This Is the Kodokan Judo Institute (2015 Tour)

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Visiting the Kodokan Judo Institute is something I would recommend for any judo enthusiast. We all know how widespread judo is in Japan, but to be at the birthplace of the sport will bring new value to the art we all have grown to love.

I appreciate more the operational and organizational requirements involved in overseeing an art as globally popular as judo. When you see the eight story building that is the Kodokan, most of the space is used not for training, but for managing the sport.

Judo is not just an activity that can be casually overseen. With the multifaceted aspects of the art itself, the multiple tiers of international competition, coordination with the Olympic Governing bodies, among other things, it requires a focused and professional effort no different than mastering the art itself.

If you’re a member of the Kodokan, you can stay in the athlete hostel. What I love about the hostel is the Spartan feel of it. No frills. The rooms do have wifi which was fine for my laptop, but everyone had to go into the lobby to use their smartphones. There are shared or private rooms, some with or without private bathrooms.  Of course there are shared bathrooms and showers for those staying in a unit without.

The Kodokan has a museum which traces the lineage and development of the sport. It will make you love your art that much more. No cameras though. This is sacred stuff.

You can buy most things judo from their store.  I’ve never seen so many products in such a compact, organized place in my life.

There’s a complete weight room you can use but if you’d like to use it, you’ll need to have someone with you for safety reasons.

All these things are great, but the real experience is being on the mat at the Kodokan. There are multiple dojos for different purposes like children’s and women’s classes. There are different types of training you can be involved with from beginner to advanced for example when top schools come to work out. Kata classes. Here’s a class taught by a 10th dan. You don’t get to see this every day.

Of course there’s always a chance to jump in on a randori session where you can meet people from all around the world. Some foreigners living in Japan train here regularly as well. And so should you, at least for a short time.

Visit the Kodokan Judo Institute and re-energize your game. See where it all began, and where guidance for the future comes from. Thanks so much for watching and I look forward to seeing you on the mat some day.

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the Red Dragon Diaries

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