Was judo popular enough in the west to feasibly be practiced in the 1960s?

Was judo popular enough in the west to feasibly be practiced in the 1960s?


The Seattle Dojo has been around since at least 1907.


Seiki Kan Dojo in Spokane: 1938-2001.


To note, President Teddy Roosevelt was a judoka, achieving a 3rd degree brown belt. In 1945, James Cagney did a film called Blood on the Sun, which featured a climatic fight showing off the some nice judo. https://youtu.be/WlejMy9zLdI The harai is beautiful. Cagney earned a black belt at the some point, though I don't know if he had it before making this movie.


>The harai is beautiful. Come on man, the vid is 3 minutes long. At least specify roughly whe.. .. oh, yes. Yes it is.


One interesting thing about the scene is that there are a number of fight-ending (chokes, arm bars), but the fight is settled by a bunch of ineffectual looking punches. I think it's the cultural expectation at the time: fights must end with a series of manly fisticuffs. (The punches arguably look ineffectual because they're doing Hollywood punching, whereas the judo looks great because they're actually throwing and taking ukemi. The bad guy in the scene was Cagney's judo instructor.)


[Six to One Half Dozen To The Other](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln_VXMalGeA) I agree with the cultural obsession with boxing. But in my experience it usually comes down to punching and kicking 50-75% of the time.


Sure plenty of fights do that I agree when an unsuccessful submission occurs and the other person escapes and continues to scrap (and a large number end up in an ineffectual scuffle on the ground to after that point). But I think the point the commenter above is making is that it doesn’t tend to go back to punching AFTER a SUCCESSFUL arm bar or choke.


I get that. I'm saying that people rarely go down from a choke/lock, they often escape (sometimes injuring themselves in the process) and you usually end up knocking them out anyways. Not saying they never work, but chokes and submissions don't work like light switches... TKO's do. edit: Choked out people often wake up without realizing they went out; they may wake up and continue fighting (albeit a bit woozier/stumbly for a bit). Meanwhile when you break, say an arm, your body produces natural pain killers and doubles down on Flight/**fight**. Hence why I said earlier **it's hard to say** if the choreography ended with strikes because of a cultural influence or a martially informed choreographer.


>Meanwhile when you break, say an arm, your body produces natural pain killers and doubles down on Flight/ > >fight > >. Agreed - adrenalin can dull the pain of a broken arm. On the other hand, a broken ankle or broken leg, even if the pain were dulled by adrenalin, would hamper the victim in a way that a broken arm would not. In 'The Handbook of Judo', Gene LeBell and L.C. Coughran write, "Chokes are useful outside the dojo if a man goes berserk or is a fighting drunk. When man is drunk or goes mad, he won't feel the effect of a joint lock. You may break his arm in an attempt to subdue him and he will feel no pain. It is much easier to get behind him and choke him unconscious" (1966, p. 139). I trust Gene LeBell on this one.


> It is much easier to get behind him and choke him unconscious" Than a joint lock, totally. But not a straight right TKO. .... In the context of the film we're discussing. It's pure speculation weather the choreographers ended the fight with strikes because it's what the director wanted... **or** what the choreographers wanted... (which is what I'm leaning to)


Ah. I see. Agreed.


Oh totally - again I agree with you 100%. But also a “successful lock or choke” or a “fight ending lock or choke” isn’t usually one people “escape from” that would be an “unsuccessful lock or choke” or “an escaped lock or choke”. I think this might be one of those situations where we both agree and we both understand that we both agree but it still feels like we are arguing even though we aren’t because of pedantry or specifics of language haha.




Again. You’re describing the makeup of most fights. And I’m agreeing with you. But the OP specifically mentioned “successful” or “fight ending” situations. How many times you snapped a dudes elbow, or choked a dude unconscious while bouncing and then had them punch you afterwards? You’re selecting for all outcomes and the OP isn’t. At least that’s how I read it. Plenty of arm bars and chokes are escaped from and the the fight continues but a “successful” one kinda implicitly implies that it’s not escaped from. Punches are less “lethal” a couple ineffective punches to the head are less dangerous than being unconscious or having a limb broken - I’d bet a lot of why fights go back to standing and banging is largely because it feels more aggressive and effective but it is actually less harmful/dangerous and so is the better choice on both fronts of releasing aggression and avoiding lengthy recoveries.




Yes, Judo in the United States was arguably the premiere martial art of the 60s. In my observation it went the following in terms of popularity: * 60s Judo * 70s Kung Fu * Early 80s Ninjitsu and Karate * Late 80s Aikido * 90s Tae Kwon Do * 2000s onwards BJJ and MMA.


Also Succulent Chinese Meals 2009.


Wouldnt kickboxing be 2000s and MMA/BJJ be 2010s


I don't know about the 2000s but in the late 80s to early 90s kickboxing was becoming a thing thanks to Say Anything, but it gave way to Taekwondo thanks to Power Rangers.


Yes, it was imported to Germany as early as the 1920s. Kano wrote that he intended it to be shared with the rest of the world. It was in America as early as the fifties (because of WW2, obviously), so it's very feasible for a 60s agent to be trained in it. In fact I think it was part of military training during the fifties... it's part of krav maga. It might have been part of American military combatives during that time? I'm not 100% sure but I think it was.


I learned today that Kano spoke German.


Absolutely, it was even on in I Love Lucy in 1963. https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0637464/


The rather attractive Anne Francis was a chokin', choppin', hip-flipping hottie on ABC prime-time in 1966. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcLbPTT7o3w](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcLbPTT7o3w)


Also the Dick Van Dyke show had an episode [featuring judo](https://youtu.be/i3iY77DWZgI), first aired in 1964.


Depends how far "West" you mean. In Canada, for example, we had a silver medalist in the 1964 Olympics, but the medalist (Doug Rogers) lived and trained in Japan for several years beforehand. He came back to Canada in 1965, and in 1968 Hiroshi Nakamura, a Japanese judoka that had trained with Rogers, joined him. There was a small judo presence in Canada at the time, but not at the level that was necessary for high-level international competition. Rogers and Nakamura effectively bootstrapped much of the sport in the country, especially in Québec, which accounts for 60% of the judokas in Canada.


Is that Doug Rodgers that half Japanese guy who trained with Kimura?


Yes in deed. Judo and jujitsu. The names are somewhat interchanable but the best practioners had came from the Kodokan or atleast were competitors of the kodokan. You might check out the Chadi judo youtube he has so many videos the spread of judo. The self defense tactics of judo. The ancient connects of judo to warfare samurai fighting etc.


Kodokan hasn’t really produced strong competitors. Pre-Ww2 Butokukai was more important and - later - the university and police dojo system. Chadi’s content is ok, but produces more heat than light in my opinion.


Your comment is well recieved. The university system for the competitive aspect? And the police for other aspect like kime no kata perhaps? But also its not wrong for me to point in the direction that i am pointing. And this novelist can use that heat as inspiration. Thanks for your reply.


It's been a while since I read the old Ian Fleming novels, but I'm 90% sure that the literary James Bond trained judo. I am also 100% sure that Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore) studied judo. I have her 1965 women's self defense book sitting on my shelves.


Very interesting. The only Bond books I've read in their entirety were Casino Royale and Dr. No. I'm in the process of reading Thunderball now, but I'll have to read Goldfinger once I'm finished. Thanks for the info.


I'm pretty sure one of Goldfinger's plot points was Bond thinking of writing a self defense manual ... right before he gets his ass beat by Oddjob.


I wonder if they ever go into detail about what martial art/self defense style Oddjob used... Might be something else I need to keep an eye on once I rrad the book.


Pretty sure it was karate.


Donn Draeger was training it in the late 1940s I think, and Geesink won the world championship for the first time in 1961 then the Olympics in 1965. So quite possibly. But many of these early judokas trained in Japan. Perhaps you should put your spy in the army and have him serve in Japan during or shortly after the war? He could learn there, and the military-to-intelligence route was a common one back


Yes. You can read about it: Brousse, M. & Matsumoto, D. (2005). Judo in the U.S.: A century of dedication. Berkeley, CA: United States Judo Federation and North Atlantic Books. On the James Bond topic, this book notes that Sean Connery received judo instruction from Donn Draeger for You Only Live Twice. There is also this still enjoyable piece from Sports Illustrated in 1967 by a woman starting judo in New York City: https://vault.si.com/vault/1967/05/22/confessions-of-a-judo-rollout


You have seen Star Trek, right? Kirk didn’t learn Tomoe Nage in a boxing gym


I actually haven't watched a lot of the early Star Trek.


Read Cryptonomicon by Neal Stevenson. One of the protagonists Bobby Shaftoe a US marine shares a pre-, mid-, and his grand daughter's post- WW2 relationship with Japanese Goto Dengo a Judoka. In the pre war years Goto Dengo trains Shaftoe in Judo and Jiu Jitsu. The story obviously has a lot more content than this relationship, but I think just the first act of the book (if you don't read the whole thing) will provide a good framework for how a Western Spy could become privy to Eastern Martial Arts.


Thank you for the recommendation; might have to put that on my reading list.


Judo was #1 back then...


What's the location? US Judo in the 1960s largely derived from three sources. \- Japanese immigrants and their descendants: mostly West Coast CA WA some NYC etc. See Getting a Grip: Judo in the Japanese American communities of Washington and Oregon, 1900-1950 \[Svinth, Joseph R\] \- US military, primarily US Air Force Security Police etc, around major US Air Force / SAC bases, or its veterans. See US Judo Association history, Major Phil Porter, etc \- This includes former other, earlier Occupation troops, of which there were hundreds of thousands \- Wild card: Japanese economic refugees, judoka who lost their livelihoods in postwar Japan as the Occupation banned the instruction of martial arts in public facilities (schools, universities, public halls etc), realizing they couldn't practice their trade in Japan, many had lost everything in the war, and a number of very highly skilled judo instructors immigrated to North America and EU. I take it you've read John Rain novels. If not, suggest you do. We address some issues of the postwar judo diaspora in [www.kanochronicles.com](https://www.kanochronicles.com)


Yes for sure... But it was often called "judo and jiu jitsu" and what was often taught was some combination of those two, plus Karate and Kung Fu.


General Curtis "Bombs Away" LeMay began a judo program for the Strategic Air Command in 1950 at Offut AFB (Nebraska). [https://www.martialtalk.com/threads/roots-of-u-s-air-force-judo.2582/](https://www.martialtalk.com/threads/roots-of-u-s-air-force-judo.2582/) By 1952, he was sending instructors to the Kodokan for training. By the mid-'60's there were several legit black belts assigned to Fairchild AFB (Spokane) -- probably working at the SERE School.


Military instruction in "dirty judo" was provided to certain units in WW2. It would not be at all unusual for your agent to receive this training. [http://combatjudo.net/history/](http://combatjudo.net/history/)


My Dad was born in 1960 and did Judo in Colorado as a kid, sounds like it was pretty popular.


It existed in the west long before the 60s, its definitely feasible depending where you live, here in ireland the first club was set up in the '52, in America it was set up in 1907, many other countries have similar dates in between those ranges


It was 100% part of popular culture in the 60s. I believe my dad told me that tomoe nage was taught to him in the military as part of basic training.


My judo club was established in 1960 so yes.


On the American West Coast and Hawaii, absolutely. But for your novel, boxing or wrestling is probably more realistic.


Yes, selectively. Here's an example: https://www.usjf.com/hall-of-fame/masato-tamura/


There were more than 4000 judoka in Canada in 1960: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judo_in_Canada#Growth_and_public_interest


I remember George Burns supposedly studied Judo. So, yes.


Seattle, Obukan, and Ore-Ida were around in the 1960s. Those are the ones local to my family at least. Looking at old photos they seem to have been pretty popular.


Sawtelle Judo Dojo in Los Angeles was founded in 1927. **^(Yes)**


My dad was in his early teens in the late sixties and there was an amazing dojo in the small Australian town he was from. There used to be quite a lot of judo dojos and competitions in regional Queensland, but basically all of them closed their doors because of football (rugby league) being so popular, and mcdojos strangling them too.


Yes. There was a period where the US and Japan were active trading partners prior to ww2.


By the 1960s, Judo had been very popular worldwide for about 30 years. Karate was the 'new' martial art in the 60s, just beginning to become known. So, yes, Judo was very popular in the West in the 1960s.


My grandpa and his brothers were blackbelts in Minnesota in the 60s