How Judo Came To America

Judo, a martial art founded in Japan, has been a cornerstone of many mixed martial arts and self-defense techniques for decades. The physical as well as mental discipline of the art is impressive, and thousands of practitioners in the United States have the Japanese to thank for that. But how did it reach America?

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In 1887, Kodokan Judo was officially recognized in Japan. It was developed in a way that allowed it to be practiced as a sport. Physical education, competition ability, and mental training were the goals of Kodokan Judo. Only the highest ranked members were taught any other action deemed too lethal for sport.

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A few years later, Kodokan Judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano left Japan to travel around Europe and the United States. Kano and his followers tried their best to teach judo to people in other countries. This task, for the most part, was difficult.

In 1892, Takashima Shidachi gave seminars in the Japan Society in London on judo, earning the interest of many people.

By 1907, Gunji Koizumi came to the United States, and became the first documented judo instructor in the nation.

Today, the United States has three major judo organizations that help promote the art, sport and competitions. These organizations are the United States Judo Association, United States Judo Federation, and USA Judo.

Peter Spennato is a martial artist and an instructor. He has trained in a number of martial arts for decades, including judo. He is proficient in the handling of firearms having trained under former SWAT commander Rick Brown of La Puenta Sheriff Department. For more discussion on martial arts, read this blog.