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God of Judo

Aug 17, 2007
Kyuzo Mifune became so famous in judo circles that in referring to him the terms 10th Dan alone was sufficient. He was awarded 10th Dan in 1920.Judo legends says that in his 60 years of practise Kyuzo Mifune never lost a match and was never thrown

Judo has in the modern era gain great popularity and in part this is down to the driving force of Kyuzo Mifune. His book the cannon of judo originally published in 1960 is credited with helping in the formation of the International Judo Association and entry into the Olympic games.

What brought Kyuzo Mifune to judo?

Mifune was born a year after the Kodokan was founded, April 21, 1883 in Kuji City, Iwate Prefecture on Honshu Island. He was apparently incorrigible as a boy, always either performing some mischief himself or organizing others in the same pursuit. He was both bright and cocky. At age 13, his father, a strict disciplinarian who finally gave up on the youngest of his seven children, sent Mifune to a junior high school at Sendai, in northern Japan. There, he discovered Judo, and decided to dedicate himself to it. At age 14, he defeated nine opponents in a row at one tournament with another high school and a legend began.

He became one of Jigoro Kano's (the father of judo) closest students. He was not physically very big with a height of 159 cm and 56kg.However he over came this with his persistent hard training and scientific approach to training.

His father, finding out he was spending more time at Judo than studying, cut off his allowance, and Mifune, now 22, went out to find work. He began a newspaper, sold advertising, and built it into a thriving enterprise. He was able to sell it at a substantial profit, and entered the economics program at Keio University.

He became known as the "God of Judo" after developing many new judo moves plus his reputation for being unbeaten.

In 1964, Mifune served as an official at the Tokyo Olympic Games, even though he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. In December of that year, he entered a hospital, and died there January 27, 1965, 81 years old. At the time of his death, he was the last of the Judans of Kodokan Judo

Below some quotes of Kyuzo Mifune that give you a good insight into his thinking.

1) "In Judo, a Dan (rank) is awarded to the practitioner by other people. True power, however, comes from within.
Do not seek the acquirement of Dan alone; rather pursue your true power.
Your progression through the Dan grades will follow"

2) "The gist of judo is to find the original characteristic of the man... and to personify true freedom of thought and action."

3)"To master an actual technique, mental culture should come first.
Acquiring a technique requires a careful, modest, non-mean, free and attentive mind. In other words a player should do his utmost and nothing less."

4) "A chance to try your technique is in one instant never to be regained, so try it without hesitation"

And finally Kyuzo Mifune motto for judo written 2 weeks before his death

Its common practise among martial arts to focus on new ideas and recent events in competition. For any judoka there would be great benefit to study the life of kyuzo mifune here you will find a true love of the art and great kindness towards his students balanced with great fighting ability.

This short article only scratches the surface. Do your own research it will be worth it.
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