Cumbria and the Borders Judo KAI

Traditional Judo at it's Best

The history of judo


Ancient Japan



Japan's 50th emperor, Kanmu, sends out an Imperial Edict to all provinces calling for all warriors who are skilled in military arts to attend a gymnasium called the Butokuden to commemorate the founding of Kyoto. Kanmu encouraged the development of strength, spirit, and virtuous character.


Takenouchi Ryu is founded. (A formulation of unarmed fighting techniques, it seems to be the earliest reliable record of what becomes known as ju jutsu.)


After the battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu unifyies the warring states of Japan, marking the beginning of the Shogun period. Tokugawa Ieyasu makes Edo a provincial capital and his base of operations.


An American, Commodore Matthew Perry, forces the Japanese government to open ports for trade and sign a treaty of friendship between the USA and Japan. The Shogunate realise that that change is inevitable, which is reinforced the following year when American warships display their superior firepower.


The Tokugawa shogunate is in rapid decline.

Jigoro Kano is born October 28, 1860 in the seaside town of Mikage, near Kobe. Kano's father, Jirosaku,was a Shinto priest, and an important government official in charge of purchasing agents for naval and shipping supplies. Other members of the Kano clan were sake brewers. Kano was the third and last son in his family, which also included two girls.

Edward William Barton-Wright was born in India to a Scottish mother and Northumbrian father in November


Dawn of the Meiji Era



The Meiji Restoration. Imperial rule is restored after the shogunate is overthrown by the southern prefectures of Choshu and Satsuma. The Emperor moves the Japanese capital from Kyoto to Edo, which is renamed Tokyo.
Japan embraces study of the outside world, while Japanese culture becomes regarded as uncivilized. Jujitsu, which had already fallen into disrepute, plummets in public opinion as it represents an older, backward Japan that has no place in the modern world. The samurai, their class structure, and the wearing of swords and topknots all begin to disappear.


Jigoro Kano and his family move to Tokyo


Jigoro Kano, being small and weak, is beaten up and bullied so often he decides to learn ju jutsu. His father refuses to let him study it, believing it to be uncivilised and uncultured. Kano manages to find a teacher called Ryuji Katagiri and takes lessons anyway. Katagiri apparently feels Kano is too young, but gives him a few formal lessons, and tells him to study hard.


Jigoro Kano enrolls at Tokyo Imperial University. He seeks out an osteopath, as that profession had traditionally included ju jitsu instruction. Through Teinosuke Yagi, Kano is introduced to Hachinosuke Fukuda, a master of Tenjin-Shinyo Ryu ju jitsu. Unlike most other ju jitsu schools, Fukuda emphasises a free-style practice over kata.


Jigoro Kano's ju jutsu teacher, Hachinosuke Fukuda, suddenly falls ill and dies. Kano is taken on by another Tenjin-Shinyo Ryu instructor named Masatomo Iso, who also stresses free movement. Over the next two years, Kano spends all his free time working on ju jitsu. Unfortunately, Iso becomes ill and his Dojo is closed. In search of another instructor, Kano meets Tsunetoshi Iikubo, a master of Kito Ryu. (An earlier master of Kito Ryu had changed the name of Kito-kumiuchi to Kito-ryu Judo in 1714. Over time, Kito-ryu Judo was commonly referred to as Kito-ryu ju jitsu, but this is likely the origins of the term kodokan judo.) Kito Ryu also emphasises free movement during practice, and specialises in throwing techniques. With his keen intellect, Kano soon begins to see ways to modify and improve the effectiveness of the techniques. He begins to add new techniques through the study of other fighting styles, among them other ju jitsu schools and western wrestling..


While under Iikubo, Jigoro Kano develops new throws called kata guruma, uki goshi, and tsuri-komi-goshi. He also refines the idea of kuzushi as an essential part of techniques. Although it has certainly been used before, kuzushi had never been recognised as a basic principle, as ju jitsu relied on leverage for effective techniques.
On one occasion Kano's use of kuzushi allows him to throw Iikubo three times. "From now on, you teach me," Ikubo was reported to have said. Kano is recognised as a master in Kito-Ryu.

Tokushima Prefecture is formally established


Studying intensely at Tokyo Imperial University, Jigoro Kano learns English as well as studying of political philosophy and Chinese literature. As western sports and theory reached Japan Kano falls in love with baseball. In the process, he sees how sport in the West brings together people from different backgrounds and cultures. After graduating from University Kano immediately receives an appointment to teach literature at the Gakushin, or 'Peer's School', an exclusive school for children of the elite Japanese classes.

Yukio Tani is born


The Kodokan is founded



In February Jigoro Kano sets up his own dojo at Eishoji Temple in Tokyo with nine students. Tsunetoshi Iikubo often helps instruct. Although training is still closer to ju jitsu than judo, he names his style Kodokan judo to distance it from ju jitsu as well as establishing his style as a new martial art.
The Eishoji priests tolerate Kano, but practice often becomes so violent that tablets, lined up on shelves, fall onto the floor. Occasionally the floor itself is damaged, and Kano is seen under the temple repairing broken floorboards.
Since judo is not yet well known ,and ju jitsu still has a poor reputation, Kano's students attend practice by promising their parents, that they are going to study literature with the Gakushin's Professor Kano. Kano also opens the Kano Juka, a school for children designed to educate as well as build character. He also opens an English language school called the Koubunkan.
Kano's linguistic ability provided him with an opportunity to earn money teaching and translating, which he used to support the Kano Junka and his Kodokan.
Kano's martial philosophy is consistent with Taoist teachings and European ideas of social progress. "We all go forward together" was a concept that Kano embraced and then expressed as Jita kyoei. While organising jujitsu techniques into a scientific method of movement, he added the principle of "maximum efficiency, minimum effort", expressed as Seiryoku zenyo. This seems to come from English philosophy, but it perfectly complements Taoist thoughts.


The priests at the Eishoji Temple are frustrated by Kano repeatedly damaging the temple. The head priest is reported to say: "He may be young, but Mr. Kano is really an outstanding man. What a fine person he would be if he would only leave this judo alone,". Eventually, the monks have had enough and Kano has to move his dojo. He builds a temporary hall next to the Eishoji, before moving it to his own home.

Kyuzo Mifune was Born April 21, in Kuji City, Iwate Prefecture on Honshu Island


Kodokan bylaws are drawn up. The Kodokan name and the ideas of seiryoku zenyo and jita kyoei are formally established.
The first Kodokan Red and White contest is held, along with the introduction of kagami birake.

Kano begins to formulate the original forms of nage no kata and katame no kata.


The Kodokan wins its first recorded contest with the Metropolitan police. This match set the police jujitsu against Judo, and was the first of many such matches that the Kodokan won.
Japanese universities adopt the English education system, including the language. Kano, attending Tokyo University, is so impressed by the power of education he decides to expand judo into an educational opportunity.

Gunji Koizumi Born on 8th July, 1885, in the province of Ibaraki, about twenty miles north of Tokyo


Yajiro Shinagawa, an industrialist, had been appointed ambassador to England and asked Kano to take care of his house in the Fujimi-cho district of Tokyo. When the ambassador makes a visit home he discovers his home has become the new kodokan, with 40 tatami. Shinagawa allows practice to continue and word of the Kodokan's technical superiority spread.

Shochugeiko, training to celebrate the beginning of summer is introduced, which becomes another kodokan tradition.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police hosts a match between the kodokan and the best ju jitsu schools, including Totsuka-ha Yoshin-ryu jujutsu. The Kodokan only loses two matches, draws one, and wins the other 12 matches. The kodokan's victory is later featured in Akira Kurosawa's film Sanshiro Sugata.

Kano understands that a curriuculum benefits students and teachers alike, and sees how the British education system has a method of grading students to assess their progress.
He also realised that the British system had sports firmly embedded in the education system, giving students a superior attitude and ability when compared to other systems, in which sports were not only seperate from, but secondary to, state-dominated education.
Kano realises that sport has something to offer martial arts, and that martial arts could become much more than methods of self-defence. When he becomes head of the national teacher's university he encourages sport for students and teachers. A sports club is founded, which includes judo, kendo, gymnastics, sumo, tennnis, football and baseball. Students are required to practice for at least half an hour every day. Kano was happy for judo to be considered as a sport in this context because of the health and social benefits participants enjoyed.


Nage no kata and katame no kata are complete, and Kano begins to formulate ju no kata, go no kata and itstsu no kata.

Kano wanted to keep alive the ancient codes of honour of the samurai, but had no qualms about filtering out concepts he felt didn't complement his mix of education, martial arts and sport. In order to encourage competitors to take risks and develop their abilities judo contests were three-point shiai instead of sudden death shobu.


On April 29th, Takashima Shidachi of the Yoshin Ryu gives a lecture on the history and development of jujitsu, judo and Yoshin Ryu at a meeting of the Japan Society on London


A new kodokan is built for the sole purpose of judo, in the Fujimi-cho district of Tokyo


The new kodokan building brings new responsibilities, so the Kodokan Council is set up to administer Kodokan Judo. With Kano's committments to education he had less time to devote to both administrative and technical aspects of judo. He continues to develop grappling methods, with the defender in a face-up position, which gives the defender more opportunities. The traditional jujutsu position was for the defender to be face-down.

The 1100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto City was celebrated and a Temple was built in the north east of the city dedicated to the memory of the Emperor Kanmu


Gokyo no waza are formulated at the Kodokan.

Kano is made headmaster of the Gakushin. The school caters to the Imperial household and is among the most prestigous positions in Japan. It was unheard of for a 35-year old to be put in charge of it.
Kano immediately makes drastic changes to the Gakushin. Commoners are admitted, and all students are required to do menial tasks each day to instill humility, as Kano rejected the thought that being born a noble somehow implied superiority. To instill a discipline of daily living and study Kano made the school a boarding school, and students are only allowed to return to their families on weekends.
The parents of the students are grateful for the changes Kano brought to the Imperial household. Next, he is put in charge of the Tokyo Teacher's Training School, which has been renamed Tokyo University of Education.
Kano's reputation in Japan rests not only through his development of judo, but with being one of a few who brought modern education to Japan.

In April the Dia Nippon Butokukai was founded in order to promote traditional martial arts and cultivate martial virtues. and its first Superintendent was H.I.H. Prince Komatsu-no-Miya Akihito. Part of the the Dia Nippon Butokukwai's Constitution includes The Headquaters are to be Kyoto and the Superintendent shall be a Prince of Imperial Blood.
The stated goals of the Butokukai are:
To construct the Butokuden, a large martial arts hall within the precincts of the Heian Shrine in Kyoto;
To hold a martial virtues festival each year;
To preserve, support, and promote martial arts;
To collect arms and historical materials;
To publish a bulletin.
Branch offices were set up in all prefectures of Japan and prefectural governors become branch directors. The Busen was the Teachers Training College of the Dia Nippon Butokukwai with the best kyudan and judan instructors, and it was necessary to pass a strict and difficult entrance examination before being accepted for the four-year course.


Kyuzo Mifune's father, a strict man, sends Mifune to a junior high school at Sendai, in northern Japan. Mifune discovers judo there and dedicated himself to it.

Edward William Barton-Wright spends three years working in Japan as an engineer for a mining company. He becomes fascinated with Ju Jutsu and takes lessons. (Most likely in Tenshin Shin'yo Ryu)

On September 5 Emperor Meiji selects Komatsumiya Akihito, a member of the imperial family, to be the Butokukai's first general director (sosai). In October, the association held its first martial arts festival that featured kendo and judo exhibitions.

Masutaro Otani is born in Kamigoto, on the Island of NakadoriJima, near Nagasaki.


Mifune defeated nine opponents in a row at one tournament with another high school.

Koizumi At 12 years old joined a Kenjutsu class, and trained under the master of the school for three years.

1897 EJ Harrison, arrives in Yokahama to work with a British newspaper. He joined the Tenjin Shin Yo Dojo

The Butokukai's sosai and his supporters secure enough financial assistance from both the government and the emperor to establish the Butokuden, the Butokukai's official training hall, which is needed to accomodate their growing numbers.


In March, the gymnasium at the Butokukai is finished, with galleries capable of holding thousands of spectators. In May the dedication ceremony takes place in the presence of H.I.H. Prince Komatsu-no-Miya Akihito.


Jujutsu arrives in Great Britain



Upon his return to England, Barton-Wright opens his own martial arts school, 'The School of Arms' in Shaftesbury Avenue, London, where he teaches boxing, fencing, wrestling and la savate. Barton-Wright names the combination of styles that he teaches Bartitsu, although it was basically jujutsu. He requests Japanese experts to be sent over to England to teach at his club and to help him promote jujutsu.

In September, the Tani brothers arrive in England followed shortly afterwards by Yamamoto. Barton-Wright wants the Japanese to perform in the music halls, but Tani's elder brother and Yamamoto disagree with this and return to Japan.

Barton Wright manages Yukio Tani, who is a natural showman, and leads the two men into touring the music hall circuit. Tani challenges anyone willing to wrestle with him with the temptation of winning £1 for each minute they last, or £50 for winning. There was never a shortage of challengers, and despite Yukio Tani only being 5foot six inches, he allegedly only ever loses one music hall match - and that was to a fellow Japanese national.

The construction of the Butokuden, adjacent to the Heian Shrine, is completed and opened. Serving as the Butokukai's headquarters, the Butokuden soon attracts many of Japan's most respected martial artists.


The kodokan is defeated in a contest with Fusen Ryu ju jitsu. Fusen Ryu specialises in grappling (ne waza) techniques, and this gives them the edge. Recognising a weakness in the kodokan's syllabus, Kano persuades the headmaster of Fusen Ryu, Mataemon Tanabe, to show him the main syllabus. Kano also seeks a similar style, Jikishin Ryu ju jitsu, to include its techniques into the Kodokan syllabus too. Kodokan Judo begins a trend toward ne waza.

Barton-Wright brings in Sadakazu (Raku) Uyenishi who, like Yukio Tani, has no objections to touring the music halls. A short while later Sadakazu Uyenishi begins teaching self defence and physical education at the Army Gymnastic HQ in Aldershot.

Gunji Koizumi Moves to Tokyo and takes up Tenshin-Shinyo-Ryu jujutsu under Nobushige Tago.


Kyuzo Mifune joins the Kodokan in July.

Yukio Tani meets William Bankier, who had worked in the music halls as a strongman going under the stage name of Apollo. Tani parts company with Barton-Wright, and Bankier takes over as Tani's manager.
Tani and Uyenishi have opened their own jujitsu schools and founded the British Ju Jutsu Society


Kyuzo Mifune's father finds out his son is spending more time doing Judo than studying and cuts off his allowance. Mifune sets out to find work, begins a newspaper. It becomes a success and so he sells it, making a 'substantial' profit before entering the economics program at Keio University.

Gunji Koizumi is in Korea, studying Kenjutsu and jujutsu under Nobukatsu Yamada - an ex-samurai of the Owari clan. Koizumi learns techniques of Shin Shin Ryu, jujutsu and katsu.

The British Society for Jiu Jitsu is founded by William Bankier with Yukio Tani as it's instructor at the Japanese School of Jiu Jitsu at 305 Oxford street, London.

Tarro Miyake, experienced in both judo and yoshinryu jujutsu arrives in London.


After only fifteen months, Kyuzo Mifune achieves shodan in Kodokan Judo. A mere four more months and he attains nidan. Mifune rapidly gains a reputation, and through the use of timing and speed is never defeated at the annual Red and White Kodokan tournament.

Gunji Koizumi arrives in Singapore in November. He assists Akishima Sensei and is taught the 144 techniques of Akishima Ryu and katsu techniques.

Masutaro Otani begins learning kendo, which is compulsory in schools, but after being bullied by an older boy he switches to judo to protect himself.

Tarro Miyake joins Yukio Tani at the Japanese School of jiu jitsu.

Akitara Ono, a kodokan yondan, arrives in London and works with Sadakazu Uyenishi.

The Butokukai establishes a martial arts training school for teachers.


The Kodokan moves to new facilities to cope with a huge intake of students. The Shimotomisaka Kodokan almost doubles the training area to 207 tatami.

Gunji Koizumi arrives in England in May. He instructs at the Kara Ashikage School of Ju Jutsu, Liverpool, the Piccadilly school of Ju Jutsu, the Polytechnic, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, among others.

Fushinomiya, another member of the imperial household, becomes the Butokukai's second sosai. He announces the organization's intention to establish a martial arts college, which begins to happen thanks to a sizeable grant from the Emperor.


Jigoro Kano lengthens the sleeves and trousers of judogi. Not only does this improve control and safety, but it reflects the longer sleeves worn on the streets, thereby retaining judo's relevance as an art of self defence.
Kano recognises the need to distinguish between the varying abilities of students and so develops the kyu and dan systems. A dan indicates the level of advanced or experienced judoka, who are referred to as yudansha, or 'those with dans'. A kyu indicates the level of ability in less experienced judoka who are called mudansha, or 'those without dans'.
Kano's yudansha all had black sashes, but these are replaced with black belts, the standard which is still used today.

Kano impresses upon his students that achieving their initial dan, or shodan, symbolises the real beginning of their journey, and not the end of their journey as many assume.

The kyu/dan grading system is adopted by the Butokukai. Kano Sensei distributed black sashes to all yudansha, which were worn around the standard dogi (practice uniform) of that era. Around 1907, the black sash was replaced with the kuro-obi (black belt), which became the standard still used.

Gunji Koizumi leaves the UK for America and studies electrical engineering.

In June, the Dai Nippon Butokukai becomes a foundation.


Jigoro Kano becomes the first Oriental member of the International Olympic Committee

Sadakazu Uyenishi leaves Britain and returns to Japan


The Kodokan is made an official foundation.


Gunji Koizumi returns to London in May and settles down.


. Jigoro Kano founds the Japan Amateur Athletic Association, and the Judo Teacher's Training Department is organized.

Judo and Kendo become compulsory courses in all middle schools throughout Japan. Modern budo flourishes in the school system, signifying the value the government places upon budo training. Judo is also adopted by the Dia Nippon Butokukwai.

On September 18, the Butokukai opens its martial arts college, located next to the Butokuden. First called the Bujutsu Semmon Gakko (martial arts specialty school), the name was later changed to the Budo Semmon Gakko (Martial Ways Specialty School), and nicknamed the Busen. One of Jigoro's Kano top disciples, Isogai Hajime, serves as the first director of the Butokukai's judo department. Eminent Hokushin Ittoryu swordsman Naito Takaharu represents the kendo department.


Jigoro Kano calls together the remaining leading masters of jujitsu to finalize a Kodokan syllabus of training and kata. These masters were; Aoyagi of Sosusihis Ryu: Takano, Yano, Kotaro Imei and Hikasuburo Ohshima of Takeuisi Ryu: Jushin Sekiguchi and Mogichi Tsumizu from Sekiguchi Ryu: Eguchi from Kyushin Ryu: Hoshino from Shiten Ryu: Inazu from Miura Ryu: and Takamatsu, a Kukkishin Ryu expert, who had worked with Kano on weapons (at which Kano is a recognized expert) and contributed his the technique of hiza guruma

Kyuzo Mifune Becomes a rokudan and an instructor. He is already being called the "God of Judo." His father recommends a girl in his hometown for marriage, and, for the second time since 1896 Mifune returns home.


The All Japan Special High School championships are started at Kyoto Imperial University. These championships emphasized the trend toward newaza and the schools that took part became so good at this approach that they earned the name Kosen Judo or 'grappling Judo'.

Masutaro Otani overhears a fierce family row during which relatives attack his father in a dispute over financial matters. Overcome by emotion he takes up the family sword and chases the relatives from the house. Then, in shame, he ran away to sea.

Trevor Pryce Leggett was born in London on August 22.


Kenshiro Abe is born in the Tokushima province. He was the fourth son of Mrs. Koto Abe and father Toshizo.


George William Chew is born


Masutaro Otani takes up judo and jujutsuin and studies for two years under Seizo Usui in Ceylon (Now Sri Lanka).


Gunji Koizumi opens the Budokwai on January 26th, at 15 Lower Governor Place, Victoria, London. The club practises jujutsu, kenjutsu and other Japanese martial arts.

Kenshiro Abe is introduced to Martial Arts by his father, who is a Kendo teacher. He later learns Sumo wrestling at school and becomes the regional school champion.

Eric Dominy is born.


Masutaro Otani comes to England.

Gunji Koizumi asks Yukio Tani to join him at the Budokwai and Tani accepts. He retires from music hall bouts and becomes the Budokwai's chief instructor.


Jigoro Kano visits the Budokwai in July while on route to the Olympic Games in Antwerp. With Kano is Hikoichi Aida and E.J.Harrison. They convince the budokwai to covert to Judo and award Gunji Koizumi and Yukio Tani kodokan nidans to recognise their technique and status. During this visit, a Budokwai member called Tanabe is awarded his shodan, making him the first person to receive a dan grading in England.
Hikoichi Aida becomes the first judo instructor at the Budokwai, where judo is now formally taught.

Percy Sekine is born


Masutaro Otani joins the Budokwai and studies under Hikoichi Aida.


The Kodokan Dan Grade Holder's Association (yudanshakai) was formed


Kosen judo was becoming so predominant that by Jigoro Kano can forsee throwing techniques disappearing from the syllabus of effective Judo skills. Rules are changed to specifically require that all techniques must begin from a standing position, and that if a competitor pulled his opponent down without such an effort, the opponent would be declared the automatic winner.
However, Kano understands the value of Kosen Judo's proficency, and so the Seven Universities Tournament, (which continues in Japan to this day), has been exempt from this 1925 Kodokan rule change.


Masutaro Otani becomes assistant instructor and close friend to Yukio Tani


Kenshiro Abe begins Judo.


The Judo Medical Research Society is formed.

TP Leggett joins the Budokwai and studies under Yukio Tani. Yukio Tani is a strict teacher of the old samurai school, so TP Leggett is trained in that tradition.

Kenshiro Abe is graded to nidan in judo at the age of fifteen.


Kenshiro Abe becomes the Tokushima High school champion and receives his sandan from the Butokukai. He enrolls at the Butokukai's special teacher training college. and later is later graded 5th Dan, graduated and retained as an instructor.


A new Kodokan with a mat area of 510 tatami is opened in the Suidobashi district of Tokyo

The European Judo Union is formed.


Kenshiro Abe wins both the All Japan East/West Tournament and the godan championships. It is around this time that Abe Sensei begins a 10-year study of Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido, and starts to formulate his own Budo philosophy of kyu shin do.

With the rise of Japanese militarism during the 1930's, the military imposes upon the kodokan the rule of one point wins. As Kano fears, this leads to shobu, rather than shiai. These 'Sudden death' rules punish (and still do) experimentation, creativity, and the use of competition as a means of forging techniques. Instead, judo now is closer to the old samurai concept that a single mistake results in death.

Percy Sekine starts judo at the Budokwai as a student of Gunji Koizumi, Yukio Tani, and TP Leggett.


Jigoro Kano elevates Kyuzo Mifune to kyudan

George William Chew takes up judo as a student of Yukio Tani and Gunji Koizumi


Jigoro Kano attends the IOC Meeting in Cairo in May, to address it on the prospect of Japan hosting the Olympics.

Kano dies on his way home on May 5, aboard the Japanese ship Hikawa Maru. His death was attrributed to pneumonia, and inJuly the Japanese government itself cancells the games, as it moves toward total war.

At Kano's death Jiro Nango became president of the Kodokan, but Kyuzo Mifune becomes the most influential instructor. Students had long complained that Mifune would get carried away with lectures, and he was 'feared, more than loved'.

Kenshiro Abe is awarded rokudan, and is called up for military service.

Akinori Hosaka is born in North Japan in the Akita Prefacture.

TP Leggett travells to Japan to continue his training in judo, and while there gains his yondan and then godan.


The Second World War



Because Masutaro Otani is Japanese, he is interned in a prisoner of war camp in the UK, despite protests from many sources, including the Oxbridge Universities.

With the start of war in Europe, TP Leggett gets himself attached to the British Embassy.

During the war years, Kenshiro Abe runs a military training company, where he studies and masters jukendo, the way of the bayonet.


George Chew is graded to shodan, joins the R.A.F. and becomes a parachute jumping instructor and operational dispatcher. He serves in the UK and the Far East


Japan enters the war and TP Leggett is interned along with the other embassy staff. Eventually he leaves Japan as part of an exchange with London-based Japanese embassy staff.


Because of the war, the Butokukai is reorganized under the auspices of five ministries: Welfare, Education, War, Navy, and National Affairs.

Ceorge Chew is graded nidan.

Percy Sekine becomes a prisoner of war, and occupies his time teaching Judo and escaping.


Eric Dominy and Percy Sekine find themselves being held in Stalag 383 in Germany. As the result of an earlier escape they found themselves in adjoining cells, and tried to work out how they had been recaptured and how to do better next time.
There was a hole in the wall between the cells through which they discuss a range of topics, eventually getting on to judo. Eric had never heard of it. Percy decided to start a judo class in the gym, and Eric agreed to join.
The Germans were getting fed up with escapes, and put everyone with a record of escaping into one hut in the centre of the camp. Naturally, a mass escape from this 'secure' hut followed, and the judo club did not start until the escapees had been recaptured.
The theatre workshop makes some judo jackets out of mail bags, and the class has over half-a-dozen regulars. It runs for about a year before Percy is moved. Eric and two others continue without an instructor, until a food shortage forces the medical officers to ban all sport.
Eric escapes soon after.

TP Leggett served in India from 1943 to 1945 at the British SE Asia Military HQ using his knowledge of Japanese


Post War



On May 25, Kyuzo Mifune is elevated to Judan, the fourth of only seven men to ever reach that grade.

The Butokukai grades Kenshiro Abe shichidan in judo and rokudan in kendo.

Robin Otani is born.

Shortly after Japan surrenders to the Allied Forces, the occupation forces ban all organizations they consider to be the roots of militarism in Japan.
With Prime Minister Tojo Hideki serving as head of the Butokukai during the war years, the Dai Nippon Butokukai, the Busen, and all its affiliates, are the first institutes ordered close.
The Butokukai is dormant for the next seven years, and various groups use the Butokuden. From 1945 to 1950, it was Allied Forces "GHQ,", then the Legal Affairs and Finance Ministries use it, before the Kyoto Police Department use it for their official training hall.

TP Leggett returns to London and begins teaching at the Budokwai.

After returning to the UK, Eric joins the Budokwai.
Percy finally returns home after the camp he was being held in is overrun by the Russians.
George Chew returns from India.

In the latter part of the year the Budokwai is bulging at the seams. Not only were old members returning from the forces, numerous soldiers, sailors and airman who had learned self-defence or unarmed combat now wanted to learn Judo. Percy Sekine teaches the beginners at the Budokwai and Gunji Koizumi suggests that George Chew and Eric Domini form an overflow club. This will lead to the London Judo Society (LJS) being formed.

Matsutaro Otani founds the Jubilee Judo Club.


The LSJ club is founded in the gym of the police section house at Gilmour House. It is technically a police club but visitors are allowed and pay a mat fees of six pence per session.

In January, the Education Ministry is put in charge of budo, which are to serve only as physical education in the school system.
Later that year, ex-Butokukai officials make a successful effort to have the association reinstated, but the success is short-lived as allied officials again close it.


Eric Dominy is graded shodan

Percy Sekine is graded sandan


Gunji Koizumi is graded to rokudan and becomes the president of the newly formed British Judo Association, which unites the majority of Judo clubs in Great Britain.

The Masutaro Otani Society of Judo is founded.

The first post-war all-japan judo championships are held.


The All-Japan Judo Federation is established.

Kenshiro Abe becomes the chief instructor to the Kyoto police and Doshisha university.


After years of pressure from former Kodokan members, General Macarthur allows the kodokan to reopen. Former Butokukai teachers who wish to continue Judo offer their services to the Kodokan.
Risei Kano, The President of the Kodokan, writes to many judoka requesting funds to rebuild the Kodokan. Kenchiro Abbe and Master Michigami both make donations.

Yukio Tani passes away, having suffered a stroke.


The International Judo Federation is established.

George Chew is graded sandan


The All-Japan Judo Federation joins the International Judo Federation.

Risei Kano, becomes the chairman of the International Judo Federation.

Eric Dominy is graded to nidan


The Dai Nippon Butokukai is privately funded and reorganized by the core members from the pre-war period.
Located quite close to its original site, the Dai Nippon Butokukai receives permission to use the Shoren Temple in Kyoto's Higashi Yamaku, Awahta Guchi, where it remains to this day.


Matsutaro Otani becames disenchanted not only with the judo the British Judo Association is promoting, but the anglicising of the Japanese art he loved. He is also said to be disappointed with the level of support and care that had been given to his old friend, Yukio Tani. Otani cuts his links with the BJA and forms his own organisation - the Masutaro Otani Society of Judo

The London Judo Society, decide to invite a high ranking Japanese judoka - Kenshiro Abe - to become their chief instructor.


Kenshiro Abe arrives in the UK.

Percy Sekine is graded yondan from the kodokan


Kyuzo Mifune writes his classic book, Canon of Judo.

Masutaro Otani makes contact with Kenshiro Abe, begins training under him and is graded to rokudan. (Matsutaro Otani had earlier been promoted to 4th Dan from Yukio Tani (date uncertain), and 5th Dan by Ichiro Hata (date uncertain))

The first World Judo Championship is held in Tokyo, with paticipants from 21 countries.

Peter Butler founds the Amateur Judo Association.


The British Judo Council is Formed



Although he was invited by the LJS to be their chief instructor, a series of disagreements results in Kenshiro Abe parting company with them. He founds a series of martial arts councils, including the British Judo Council, the British Kendo Council, the British Karate Council, etc. as well as a governing body - the International Budo Council (IBC).

At the age of thirteen, Robin Otani decides to compete against senior judoka


Matsutaro Otani becomes shichidan and the National Coach of the British Judo Council, taking over from Abbe Sensei

Akinori Hosaka is a Tokyo Championship winner as part of a team in 1958/59. The other team members were Yonezuka, Shimamoto, Kanakogi and Shina.


Gunji Koizumi's book My Study of Judo: The Principles and the Technical Fundamentals is published.

After finishing University, Akinori Hosaka becomes the Japan Police Coach in North Japan.

Kenshiro Abe is injured in a car accident.


Akinori Hosaka is North Japan Champion twice in 1961/62. At 5th dan, he comes to North Manchester in October, with TP Leggett as his guarantor. Akinori becomes involved with BJA on a three year contract.


The 1963 Budo Festival/BJC National Championships is held at the Royal Albert Hall. The idea is that the finalists will go forward to fight with the BJA, etc, for selection on to the British Olympic Team. Kenshiro Abe is refereeing. The event is a huge budo spectacle with Abbe's IBC instructors giving displays of various martial arts and judo kata. Kenshiro Abe performs nage no kata with Michigami, who is based in France. There is also a display of the kaeshi no kata with Matsutaro Otani and a kendo championship.


Judo is recognised as an official Olympic event at the Tokyo Olympics. The event is divided into the categories of lightweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and open. It is the first time an international judo competition has used weight categories such as these.
Kyuzo Mifune serves as an offical at the Olympic Games, even though he has been diagnosed with throat cancer.
Kenchiro Abe returns to Japan to see the Olympics.

TP Leggett abruptly pulls out of Judo. He decides he has produced enough competitors and teachers and instead turns his attention to writing - mostly about judo, Budo, eastern philosophy and Zen Buddhism.

In December Kyuzo Mifune enters hospital.


Kyuzo Mifune dies on January 27, at 81 years old. At the time of his death, he was the last of the judans of Kodokan Judo

Gunji Koizumi dies. He is alleged to have committed suicide because his honour could no longer bear association with what Judo had become.

Akinori Hosaka is no longer involved with the BJA


The International Judo Federation Contest Rules were created.

In October, Kenshiro Abe was reading the writings of a great Buddhist leader, named Nichiren Daishonin. He read for six hours, put the book down and found himself completely well again. Apparently for the first time in nine years his mind was clear and he had no pain in his body. 'Transformed' he began his life again.


Kenchiro Abe returns to Britain, and is disappointed at the state of the IBC and the BJC. Abe believes that most British Judo Council members were more interested in physical instruction and did not understand the essence of his kyushindo teachings. Kenchiro Abe dismantles the British Judo Council and put people in place he trusted to help rebuild it. Matsutaro Otani is graded to hachidan and made president of the British Judo Council. Along with a number of other loyal students he was left in charge of the IBC.


Kenchiro Abe returns to Japan.

Matsutaro Otani merges the MOSJA into the BJC.

The Butokukai is declared a national treasure.


The score of koka is first added to judo competitions at the Montreal Olympics.


Matsutaro Otani dies. His son Robin Otani later becomes President of the BJC


The British Judo Council cuts it's links with an 'all but redundant' IBC


At the 11th World Judo Championship in Paris, seven weight categories plus an open competition are used for the first time.


Akinori Hosaka is graded to kodokan shichidan.

Kenshiro Abe passes away on December 1st.


The old dilapidated Butokuden is restored to its original splendor, although the surrounding buildings are torn down to make way for a new dojo.


At the Seoul Olympics the open category is abolished.


The British Judo Council becomes affiliated to the British Judo Association.


TP Leggett dies of a stroke at St Mary's Hospital on 2nd August.


Akinori Hosaka is graded to kodokan hachidan


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