InYo: Journal of Alternative Perspectives Dec 2001
EJMAS Tips Jar

Judo Players as a Gnostic Sect

By John Goodger

Originally appeared in Religion, 12 (1982), 333-344. Copyright © 1982, 2001 John Goodger. All rights reserved. Reprinted courtesy John Goodger.


In a recent study attention was focussed upon delineation of the changing culture of British judo. [EN1] Despite variations in the cultures of particular judo clubs, it was suggested that a "core" judo culture exists, which was identified as that which typically occurs in a few large metropolitan clubs that provide a large proportion of Britain’s highly graded international representative players. Such clubs were thought not only to act as exemplars, but also to have a direct influence on other clubs and individual players through teaching and the administration of grading examinations. Of particular importance, however, was the suggestion that the core judo culture had undergone, and was still undergoing, a process of transformation, and that three major stages in this process, each with a clear cultural identity, may be detected.

In the first stage, which was centred upon the Budokwai Judo Club in London from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, [EN2] the judo club may perhaps best be understood as a "society" with specific interests in judo, self defence, and Asian philosophy. The use of the term "society" here is intended to convey something akin to the idea of a gentleman’s club but rather less exclusive and somewhat more unusual. The members of this core judo culture were drawn together by common, distinctive interests, which tended, however, to be peripheral rather than central to the lives of the participants. Whilst membership was open to men and women from a variety of backgrounds, high status business and professional individuals appear to have formed the dominant group. The relationship between the members and the two Japanese teachers, both of whom were long-term residents in Britain, was essentially one between "cultured" middle class men who, although of different backgrounds, shared an interest in an essentially amateur activity that had moral significance for both.

The second stage, which was centred on the Budokwai and Renshuden [EN3] judo clubs in London during the 1950s and early 1960s, is that which forms the main subject of this paper. It was characterised by an intense concern with the applications of a Zen-related philosophy, intense training practices and an interest in judo that was typically central to the lives of participants. Of great importance of this core judo culture was the emergence of a charismatic leader, an Englishman who had trained in Japan, together with the enrolment of tough, mature pupils, who were drawn from a variety of social contexts but who tended to share the common experience of isolation or disruption in their lives prior to becoming involved in judo.

The final stage, which has been centred mainly but not exclusively on the Budokwai and Renshuden judo clubs from the mid-1960s to the present is characterised by an intensely competitive ethos and a concern that judo should be seen as a modern, international sport rather a "martial art." Of particular significance for the development of this core judo culture was the gradual withdrawal of the charismatic leader, the emergence of a bureaucracy, and the policy of expanding recruitment to judo, which resulted in the influx of many young, physically gifted individuals who were not predisposed to espouse the moral and spiritual concerns of the core training culture of the 1950s and early 1960s. These processes had the effect of weakening the strongly bounded, insulated nature of the post-war judo culture, thereby opening the way for the secularising influence of other, typically modern and Western sports cultures.

The empirical research element of the study referred to at the beginning of this introduction was carried out by means of participant observation and a detailed interview and questionnaire enquiry directed at an exemplar sample of very high-ranking British international judo players. [EN4] In analysing the post-war core judo culture of the 1950s and early 1960s, attention has been focussed upon evidence, derived from this research, relating to the nature and significance of its religious life, and upon conceptual and theoretical approaches drawn from the sociology of religion. The work of Emile Durkheim [EN5] has been singled out particularly for this purpose because it provides scope for the analysis of "unconventional" religious experience and because it seeks to examine religious phenomena at their most fundamental level. It is, therefore, to the sociological analysis of the beliefs, experience of sacred phenomena, moral code and practices of this core training culture that attention is initially directed. This analysis does, however, raise some interesting problems of conceptualisation, especially in relation to the work of B.R. Wilson [EN6] and it is to these matters that attention is subsequently directed.

Judo Training as a Religious Experience

The relationships between belief, morality and practices are brought into sharp focus by the analysis of the post-war core judo culture. A very striking feature of this core training culture of judo was the prevalence of a widely understood and shared interest in Zen Buddhism. Approximately half of those interviewees who had been awarded Black Belts in the period 1948-1960 had read seriously about Zen [EN7] and the leading judo teacher of that time, (Mr. A [e.g., Trevor Leggett]) was a recognised scholar and author in that area. Zen teaching was, therefore, an important feature of judo training and related social concerns. The shared interest in Zen not only provided a basis for shared beliefs, but also it provided clear guidelines upon which practice should be based: principles that were incorporated into group training sessions. The idea, for example, that a throw can only be really effective when it "does itself," free from conscious constraint, and that such freedom can only be achieved through endless repetition and the acquisition of a state of "no mind" (mushin), provided a blueprint for training methods which stressed repetition of throwing movements and occasional training to the point of exhaustion.

Although individuals were expected to be self-disciplined in undertaking private training, the main focus of the training was very clearly group-oriented and centred on formal training sessions. These were epitomised by the Sunday classes, which were by invitation only and were so demanding in many cases as to be almost "extreme" experiences. The teachings of Zen, in stressing self-knowledge and self-control, did, however, provide strong prohibitions against bullying and the use of uncontrolled and very dangerous techniques. The prevalence of Zen in the core judo culture, therefore, helped to provide a distinctive moral code and a clear set of practices for training. This had two major influences on the core judo culture: firstly, it gave rise to and helped sustain the homogeneity of beliefs, sentiments and practices within the group. Although half of the interviewees from the post-war culture had not read seriously about Zen, their ideas about practice were clearly much influenced by it, and it would be surprising if many were not also influenced by the wider philosophy of Zen. Secondly, since Zen was of relatively minor interest in post-war Britain, the ideas and practices generated by it were unusual and distinctive. The distinctive nature of the core training culture was also enhanced by the close links which existed with Japan, giving rise to the adoption of Japanese symbols, the employment of Japanese teachers [EN8] and long periods of training in Japan [EN9]. These characteristics of the core training culture were reflected in its very strongly bounded nature. Judo was classified as separate from other cultures and powerful controls were exerted upon the maintenance of its boundary.

The "life force" or "spirit" of judo was, in Durkheim’s terms, objectified in the form of sacred ideas, rites, and ceremonies, [EN10] and objects such as judo uniforms and belts, especially the black belt. Responses of interviewees who had been awarded black belts between 1948 and 1960 to interview questions which probe these phenomena indicate a sense of unease, even of desecration, at the neglect of, or "profane" reference to, such symbols. Thus the linking of judo with other combat sports, failure to bow before and after practice, the disregard of traditional principles of group training, "abuse" of the judo uniform and the presence of a non-judo audience all evoked such responses. The sacred symbols of the post-war core judo culture may therefore, in terms of Durkheim’s theory, be seen as fundamental to the religious life of that group, providing an intelligible representation of its spirit and social nature, and providing it with a sense of identity.

The separation between sacred and profane in the post-war judo culture, as indicated by the evidence discussed in the previous paragraphs, is also reflected in the separation of soul and body. During that period [1948-1960], great emphasis was placed upon "inner strength" or "spirit" and it was an important purpose of judo practice to help develop this. At first sight, the idea that a physical activity could be used in this way is surprising and appears to reflect the criticism of Durkheim’s dichotomy between sacred and profane that is not supported empirically. [EN11] On deeper examination, however, it is clear that members of the post-war core judo culture were concerned to exert a "spiritual" control over their bodies; this is revealed by the concern to control fatigue and pain, [EN12] and to be able to train to exhaustion point and beyond. Even the "favourite technique" (tokuiwaza) was understood by some judoka as both a product and a symbol of the spirit rather than of the body; only through dedicated training, made possible, in turn, only through the power of the "spirit," could techniques of the power and beauty of the tokuiwaza be developed. Ugly, crude movements, pain and exhaustion were symbolic of the body and formed, therefore, a clear contrast with the symbolic representations of the "spirit" and "soul".

Whilst randori (free practice) was the "soul of judo" and the main instrument for the development of spirit as well as technique, other forms of training were also considered to be important. Contests, with the demands that they made upon courage, stamina and coolness; kata (prearranged forms of practice or demonstration) with its emphasis on self-control and disregard of pain, and the exhausting repetition of throwing movements with a partner (uchikomi) were also seen as important in these respects. It should perhaps be emphasised at this point that, although contests grew in importance during the latter part of the post-war period, they were seen as a method of judo training rather than as an end in themselves. Training in general was extremely hard but there were also periods of particularly austere winter training [EN13] and the Sunday classes. The highest levels of spiritual and technical development, however, were achieved through long periods of training in Japan, which was an extremely hard experience. At home the presence of Japanese high grades and Japanese-trained British high grades sustained a Japanese training ethos which was further supported by the Japanese validation of grades.

It is important at this point to emphasise that judo in Japan during the 1950s and early 1960s was, at its higher levels, an extremely severe discipline. Conversations with a number of judoka who had experienced long periods of training in Japan indicate that aspiring judoka at the main centres of excellence – the Kodokan, the senior universities and the Central Police judo school – would often practice twice a day and do additional fitness training. There were, it appears, important elements of continuity with earlier Japanese judo and the "warrior’s way" was much in evidence with very great emphasis being placed upon courage, stoicism, discipline, loyalty, spirit and abandon in attack. The organisation of judo was extremely hierarchical, based upon grade, and the principles upon which practice was based appear to have been greatly influenced by Zen. Hence repetitive exercises, training to exhaustion point during "austerity" training periods, and meditation were all used to achieve insight and illumination, and an important technical and spiritual achievement was the throw that "did itself."

In addition to these elements of continuity, however, Japanese judo was also acquiring a concern with competition [EN14] and this was given impetus by the introduction of World Championships in 1956 and by the inclusion of judo into the Olympic Games in 1964, especially since Japanese supremacy was quickly threatened by Anton Geesink of Holland. The development of such competitive concerns in the context of an activity guided, in part at least, by the "warrior’s way" made Japanese judo extremely severe and the immersion of a significant proportion of British core judo culture members in the training culture of high level Japanese judo, for long periods, together with the presence in Britain of Japanese judoka as teachers, clearly made a deep impact upon the core training culture of British judo. Indeed, several Japanese-trained judoka remarked on the very great technical and ethical similarity between Japanese university or police judo and Budokwai and Renshuden judo during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The beliefs and religious experiences that were characteristic of the British post-war core judo culture clearly provided a basis for a strong, precise, and "absolute" moral code and intense solidarity. The homogeneity of beliefs and especially of practices gave little room for doubt as to the interpretations of roles or duties. Individuals had crucially important responsibilities to the group; unless judoka attended formal practices, the value of this most central activity in judo would be lost because the "atmosphere" would suffer and there would be an insufficient range of styles against which to practise; unless judoka fought hard and with courage, often when exhausted or injured, the "spirit" of the practice would be lost and other players would lose their "mountains to climb"; unless judoka behaved with control in the dojo (exercise hall) others would be needlessly injured and the practice of judo brutalised; and unless judoka acted with restraint outside the dojo, judo would fall into disrepute. Duties to the group were, therefore, clear, strongly emphasised and ultimately underpinned by Zen beliefs and sustained by religious experience, for it was these phenomena which gave the group its distinctive identity and intensity of relationships. Further, by providing a blueprint for training and practice, Zen also served to make the rules concerning the practice sessions precise and unambiguous. Thus, because the importance of repetition in the development of throwing movements was almost universally accepted, debates or individual heart-searches about whether or not to do repetitive throwing practices (uchikomi), or how much to do, were very rare. [EN15]

In discussing the nature of the moral code which typified the post-war core judo culture, it is interesting to consider the possible relationship between the precise, powerful and absolute nature of moral rules and the strong regulation that tended to exist in the pedagogical relationships of that culture. Thus teachers, because they often saw themselves as having insights which their pupils could only attain through proper teaching and guidance, tended to control strictly the content, sequencing and pacing of their pupils’ activities. Further, because the violent physical activity involved in judo was subject to strong moral regulation, the position of the teacher, as the guardian of the moral code and the manipulator of sanctions, was made all the more powerful. It should also be noted that the intensity of relationships within the homogeneous and distinctive core judo culture made possible the use of shaming techniques as negative sanctions and helped to sustain the notion of honour as a reward for sustained fighting spirit and self-control. The power of the teacher to control pupils, even senior ones, through moral appeals and the manipulation of morally charged symbols was, therefore, very considerable.

In order to appreciate fully the nature of the social controls exerted in the core judo culture, three further points must be noted: firstly, most of the leading teachers were, or had been, pupils of Mr. A [e.g., Leggett]; secondly, Mr. A and his senior, high grade teachers were responsible for grade promotions and team selections, and the criteria that they employed, especially in relation to the former, were seldom made fully explicit; and thirdly, the focal concerns of the high grades went outside judo and Zen, and often included the typically middle-class concerns with Western philosophy, literature, art forms, and notions of all-round excellence and achievement. In addition, therefore, to the religious and moral bases of social control, there was also a form of middle-class leadership and a political power structure in which middle-class individuals (either through ascription or achievement) who had acquired the moral codes associated with judo were dominant. To some extent Zen may be seen as an instrument of middle-class influence but it should also be remembered that Zen was not a common component of middle-class culture in Britain and was potentially, therefore, outside the range of class concerns in the British context. Thus, although the moral force of Zen was geared in some degree to the achievements of middle-class goals, [EN16] it was also geared to the achievement of goals that were of little class significance, such as enlightenment gained through meditation rather than rational thought, and a capacity to withstand the experience of extreme austerity.

Gnostic Sects and the Post-war Core Culture of British Judo

Judo in the post-war period saw an intensive application of a philosophy which drew its elements from Zen Buddhism, Western middle-class orientations and traditional judo ideas. Thus individuals appear to have acquired these beliefs and lived in accordance with the judo-related moral codes to a far greater extent than had previously been the case. Judo was, for many, their central life interest. Underlying the judo-related beliefs and moral code, however, was the assumption that men can be changed in particular ways for the benefit of themselves and society. The post-war judo movement, therefore, bears a striking resemblance to B.R. Wilson’s concept of a sect.

In seeking to clarify the concept of sect, Wilson provides the following characteristics:

Many of these characteristics were clearly present to some degree in the post-war core judo culture. In particular, the image of a select group with special enlightenment and the pursuit of self-perfection were very prominent features of the post-war core judo culture. Further, when Wilson distinguishes four main types of sect, the characteristics of one of these – the Gnostic type – show many similarities with the characteristics of the post-war core judo culture: The distinctiveness and esoteric nature of the body of teaching, the assumed utility of the insights provided by this in everyday life, the importance attached to the instruction of beginners, the assumption that enlightenment unfolds and the presence of a leader to whom exceptional powers are attributed, were all central characteristics of the post-war judo culture; it would not, therefore, do violence to the available evidence to conceptualise that culture as at least akin to a Gnostic sect. This position should, however, be qualified in two ways. Firstly, in addition to ideals of excellence and self-development, there was an underlying assumption that society would ultimately benefit from the judo way. This assumption was based upon the principle of jita kyoei (perfection of one’s self and mutual prosperity). In the post-war core judo culture this principle did not imply a duty to do good works for the benefit of society; rather it assumed that, if everyone developed him or herself, morally and spiritually as well as physically, to the greatest possible extent, society as well as the individual would benefit. Secondly, the insights achieved through judo training were thought to bring intrinsic rewards as well as having utility in everyday life. The two benefits were not seen as incompatible and the balance between them varied to some extent with individual interpretations. There was, however, no assumption that experience of judo should be kept apart from worldly experience; indeed judoka were strongly encouraged to apply the methods and insights of judo and Zen to the non-judo aspects of their lives.

Further support for the conceptualisation of the post-war core training culture as a form of Gnostic sect is provided by Wilson’s analysis of sect emergence. Thus Wilson argues that:

In the case of post-war judo, the very distinctive core training culture emerged around a new leader whose authority contained a charismatic element, and the question arises, therefore, as to the source of this authority. It has already been noted [EN20] that one of the distinctive characteristics of the social composition of the post-war exemplars was the tendency of members to have experienced forms of social disruption. It is interesting to note, therefore, that Wilson saw the presence of societal stress of tension, which is experienced in greater or lesser degrees by different social groups or individuals, as creating the conditions under which charismatic power may be accorded to a leader by followers who: In Wilson’s terms, therefore, Mr. A may be seen as a charismatic leader whose charisma arose from the needs of "dispersed" individuals in similar marginal positions. [EN22] They did not, however, merely share the experience of social disruption; they also shared the previous experience of competitive sport, involving hard training and often including tough physical contact. It is unlikely that Mr. A could have retained the loyalty of individuals whose judo interests were peripheral or whose main life interests were well-established outside judo. It is also unlikely that the earlier teachers would have satisfied the tough, "marginal" recruits of the post-war period, many of whom had experienced serious social disruptions.

Finally, it may be noted that the case of the post-war core judo culture of the 1950s and early 1960s illustrates the instability of charismatic authority. The capacities, interests and concerns of charismatic leaders may change, and changes in the social composition of the group over which they exercise authority may result in the legitimacy of that authority being questioned and ultimately denied. Thus Mr. A’s gradual withdrawal from active participation in judo during the 1960s, together with the influx of young, athletic and competition-orientated players, served to weaken the distinctive philosophy and the strongly bounded, insulated nature of the core judo culture. This culture, therefore, became more easily subject to the philosophies, forms of organisation and authority, and training practices that are typical of modern international sports.


Whilst there is no intention of suggesting that the judo example used above is in any way typical of earlier or modern sport cultures – clearly it is not – it may be suggested that sport, with its transcending nature and often powerful symbolic representations of moral virtue, may well prove to be a fruitful area for the applications of perspectives drawn from the sociology of religion. Indeed, recent contributions [EN23] would tend to support this view and suggest that such applications may bring to light "elementary forms of religious life" in modern contexts. In this instance, the judo of the post-war core training culture may be seen as incorporating central concerns that were at least akin to those which characterise Gnostic sects.

Notes and References

EN1. The study referred to is J. Goodger, "Judo: A Changing Culture," Ph.D. Thesis, University of London, 1981. For the purposes of this study, "culture" was defined as "symbolic systems, with justifying beliefs, practices and supporting sentiments, within which a person lives or has lived, and practices for transmission and evaluation." An account of some of the findings of this research may be found in B.C. Goodger and J.M. Goodger, "Organisational and cultural change in post-war British Judo," International Review of Sport Sociology, 1:15 (1980).

EN2. Although the Budokwai was founded in 1918, it was initially developed as a club for the practice of jujutsu (techniques or tricks of unarmed combat designed for use in "real" combat situations) and kenjutsu (the techniques of sword fighting) rather than judo (a combat system, adapted for sport and physical education, based on the principle of not directly meeting force with force). [Editor’s note: For a detailed history of the Budokwai, see Richard Bowen, "History,"]

EN3. The Renshuden judo academy was founded in 1958. [Editor’s note: Its head instructor was Trevor Leggett. For articles by Leggett, see "The Great Enablers," Journal of Combative Sport,]

EN4. The author’s involvement in the core training culture of British judo from 1963 to 1969 made it possible for a transition from observation to participant observation as a method of sociological research pursued from 1969 to 1974 to be quite easily achieved and the problems of the outsider were largely avoided. In order to test how some of the major findings and hypotheses arising from study through participant observation, however, it was decided to carry out a detailed, structured study of a high status "Exemplar" sample of leading judo players by means of interview and questionnaire techniques. The criteria applied to the selection of the Exemplar sample were extremely demanding in terms of judo performance: only British Judo Association players of Third Dan or above, who were also full British internationals, were approached, although in the case of pre-Second World War players, some discretion was applied in relation to the latter criterion since international matches were unofficial and very infrequent at the time. The total number of British players who met those criteria in 1974 was 87, 41 of whom lived within a forty-mile radius of the centre of London, which was the catchment area for the sample. All 41 were approached, 35 agreed to be interviewed and all of these were subsequently interviewed. For purposes of analysis, the exemplar sample was subsequently divided into three sub-samples, based upon the period of time during which the interviewee’s 1st-dan (black belts) were awarded. These periods were pre-1941 (N=4); 1948-1960 (N=17); and 1961 onwards (N=14). These divisions were chosen because, on the basis of evidence derived from the periods of observation and participant observation, it was initially hypothesised that important differences in the core judo cultures of the following periods may exist: up to, during and immediately after the Second World War; between the early 1950s and the mid-1960s; and from the mid-1960s to the present. The criterion for the division of respondents into sub-samples was therefore chosen in order to locate them in the period during which their most formative periods might have been expected to occur. On the basis of observation, it was felt that the period of training immediately before and for several years after the award of 1-dan was likely to be the most "formative," so far as judo is concerned, for members of the Exemplar sample. For these players, the 1-dan came relatively quickly and easily and their real battles and highest level of commitment tended to occur while they were striving for the higher dan grades or success in international competition. These hypothesised divisions were subsequently confirmed by the research findings.

EN5. E. Durkheim, Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse: le système totémique en Australia (Paris: Alcan, 1912).

EN6. B.R. Wilson, "An analysis of sect development," American Sociological Review, 24:1 (1959), pp. 3-15.

EN7. Whilst eight of the seventeen interviewees who had been awarded black belts during the post-war period between 1948 and 1960 had studied Zen seriously, it is interesting to note that only one of the four pre-1941 interviewees and none of the fourteen post-1960 "modern" interviewees had done so. [Editor’s note: In late 1946, Budokwai founder Gunji Koizumi wrote, "While one strives for skill [in judo] one must not neglect the mental side of the training. The philosophy of Buddhism, specially of the Zen sect, has a particular quality which fits into this need of mental training in Judo and Kendo. The main point is to rise above the problem of life and death and the sense of fear and apprehension." The interviewees’ readings probably included D.T. Suzuki’s Introduction to Zen Buddhism, Essays in Zen Buddhism, and Zen Doctrine of No Mind. If so, then from a purely objective standpoint, what they were studying was not orthodox Japanese Zen Buddhism, but instead Suzuki’s nationalistic interpretation, which was itself influenced by the philosophy of William James (1842-1910) and the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834). Some probably also read Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery, which once again was idiosyncratic rather than orthodox. (Neither Herrigel’s teacher nor his interpreter was a Zen Buddhist.) That said, if the British judoka believed that this was the Zen of Judo, then it was. After all, the true Zen is achieved via direct experience and insight rather than via reading. For Koizumi’s comments, see Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin, January 1947, 31-32. For extracts and a review of Suzuki’s texts, see Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin, January 1947, 24-26, and January 1950, 21-22. For a detailed discussion of Suzuki, see Robert H. Sharf, "The Zen of Nationalism," originally published in the journal History of Religions, 33:1 (1993) and reprinted in the book Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism Under Colonialism, edited by Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Bernard Faure, "The Rise of Zen Orientalism," Chapter 2 of his book, Chan Insights and Oversights (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), and Brian A. Victoria, Zen at War (New York: John Weatherhill, 1997).] Finally, for a detailed discussion of what Herrigel knew, see Shoji Yamada, "The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 28:1-2 (2001), reprinted at]

EN8. Messrs. [Keizo] Kawamura, [Saburo] Matsushita, and [Kisaburo] Watanabe were three famous Japanese teachers who stayed in Britain for periods of several years. During the pre-war period, the main teachers [Gunji Koizumi and Yukio Tani] were long-term Japanese residents in Britain. During the modern period, the practice of importing Japanese teachers has been discontinued.

EN9. Nine of the seventeen interviewees who had been awarded black belts between 1948-1960 had spent long periods of training in Japan (the shortest of these periods was two and a half years) whereas none of the earlier four and only one of the later fourteen had done so. [Editor’s note: "Over the decade starting in 1951, fifteen members of The Budokwai travelled to Japan (Gregory, Wright, Palmer, Gleeson, Bloss, Grabher, Whyman, Kerr, Reed, Hamilton, Walters, Mack, Yvonne Myers, Newman, Cornish, and [Bowen])." From Richard Bowen, "History,"] The modern practice is to send squads to Japan for a few weeks as part of the build up to big tournaments.

EN10. Thus, for example, fourteen of the seventeen interviewees who had been awarded black belts between 1948 and 1960 thought that kata (the traditional pre-arranged forms of attack and defence) was a valuable aspect of all-round judo training. All four of the earlier interviewees also supported kata but only six of the fourteen later interviewees did so.

EN11. S. Lukes, Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work: A Historical and Critical Study (London: Allen Lane, 1973), pp. 26-28, 478, 508, 511, and 523.

EN12. Thus nine out of the seventeen interviewees who had been awarded black belts between 1948 and 1960 referred to the control of fatigue as an important aspect of mental training whereas only one of the later interviewees and none of the earlier ones gave such a response.

EN13. Winter training (kangeiko) involved early morning practices, in addition to the usual practices, for a week.

EN14. Pre-war Kodokan judo had included a competitive element but it is likely that the American occupation of Japan encouraged the development of Western style competitive sport. [Editor’s note: For more about Japanese sport before 1945, see Ikuo Abe,Yasuharu Kiyohara, and Ken Nakajima, "Sport and Physical Education under Fascistization in Japan," InYo: The Journal of Alternative Perspectives on the Martial Arts and Sciences, The emphasis given to post-war Olympic medal counts is also a factor. For details, see Joseph Svinth, "A Statistical Analysis of National Team Scores in Olympic Judo," Journal of Combative Sport,]

EN15. The application of work from different schools of psychology to skill training during the middle and later 1960s, however, gave far less clear guidelines.

EN16. It may, perhaps, best be thought of as a leadership which stressed the pursuit of self-knowledge, excellence (even self-perfection), and achievement, and placed great importance upon intellectual development, appreciation of high culture and observance of a chivalrous, gentlemanly code of conduct. Disciplined study and practice, leading to the achievement of insight, were the chosen means for attaining these goals.

EN17. Wilson, op. cit., p. 4.

EN18. Ibid., pp. 6 and 7.

EN19. Ibid., p. 7.

EN20. Goodger and Goodger, op. cit., pp. 40-45.

EN21. Wilson, op. cit., pp. 40-45.

EN22. Ibid.

EN23. Of particular interest is the concluding chapter of E. Dunning and K. Sheard, Barbarians, Gentlemen and Players (London: Martin Robertson, 1979) and an article by R.W. Coles, "Football as a ‘surrogate’ religion?" A Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain, 8 (1975). [Editor’s note: See also Peter Boylan, "Spiritual Practice in Budo," The Iaido Journal,]

About the Author

John Michael Goodger graduated from the University of London in 1964 with the degree of B.Sc. (Economics). In 1981 he was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of London for his sociological study, "Judo: A Changing Culture." As a player, he has achieved the British Judo Association grade of 3-dan and was a member of the British Team Training Squad for two years. Jointly with his brother, Dr. Brian Goodger, he has produced two earlier articles, "Judo in the light of theory and sociological research," International Review of Sport Sociology, 2:12 (1977) and "Organisational and cultural change in post-war British judo," International Review of Sport Sociology, 1:15 (1980).

InYo Dec 2001