The life of Jigoro Kano

Jigoro Kano and the Olympics

Judo's overseas debut

Judo's overseas debut

Jigoro continued to study and refine Judo together with his students. In addition to studying the finer points of various jujutsu schools, he delved into physical mechanics, continuing to develop what came to be the hallmark of Kodokan, the technique of destabilizing (balance breaking, Kuzushi) an opponent. As a result, Jigoro's skill exceeded even that of his former masters, and the Waza that were perfected by Jigoro and his students made Kodokan Judo famous enough to attract the attention of various jujutsu schools.

In time, Kodokan Judo became known overseas as well, and it began to spread to other countries. At the age of 20, Jigoro and a few masters from other schools held a Judo demonstration in Tokyo for the visiting former president of the United States, General Ulysses Grant. Later, while a teacher at Gakushuin, Jigoro held a shipboard Judo demonstration for the other passengers (mostly non-Japanese) while on his way to visit Europe. Foreigners found Judo to be extremely interesting, and were amazed and delighted by the ease with which a smaller man could throw a larger one.

In addition to Jigoro himself, other practitioners who had studied at his Kano Juku also traveled overseas to perform demonstrations. Despite the limited mass media of those times, the inherent strength of Judo's "softness subdues hardness,Ju yoku go wo seisu" nevertheless began to spread far and wide.