• My thoughts on the DO

    Starting practice is one of the most precious moments. It can be very exciting and eventually leads to fabulous growth. Now is the very moment to decide if to go all the way through.

    When I started judo practice I decided, that I would have done it for the rest of my life and that my Master would have been a constant presence in my thoughts.

    Fundamental to the DO is one ingredient: COMMITMENT, indicating, that self-discipline and persistence must be kept regardless of how hard it is.

    Practice puts us under constant stress, but without it we would never be able to develop our personality.

    Commitment and self-discipline are precious as gold for those seeking the DO.

  • In the Sixties

    1960: Bruno Carmeni throwing his opponent with seoi nage

  • More than 40 years later!

    2007: Bruno Carmeni throwing his opponent with seoi nage

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Judo Techniques & MMA – Part 5 Shiro Saigo

Judo Techniques and MMA – Part 5 Shiro Saigo

1891 Shiro Saigo

Shiro Saigo was born on 4th February 1866 (2nd year of the Keio Era) in the city Wakamatsu (Izu province). Very young he was adopted by a Shinto priest called Saigo Tanomo, who studied and practised martial arts as the last representative of the secret techniques of oshiki uchi of the Takeda clan.

Shiro, who was very light and small, he weighed 55 kg. (121 pounds) and was 155 cm (5 feet) tall, became a member of Kodokan Judo when he was 17 and the headquarter still was in the first location at the Eishoju Temple. When the dojo moved to the hangar of the Kobunkan, Saigo was the best student there and often taught most of the judo techniques, when Sensei Kano was absent.

Saigo had his first “mixed martial arts” experience in 1891 (24th year of the Meiji Era). Of course at the beginning most of the Kodokan students would visit other martial arts schools in order to fry their judo techniques. But Saigo, who besides judo was very fond of sake, preferred to go to the market place while slightly drunk in order to challenge whoever was out there. He was famous for starting fights.

That day there were some sumo fighters. Araumi, their captain, accepted Saigo’s challenge and found himself very soon on the ground thrown by Saigo. While on the ground he bit Saigo in the but and the “mixed martial arts” fight degenerated into a street quarrel.

The police arrested everybody and so Saigo, who still drunk insulted the policemen. Kano was informed on the matter and of course helped his best student out of the prison, but at the same time banished him from the Kodokan as he had infringed the rules.   

After this famous “mixed martial arts” episode Shiro Saigo did not dedicate any time to judo techniques anymore and left for Nagasaki, where he became President of the local newspaper called  “Nagasaki” and started to practice archery (Kyudo) becoming within shortly a master.

On 23rd November 1926 (11th year of the Taisho Era) he died in the city of Onomichi, in the province of Hiroshima and shortly after his death Kano Sensei decided to award him the 6th dan of Kodokan Judo.

Shiro Saigo became a legend in Japan with the name of “Sugata Sanshiro”, which is also the title of the book written by Tsuneo Tomita (son of Tsunejiro Tomita), where the author describes the actions of Saigo.

It tells about the tournament between the students of Kodokan Judo and the jujitsu students of the local police school: a mixed martial arts tournament, where the judo students totally whipped out the jujitsu ones.

Saigo’s fight was the last of the day  and signed a decisive victory of Kodokan Judo becoming a legend. Up to today in Japan there are movies, that are inspired by this legend.


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