I spend a lot of time online and with my nose buried in books, looking up the various knowledge and materials that I use in my posts. But I often overlook some pretty important and key dates that SHOULD hold a special place in my martial arts journey, One of those dates was yesterday. While doing some research for a post, I brought up Google’s home page and noticed Google’s banner was adorned with some martial arts imagery of a dojo, practitioners in white gis, and an image of Master Jigoro Kano in the centre.
It was a clever rendition and looked nice, but considering Google frequently changes their home page banner, I thought nothing further of it. That’s a shame, because yesterday’s post really should have focused on Master Kano’s 161st birthday, which is why Google had it up. It also dawned on me, a touch too late, that this is usually WHY Google will put something up; to recognize a special day. But I digress…
For those of you who don’t operate within martial arts circles, Master Kano was the founder of Judo. Even non-practitioners are usually familiar with that term. His efforts and teachings can be recognized and remembered as being the first Japanese martial arts to use the coloured belt system employed by most Japanese and Okinawan arts, as well as many others. He was a teacher by trade, which I have no doubt would help with teaching the martial arts, and contributed to Judo being taught in public schools.
Master Kano had originally studied Jujutsu while studying in university, long before it would make it’s way across the globe and everyone would only recognize “Brazilian Jujitsiu,” which is a combination of the two aforementioned arts. He eventually began to surpass his teachers and developed his own system, naming it Judo, which means “plainly” and “the way.” Master Kano also established the Kodokan, which is his Judo institute in Japan. I had the honour of visiting this facility in 2001. It was inspiring.
Although I consider myself a karate practitioner, Sensei also holds a black belt in Judo and incorporated a lot of Master kano’s teachings into our system. Through the decades, many of the holds, pressure points and throws taught in Judo were also taught to us. That’s why our school is called the New England Academy of Karate & Judo.
A happy, belated birthday to the late Master Kano. He may no longer be with us, but his legacy has obviously endured long after his passing and will continue on. In fact, judo was the first Japanese martial art to be included in the Olympics. It makes one wonder if he ever thought, all those decades ago, just how far his teachings would reach…☯️