Kata Judo extract

Seoinage (Notes) If we take the original three matlengths distance as the ‘demonstration space’, then Tori can mentally mark out for himself the spot which is the centre. He often finishes the second (left) Ukiotoshi about three feet on Uke’s side of the centre. The directions are for Tori and Uke to ‘approach each other’, but in fact Tori generally stands almost still. If he likes he can get himself on to the centre spot to receive the Seoinage attack. But he must do this while Uke is getting up, otherwise it will throw Uke out. In all the waza which begin with a blow, it is Uke who adjusts the distance, and Tori must stand still so that Uke gets himself right. Uke must be careful to step straight forward with the right foot and not across. Uke’s weight comes between the front and right front corner, that is, on his middle toes. The usual thing is for Uke to form his fist as he steps forward with the left foot; he raises it above his right shoulder at the end of the step. Then with the right step he brings it over the top down towards the top …

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Samurai Zen:The Warrior Koans extract

Kamakura Zen The collection of 100 odd koans here presented in translation was put together in 1545, under the name Shonan Kattoroku, from records in the Kamakura temples dating back to the foundation of Kenchoji in 1253 when pure Zen first came to Japan. For a long time the teachers at Kamakura were mainly Chinese masters, who came in a stream for over a century. As a result, this Zen was conducted between masters and pupils not fluent in each other’s language. On the political and religious background, there are explanations in my book Zen and the Ways, in which I translated about one quarter of these koans. In that book I gave some account of the then Rinzai system of koan riddles, and the modifications that were introduced when this line of Zen came to Japan. The text in its present form was reconstituted from fragmentary records in Kenchoji and other temples in Kamakura by Imai Fukuzan, a great scholar of Zen in the early part of this century. He was joint author, with Nakagawa Shuan, of a standard reference book of Zen phrases, Zengo-jii- Imai was himself a veteran Zen practitioner, as had been his father before him, …

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Shogi: Japanese Chess

The book was first published in 1966, it played a pioneering role in helping to spread awareness of this unique member of the chess family outside its country of origin. It was the first book on shogi by a nonJapanese author. There have been many changes in the world of shogi over the past four decades, including the appearance of several other shogi-related books in English, yet Leggett’s book has several unique features which make the appearance of this new edition a welcome event and which will give it a continuing part to play in the worldwide popularization of shogi. The most striking feature of shogi, and what distinguishes it from all other regional variants of chess, is that pieces captured from the opponent are retained and may be ‘dropped’ back onto the board as one’s own. This single feature affects the nature of the game in a number of ways in comparison with Western chess: play tends to be more dynamic, with material advantage being less important than the momentum of an effective attack; very few games end in draws (less than 1 % for games between professionals); and players of significantly different strength can play each other on …

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Japanese Chess extract

The Paratroops Now that you have an idea of how the pieces work, it is time to introduce you to a revolutionary feature of Shogi, found in no other form of chess. This is the “drop” – a sort of paratroop attack. When you capture an enemy, it is not dead. It becomes yours and you keep it by the side of the board. Any time, instead of a move, you can drop one of these captured men on any vacant square. The piece points towards the enemy, and it is your piece and works for you.   The King moves like a chess king: the rook, bishop, knight have basically similiar moves to the corresponding chess pieces; the Lance is a Rook that can move only straight forward down a file. The pieces are here shown with the Japanese character on top, and a Western-style icon (such as a crown for the King, and a castle for the Rook), and a big initial letter (K or R) below that. In this way players will gradually become accustomed to the Japanese characters, but having always the key on the piece. Two specifically Shogi pieces are the Gold and Silver Generals: they are like a weaker King. © Trevor Leggett  

The Dragon Mask

Since its inclusion on the Olympic programme in 1964, judo has become so much part of the international sports programme that it is only too easy to forget that it had its origins in a very different tradition – the honoured Japanese tradition of Do or The Way. When Jigoro Kano reformulated his system from its ju-jitsu forbears, he took great care in deciding upon a name. His choice of Judo – The Gentle (or Yielding) Way – signified, for Kano and his contemporaries, the nature of the activity itself. The Ways have a long history in Japan, though they were particularly developed during the Edo period – from the 16th century The concept was simple yet profound: through the rigorous and lively practice of an art, a mature character could emerge. The actual form or art was not so important – the very variety in Japanese culture reflects the range of human interest and human nature. Among them are bushido (the way of the warrior), chado (the way of tea), kyudo (the way of the bow), shodo (the way of the brush) and kendo (the way of the sword). Judo is part of this tradition. However, Trevor Leggett mentions …

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The Dragon Mask extract

With age, a judo expert’s speed begins to decline and he has to find means to offset this against up and coming opponents. One of them is to establish a psychological ascendancy over a younger man who may be actually stronger in fighting ability. This can be done by preventing the junior from estimating the respective standards of ability. An experienced man can make an estimate easily in most cases by merely looking at the movement, but a young man generally cannot do it without something definite to work on, and he can be prevented from getting the information. The senior’s attacking policy is to attempt to throw only when it is certain to succeed – in other words, never to fail in a throw. This often means waiting for quite a time till the opponent takes some risk and so gives an opportunity. But promising young judo men take risks all the time; they get bored unless they are trying something. The senior’s defending policy is never to take any risk himself, so that the opponent never scores. This is not difficult for a patient man. The physical result of these policies is that in a practice of say …

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