Train Judo Ground visiting kodokan?

10/3/17 4:53 PM
5/28/02
Posts: 70524
heading to tokyo later this month for work and may have a day or 2 for sightseeing.

what are must sees at the kodokan if i can get there? thanks!
10/9/17 11:36 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 5787

I heard it's different depending on who you are. My buddy got is black belt in Japan and supposedly it was a whole lot easier than getting it here. That said he didn't really feel welcome at the Kodokan when he went.

Edited: 10/9/17 6:26 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 10861
I spent like 6 weeks in Japan this summer, and did both of the Kodokan camps (kata and randori techniques) after having done them like 7 years ago...the thing that I was surprised/annoyed about is that unless you live there full time, you can't attend the white to black class, or the black belt and above class, even if there are like only 5 people in it (you can watch it from the 7th floor viewing gallery).
So unless you come the 2 weeks in the year in June/July where there are international training camps, you are NOT welcome to get any instruction at the Kodokan (including paying for private lessons). It's cool to see (museum etc.) but it's really like one big open mat session every evening, NOT instruction. There are a bunch of red and white belts sitting around the mat, but to me it seems like a huge waste of knowledge and not what Kano would have preferred (if his mission was to spread judo around the world), not to allow dedicated, respectful foreigners to obtain instruction as visiting students (outside of that 2 week period).
10/11/17 8:51 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 5796

I have heard that.  I talk to a lot of Judo players here in NYS or even MA and NJ...they all talk about that stuff you mentioned. FatBuddha how were you treated?  Before going to Judo I taught Tae Kwon Do for years. I always kind of felt that they were just buying us time and never felt Americans were as good as the Koreans, not all of them but that's the vibe I got since 1979 when I started.

Edited: 10/11/17 11:45 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 10867
Outkaster - 

I have heard that.  I talk to a lot of Judo players here in NYS or even MA and NJ...they all talk about that stuff you mentioned. FatBuddha how were you treated?  Before going to Judo I taught Tae Kwon Do for years. I always kind of felt that they were just buying us time and never felt Americans were as good as the Koreans, not all of them but that's the vibe I got since 1979 when I started.


A few of the instructors were helpful and kind, but others definitely seemed to have an attitude. In general, I found it virtually impossible to find judo instruction in the birthplace of judo for a foreigner after the camp ended. A Canadian friend of mine had a 3 month VISA and moved to Japan just for judo and wasn't permittted to attend any group classes even though he assured them he could get an extended VISA after the 3 months were up for the whole year. I actually just started doing aikido (black belt in judo and bjj but have never done aikido) at the world headquarters as that was open to everyone. I found it very strange. Do they care about promoting judo to the outside world? I think they need to decide if they want to spread what they consider proper judo to as many people around the world as possible, or simply retain a competitive advantage for their own native people.
10/23/17 12:17 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 5827

And that's just the attitude that keeps it insular as a martial art.

1/9/18 9:12 PM
2/24/06
Posts: 6404

I visited the Kodokan, but had pulled a rib a few weeks earlier, so I did not attempt to train there.  I guess I would have been turned away, after reading this thread.  I watched a class from the bleachers, but it looked just like a normal Judo class anywhere else.

1/11/18 12:03 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 6010

That's what I have heard.

3/31/18 6:34 PM
6/5/05
Posts: 626
This is disappointing to read of recent experiences.
I first went to Tokyo in February 2002.
Coming from the UK I had a 90 day visa which I later extended another 90 days(went home after 5 months though).

I applied for the class from the UK.
I sent a self addressed envelope and in it they returned some paperwork and application forms.
I was accepted and booked into the dormitory for a month, and stayed there the whole time.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by a young bilingual woman who was very friendly.
There was some staff in the international office.
One of the younger guys, who was a 3rd Dan, iirc, took me to meet Yoshida sensei.
I was asked some questions and they made my membership and I'd cards.
I was explained basic etiquette and shown around.

The first three months were mostly ukemi, which is drilled religiously in the class.
And built up to some basic throws like O-gpshi for example.

The course is designed to obtain a black belt within one year.
Attendance is crucial.
From 4kyu one has two matches. The aim is not to destroy your opponent with ease, rather demonstrate a good variety of techniques well.

The class ran from 5:30-7:00.
There is opportunity to stay on theat until 8pm.

Reading the comments above, I can understand the frustrations.
Japan is a very unique culture. The barrier isn't exclusive to Judo at the Kodokan.
The Japanese are very conformist and in know how to follow unwritten rules.

There are opportunities to get excellent training but you have to get some introductions.
I don't know about now, but if a black belt then with an introduction it's possible to train at the police in which is hear is pretty tough.
Theres also universities like Wasada and Tsukuba.

Wednesday nights at the Kodokan used to be a regular for university and company teams to train on the 7th floor.
On those nights the classes would be held on the 6th floor.

Im bumping this thread to hear anyone elses experiences.
3/31/18 6:39 PM
6/5/05
Posts: 627
Outkaster - 

I heard it's different depending on who you are. My buddy got is black belt in Japan and supposedly it was a whole lot easier than getting it here. That said he didn't really feel welcome at the Kodokan when he went.


I think the thing in Japan is that when one achieves shodan it is considered that he/she has a good understanding of the basics.
I think there's a greater sense of achievement abroad when one has a black belt.

Either way it's a good accomplishment iny book.
4/4/18 12:34 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 6181

Sure is. Truthfully when I was in TKD I got a 4th degree and it took a long time. I just always felt the Korean instructors in other seminars really would never take to you unless you were really good. I understand nationalisitc pride though.

4/4/18 1:15 PM
5/28/02
Posts: 71809

back up eh? i went one night after work and watched a class from the balcony seats. will post up some pics later

4/15/18 7:50 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 11359
cool...what work do you do btw in Tokyo if you don't mind me asking? I just finished a Ph.D. in biology and am applying to things now. Of course, it would be awesome to be in Tokyo.
4/16/18 9:35 AM
5/28/02
Posts: 71874


only pic i could find fast on my fb from kodokan visit- watching adult class from bleachers about to start

im in an r&d protein formulation group- was in japan at our parent company hq for technical meetings and client visits. and sushi, lots and lots of sushi.
4/17/18 9:14 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 11366
microbiologynerd - 


only pic i could find fast on my fb from kodokan visit- watching adult class from bleachers about to start

im in an r&d protein formulation group- was in japan at our parent company hq for technical meetings and client visits. and sushi, lots and lots of sushi.

cool
4/17/18 12:59 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 6212

Nice

5/3/18 7:02 AM
10/10/07
Posts: 5181

Good thread. Ive always wanted to visit the Kodokan. I imagined it to be more welcoming to everyone though.  

5/3/18 11:11 AM
5/28/02
Posts: 71952
LateStart -

Good thread. Ive always wanted to visit the Kodokan. I imagined it to be more welcoming to everyone though.  

the two women employees at the entrance were very friendly and told me exsctly where to go to watch.

 

the website has detailed instructions if you want to train there, and i saw about 6-7 westerners on the mats that class

Edited: 5/6/18 8:27 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 11419
microbiologynerd - 
LateStart -

Good thread. Ive always wanted to visit the Kodokan. I imagined it to be more welcoming to everyone though.  

the two women employees at the entrance were very friendly and told me exsctly where to go to watch.

 

the website has detailed instructions if you want to train there, and i saw about 6-7 westerners on the mats that class


The international staff is friendly, yes.

However you CAN'T just take an instructional group class there. You can spar, yes, but you can't pay for group instruction or privates unless you can prove you live permanently in Japan.

A Canadian friend fluent in Japanese had a 3 month VISA to stay in Japan and was planning to renew it after that for even longer...nope, not permanent enough, not allowed group instruction. Although he came for Kodokan judo, he was pretty much forced to do aikido instead and was welcomed in the classes at the aikido world headquarters in Tokyo and now is a high level aikido instructor and popular teacher to many ambassadors to Japan.
5/9/18 8:39 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 6287

It's interesting how political things get.

7/7/18 8:56 PM
6/5/05
Posts: 632
FatBuddha - 
microbiologynerd - 
LateStart -

Good thread. Ive always wanted to visit the Kodokan. I imagined it to be more welcoming to everyone though.  

the two women employees at the entrance were very friendly and told me exsctly where to go to watch.

 

the website has detailed instructions if you want to train there, and i saw about 6-7 westerners on the mats that class


The international staff is friendly, yes.

However you CAN'T just take an instructional group class there. You can spar, yes, but you can't pay for group instruction or privates unless you can prove you live permanently in Japan.

A Canadian friend fluent in Japanese had a 3 month VISA to stay in Japan and was planning to renew it after that for even longer...nope, not permanent enough, not allowed group instruction. Although he came for Kodokan judo, he was pretty much forced to do aikido instead and was welcomed in the classes at the aikido world headquarters in Tokyo and now is a high level aikido instructor and popular teacher to many ambassadors to Japan.

When was this if you don't mind me asking?
The international group class is designed in such a way to get a black belt, so, yes, there is an emphasis on long term commitment.

However, it was possible when I was there for short-termers to take the class especially if beginners.
It was actually encouraged rather than randori only.
The huge emphasis on drilling ukemi was a factor and of course to learn kodokan judo.
It's an invaluable just to learn the basics.

I was there a lot in 2002-2004.
I saw many people come and go, some only two weeks or a month and they joined the course.
They really only learnt grips, ukemi, and O-Goshi.
With a 3 month visa your friend would have been able to complete the 3-month beginners course and take two gradings.
Upon returning, he could have continued with the intermediate class and started sparring and learnt submissions.

He could have also enrolled in summer and winter training if he was there.


Maybe he was there a long time before I was and things changed over time.
Never heard of them turning anyone away and advising them to do Aikido instead.

I did witness a couple of odd things though:
On the 4th floor are showers and changing rooms. The Japanese are seperate to non-Japanese.
And, when I did the summer course in 2003, there was a mini friendly competition at the end.
There was a group of German judoka whom weren't allowed to spar against the Japanese students, only against themselves.
7/8/18 2:11 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 11803
Groove Holmes - 
FatBuddha - 
microbiologynerd - 
LateStart -

Good thread. Ive always wanted to visit the Kodokan. I imagined it to be more welcoming to everyone though.  

the two women employees at the entrance were very friendly and told me exsctly where to go to watch.

 

the website has detailed instructions if you want to train there, and i saw about 6-7 westerners on the mats that class


The international staff is friendly, yes.

However you CAN'T just take an instructional group class there. You can spar, yes, but you can't pay for group instruction or privates unless you can prove you live permanently in Japan.

A Canadian friend fluent in Japanese had a 3 month VISA to stay in Japan and was planning to renew it after that for even longer...nope, not permanent enough, not allowed group instruction. Although he came for Kodokan judo, he was pretty much forced to do aikido instead and was welcomed in the classes at the aikido world headquarters in Tokyo and now is a high level aikido instructor and popular teacher to many ambassadors to Japan.

When was this if you don't mind me asking?
The international group class is designed in such a way to get a black belt, so, yes, there is an emphasis on long term commitment.

However, it was possible when I was there for short-termers to take the class especially if beginners.
It was actually encouraged rather than randori only.
The huge emphasis on drilling ukemi was a factor and of course to learn kodokan judo.
It's an invaluable just to learn the basics.

I was there a lot in 2002-2004.
I saw many people come and go, some only two weeks or a month and they joined the course.
They really only learnt grips, ukemi, and O-Goshi.
With a 3 month visa your friend would have been able to complete the 3-month beginners course and take two gradings.
Upon returning, he could have continued with the intermediate class and started sparring and learnt submissions.

He could have also enrolled in summer and winter training if he was there.


Maybe he was there a long time before I was and things changed over time.
Never heard of them turning anyone away and advising them to do Aikido instead.

I did witness a couple of odd things though:
On the 4th floor are showers and changing rooms. The Japanese are seperate to non-Japanese.
And, when I did the summer course in 2003, there was a mini friendly competition at the end.
There was a group of German judoka whom weren't allowed to spar against the Japanese students, only against themselves.

From 2010 (when I first came to the Kodokan) to the present at least

Never said THEY suggested he do aikido, that was just his fallback option when the judo instructional option was closed to him.

4th floor changing room is not segregated between Japanese and non-Japanese at least since 2010. But there are separate changing rooms for instructors and non-instructors.