The practice of judo extends well beyond the tatami (training mats). There are two principal tenets of judo that guide judoka on and off the tatami: Seiryoku-Zenyo (maximum efficient use of energy) and Jita Kyoei (mutual benefit). These principles are evident in the physical practice of judo as well as in one’s daily life outside of the dojo.
Jigoro Kano, the creator of judo, advocated Seiryoku-Zenyo as a way to understand the practice of judo and as a way to approach one’s role in society. The efficient use of energy can apply to teaching, working, and interacting with others. This behavior manifests itself in the form of discipline, a core value of judoka. Kano also viewed Seiryoku-Zenyo as a way to mold individuals that benefit society. Additionally, the throws, pins, and submissions of judo were developed based on the principle of maximum efficiency and use of energy. The mechanics of a pin, for examples, are to control the head and arms with one’s with. The wedge a simple machine in physics, exists to easily move and control heavy objects. Wedges exist aplenty in many throws and submissions.
Jita Kyoei, or mutual benefit and welfare, is deeply connected to Seiryoku-Zenyo. Jita-Kyoei teaches the value of teamwork. It is impossible to practice judo without a partner and even during randori (live sparring) or shiai (competitions), judoka are learning from one another through safe practice. Judoka bow before and after a maths as a sign of trust and respect towards their partners. The value of respecting and helping one another is immeasurable.
Seii is the first requirement when entering our program. Seii encapsulates sincerity, faith, and trust. One must first place trust in the school, the efficacy of the techniques, and of course, classmates and teachers.
Kinro is the labor and exertion that is required when learning and earnestly committing to one’s development. This is why we say everything is earned in our school. There are no shortcuts and the student will learn that everything worth doing requires Kinro.
Kenshiki is knowledge, insight, and awareness. There is a dignity to this type of knowledge. It comes with a depth of understanding why we do martial arts and the responsibilities that go with such skills.
Kihaku is the last word we say at the end of each practice. Spirit is the most meaningful translation of the term. Spirit means the type of inner strength that can only come after heartfelt commitment and hard work.
Kano Martial Arts NYC was started by internationally ranked competitors Shintaro Higashi and Garry St. Leger, in partnership with Israeli black belt judoko and entrepreneur, David (Dudi) Sasson. An affiliate of Kokushi Budo Institute (KBI), the philosophy and technical lineage of Kano Martial Arts NYC traces directly to judo founder Jigaro Kano and Hikoichi Aida, who was one of Kano Sensei’s top students.
KBI was founded by Shintaro’s father, Nobuyoshi Higashi, who began studying Aida Sensei’s style of judo in Kumamoto, Japan at a very young age. Nobuyushi also studied under Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate, and Kenji Tomiki, the founder of Tomiki Aikdo. After fighting and coaching for the prestigious Kokushikan University in Japan, Nobuyoshi was chosen by the university to be an ambassador to the United State to teach judo.
In 1963 Nobuyoshi founded Kokushi Budo Institute in New York City’s Upper West Side. Since then, thousands of judokas from across the United States have trained at KBI. For his contribution to the sport, he earned the rank of red belt while in his 70s — one of the few Red Belts ever bestowed by the Kodokan. Currently, Noboyoshi sits on the governing board that shapes the rules and practice of judo across the United States. For his contribution to the sport, he now holds .
Shintaro, is now head of KBI and has competed with several national championship teams, holds world judo team membership, recently became one of the youngest judokas to ever hold the red and white belt. Shintaro leads the Kano Martial Arts NYC team alongside US Championship team member, Garry St. Leger. Shintaro and Garry grew up practicing judo together in New York City, and will be incorporating their experience competing in the world judo circuit to the practice at Kano Martial Arts.