The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Monday, July 24, 2017

Theodore Roosevelt and Judo

President Theodore Roosevelt boxed as a young man and became interested in wrestling. When president, he began to take Judo/Jiu Jitsu lessons from Prof John O'Brien, and later from a graduate from the Kodokan, Yoshiaki Yamashita.

The Art of Manliness had a post about Roosevelt's interest in Judo, primarily focused on a book published by O'Brien in the early days of the 20th Century. Below is an excerpt. The full article may be read here.


Editor’s note: Theodore Roosevelt had a keen interest in martial and combative arts, beginning with boxing as a young man, and later as president — after a blow blinded him in the eye — focusing on wrestling and grappling. While in the White House, he first took jiu-jitsu lessons from Professor John J. O’Brien, who had learned the art while working as a police inspector in Nagasaki, Japan. According to a 1902 article in the New York World, Roosevelt “hope[d] soon to be able to break the arms, legs or neck of any Anarchist or thug who may assail him.”

Later, TR was taught jiu-jitsu and judo (while now distinct, he used the terms interchangeably) three times a week, for three years, by Japanese master Yoshiaki (Yoshitsugu) Yamashita. Roosevelt loved practicing jiu-jitsu (his ardor would help popularize it with Americans) as well as good old fashioned wrestling, and he would ask any and all companions and visitors — from diplomats to cabinet members to his wife and sister-in-law — to grapple with him. TR’s unflagging enthusiasm and burly frame eventually wore out even Yamashita, who told a journalist that while Teddy “was his best pupil…he was very heavy and impetuous, and it had cost the poor professor many bruisings, much worry and infinite pains during Theodore’s rushes to avoid laming the President of the United States.”

If you want to learn some of the vintage jiu-jitsu moves TR once practiced, below you’ll find the book (condensed) his original instructor, J. J. O’Brien, published in 1905. 

Bully!
“A noble soul dwells in a strong body.” —Japanese Proverb
We know that you will find interest in reading and demonstrating to your own satisfaction the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu, in its mildest form, as a means of self-defense.

This is the first time that all the secrets of the Japanese national system of training and self-defense have been given to Western people. Less than a generation ago you could not have obtained this knowledge at any price. So religiously have the principles of Jiu-Jitsu been guarded that no foreigner has ever before received official instruction from one who has taken the highest degree in the art.

Jiu-Jitsu is the most wonderful physical training the world has ever known. It is a science. It is muscle dominated and directed in every detail by brain. The Japanese are the hardiest race of people in the world to-day, and we attribute their wonderful strength and power of endurance solely to the persistent practice of their national system of physical development. Jiu-Jitsu develops every muscle and strengthens every organ in the human body. It does not produce knotted muscles, but develops the body harmoniously and uniformly. It affects those minute muscles which are not reached by any other system. It strengthens the heart action, scientifically renews and invigorates every tissue, and helps every organ to perform its functions. The man or woman who devotes ten minutes daily to the practice of Jiu-Jitsu will enjoy a degree of health and strength that will make him or her thoroughly alive and fully conscious of the possession of perfect manhood or womanhood.



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