Judo founder Jigoro Kano was an educator and a visionary who started jiu-jitsu to develop his strength. The 5ft 2in and 41kg Kano added his own ideas to his jiu-jitsu experience to develop a complete fighting system which personified “Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort”.
Kano founded The Kodokan in 1882 and became the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee. In 1912 he helped to establish the Japan Amateur Athletic Association and was a Japanese representative at the Olympic Games of 1928 in Amsterdam, 1932 in Los Angeles and 1936 in Berlin. Kano died at sea in 1938 at the age of 77 while on board NYK Line motor ship Hikawa Maru.
Judo was introduced to the Olympic programme at the 1964 Tokyo Games and since 1972 has featured in every Olympiad. Kano’s official honours and decorations included the First Order of Merit and Grand Order of the Rising Sun and the Third Imperial Degree.
Kano once said: “Judo is the way of the highest or most efficient use of both physical and mental energy. Through training in the attack and defence techniques of judo, the practitioner nurtures their physical and mental strength, and gradually embodies the essence of the Way of Judo.”