Judo – the Art of Defence and Attack
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, 1941
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Background:
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Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais planned a series of Judo/ju-jitsu books with his colleague and teacher, Professor Mikonosuke Kawaishi. In the book’s preface, Dr. Feldenkrais wrote that “We spent almost two years preparing the photographs”. What I found in my research is that the preparation of the techniques and the photography began in Paris, in 1936, and was completed in 1938, with more than 1000 photos shot.
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Dr. Feldenkrais also used those photos for his later publication Higher Judo, published in 1952.
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Practical Judo
The title Judo - the Art of Defence and Attack hints at Dr. Feldenkrais’ point of view regarding the practical aspect of Judo. He described his work with Prof. Kawaishi, writing “special attention has been devoted to self-defence tricks as taught in Dojo and their application in real fighting with or without weapons.”
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Based on this point of view, Dr. Feldenkrais dedicated the Seventh Lesson to the use of Judo in a real fight. In this chapter he shows the use of Leg Throws (O-Soto-Gari, De-Ashi-Barai, Hiza-Guruma, Ko-Uchi-Gari) against hand attacks – punch, push, grabs. (Fig. 8i)
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He describes the use of the Naked Arm Strangle Hold (Hadaka-Jime) against punching or knife stab in great detail. This was one of Moshe’s favorite techniques and, a year later, he used it to design special training for soldiers (Practical Unarmed Combat, published in 1942).
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Judo knowledge
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But, we should not get the wrong impression. Though Dr. Feldenkrais emphasized the practical aspects, he had deep understanding of the Judo principles, goals, and benefits. In his introduction to the book, Dr. Feldenkrais described many important aspects of learning Judo.
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Dr. Feldenkrais wrote about the improvement of movement and body:
  • Judo is the art of using the body in general.
  • Judo makes the body graceful, alert and strong.
  • Judo develops co-ordination of movement as no other method or sport can possibly do.
About the sensitivity and mental improvements that are the result of Judo training:
  • Betters the senses of time and space.
  • Develops a special attitude of ever-readiness to meet any emergency.
  • Develops quick decision.
  • Fosters the fighting spirit.
Links to the Feldenkrais Method
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Looking at the young Dr. Feldenkrais, knowing that he will later develop the Feldenkrais Method, it is easy to understand his two core ideas about learning Judo:
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a. “In Judo the body is educated to respond faithfully and materialize the mental image of a desired act”.
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b. “For constant attention is paid in Judo, simultaneously with teaching of attack and defense in  the most efficient way, to the paramount aim of enabling men and women to have perfect control over mind and body”.
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These sayings are closely related to the essence of the Feldenkrais Method, which formally came into being about 10 years after the publication of this Judo book.  Self- image and the unity of mind and body are core principles of the Feldenkrais Method.
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Dr. Feldenkrais’ scientific input to Judo
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One of the most well known pieces in this book is the way Dr. Feldenkrais analyzed the forces involved in performing the Hip Throw (Uki-Goshi Fig.16)
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There are some other scientific descriptions, though simplified, aimed at better understanding Judo techniques. The Japanese Judoka appreciated Moshe’s scientific approach that supported the promotion of Judo in Europe.
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General overview of the book
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Not many Judo books where published at that time. The ability to compose a basic Judo book, that gives an orderly view of Judo, needed the clever mind of a fighter and teacher. Dr. Feldenkrais, using simple language, provided an efficient menu for anyone, with or without experience, who wishes to learn Judo. Straightforward and reliable explanations, illustrated with clear drawings (copied from photos), flavored with hints about safety and health, make this a valuable book today, 70 years after its publication.
 

 

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Order your copy of:

Hadaka-Jime:
The Core Technique
for Practical
Unarmed Combat

 By Moshe
Feldenkrais, D.Sc
,
Foreword by
Moti Nativ