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Judo Book Reviews

Many Taiho-Jutsu practitioners have trained or are interested in other arts as well, with some holding rank in different arts. The reviews and recommendations below are texts in Judo. While the art is specifically Kodokan Judo, practitioners of Korean Yudo will find the techniques almost identical in every aspect. The three texts reviewed do not imply that there are not other fine works on Judo. However, these are the works that this reviewer believes to be the superior texts on the market.

Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano. (Kodansha Int'l Pub. 1986)
One of the first things that initially jumps out at the reader is the list of Contributors. Six Judoka are 10th Dan, four are 9th Dan, five are 8th Dan, four are 7th Dan, and two are 6th Dan. The individuals are icons in the art, making the work most unique.

The text is divided into five sections: Basic Judo Concepts, Techniques, Free Practice, Forms, and Health and First Aid. The material is clearly written, and with the exception of some very old photos of Koshiki No Kata, photographs are clear, although somewhat small. Even with the techniques demonstrated in the old photos, the accompanying explanatory text is clearly written.

This is a classic work that every serious Judoka, and anyone interested in Judo should own.


The Canon of Judo by Kyuzo Mifune, 10th Dan. (Kodansha Int'l Pub. 2004) 
This text is written by the man many believe to have been the greatest Judo practitioner who ever lived. The text is divided into introductory material, followed by Etiquette, Five Principles, Grappling Techniques, Joint Techniques, How To Enter A Mat Technique, Reverse Techniques, Reference Techniques, Throwing Techniques, and General Resuscitation. Each section has numerous subdivisions.

The photos are clear and the accompanying text very competently explains the corresponding technique. Included are lesser known techniques not found in other Judo books. This work is not only an excellent text, but authored and techniques demonstrated by a legend of the art. Owning it is owning a piece of history.

Dynamic Judo by Kazuzo Kudo. (Japan Publications Trading Co. 1967)  
This a two volume set, with the first volume demonstrating and teaching Throwing Techniques, and the second volume Grappling Techniques. It is authored by a highly respected teacher and practitioner of Judo, considered a "teacher of teachers".

What is unique and exceptional about this work is that the photos were taken using time-lapse photography. In select techniques, the photos are taken from beneath a glass floor, allowing the reader to see the techniques from every angle. Photos are large and most clear, and on some, there are no borders or photos inside boxes. Each technique is shown in various stages, explained with clear text, and followed by escapes from the techniques, and counters to the technique. Additionally, there are Special Hints and Key Points to many of the techniques. These volumes are an absolute must for anyone, professional Judoka or absolute beginner, interested in or practicing Judo.

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