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Kodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro Kano Paperback – July 15, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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From the Publisher

A bible of the sport explaining all of the major techniques in detail.

About the Author


JIGORO KANO, born in 1860 in Hyogo Prefecture, created Kodokan judo in 1882, the year after he graduated from Tokyo Imperial University. In 1969 he became the first Japanese member of the International Olympic Committee. Jigoro Kano died at sea in 1938 while returning from an IOC meeting in Cairo.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (July 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770017995
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770017994
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a great book, showing many,many techniques, including quite a few that most judo players never get around to learning. The photos for many techniques show masters demonstrating, even Dr. Kano. However, the clarity of the images is not as good as in earlier editions. While many techniques and forms are shown, it does not go deeply into any of them, or into methods of training. For in-depth explanation of formal technique, see "Judo Formal Techniques" by Otaki and Donn Draeger, "Judo in Action (vol. 1 throwing techniques, vol.2 grappling techniques)" by Kazuo Kudo, or for training methods/technique application see "Judo Training Methods" by Donn Draeger, "Attacking Judo" by Ken Maynard and Alan Menzies, "Modern Judo" or "Contest Judo" by Charles Yerkow, or ANY book from Ippon Classics. For historical purposes, consider "The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu" by Hancock and Higashi, "Japan's Ultimate Martial Art" by Darrell Craig, or "Asian Fighting Arts" by Donn Draeger. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
First ask yourself what are you looking for.
If you are judoka then start from here. This book is the official Judo "reference" book with every segment of the Judo in it. It is more reference, then manual and as everybody else said that some photos are poor for today's standards (because they are almost 100 years old). Most of the groundwork photos are excellent, and display demonstrations by top Japanese instructors. You will not necessarly learn Judo techniques from this book ,but you will know what they are, and you will know 100% what the Judo is.
It is also a very good material for rank promotions.
If you are a Judo competitor you necessarly need (at least) a "Best Judo" to complement this book with competitive style of Judo.
If you are a BJJ guy this book will be very educational, it will help you understand some roots, and it will definitely give you some strong pointers on the ground. If you are looking for UFC style stuff it will not give you enough.
If you are a Martial Artist and you want to know about Judo this book will be a good bet for the money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could write a lengthy thesis about why this book remains a classic, but I won't. Instead, I will leave it at this - when I am a bit unsure as to how to do a particular technique and my sensei is not available, this is ALWAYS the first book to which I turn. Other books may provide further analysis, but it is this book which is the cornerstone of understanding judo. What more can I say?
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Format: Paperback
With the contemporary emphasis of using unorthodox methods for the mere winning of medals in koka Judo tournaments by both the Europeans and Americans, and with their concurrent introduction of non-Judo technique into the international arena in a 'win-at-all-costs' attitude, the book KODOKAN JUDO by the founding genius Dr. Jigoro Kano has become more important than ever as a baseline and standard for which 'Modern' Judo is to be gauged and, hopefully, corrected.
KODOKAN JUDO covers every aspect of Judo from its inception through 10th dan with an explanation for each progression: the reason for etiquette; an explanation of ukemi; the purpose of uchi komi; the need for randori; the absolute necessity of kata; Judo self defense methods; and basic first aid - all in terms to promote maximum efficiency.
KODOKAN JUDO also contains historical photographs of advanced Judo players and past masters, including Dr. Jigoro Kano himself, demonstrating all the nage waza found in the Gokyo No Waza; all the hold downs in Katame-Waza; and all of Judo's Atemi-Waza (striking & kicking techniques). Judo contains a number of self defense methods against the knife, sword, kicks, and punches, contained in detailed photographs in KODOKAN JUDO which are totally over-looked in today's Judo books emphasizing mere tournament play.
KODOKAN JUDO is the essential book for the dedicated Judoka to study for dan advancement; to answer questions on why one should learn a particular technique or a kata; and to clear up any misconceptions which might develop because of tournament. Within its tenets are the standards established by the founder for which Judo is meant to be practised; the ratio is - Randori: 80%; Kata: 17%; and Shiai: 3%.
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By A Customer on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
What this book does offer is a marvellously large collection of (fair-good) images of the major moves in Judo. It is a prized reference book, and will do well to remind a practitioner of the basics while off of the mat. One wishes there were more detail on some of the fundamental techniques, with close-ups on hold-patterns or throw techniques; unfortunately, there are none. There is scant covering of any combination maneuvers which prove to be so helpful.
In any event, the content that is present covers a significant amount of throws, holds, sacrifices, and other techniques.
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Format: Paperback
Very good. I go to a grappling heavy school, and initially over-emphasized the gracie books (which are quite good). My sensei steered me more traditional, investigating balance, footwork, throws and holds, like in this book, then you have a firm foundation on which to build strong submission grappling skills. It's pretty good and a nice addition to gracie's work for BJJ practitioners. If you were a judo traditionalist (unlike me), I imagine it would be indispensible without question. So either way, you can't go wrong.
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