• 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 – 1964 Tokyo Olympics Bruno Carmeni 68kg Part 2

Here I was in Tokyo at the Nihon Budokan Hall getting ready for my competition on the 1st day. I had arrived in Japan in August 1964, two months prior to the Olympics. I trained at the Kodokan in Tokyo, in order to refine my judo techniques and to get into the right mood for the battle I was going to face.

At the Kodokan I met several judo high grades among which Kotaro Okano, who was a 9th dan  then (3 years later he was promoted 10th dan). During a training session in the main hall I badly hurt my right knee and had the honor to be cured by this great master.

At another training I met a young Japanese, who asked me at the end of the session if all Italians were so strong, because he was going to go to Italy very soon. It was Kurihara, who is still teaching judo today in Milan.

During the same month I went to Tenri with my Sensei Noritomo Ken Otani and Nicola Tempesta, the other Italian who entered the over 80kg weight division at the Games, in order to further refine our preparation. The University of Tenri was famous because it was considered the “champions forge” thanks to the Sensei there, Yasuichi Matsumoto, the winner of the first All Japan Championships in 1948. His special was o sotogari. It was so outstanding, that up to today it is considered a signature at Tenri University.

While in Tenri we met with Anton Geesink and all of us were guests of Shozen Nakayama, who was the 2nd Shimbashira Sama of the Tenri Kyo. He was a passionate judoka and had been promoting judo for its inclusion at the Tokyo Olympics. The hospitality was outstanding, but the trainings were really tough. They took place in the old dojo made of wood, which became a furnace in summer, because of the heat and the humidity. I remember, that my head was very often smoking!

After a month of training we went back to Tokyo in September. The Games were getting close and we, Western Europeans, were aware of the fact, that we had not only to face the Japanese judokas, which were famous for their exceptional technical tradition, but also the athletes from the Soviet Union. The latter had appeared in 1962 at the European Championships, where they had been winning everything with their outrageous and destabilizing techniques having a sambo background. 

I entered the up to 68kg weight division with 25 athletes. There were 8 pools, I was in one of 3 athletes, won my first fight against Wong-Ku Chang from Taiwan by decision, lost the second by decision against the French athlete Michel Gaston Lestrugeon and the latter had lost against Chang by decision. Only the first athlete of each pool was supposed to go on. I found out, that Lestrugeon and Chang had to repeat their fight. Chang won by decision, but nobody had explained the rules to us then and up to now I am still asking myself why I was eliminated. All three of us had a victory and a loss.

In the “Official Judo Programme” under a “Brief Explanation of The Judo Contest” of the Tokyo Olympics it says: “If the time limit is reached before either party has achieved a decision, outcome of the bout will be decided by the verdict of the Judges, based on superiority . Such verdicts will be made with the consideration firstly as to whether the participants has earned any points by “Waza-ari” (half-point) or displayed a technique close to “Waza-ari”, and secondly as to the manners, techniques, and faults during the bout. Therefore, a participant considered superior by “Waza-ari” prints or by any throw close to it, may not necessarily be awarded the bout when deportment or attitude are taken into consideration”.

After more than forty years I realize now, that these rules, which I was not aware of then, left quite some open points. Basically they gave total power to the Judges, who might have been influenced politically or followed some specific guidelines, that the athletes could not stick to as there was no clear explanation. Not even our National Team Heads gave us any information. We had to totally rely upon ourselves. I remember, that I needed some vitamins, but had no assistance whatsoever and was unable to get any.

My Tokyo Olympics ended with the two fights in the video, where I performed several judo techniques, but it was the beginning of a new adventure in Japan, that lasted two years. It allowed me not only to learn judo and the Japanese language, but also to appreciate the Japanese way of life. Further details to follow soon.


2 Responses

  1. complimenti Maestro
    è la prima volta che vedo il filmato delle Olimpiadi
    a presto

  2. Grazie ed auguri per tua mamma.

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