Showing posts from June, 2020

Best Book Winner: Professor Kano Biographies in English

What English language biography of professor Jigoro Kano does Martial History Team recommend?  Introduction  When I (Richard) started Martial History Team in late January 2020, I said that the goal of the project was to promote martial arts history based on sound evidence and sourced research. Since then, readers have been able to consume a lot of content from the project, through a  Facebook page , this blog , Instagram , Twitter , and, thanks to team member Matthew Krueger , via a podcast . Along the way I published a post on the criteria I use when evaluating sources . That guided my selections. Today, I'm happy to present the first reading recommendation. Here I will list the 8 biographies of professor Jigoro Kano that I read, and share the title which I believe is the best English-language biography available to the average reader. The List The following are the 8 titles in consideration. The title links to an Amazon page, if available, or to the publisher. The rating links to

Comparing Translations of Itosu’s Ten Precepts of Karate

  What did Ankō Itosu really say in his first precept of Karate?  Introduction I finished reading Sensei Patrick McCarthy's latest edition of the Okinawan  Bubishi , a martial arts manuscript that will be the subject of future book reviews. In the book, Sensei McCarthy included his translation of a related document by Sensei Ankō Itosu (1831-1915), a karate master who is beginning to receive more attention for his role in creating modern karate.  In 1908 Sensei Itosu wrote a letter titled Ten Precepts of Karate, intended to be read by Japan's Ministry of Education and Ministry of War. Itosu wanted to promote karate within Japan and explained its benefits. It was McCarthy's translation of the first precept that prompted this post. McCarthy's Translation of the First Precept McCarthy's Translation of the First Precept, Bubishi, 2016 The underlined text from page 254 of the 2016 edition of McCarthy's Bubishi made me stop and think. McCarthy translated Itosu as sayi

Perusing Old Martial Arts Manuals

A Facebook post prompted me to take a look at a few old martial arts manuals today.  Introduction  This post mentioned that a book published in the 18th century in Japan, titled Morokoshi Kinmō Zui, or Illustrated Encyclopedia of China, contained copies of Chinese texts, specifically texts from Chinese generals Qi Jiguang and Yu Da You. I had mentioned them before in the post Mail Call: Sword Treatise . I decided to track down the aforementioned encyclopedia and see what it looked like. I preface this post by saying I am not a Japanese or Chinese language or history expert. I was simply interested in finding the original texts I read about on Facebook. Here I am documenting what I am learning. Before getting to the documents, I want to say a few words about the two main characters mentioned earlier.  General Yu Da You and the Sword Treatise Sword Treatise, Jack Chen Edition The first is General Yu Da You 俞大猷, who lived 1503-1579. For the purposes of this post, we are concerned with hi

Comments on Two Books on Judo en Français

Jigoro Kano Père du Judo and Les Racines du Judo Français   Introduction  I (Richard) have some French language skills thanks to classes in high school and college. My mom was also a French teacher, so if I get stuck I can call for help!  Because of this background, I decided to try buying two books:  Jigoro Kano Père du Judo and Les Racines du Judo Français . Hopefully I could read and review them  for  Martial Journal . After receiving them, I realized that r eading books of this size in full,  en Français,  would be a considerable undertaking. I only feel comfortable writing proper reviews if I read the whole book. Therefore, I decided to share a few comments on each book instead of writing reviews. In the event there are readers comfortable with French, you might like to try them as well. Jigoro Kano Père du Judo As you might expect, the first book by Michel Mazac translates as Jigoro Kano, Father of Judo.  I want to share three features of this book that caught my attention.  Fir

Hand-to-Hand Combat at the Top of the World

India and China have been engaged in a border dispute in the Ladakh region of Indian-administered Kashmir for several decades. This map from the BBC shows the location of the latest flare-up , at the Galwan Lake. Galwan Lake Clash, BBC Troops along the border have fought before, but this time soldiers, possibly on both sides, have died.  What is unusual about this engagement is that apparently the combat was all hand-to-hand. The BBC reported the following: "The image that emerged on Thursday showed crude weapons that appeared to be made from iron rods studded with nails. It was passed to the BBC by a senior Indian military official on the India-China border, who said the weapons had been used by the Chinese. Defence analyst Ajai Shukla, who first tweeted the image, described the use of such weapons as 'barbarism.' The absence of firearms in the clash dates back to a 1996 agreement between the two sides that guns and expl

Did Professor Jigoro Kano Earn a PhD?

Jigoro Kano at Gakushūin, between ages 22-28  Did professor Jigoro Kano earn a PhD? TL;DR: No. For the details, keep reading! Introduction  I (Richard) address Jigoro Kano as "professor" when writing about him. I do so for two reasons. First, he was a professor at multiple schools in Japan, teaching academic subjects. Second, the tradition is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a derivative of judo, is to address certain instructors as "professor."  However, I have seen references to professor Kano as being "Dr. Kano." "Dr." in this sense does not refer to a medical doctor, or MD. Rather, it implies receiving a Doctor of Philosophy (referenced as a PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil, from the Latin philosophiae doctor or doctor philosophiae. )  I encountered this once in what I consider to be a reliable source, and other times in less-than-reliable sources. What is the evidence? The Mat Ball Article A 2005 article called The Accomplishments of Jigoro Kano  by Mat Ball is p