Britain's first Judo
Tuition was given
in judo, kendo (swordsmanship) and other aspects of Japanese
culture; Tani continued as instructor until a stroke forced
him to retire in 1937. Koizumi was to European judo what
Kano was to world judo. He first came to Britain in 1906
and after a few years in the USA he returned to open the
Budokwai as a cultural centre and social club for the Japanese
community in London. The official opening took place on
26 January 1918 and within 4 months the membership had grown
to 44 including 2 Englishmen.
The Budokwai educated several generations
of judo men at a time when genuine judo clubs were few and
far between. For many years it was the only authoritative
source of Kodokan judo in Europe. The link had been forged
by Jigoro Kano during an extended visit to Britain in 1920.
The British Judo Association
Koizumi's vision for the growth of
judo on an international basis began to materialize in 1948.
On 24 July that year the British Judo Association (BJA)
was established as the representative national body; four
days later a meeting under the chairmanship of Trevor Leggett,
the most senior non-Japanese player in the world, approved
the constitution of a European Judo Union (EJU) to represent
judo in the continent of Europe. Three years later still,
the International Judo Federation (IJF) was created as an
inter-continental body with overall control of judo.
Judo and the "rest of
Judo entered many countries from
1902 to the 1930's. In the United States judo gained an
early foothold because of the interest shown by President
Theodore Roosevelt. As an expression of goodwill Kano sent
Yoshiaki Yamashita, a high ranking member of the Kodokan,
to America in 1902 to be his personal instructor. Roosevelt
trained regularly , if clumsily and in due course a room
was set aside at the White House for judo purposes. It was
thirty-odd years, however, before an American reached dan
grade in the USA itself. Clubs were set up in Seattle in
1903 and Los Angeles in 1915. Brisbane Judo Club was the
first founded in Australia in 1928 by DR A J Ross, a Kodokan
dan grade. Judo later reached New Zealand via Australia
in 1948 when G Grundy, a 2nd Dan from the Budokwai, opened
a club in Auckland.
The most successful "newcomer" so to speak is the USSR.
Strictly speaking a form of judo has been practised in the
Soviet Union since about 1930. The Russians practice a wrestling
system called Sambo. This is a synthesis of many different
wrestling systems, however because of the absence of international
competition outside of the USSR, the Russians turned their
attention to judo. In 1962 a Soviet judo team comprising
Sambo men in judo suits collected five medals at the European
Judo Championships. Sambo is a close cousin of judo, but
it lacks the same conceptual framework. It can be seen as
an implied compliment that the Russians have stepped up
considerably the emphasis on judo during recent years.