• 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

Ne Waza Judo Techniques – Part 4

Ne Waza Judo Techniques – Part 3

The Historical Backbround of Kosen Judo – Part 2

Kano’s method on the other hand was open to all, without causing any accidents or injuries and could be considered more a physical activity rather than a martial art.

Kano added to Kodokan judo the ground techniques defining them Kosen. The main ones of this style were pins and chocking techniques, without prohibiting throws.

Most of Kano Shihan’s students had a deep passion for judo and trained very hard. The Kosen style was highly considered throughout the nation and had reached a very high technical level in which the ne waza spirit was included.

Most of them specialized and went for Tanabe’s style, as his students would win all competitions. But Kano Shihan could not accept such situation, because their supremacy undermined the delicate balance he tried to establish within the Kodokan.

In 1925 the Kosen style was so strong, that Kano Shihan had to establish new fighting rules in order to restrict it. He established a proportion between ground techniques 30% and standing techniques 70%, principle which up to today is in force within the International Judo Federation.   

The idea of the founder was, that the Kodokan was supposed to represent a synthesis of the old Ju Jitsu  and was therefore not supposed to make any preference between one style or the other.

Futhermore he also wanted to promote his method abroad and therefore needed to send people who were able to defend Kodokan’s ideals whenever facing any kind of challenge. He decided to send his students specialized in ground work of the new Kosen style abroad.

Among these there were Hirata, Tomita and Maeda. Maeda went to the US along with Tomita and after several draw backs ended up in Brazil were he taught his technique to the Gracie brothers. Brasilian Ju Jitsu concentrates quite a lot on ground work as it comes from the Kosen style.

Ground techniques are quite refined and various, but unfortunately Kosen Judo was stopped by the Second World War as all other sports were prohibited and taken up again only when it was ended.  

The Kosen style is a kind of judo, which has been picked up by the main high schools and technical institutes during the Meiji Period going from 1816 until1914, year in which the First National Japanese High School Championship took place at the Kyoto Imperial University.

Following several developments in time the school system changed. The old schools have become universities and nowadays Kosen Judo is practiced only in seven universities, which have a dedicated championship. The former Imperial Universities are those of Hokkaido, Kyoto, Kyushu, Nagoya, Osaka, Tohoku and Tokyo.

Cenni Storici sul Kosen Judo – Parte 2

Contrariamente il metodo di Kano era una pratica accessibile a tutti senza provocare incidenti e poteva essere considerato più facilmente come attività sportiva educativa e sempre meno arte marziale.

Kano inserì nel Kodokan la lotta a terra definendola metodo Kosen. Le tecniche principali di questo stile erano le tecniche di controllo e strangolamenti, senza tuttavia proibire quelle di lancio.

La maggior parte degli studenti di Kano Shihan avevano una profonda passione per il judo e si allenavano duramente. Lo stile kosen era tenuto in alta considerazione in tutta la nazione ed aveva raggiunto un altissimo livello tecnico nel quale era stato compreso lo spirito del ne waza.

Molti degli studenti di Kano si erano specializzati nello stile di Tanabe, gli allievi di quest’ ultimo primeggiavano in tutte le competizioni. Jigoro non poteva accettare una tale situazione in quanto la loro supremazia incrinava quel delicato equilibrio che stava cercando di creare all’interno del Kodokan.  

Nel 1925 lo stile Kosen aveva preso talmente piede che Jigoro Kano fu costretto a stabilire nuove regole di combattimento per limitarne l’impiego nelle competizioni. Si arrivò infatti a stabilire una proporzione fra lotta a terra (30%) e lotta in piedi (70%), principio tutt’oggi in vigore nei regolamenti della Federazione Internazionale Judo.

L’idea del fondatore era che il Kodokan doveva rappresentare una sintesi del vecchio Ju Jitsu e non poteva quindi fare preferenze fra questo o quello stile. Inoltre aveva il problema di diffondere il suo metodo anche all’estero e per attuarlo non poteva utilizzare persone che non fossero in grado di difendere gli ideali del Kodokan anche davanti alle inevitabili sfide. Tutte queste ragioni lo portarono a decidere di inviare gli allievi specialisti nella lotta a terra del nuovo stile Kosen.

Fra questi vi erano Hirata, Tomita e Maeda. Maeda, accompagnato da Tomita, andò negli U.S.A. e dopo tante peripezie fini in Brasile dove insegnò ai fratelli Gracie la sua tecnica. Il Brasilian Ju Jitsu é quasi tutto concentrato sulla lotta a terra in quanto proviene dallo stile Kosen.

Le tecniche di lotta a terra sono molto raffinate e di grande varietà, ma purtroppo il kosen judo fu fermato dalla Seconda Guerra Mondiale, così come tutti gli altri sport furono proibiti e ripresi soltanto quando finì.

Lo stile Kosen è una forma di judo adottato dai maggiori licei e istituti tecnici durante l’era Meji, che va dal 1816 al1914, anno in cui fu organizzato il primo Campionato delle Scuole Superiori Giapponesi presso l’Università Imperiale di Kyoto.

Ma con l’evoluzione dei tempi anche il sistema scolastico fu rinnovato. I vecchi licei e le scuole speciali sono diventate università ed attualmente il Kosen Judo viene praticato soltanto in sette università nazionali, che una volta all’anno partecipano ad un campionato dedicato a questa specialità. Le Ex-Università Imperiali sono quelle di Hokkaido, Kyoto, Kyushu, Nagoya, Osaka, Tohoku e Tokyo.

The Historical Background of Kosen Judo – Part 1

Until 1998 Hirata was the last living person who practiced Kosen Judo. He experienced the ground work system, that Kano Shihan had added to Kodokan  Judo directly. Hirata died in July 1998 at age 76, he was 162cm tall and weighed about 62kg, but he wa san outstanding performer of judo ground techniques ne waza.

Takeda Motsuge, born in 1794 in the city of Matsuyama founded the Fesen Ryu school. He started with jujitsu as a young boy and had learned the Namba Ippon Ryu from Takahashi Inobei and furthermore he had studied at the schools of Takenouchi Ryu, Sekiguchi Ryu, Yoshin Ryu, Shibukawa Ryu and Yagyu Ryu.

In 1867 the Samurai warriors started to disappear and it is when Takeda starter to work on fighting without arms, with special attention to ground work. Nowadays some Fesen Ryu schools also take throwing techniques into consideration.

After Kano Shihan has started his new discipline, within shortly he defeated mst of the jujitsu schools. But the one of Mataemon Tanabe, which has challenged the Kodokan Institute, defeated everybody thanks to the oustanding ground work, includine armlocks, chocking techniques and pins. Kano Shihan was really amazed by the ability of the students of this school and therefore asked their Sensei Tanabe to reveal to him the secrets. He chose his best students and sent them to study with this great Master.

The difference between the two methods, Kodokan and Kosen, concerns more the style rather than the organization. The first was more oriented towards throwing techniques, while the second was specialized in ground work.

At the beginning of 1900 most of the techniques were not yet well defined and most of the fights, which took place on the ground, were rather violent. One had to surrender in order to avoid to really get hurt or injured.

It is said, that in those first years most of the fights took place only on the ground, that there was no time nor space limit. The fights would last for hours until one of the opponents was not declared the winner, because the other surrendered, lost his senses or was pinned for 30 seconds. It was only possible to with a full point ippon, if one scored half point wazaari the fight was declared a draw.

Cenni Storici sul Kosen Judo – Parte 1

Sino al 1998 Hirata è  stato l’ultima persona vivente che ha praticato il Kosen Judo, in quanto aveva avuto esperienza diretta con il sistema della lotta a terra inserito da Kano nel Kodokan Judo. Hirata è morto nel luglio del 1998 all’età di 76 anni, era alto 162 cm e  pesava 62 kg, ma aveva straordinarie capacità nelle tecniche di ne waza.

Takeda Motsuge (nato nel 1794 a Matsuyama) fondò la scuola Fesen Ryu. Studiò il jujitsu fin da ragazzo. Aveva appreso il Namba Ippon Ryu da Takahashi Inobei ed inoltre aveva studiato presso le scuole Takenouchi Ryu, Sekiguchi Ryu, Yoshin Ryu, Shibukawa Ryu e Yagyu Ryu.

Nel momento in cui la classe dei Samurai si stava dissolvendo (1867) Takeda si orientò verso il combattimento senz’armi, con predilezione alla lotta a terra. Attualmente alcune scuole di Fesen Ryu si dedicano anche alle tecniche di proiezione.

All’epoca Kano aveva facilmente battuto la maggioranza delle scuole di jujitsu. Quella di Mataemon Tanabe sfidò l’Istituto Kodokan di Kano riportando la vittoria propria grazie alla lotta a terra (con leve articolari, strangolamenti ed immobilizzazioni). Jigoro colpito dall’abilità degli allievi di questa scuola chiese al loro insegnante Tanabe di svelargli i segreti della sua tecnica. Scelse i suoi migliori allievi e li mandò a studiarle.

La differenza tra i due metodi, kodokan e kosen, è più nello stile che non nell’organizzazione. Il primo metodo era prevalentemente orientato alle tecniche di proiezione, mentre il secondo era esclusivamente specializzato nelle tecniche a terra.

Agli inizi del 1900 le tecniche non erano ancora ben definite ed i combattimenti si svolgevano a terra con una violenza inaudita tanto che la resa dell’avversario era indispensabile per non provocarsi dolori lancinanti o delle brutte fratture. Si racconta che nei primi anni i combattimenti erano solo a terra, non avevano limite di tempo ne di spazio. Quindi i combattimenti continuavano per delle ore finché uno dei contendenti non veniva decretato vincitore, tramite la resa oppure l’avversario sveniva per tecnica di strangolamento o immobilizzato al limite dei 30 secondi. Si vinceva solo dopo aver ottenuto il punto della vittoria ippon, se veniva realizzato un mezzo punto wazaari il combattimento veniva dichiarato pari.

Judo, Judo Techniques and Tourism in Lusaka (Zambia) – Part 2

Upon invitation of the Judo Association of Zambia at the beginning of August 2010 we went from Kitwe to Lusaka by bus. Jonathan Kruger from the Kodokwan Kumasamba (in 1995 he represented Zambia at the Judo World Championships, which took place in Chiba, Japan) came with us. We trained there with the National Team and worked with them in order to improve their judo techniques.

August 2010 - Bus Station in Lusaka

You might ask: “Why should someone want to undertake a 5 hour bus drive for only 350km instead of using the plane?” We wanted to have the opportunity to see the villages, the markets, the savannah, the surroundings and the way of life along the only street that connects the capital city. Furthermore it allowed us to observe the travel habits of the locals: we wanted to “live” the African world.

At 11.30 we finally arrived at the bus station of Lusaka. We observed the way they unloaded the buses and how most of the companies advertise their trips. Everybody tries to drag the people on their bus, promising, that it twill leave within the next 5 minutes. The place is a big mess, with unlicensed taxi drivers and rappers, that like you to take their pictures.

We got picked up by someone from the Judo Association, who took us to our hotel, the Ndeke Hotel. Strange but true, the owner is an Italian, who welcomed us with enthusiasm and outstanding courtesy. We lived in a suite there during our whole stay.

August 2010 - Bruno Carmeni at the Jude McKenna Sports Center Lusaka (ZAM)

Training started the morning following our arrival at the “Jude McKenna” Sports Center. But who is he, still living with such a great honor? It is important to know that between the 50s and 60s Jude McKenna was an Irish boxer, who was supposed to participate at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.   

Before that he was supposed to face Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) in a fight, just to understand the level of this boxer. But thanks to a “call” he became a Cappuccino monk and nowadays he still likes to joke about the fact that God saved him from Cassius Clay!

Once he moved to Zambia he worked hard to promote jujitsu at first and then judo by founding the Judo Association. In other words we can call him the “Father of Judo” in this nation and the “Giant” as he is over 2m tall.

Thanks to his work as priest and judo teacher he was the one who helped the young Jonathan Kruger to participate at the 1995 Judo World Championships and to stay in Japan for seven years. The government has wished to dedicate Father Jude the Sports Center.

August 2010 - Judo Training with the National Team of Zambia in Lusaka

The dojo is a square hall with 256sqm of original Japanese tatamis. The players of the National Team are judokas belonging either to the National Police or the Army.

The superintendent of the National Police, Shapa Wakung’uma, who is an outstanding element of the National Team because of his numerous medals and the former President of the Judo Association of Zambia, has a very fluid and determined judo expression. What has surprised us is the variety of judo techniques he performs during a regular randori session. He certainly is the most representative judoka of his nation.  

He has trained several athletes, among which two, Mathews Punza 66kg and Boas Munyonga 81kg, who are participating now at the current Judo World Championships in Tokyo. Within the International judo scene Zambia is not simply a buffer nation, but striving to emerge more and more.

August 2010 - Bruno Carmeni and Father Jude McKenna, Kohaku Obi

During our stay in Lusaka we practiced everyday day twice a day from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 15.00 to 17.00, adding lots of technical judo sessions. It was one of the strongest request from the National coaches, especially the Ne Waza sessions. Furthermore we worked on educational judo for kids, a training methods for adults and a methodology for competitors.

We spent most of our time on the tatami, not really taking care of us as tourists. Nevertheless we visited the Cathedral of the Child Jesus, which founding stone was blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit in Zambia in 1989 and a local arts and crafts village.

We lived such an intense and pleasant experience, both from the judo point of view and the human one, that we did not visit the Livingstone Falls, one of the World Seven Beauties, as originally planned, in order to spend another three days in the dojo. But we will consider this as an opportunity to come back for some more judo techniques’ exchanges and maybe this time we will also be able to see the Livingstone Falls!

Rather than Kohaku Obi (High Grades), the Step was High!!!