Judo – The Most Renowned Players

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Judo, the Japanese form of martial art, was first developed by Dr. Kano Jigoro. He was a very frail person and hence was bullied by his friends and relatives due to his physical structure. To overcome his physical weakness, Dr. Kano started learning the art of Jiu Jitsu, the Brazilian martial arts. Fukuda Hachinosuke, grandfather of Keiko Fukuda, a very well known female Judoka, was the only teacher who accepted Dr. Kano Jigoro as his student in the beginning. Keiko Fukuda is the most highly ranked female Judoka both by the Kodokan Institute, a pioneer in teaching Judo and the United States Judo Federation.

The Kodokan Institute, also called as Kodokan, was founded by Dr. Kano Jigoro. Kodo literally means “to teach” and Kan means a public building. Hence the meaning of kodokan is “a place to teach or spread the knowledge”. This institute is located in Tokyo and conducts Judo classes both for amateurs and also for people who want to master the art of Judo. Their courses are designed to help two different groups of people, the beginners or the amateurs and for people interested in mastering the skill. It also ranks the Judokas or the practitioners of the game.

People around the world register in the Kodokan Institute to get their ranking. Kodokan initially started with only nine students and have now grown to become one of the pioneers in Judo teaching. Some of the well known practitioners from the Kodokan Institute are: Keiko Fukuda, Mitsuo Maeda, Kyuzo Mifune, Masahiko Kimura, Anton Geesink, Yasuhiro Yamashita, Neil Adams, Gene LeBell, Hidehiko Yoshida, Kosei Inoue and Minoru Mochizuki.

Keiko Fukuda is the only female Judoka who has the ranking of 9th Dan. Dan is a ranking system in Japan and it shows at which level or stage the practitioner of Judo is. The Dan is characterized by the different colors of the belt given to Judo practioners. Keiko is also one of the students of Dr. Kano Jigoro and is the only surviving disciple. She was also awarded the “red belt” by the United States of Judo Federation.

Apart from Keiko, some of the male Kodokans who were given the ranking of tenth Dan are:

Yamashita Yoshiaki
Hajime Isogai
Hidekazu Nagaoka
Kyuzo Mifune (He is supposed to be one of the best after Dr. Kano Jigoro) Kunisaburo Iizuka
Kaichiro Samura
Shotaro Tabata
Kotaro Okano
Matsutaro Shoriki
Shozo Nakano
Tamio Kurihara
Sumiyuki Kotani
Ichiro Abe
Daigo also called Mr Kodokan.
Yoshimi Osawa

Some of the male Gold medalists of the Olympics in Judo are:

David Douillet
Kosei Inoue
Jeon Ki-Young
Toshihiko Koga
Tadahiro Nomura
Wim Ruska
Hitoshi Saito
Peter Seisenbacher
Yasuhiro Yamashita. (He is the most successful judoka of all times)
Hidehiko Yoshida

Some of the Female Gold medalists are:

Noriko Anno
Ingrid Berghmans
Karen Briggs
Driulis Gonzalez
Kye Sun-Hui
Ryoko Tani ( Youngest female World Champion)
Masae Ueno
Ayumi Tanimoto
Xian Dongmei
Tong Wen
Ulla Werbrouck

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