Kodokan judo, meaning “gentle and pliable way,” is a modern Japanese martial art and sport, which originated in the late nineteenth century. It was created by Kano Jigoro (1860-1938).
Its prominent feature is its competitive aspect, where the objective is to throw the opponent, immobilize the opponent with a grappling technique, or cause the opponent to submit via locking the elbow or a choke hold. Strikes (with the hands and feet)—as well as weapon defenses—are included, but only in prearranged forms (kata), and they are illegal in competition.
Traditional judo, as advocated by the SMAA, encompasses all of these elements, along with a study of judo’s spiritual basis and its philosophical application to life. The SMAA Judo Division is lead by Nicklaus Suino Sensei, who began judo as a child, and who studied in Japan under leading judo exponents. His lineage can be traced from Sato Shizuya Sensei (ninth dan) to Ito Kazuo Sensei (tenth dan) and Mifune Kyuzo Sensei (tenth dan), and finally to Kano Sensei himself.
Suino Sensei’s SMAA judo rank is Shihan and sixth dan. The SMAA Judo Division has members throughout North America and in Japan. Prominent members include Mark Colby Sensei of the Kodokan; Warren Agena Sensei, a sixth dan with the Kodokan; and Ohsaki Jun Sensei, who has over 50 years of budo and judo experience. At over 90 years of age and with more than 70 years of experience, the most senior judo teacher in the SMAA is Richard Yamamoto Sensei, a Kodokan-certified seventh dan.