaning.

    I am not saying be violent, but I am saying, know the depth of violence within what you are learning and how to train verse use the same techniques for war.

    In every martial art there are rules because over time the teachers have learned that certain combinations are very deadly as well as bad for the long-tern health of their students.

    PAY ATTENTION to not just the words, but the entire program and what it is saying without words as you train.

    This is not just an article about Judo, but about the, and I quote,” … vehicle for the spiritual and physical development of man; It was deliberately designed as an educative system …. ”

    Figure out what that is, what it means, and many many other things fall into place.

  4. Anyone who considers aikido a realistic self-defense, however, is misinformed. It has no groundwork, a serious fault since most fights—the Gracie family is correct on this—end up there. Like karate students, aikido students simply aren’t trained to fight there.

    Most aikido techniques are not realistic. Students are filled with illusions on this. Techniques are applied against various wrist and body grabs, and Japanese-type strikes that will not occur. Most aikido students, however, are not interested in self-defense so much as in a philosophy built on ki which benefits students physically, mentally, and possibly spiritually. Though it is estimable from these standpoints, it is limited combatively.

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