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Book Review:
The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu

The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu (Judo), by H. Irving Hancock and Katsukuma Higashi (Dover Publications, Inc. 1961)

Originally published by G. Putnam’s Sons in 1905, this Dover edition is an exact republication, with the exception of two chapters. The first exception is a chapter “...on serious and fatal blows...”, and the second, on “kuatsu, or the restoration of life....”

The title of this book is the first thing to be looked at. This is a definite text on jujutsu. Yet, the title could lead one to believe it to be either a work on judo, or one on the jujutsu Kano himself was teaching before judo’s formation.The reader should realize that at the time the “new” art of judo was in the limelight, the Kodokan was one of the most popular entities in Japan. Sensei from dojos nationwide were flocking to the Kodokan to affiliate. There were exchanges of scrolls and techniques taking place all the time, just for sensei to have the “right” to use either Kano’s for the Kodokan’s name.


According to most authorities, this was the case with this text. (An amusing note on the back cover reads: “‘Kano’ is the official, most authentic form of Judo... It is not to be confused with the many American imitations which are often sold under the name of Judo”.) The work itself is divided into three sections, with techniques (which are referred to as “tricks” in this and other early jujutsu books) going from the basics to the more complex. Section One presents 60 throws and holds, Section Two shows “how to apply advantages gained from them”, and Section Three focuses on methods of attack. Taken in its totality, the book could actually constitute a Black Belt requirements list for whatever jujutsu style was actually presented. Whether or not one feels comfortable with the techniques of this book, the text is recommended for the uniqueness of some of the techniques, as well as its historical contribution to the jujitsu literature.


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