Judo in the world today
Hong Kong, China
"Judo" means different things in different parts of China
Judo was launched in China in 1979 with the creation of the "Judo Training Team" for the purpose of training judo students in that country. Judo is still a relatively new sport in China, and though schools for Karate, Aikido, and Taekwondo exist, there are practically no places for learning Judo.
In Hong Kong, on the other hand, TV shows such as "Sugata Sanshiro", etc., have been aired for years, and interest in Judo is high there, with many young boys and girls pursuing Judo in a diligent and enthusiastic manner.
Attracted by its martial arts spirit and etiquette, citizens of Hong Kong are flocking to Judo
"I want to strengthen my weak body", "I want to learn Japanese martial arts to protect myself", "I want to become a Judo instructor", etc., are just a few of the reasons Hong Kong citizens take up Judo. Whatever their motives, the fact remains that Judo competitions held in Hong Kong feature more than 1000 contestants per year.
Given the growing number of Judo enthusiasts here, the Hong Kong Judo Association has even imported Japanese coaches in order to strengthen China's national team.
Hong Kong also dispatches contestants to all the international competitions, and is very active in sending contestants to university Judo training camps in Japan. The heightened skill level of lightweight division contestants has been particularly notable in recent years, and much can be expected from Hong Kong's contestants in the future.
I want to spend my life mastering the principle of "Jita Kyoei"
Mr. To Peichung of Hong Kong, began Judo 5 years ago. "I've always been very interested in the martial arts, and have previously studied T'ai chi chuan and Karate. It was the Waza of Judo that first attracted me, but now I wish to devote my remaining life to mastering Jigoro Kano's principle of "Jita Kyoei" (mutual benefit)," says Mr. To Peichung, indicating a strong interest in the mental aspects of Judo as well.
Looking his listener straight in the eye, Mr. To Peichung says, "I chose this Hong Kong dojo because they teach the 'Japanese Judo' principle that Judo is not about winning or losing, but rather about perfecting one's self."
Training together to perfect the mind
While working in Hong Kong, Mr. To Peichung frequented the Judo dojo 2 or 3 times a week. However, when he began working in Shenzhen City, entrance to the continent of China, he was faced with a 2-hour daily commute from his home, and therefore could visit the dojo for Keiko only on Saturday evenings.
He begins his visit with preparatory exercises, followed by "Kata" (form) practice, focusing particularly on Randori (free sparring). Recently, however, he has become interested in "Kodo" (Judo research and instruction).
In a dojo where the languages of Cantonese, English, and Mandarin are all heard, he enjoys the bond of "mental discipline" shared with dojo comrades.
Having put down roots in Hong Kong, Judo teaches how to live as a "whole" person
The "Hong Kong Judokan" was founded as a 20-mat dojo in 1966. It is the only permanent dojo in Hong Kong, and the home-country flags of its international students adorn the walls near the Kamidana. The head of this dojo coached the Hong Kong team in 3 Olympiads (Munich, Montreal, and Los Angeles), and has taught more than 10,000 students here.
The international atmosphere of Hong Kong provides a unique environment for practitioners from different countries to deepen their mutual understanding, thereby playing a big role in improving international relations.
Judo also draws those with an interest in Japan's traditional culture
Rather than employing teaching methods which are adapted to the practice methods and customs of that region, the Hong Kong Judokan is known for its strict adherence to the Japan Judo traditions.
Even the warmup stretching exercises are conducted in Japanese, with the students counting "Ichi, Ni, San, Shi!" (one, two, three, four), and students of differing nationalities and occupations all take their fighting stances with bare feet.
Anyone who steps out of the dojo does so with a bow. The students also practice meditation in the Seiza posture (sitting on the knees), and perform cleaning duties. It all begins and ends with a Rei (bow). Testing one's strength while showing respect for the opponent. It's all there in Hong Kong, just like in Japan.
Mr. To Peichung's message to the Japanese
"By continuing to perfect myself through Judo, I wish to devote my remaining life to mastering Jigoro Kano's principle of "Jita Kyoei" (mutual benefit). In addition to Keiko, I've also begun to seriously study by reading books about Judo.
It would be wonderful to see many more people in China and Japan, and all around the world, begin to study Judo in order to foster mutual respect and gratitude, and ultimately to bring about world peace.
HONG KONG JUDO KAN
- AddressHong Kong Judo Kan, 12 Floor East Point Centre, 555 Hennessy Rd, CWB, HK
* The above information is current as of October, 2008.