Saturday, December 12, 2009

A century of Olympic Judo

As we draw to the end of 2009, I am reminded that it was in 1909, a century ago, that Jigoro Kano accepted an invitation from Baron Pierre de Coubertin to join the International Olympic Committee. Kano was the first Asian to join the IOC.

Just 3 years earlier in 1906, Kano had been involved in the creation of the Butokukai in Japan. You can read much more about the important role that the Butokukai played in the development of judo in Syd Hoare’s excellent book, ‘A history of Judo’ (

Kano worked tirelessly throughout his life to promote judo globally. I am sure he would be delighted now to see the number of nations affiliated to the IJF. As we approach the next summer games in 2012, the fantastic new Olympic qualification system should see more nations than ever competing in the judo events.

The qualification period will start next May, and the world ranking lists give us a much clearer idea of the form of a player. It also allows for a much more accurate seeding.

So we should reflect on the vision of de Coubertin in building the Olympic Movement, and the valuable role that Kano played in that development. The judo family continues to make a major contribution to the Olympic Movement. tries to make a small contribution to that development by delivering the EJU Level 3 Advanced Coach Award.

Thanks to Densign White, EJU Head Sports Director, and Advisor to Judospace, for the image of the letter from Kano to de Coubertin.

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