Monday, April 21, 2014

THE WISDOM OF ... Kyuzo Mifune (Apr. 21, 1883 - Jan. 27, 1965)

Today would've been the 131st Birthday of Judo great, Kyuzo Mifune!!

Earlier this year, Jan 27 to be precise, I posted a video in memory of Kyuzo Mifune. In the video, a 73 yr-old Mifune demonstrates Judo against a series of young Japanese and foreign trainees. If you missed it, please check out:

I'm posting some of Mifune sensei's teachings, motto and quote as well as an anecdote in recognition of Mifune sensei's birthday.

Mifune's Motto

"If my opponents train one hour, I will train two. If they train two hours, I will train three."

Along with constant training, Mifune emphasized the virtue of gratitude. He once said,
I'm grateful to my parents for giving me a small body. In order to overcome bigger opponents, I had to train twice as hard."

Nana korobi ya oki
“Seven times down eight times up, never give up.”

The Five Principal Points of Judo

  1. The soft controls the hard.
  2. Strike to kill (resolve any problem with a single decisive action).
  3. Do not hold anything back (never be tentative).
  4. Enter a state of no-self, no-mind.
  5. Do not place hope in finding a secret technique. Polish the mind through ceaseless training; that is the key to effective techniques.

Seven Rules of Judo practice

  1. Do not make light of an opponent.
  2. Do not lose self-confidence.
  3. Maintain a good posture.
  4. Develop speed.
  5. Project power in all directions.
  6. Never stop training.
  7. Develop self-control.

A Song of Judo
by Kyuzo Mifune

(this was put to music and meant to be sung out loud)

When you train, free yourself from disrtracting thoughts;
Keep your heart buoyant, your body buoyant too.
Do not forget the priinciple of "return to the center";
Strive and strive, with single-minded devotion.
This is our Judo!
This is our Judo!

Accumulate skill through ceaseless forging of body and mind;
Attain the miraculous power of seven times down, eight times up.
Awaken to the path of liberation.
Become like a rotating ball, effortlessly responding to any contingency.
This is our Judo!
This is our Judo!

The path of softness transcends national borders;
A pliant heart has no enemies,
People of the world join hands,
And establish an ideal global village.
This is our Judo!
This is our Judo!

I close this entry in "The Wisdom of ..." series with my most favorite story of Mifune sensei, nay, my most favorite story of all Martial Arts! Trust you will appreciate it!!

Once when Kyuzo Mifune visited a karate dojo, he was shown a demonstration of tile-breaking by one of the karate men. After the karate man had smashed a number of tiles piled on top of each other, he asked Mifune, "Can a Judo man do this?"

"Yes, it is very easy," Mifune replied.

"Is that so? Can we see what kind of technique a Judo man uses?" the karate man challenged.

"Of course. Please set up the tiles. I'll be back in a minute," Mifune instructed.

Mifune returned with a hammer he had brought along in his bag.

"You are not going to use that to break the tiles, are you?" the karate man protested.

"Yes. I told you it was easy. Efficient use of energy is a key principle of Judo."

For further info:

  • Wiki
  • Canon of Judo: Principle and Technique by Kyuzo Mifune, Seibundo-Shinkosha Publishing Co., 1958
  • Budo Secrets: The Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Copyright 2001, ISBN 1-57062-556-1
  • The Way of Judo: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano & His Students by John Stevens, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Copyright 2013, ISBN 978-1-59030-916-2

For other entries in my "The Wisdom of ..." series, please check out:



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