Judo Story



I used to do Judo. For once a week I would go roll with these guys. I did it for about 2 years. Whenever I could find the time. I never made it past white belt though. Never had the time to grade. Then the club shut down.

Yesterday I managed to finally get a hold of the instructor. He's a cop and I actually got a hold of him in his cruiser. You see, over the past 6 months I have left a message for him weekly to get a hold of him. Finally he has relented and might agree to giving me at least some private lessons. (Before it was "no, I don't do privates. I don't have the time.")

So I'll keep at the yellow stuff and maybe finally get a yellow belt. Yay! Damn I'm persistant and annoying!

Having said that I notice there are a LOT of Judo concepts in other arts. Anyone else notice this?

P.S. - I'll let you know how my training in pain goes. This guy is good, maybe one of the best, but he likes to make you work for it.
I am just de-cloaking long enough from lurk mode to introduce myself. Having retired from a 45-year career as an electrical engineer and still an active amateur astronomer there is time to read this stuff and make comments from time to time. I began practicing Judo in 1952 and was in the Air Force stationed I Japan proper for a while then a couple years on Okinawa. I earned shodan in 1960 by batsiugan. This is an old way to gain rank by defeating a certain number of Judoka of the same or higher rank that you are. Also, some demonstration is necessary and my overseer was Sumiuki Kotani Sensei, then hachidan and subsequently the last judan (10th dan) of Kodokan Judo. He passed away in 1984, I think. I last saw him in Texas in 1966 and he actually remembered me! He had a great memory!

I taught Judo in several of the largest clubs in the US and after moving to Florida created several large Judo clubs. I stopped formally teaching in 1980 and slowly lost interest in practicing after arthritis and other nice things got the best of me and forced an end of my Judo playing. My last promotion was to yodan, back so long I forget the date! I sill like to blab about it though and if anyone has a question please feel free to ask. I may remember something :shrug:
Welcome to the board!

Here's some funny coincidences:

1) I currently live in FL and my father is retired USAF.

2) I happen to be part Okinawan (my father met my mother in Okinawa), and lived in both Japan and Okinawa while my father was active military.

3) I am currently a (non-traditional) undergrad majoring in...astronomy/astrophysics.

'Tis a small world :D

I think the main concept in judo is 'going with the force/pressure' rather than fighting it. I think most martial arts, particularly at the advanced levels, use this concept. I've read an account where Kano was watching Ueshiba give an aikido demonstration and said something to the effect that what he had seen was what judo should be at its highest level.

I believe the sensitivity exercises of Wing Chun and the FMA also use this concept. Also, Wado-ryu karate uses it, which is kind of obvious considering Otsuka's jujutsu background.

Okinawa-te grappling uses this as its primary principle. Instead of having individual techniques, we use the 'ju' or pliancy/giving/yin principle to derive technique, often on the spot. Unfortunately, this makes Okinawa-te grappling hard to pick up. I doubt I'll ever be as good as my instructor, who could use the principle to escape virtually any hold.

It's all yin/yang, baby :D

Yes, it is a small world. I have friends on Okinawa who are astronomers and we are always in contact. We specialize in observing and studying Mars.

I lived in Miami for 25 years before transferring to Washington, DC for nearly 5 years then retired and moved to Lake Placid, Florida (east of Sarasota in the middle of the state). Where in Florida do you live?

I was first stationed at Ashiya AB, Japan but they closed that base and transferred us to Naha AB, Okinawa in late 1959 where I lived until mid-1962. While there I learned karate from two dojos and reached nidan in gojuryu before leaving. I met a girl who worked in a beauty parlor in Naha and eventually we were married (No, I didn't get my hair done :D). Unfortunately back then the Air Force frowned on GI's marrying Okinawan girls and they shipped me home and we divorced some years later. After that I would practice karate a little, but then began to practice kenpo with a kajukenbo friend in Texas. However, most of my practice was in Judo. So I should ask: Uchinaa-guchi wakai miseemi? :)

When you graduate do you plan to continue on for a Ph.D? I began to observe Mars in 1946. However, my observing was interrupted for long periods of time occasionally. Life moves on and marriage, kids, and a career do get in the way of one's hobbies :) I have published 200 astronomical papers, 2 books, a chapter in 1 book, and have two chapters coming up some time soon I a new book on telescope design and construction. Am under contract to write a book on Mars - but retirement life is too good to spend time working cool:

I managed to visit a few karate dojos while living on Okinawa and found great differences in several of the main styles there. The first karate I did was Matshbashi with Nagamine sensei because he welcomed GIs in his dojo and was friendly towards us. Then while attending the many shiai at the Naha Police Dojo, where we had nearly every week a big shiai, I met Miyazato sensei who was then the boss of the Okinawan Judo Federation and also one of the big sensei in Gojuryu. That is a very stressful form of karate and I didn't particularly like it - but Miyazato was a friend by then and I felt obligated to work out at his place. He would go to Japan as our coach for the big Air Force tournaments. He had relatives up there somewhere near Tokyo.

While I was in Japan those times and would work out at the old Kodokan Gym (now a boxing gym) and the new Kodokan I would learn kata or whatever the spirit moved me to do. After watching some of the advanced stuff and then watching some Aikido it became apparent that the two schools of thought had the same origins. You could see similarities in both Judo and Aikido. It was not until many years later while learning ju no kata from a girlfriend of my best friend that I realized how similar Judo and Aikido really is. The ju no kata and other more advanced forms of Judo kata appear very similar to Aikido, at least from what I have seen. Anyway, one gets varied impressions along the way.
I only know a few words/phrases in Uchinaguchi/Okinawa Hougen. It's pretty much a dead language. I'd like to learn more...hell, I'd like to learn more Japanese as well. Maybe one day.

I'd like to get my Ph.D. in astronomy, but I don't know if that will happen. It's hard enough as it is being a full time student with a wife and 2-year-old daughter. I'd hate to think how hard grad school would be with a family. I guess it all depends on how well/poorly I do as an undergrad.

I'm in Palm Bay, Florida...a couple dozen miles south of KSC.

In my younger days my Japanese was fluent, but one looses the ability to understand it after too many years pass by. My son, a Naval officer who is now stationed in Japan. He went to kindergarten in Germany and could speak perfect German. However, when finishing up college he took German and couldnt remember much of anything. Now he struggles to learn Japanese because so many people there want to practice their English! It is not easy to converse in another language. Here are some Uchinaguchi phrases you may be interested in:

Haisai Cha-Ganjyu-ne Thanks you, how are you?
Nifee deebiru thanks you very much
Chaabira sai. -- Pardon me. May I come in? (Used when entering a home.)
Mensooree. -- Welcome.
Ii misooree. -- Please come in.
Chuu uganabira. -- How do you do?
Hajimiti uganabira. -- I'm glad to meet you.
Uchinaa-guchi wakai miseemi. -- Do you understand Okinawan?
Uu, ufee wakai biin. -- Yes, I understand a little.
Guburii sabira. -- I would like to be excused.
Chaa ganjuu yaibiimi tai. Have you been well?

Thats about all I can remember. I used to go to tea house parties and many there would speak Uchinaguchi. Of course, we drank too much and I forgot it the next morning. :D

It is indeed hard to carry on an education after marriage, especially after children arrive. However, after years of complaining about him stopping college to my son he finished up his engineering degree and has nearly finished his Masters. He did all this with a family, tours on the Kittyhawk, and two kids! Then he went to OCS after 12 years in the Navy and is now a Lt. Jr. Grade. So, it is hard but not impossible. He began Judo at five and took a long break after his late teens. Judo was not interesting to him then cars and girls were! He is attending a Judo class with his son now at a dojo near Atsugi NAF, Japan. Third generation Judoka maybe. BTW, astronomers are not known to make much money. I worked for the U.S. Naval Observatory (engineering) and know quite a few astronomers. They are not wealthy people. :D
There are some good Judo sensei up your way. Since I have not been active in so many years I have lost contact with them. George Bass used to live near there, but I think he moved to Lakeland. He wants me to come up and see him. Wow, we go back to the beginning, the SAC Judo, then Air Force Judo Association and then Armed Forces Judo Association. AFJA to AFJA, no logo changes :) I am a Silver Life Memebr #139 of the USJA and life member of the Kodokan (back when it didn't cost an arm and a leg). I wonder if Silver LM means gray hair!

Florida was big in Judo but stupid politics and testosterone in the drinking water must have caused it to crash. I walked away from it in 1980 and never looked back :soapbox:

Nice area over there. We live in the boon docks :shrug: