Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kyuzo Mifune: God of Judo

Kyuzo Mifune was possibly the greatest judo technician ever.  Beginning Judo training at age 13 or 14, by 30 he was already a 6th dan under Kano,  and nicknamed "The God of Judo".   At 40, and all of 5'2" tall and 100 pounds, he defeated a 6' tall 240 pound challenger who was skilled in sumo.

Mifune wrote one of the best Judo books, The Canon of Judo: Classic Teachings on Principles and Techniques.  Out of print for many years, a new translation is out as a reasonable price.

Fortunately for us, there is reasonable footage of him as an old man throwing younger and larger opponents all over the place.  In particular, at 2:30 Mifune demonstrates utsuri goshi  (our 9th hip throw) as a counter to harai goshi (5th hip throw), which I have been working on with a couple of my students; followed by utsuri goshi as a counter to hane goshi (6th hip throw):

Isn't that wonderful?  Observe how fluid and mobile Mifune is, generating enormous power (and lift!) from motion rather than brute strength.

Inspiring stuff.  Watch it again and again: repeat viewing will reveal new insights.


john said...

That is really cool! I first was a it puzzled by the run thoughs, but it's really amazing to watch the slow motion bits of the counters and really! He does have enormous lift! It's almost as if he transfers his entire momentum to his opponent's body so smoothly!
And it's also interesting to watch the effects in slowmotion, and the importance of the break fall and body posture.

Littlefair said...

Does small stature help in judo or jiu jitsu due to leverage? I can see that one might have a weight disadvantage to taller opponent. Is it more tricky to fight (spar?) with smaller opponents?

Dan Prager said...

Hi Chris

Smaller opponents usually have a lower centre-of-gravity which, on the rare occasion of all other things being equal, is advantageous. Hip throws, for example.

Smaller people often have a speed advantage too: Mifune is fast and precise.

Big 'uns have other advantages...