Lest We Forget and Forget It

Discussion in 'Jujutsu / Judo' started by jeffbeish, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    A Short Resume: Just Judo (One who knows does not talk -- until they get old)

    I had been in Judo and jujitsu on & off since mid-1952, but my real Judo experience came when I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1959. One of the drill instructors was a Nidan Judo and allowed my friend, Masato Yamashita, and me to practice – at attention of course!

    On various dates between 1960 and 1962 I spent many weekends in Japan either visiting or participating in Judo tournaments. I would spend a few hours in Judo class at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo or at the Tokyo Police Judo Training Center. In 1961 I attended the one of the last of the Air Force – Kodokan Combative Measures (hand-to-hand combat) courses and earned an Air force secondary AFSC.

    In 1961, I stayed at the Kodokan for a week and then in 1962, while in training for the 5th Air Force Championships, I spent three weeks studying at the Kodokan. Later that year I went on a 30 day leave to live and study there under the direction of the Kodokan's International Instructor of the Kodokan, Professor Sumiuki Kotani (8th degree then), who was promoted to 10th degree in 1984. While practicing at the Kodokan, I entered several Judo rank contests; (it was a practice in those days to be promoted to a higher rank upon defeating six opponents within six months). I had recorded 10 wins over Judoists during the specified time period and was to be awarded Shodan or first degree black belt rank, only to return to Okinawa to find out that the paper had been lost.

    I received the long awaited rank in May of 1965 and then went on to be promoted to Yodan (4th dan) as the years went by. While visiting he Kodokan in March 2002 I registered my rank with them again. Since I am a life member of the Kodokan they presented me with my yodan license for less than normal price. In order to be a teacher in Japan the Judoka is required to be yodan or above. Rank was of little value to me so I just stopped begging for it :D

    My former sensei in those days were:

    Masato J. Yamashita (Nidan-USAF/1960-62)
    Rick Mertens (Sandan-USAF/1960-94)
    James Hatch (Nidan-USAF/1962)
    Barnard Wrye (Shodan-USAF/1962)
    Eiichi Miyazato (Godan-Okinawa/1960-62)
    Preston Pugh (Nidan-USAF/1961-62 & 1968)
    Uihara (Sandan-Okinawa/1961-62)
    Sumiuki Kotani (Hachidan-Japan/1961-62)
    Seichi Sirai(Hachidan-Japan/1962)
    Sam Williams (Yodan-USAF/1962-65)
    Ron Hubbard (Sandan-USAF/1962-65)
    Roy "Pop" Moore (Yodan-Texas/1965-67)
    Harold G. Robinson (Nidan-USAF/1965-02)
    Wayne Atkins (Nidan-USAF/1965-66)
    George Emert (Nidan-USAF/1966)
    Gerry Reid (Yodan-USAF/1966)
    Ace Sukigari (Nidan-Texas/1966)
    Jay Cooper (Shodan-USAF/1967)
    John Powell (Sandan-USAF/1963-65 & 68-69)
    Hidi Oshishi (Sandan-NY/1967-1970)
    Johnny Barton (Nidan-USAF/1968)
    Ernie Curry (Shodan-USAF/1968)
    Joan Milley (Shodan-USAF/1968)
    Bonny Corte (Shodan-USAF/1968)
    Philip S. Porter (Yodan-USAF/1968-78)
    Henry Kolligan (Sandan-Florida/1973-77)

    Clubs as a member or as sensei

    Lackland Judo Club (ATC Judo Association)
    Chanute Judo Club (ATC Judo Association)
    Naha AB Judo Club (PACAF/AFJA)
    Kadena AFB Judo Club (PACAF/AFJA)
    Ryuku Police Dojo (Okinawan Judo Federation)
    University of the Ryukus Judo Institute (Okinawan Judo Federation)
    Kodokan Judo Institute, Toyoko, Japan
    Westover Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Wright-Patterson Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Turner Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Bergstrom Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Austin Judo Club (JBBF)
    Columbus AFB Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Carswell Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Carswell Youth Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Barksdale Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Dyess Judo Club (AFJA/JBBF)
    Binghampton YMCA (USJA/JBBF)
    Kittyhawk Judo Club (AFJA/USJA)
    Frieberg, Germany
    Kolligan Judo Club (USJA)
    Sylvania Judo Club (USJA)
    Silver Bluff Judo Club (USJA)
    Homestead Judo Club (USJA)
    Pensacola Judo Club (USJA)

    Hopefully, posting this isn’t too foolish of an old burned out Judo player. One never knows when one will go to the big tatami in the sky and everyone forgets you – like most of the people mentioned above have been forgotten. Maybe some of yawl remember some of the folks listed above, huh? :)

    :asian:

    :drinkbeer
     
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  2. RoninWolf

    RoninWolf Guest

    It must be fabulous to have such a rich history of training in the martial arts - I wish I could have such a wide exposure to diferent training environments and teachers.

    In your experience, do the methods of training used in Japan differ from those of the US significantly?
     
  3. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    As far as I remember there were differences. When I practiced Judo in the 1950’s it was completely unknown to most Americans. Except for hearing about the infamous “Judo chop” I rarely heard the word “Judo.” After all, when I started WWII had only been over for 7 years and we didn’t exactly cotton to the Japanese or their ways back then.

    After I joined the Air Force and met Masato and because of our mutual interest in Judo we quickly became friends. He was a nisei, or second generation Japanese-American, so I learned a lot from him about their culture. We went on into the same career field and after school we were transferred to Ashyia Air Base Japan. They closed that base shortly after we got there and went to Naha AB, Okinawa. I stayed there for two years while he had to return to the USA because of family problems. we did a lot of Judo then, a lot.

    Anyway, off track here! Yes, we trained harder and longer over in the Far East. I hate to brag about it but when I returned and was only shodan I was very much the match for sandans here. If it were not for the frequent road trips (traveling around the USA) in my job I would have entered more tournaments in the Air Force and AAU and most likely have done good, so to speak. As it was I did meet and make a lot of friends in Judo at the several Air Force bases and would show up at their dojo every few months to practice and sweat out all the beer I was drinking then. :cool:

    While he main goals of Judo players in the Far East was shiai we did practice a lot of formal kata and paid closer attention to technical aspects of Judo, whereas Americans just paid little attention to the technical side of the Art. That’s about all I can say of the differences. I will say that in the 1960’s there were some really good Judo players here, at least in the military, and given more times and resources we could have risen above second in the world to first in international Judo. Americans paid little attention to amateur sports, and none to Judo.

    Hope that is as clear a mud :D

    BTW, we used to paraphrase an old Confucius saying: "The Master said: 'The ancients were reserved in their speech, lest their actions might not come up to their words' -- with this: "One who knows does not talk. One who talks, does not know."

    :asian:
     
  4. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    THE TUNNEL OF JUDO
    By: Rick Mertens

    Up until a few years ago we had a strong bond of friendship among all Judoka.

    Where is it now? Perhaps it is lost in personal gain, or recognition, desires, or complacency, or attempts to prove we are better than others in Judo. But, enough of that - let's get down to facts. We are in a tunnel.

    We need more dedicated instructors and a return to Judo as a recreational enjoyable sport or art. I will try to address each of these needs in the following paragraphs. I will try to be brief but the problems are very complex therefore, the solutions must be equally as complex.

    Where have our instructors come from in the past? Almost every one of them entered Judo as adults and continued in it because they felt duty bound to pass their knowledge onto others. Very few people who started as children have remained long enough to become instructors. The solution to our need for instructors, therefore, must be in organizing and teaching adult classes.

    At this point I suppose I should try to establish some reasons justification for the statement I made regarding instructors. Let me first say I highly respect and encourage those who did enter Judo as children and have become instructors. Now, for the reasons and justification.

    1. Reason: Most juniors are taught only one aspect of Judo; competition. This tends to limit their desire and ability to pass their knowledge onto others.

    2. Reason: Years of continuous Judo (or any other activity) can become boring and a small percentage of participants remain longer than ten years. If a person enters Judo before the age of ten, the normal attrition can remove the student before the needed maturity in age to become an instructor has been reached.

    Now, let's delve into what can be done to return Judo to being enjoyable for more people. In the past we were all proud of our wide range of knowledge in Judo. Every instructor was familiar with officiating, scoring, first aid, self-defense, kata, the history and theory of Judo. Many of us spent a great deal of time on the philosophy of Judo. We were willing to listen to others opinions but we were not willing to blindly accept their views as the final word or fact

    It is my opinion we must give up our present method of tunnel Judo. Most of us are in a one way tunnel - teach students to compete, go to tournaments, come back and teach more about competition. We need other activities to broaden our vision and Judo. Not many years ago we respected a fellow Judoka for being good at instructing, coaching, kata, a particular throw, a certain mat technique, a method of self defense, or any one of many other aspects of Judo. Today only the competitive champion and/or the champion's coach is respected and even that is a limited respect.

    How much longer will we continue in our narrow tunnel before we return to the broad scope of Judo? The choice is ours; do you have enough interest to broaden your scope? Can you spend the time and energy to write me an answer or a comment on this article?

    I would be glad to read your views on how to revitalize Judo. Perhaps you would like to go one step further; train an instructor that will start another club.

    Oh, yes, how many of you know or have even heard "The Oath of Judo"? It forces you out of the tunnel.

    The Oath of Kodokan Judo:

    1. I will not discontinue the study of Judo without sufficient reason.
    2. I will never do anything to disgrace the Kodokan's honor.
    3. I will always comply with all regulations of the Kodokan in studying and in teaching Judo.

    ***********************
    The late Rick Mertens was Executive Director of the Armed Forces Judo Association (AFJA) and the United Stated Judo Association (USJA) for many years. Rick published many articles in the AFJA and USJA magazines and "The Coach" that was sent to Judo instructors regularly from the late 1960's until 1978.
     
  5. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    In my limited experience with Judo, self-defense isn't addressed at all--it's pure sport. ("We're an Olympic sport", you hear.) Adding self-defense back in probably would help.
     
  6. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    Before entering the Air Force Judo for me was more jujitsu training than sport Judo. In North Carolina back in the early 1950’s was not the Mecca for Judo or any form of Martial Art except mountaineers and running with the Klan. So, Judo contest was limited to the dojo, and there was not may of us in the club at that. By the time I was in high school I had nearly lost interest in it until I ran into the sports manager of the Boy’s Club and found out he had just been in the Air Force (SAC) Physical Conditioning unit. He was one of the early people who attended Martial Arts training at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan.

    I continued to practice a little from then own until I joined up. The training sessions at the Kodokan would include Judo, jujitsu, karate, aikido, and other related forms that would eventually lead to certifying them to become instructors. When stationed on Okinawa I bugged them to let me go to the same Kodokan school that my sensei in high school went to and they relented. It was something like 5 weeks long and we learned all kinds of self-defense stuff. Since I was already an experienced Judoka I was allowed to practice or study some more advanced techniques. Mostly jujitsu and some old atemi waza stuff.

    So, for years afterward my Judo class would do a little self-defense practice and they loved it. Judo atemi waza is a very efficient self-defense and can be very rough going. But, I would bet there are only a hand full of Judo people in his country who even have heard of it. My question has always been, what happens to Judo players when their competition days are over? Up until then they have most likely only studied a small fraction of Judo, sport Judo as I refer to it as. However, many of my old Judo buddies we interested in other Martial Arts and we would compare notes all the time.
     
  7. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    What excellent perception of what was happening and what was needed.

    The Oath of Kodokan Judo:

    1. I will not discontinue the study of Judo without sufficient reason.
    2. I will never do anything to disgrace the Kodokan's honor.
    3. I will always comply with all regulations of the Kodokan in studying and in teaching Judo.


    If only more organisations would hold to such high ideals the Martial arts world as a whole would be much better off.

    Shadow:asian:
     
  8. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    Noble ideas that I once was fond of saying. After so many years of living the real truth begins to come out of all this stuff and it leaves you wondering if it is worth remembering. One of my favorite Japanese sayings is: "The fog is so fine that you can't hold it in your hands, yet it can hide a mountain.” It took me decades to understand what it meant, even though I pretended to know it all along.

    Maybe it is just aging that makes one reflect on their lives in a more objective way. Since all the years I practiced or studied Judo my definition of the philosophy we learned has changed a few times. That in itself is a philosophy. Hopefully the people who are old enough to begin to understand it can help younger people with it as well; however, like raising kids we parents never learn. We just practice it a few times and hope for the best. It is sometimes helpful if one had good parents and grandparents to provide guidelines and role models for us. Being sensei is similar.

    Aging also has disadvantages with respect to our understanding of this philosophy-- that we thought we knew. Biases and bad habits can distort our understanding. Ideals are noble, but are most difficult to put into practice. I have learned this since I gave up on Judo because of petty and dirty politics, a sign of weakness and misunderstanding on my part. The Judo groups I have known all the years seems to lack understanding of the very principles they were taught, or at least many of us wee taught, that by practicing the Way of Judo (double meaning) we would then be able to benefit others. We would then begin to understand the philosophy of Jigoro Kano and covey this to our followers. I suspect that there are a lot more out there that do however, than meets the eye.

    Yes, if more Martial Arts people would take off their Golden Fleece things would be better of here. A snow ball in hell has a better chance of maintaining it’s shape than Martial Arts people following their own advice.
     
  9. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    All during the same class you mean?

    What was taught? I studied judo at two colleges in two states and no one ever discussed atemi-waza, or even using throws etc. for self-defense.
     
  10. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    That is probably true in most situations like you describe, i.e., college Judo, etc., and maybe a lot of other places because on the emphasis placed on sport Judo. It shouldn’t be too surprising in a college. Some sensei only would teach the self-defense aspects of Judo to more advanced students. Remember also that for decades Americans had only a few Judo instructors and even fewer teachers or sensei. Back in the 1970’s there was a movement on to separate Judo instructors into categories per say and be a coach, trainer, etc. Even at the Kodokan now the “coaches” come out wearing street cloths and go through the motions of a coach or trainer instead of a teacher.

    In Japan there is a separation between black belt Judoka. This may be somewhat off, but I remember that from shodan to sandan are advanced beginners. From yodan through godan qualified instructors and from rokudan through hachidan are sensei. Kudan and judan are masters. I will stand corrected if someone knows more about this. Anyway, my license as yodan enables me to at least assist the sensei and masters in Japan or maybe be the head instructor. Stop the jokes now!

    Sine there were so few of us black belts in this country in the1950’s thought out the 1970’s then some clubs had brown belts as head instructor. I was only one of 1,988 shodans in this country in the early 1960’s and just in a very small hand full of yodan ten years ago. In Japan Judo is a regular activity in high school and one would lose face if he and maybe she were not at least nidan at graduation. It seems like everyone who visited our club at Naha was sandan or yodan and they couldn’t have been much older than me at the time!

    Now, wading through the bovine excrement, to the point: for years there was just not enough advanced Judo instructors qualified to teach self-defense in Judo. There still aren’t enough qualified Judo instructors because everyone dropped it for sport Judo. Heck, I’ll bet only 20% of the black belts can even perform nage no kata, much less goshin jitsu -- a kata for self-defense. This may have changed but it was my experience in the late 1970’s that before a newcommer to my club wanted to be shodan I would have to teach them both positions of nage no kata and sometimes refresh them on the Go kyo no waza! I was required to demonstrate with skill both uke and tori in nage no kata and uke and lesser skill of tori in katame no kata. Even the mere mention of atemi waza ended up with a puzzled look on their face. It was one reason I gave it up.

    I'll have to think about what we were taught at the Kodokan. Suffice it to say than if one is slammed on his back by a perfectly good throw then there is no real need to continue with self-defense. You are defended. If they get up the you may resort to Run-a-te or Giun-a-te because they are not human!:rofl:
     
  11. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    It has been way too long ago for me to remember correctly what we were taught in self-defense. The problem is many of us studied a variety of Martial Arts and they all are fused within our small brain waves. If memory serves me correctly we were not taught any hush-hush secrets, no one-inch punches, or the death-hand tough stuff. Hum, it’s like touchie-feelie that death hand stuff, huh? It is not hard to start a person bleeding from the heart area, and it is sure agonizing death, but the Okinawans and Japanese were much too efficient to use high-tech Martial Arts when they could easily dispatch someone with a sword or run them down with a horse. A good karate-ka does not break wooden boards in the off chance a tree might attach them, they do it to feel good about their abilities and impress the girls, right? It is just as easy to just smash their head in with a punch or kick, maybe slam the breath from them and walk away.

    Remember that the first rule in self-defense is to stay the heck away from a bad situation. There is another reason Judo self-defense measures are not popular here – not very much fancy footwork just avoiding situations that warrant physical confrontation.

    Hum, reminds me of the most beautiful girl to have ever attended our self-defense class for TV announcers in Austin, Texas. The kenpo guy and I had a special class to teach several TV and radio station people how to stop a rapist from doing his business on them. I nearly melted in a pile of butter and couldn’t speak when I had to show her something! My wife was close by as well, making things a million times worse. So, one technique the kenpo guy purposely set me up on with this girl was to allow the rapist to get to a certain point in the action and the girl would slowly reach around with her sharp nails and grasp, well, you can guess, and then to one of those back wrenching, arching kip-outs. If I were spelling it right that is where we would lay on our back and leap to our feet like Bruce Lee did all the time :D

    Now, any self-respecting rapist would immediately renounce his hobby due to the lack of equpment! Well, my wife was watching intently. It was all I could do using the mystical “ki” to remain calm :soapbox:
     
  12. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's now common in BJJ for instructors of schools to be less than black belt. Of course, it atkes over 10 years to make black belt in their style. In fact it sounds simialr to what you were saying about Judo in previous times!

    There is now a goshin-jitsu system of self-defense, I believe--its own martial art.

    I agree about the throw being enough in some cases! Not long ago there was a story about a mugger attacking a blind man. The blind man was a judoka who through the mugger--who died.
     
  13. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    In Japan I think everyone in high school is in Judo, could be wrong, and by the time they graduate they are shodan or nidan. This may be just faulty memory. Okinawa was the same but not every school kid did Judo that I am aware of.

    Naha AB hired all Okinawan open Judo champ for the club instructor and he was only sandan. We had visitors now and then that were sandan, and a few yodans. Many of our instructors were godans and above, but it was hard to tell since they didn’t seem to care much about rank.

    It took me less than ten years but then from shodan to nidan it was 9 years. Can’t remember how long it took me to make sandan or yodan, but it was a long time. My attitude ws like the Okinawans, could care less. Most of my problem was traveling too much and politics.

    I remember beating the stuffings out some sandan once who turned around and refused to recommend me for nidan. So, I went back and beat more stuffings out of him – but that time I meant it. It was one of those military Judo vs Federation Judo things that we had such a hard time with. At least half of the first Olympic USA Judo team were military folk but he Federation just refused to recognize them. A shame that went on for decades, even remnants of it still lingers.
     
  14. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I didn't know that but I guess it doesn't surprise me.

    Was the long time between shodan and nidan for you typical?

    I have heard that judo (and kendo) are popular subjects in Japanese high schools but I don't think it's anywhere near universal. I do not know however.
     
  15. jeffbeish

    jeffbeish Blue Belt

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    It was more my fault than anything because I moved around so much. From 1967 until 1973 I lived in New York, Georgia, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Arizonia, Florida, North Carolina, back to New Youk, Germany, back to New York, then to Florida. No tome to stop to think about promotions. Then Mertens came to visit with nidan in hand. That's the way it was done at times.
     
  16. Stevetutt

    Stevetutt White Belt

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    I know all theae posts are pretty old so I dont know if anyone will see them. Rick Mertens was my grandfather. Would like to find out a little info about his Judo career.
     
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  17. Jeff_Beish

    Jeff_Beish Yellow Belt

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    Is your father Otis?
     
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  18. Stevetutt

    Stevetutt White Belt

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    No he is my uncle, my Mother was Mary, not sure if you would have met her
     
  19. Jeff_Beish

    Jeff_Beish Yellow Belt

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    Wow, I first met Rick Mertens in early 1960 and we were friends until he passed away in 1999. I met his first wife and his two sons many times. Here is a photo of Otis, Rick, his other son I can't remember his name and Robby Robinson at Bergstrom AFB, TX maybe in 1965. I used to visit Rick when he lived in Bossier City during the 1960's and so on.
     

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  20. Jeff_Beish

    Jeff_Beish Yellow Belt

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    Did we get off track?
     

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