Posted On:6/27/2009 12:44am
Style: BJJ, Judo
Daigo-sensei, a Kodokan 10th Dan, has written a book. True story.
This book, as expected for a book written by a Judo 10th Dan, is, of course, absolutely magnificent.
Originally published in Japanese, the English version skips most cultural points. It is to be noted that it was translated by Francoise White, the same person who did the nonfail translation of the Canon of Judo by Mifune-sensei (the 2004 version), another book you would do well to purchase.
The book is an hardcover with a plastic flap. The cover itself has simply the title written vertically (in black, on white), while the flap is the actual cover image. While reading the book, I recommend removing the flap, so you do not tear it by doing unwanted manipulations. Put the flap back on when you want to impress a girl with your library - it's a looker.
The book is printed on thick, good quality semi-glossy-something paper. The material itself is black and white. Absolutely no color involved, which can make it hard to distinguish the judoka. However, it will generally not be a problem : after all, the book has about 50 million pictures so if you have trouble distinguishing something in one of them, move to the next and you'll generally be able to make sense of it.
I believe the black and white pictures are the only flaw of this book.
Although it is not quite Masterclass-series-like in details, this book goes above and beyond the call of duty.
At first you will have a very brief summary of the technique.
Before you can wonder "what the hell did I pay for", Daigo-sensei hits you with all the possible variations of this technique. Usually, "sono ichi" (I don't speak Japanese but that's probably akin to "point one") will either be the Nage-no-kata variant or another classical approach to the throws when you want to show your mom what you spend your days doing at "karate" class. The rest will be competition variations or other fun variations (sometimes entirely other throws), counters, or combinations (for example, in the ashi-guruma section, we can see a point "Ashi-guruma - from o-soto-gari" which effectively means o-soto-gari -> ashi-guruma). The last point will either be a fact about the author or the origins of the move in other arts.
For example, Ippon-Seoi-Nage will include the Nage-no-kata technique (complete with uke's blow to tori's head) (sono ichi), the opportunity arising when uke steps forward with his right foot (sono ni), a nifty pick-up-like trick that I have used myself where, instead of hooking uke's arm with yours, you control his right hip (sono ni), a method where you wrap uke's left arm around yourself (sono san), a way to do ippon-seoi with your right leg to the outside (sono yon), and finally, a little blurb on ippon-seoi-nage's origins in koryu jujutsu (sono go).
This book covers the official 67 Kodokan throws (that is, gokyo + shinmeisho-no-waza). Not to fear, however, for you can find other throws inside the variations. For example, te-guruma is listed under sukui-nage.
One downside - 0 newaza. This is to be expected from a book called "Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques", but let me state it clearly : YOU WILL NOT FIND ANY DIRECT INSTRUCTION ON NEWAZA IN THIS BOOK. This book focuses on throws and does it very well. For newaza you will have to look elsewhere (my personal source is Flamand/Gibert's "Judo champion : Les techniques du succès au sol"). Hell, I'm not a prude, go pick up some BJJ books 8)
50 million photos. Enough said imo. By the way, this is an exaggeration, but seriously, there are a lot of photos.
Wait. Actually, 50 million photos taken by the same tori and uke in a demostration perspective. There are few shiai pictures (most feature Daigo), so that may be a downside for a few, but for me it isn't.
The author does a good job of being very impersonal, clear and concise. It is not a monotonous read however as you're almost guaranteed to learn plenty of things thumbing through (disclaimer : this book will not make you into a 10th dan and does not substitute a real instructor. Duh). Every detail is touched so that you can easily imagine the technique going through in your head.
This book is not for ultra-noobs. If you're an ultra-noob (the definition being rokkyu to yonkyu), run far away and go learn to tie your obi or something. For moderate noobs (sankyu to ikkyu), it's rather pushing it but depending on you, this could be a read worth it. For the noob (shodan), what are you doing with this book not in your library?
I find that this book relies on arcane concepts, such as go-no-sen ("adapting" is the word Daigo uses) that the average shodan only begins to have a clue about, much less noobs. By the way, I'm a sankyu, so very much a noob.
Best place to buy this is probably Amazon. Due to the cover really being a flap, said flap is a little banged up due to being shipped in a box and all. So be wary.
If you're looking for a book on judo throws, buy this or I keel you.
Posted On:7/06/2009 3:28pm
Thank you for the review.
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My dog is cuter and smarter than yours.
Posted On:8/08/2009 7:40pm
Style: Kodokan Judo
This book is a must have for anyone seriously interested in Kodokan Judo. It will become the "go to" book for instruction in the throwing techniques.
Daigo Sensei is the Technical Head at the Kodokan, that means he is in charge of ALL technical instruction.
The book will be hard to follow for raw beginners.
Also, according to several people at Judoforum.com (who are fluent in Japanese and have previously read/used the Japanese version), the translation has many errors.
Nevertheless, go out and buy the book. It has a lifetime of information in it.
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