Book Review: Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques, by Toshiro Daigo

This is the bible of throwing techniques.  Four Stars (of Four).
Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques

I wanted to start posting reviews of the Judo books in my library in order to help guide anyone looking to add to their own library...  As a side note, in any of my posts, if you ever do want to buy the book, please use one of the links from my site, as I will get a kick back from Amazon.  =:>

The Upshot:
If you can only buy one Judo book, this is the one to buy.  A great reference that you will call on for decades.
What's In It and How It's Organized: 
This book, as the name suggests, is only about throwing techniques.  A bit of intro, then with a chapter for each class of nage waza (Te, Koshi, Ashi, Ma Sutemi, and Yoko Sutemi).  It covers each throw recognized by the Kodokan, and for each, it will give several different flavors.  Looking through the appendix, you may not see throws you would expect, like Te Guruma.  But remember that "officially", Te Guruma is a flavor of Sukui Nage.  Not sure why that matters, but that's another story.  Descriptions for each throw are very step by step, and there are clear pictures to demonstrate key points in each description.  The descriptions are clear, and easy to follow, especially with the accompanying photos.  And as a side note, it was excellently translated (evidently by a guy named Francoise - go figure).

The Good:
As I said above, this is the bible of throwing techniques.  If you can only get one Judo book, get this one.  It is an excellent reference, and is also a great tool for learning different approaches to a throw that is already in your repetoire.

Could Have Been Better:
I would have liked larger pictures, and maybe some mention of the "unofficial" throws (like the Georgian Pick-Up).  Oh, and just because I am a language nerd, an "official" translation of each technique name would have been nice...  And of course I would have loved another 300 pages to talk about groundwork, but I guess that wasn't really in scope (though I heard a rumor that it is in the works, also by Daigo).

One Thing I Learned:
Just one of the many nuggets:  I learned that Daki Wakare can be applied from a standing position.  And, I guess I should add that I learned a real way to do the throw from this book... I had only ever seen it in passing from instructors who had likely been shown the technique in passing from their instructors...



kodokanjudo said...

Would you not find it rather odd if a book named "Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques" would have non Kodokan Judo techniques?:)

kodokanjudo said...

The scoop on this book from my Japanese sources is that it was compiled from several judo magazines released by Daigo-sensei and the Kodokan, over several years but only in Japanese.
It appears that the publishing company (Kodansha International) got permission to gather most of that material into the book.
I say most of the material because I've also been told that they had to edit some of it out to make it into the book form.
Edited material may have had some info into the non Kodokan variations of some techniques and more information on the root koryu jujutsu techniques. (darn!)

kodokanjudo said...

It was rummored that there was also a ne-waza volume being worked on at the time of the release of this book. The Kodokan magazines also contained all Kodokan ne-waza, 29 in total, plus the 2 kinshi-waza (do-jime and ashi-garami) and the sometimes on sometimes off uki-gatame.
I will contact my sourses and ask on the progress of this possible book.

kodokanjudo said...

I got word today that both the German and Dutch translations of the current book have more material than the English copy.
No word yet on what the extra material might be.

Chad Morrison said...

It's a scandal! Now I feel robbed! I wonder what it was that they excluded... and why...

kodokanjudo said...

From what I understand, the German and Dutch NGB's were somewhat instrumental in getting Daigo-sensei to compile his articles into book form. It appears that their translations got the extra materials because of their extra efforts.
BTW, I picked up an error in the book. There is one variation of a throw that was filed under the incorrect waza. I will elaborate more on this later.

kodokanjudo said...

BTW, In the Kodokan website, their "Nage-waza Digest" page has edited pages from the same magazines:

And as a footnote to one of your other posts, the uke here (and in the book) is of higher dan grade that the tori.
Daigo-sensei certainly knows his judo...

kodokanjudo said...

Now for the mistake:

First, I certainly do not believe that Daigo-sensei made the mistake, but it is clearly an editing mistake, likely by someone with way less judo experience.

In page 239 there is a tani-otoshi variation that it is clearly ma-sutemi-waza and not yoko-sutemi-waza. Sutemi-waza concepts are clearly defined as rear or side throws. These is clear cut. Kano-sensei made sure that there is no doubt on these two throwing clasifications. However, there is a similar variation of tani-otoshi not covered in this book with tori's leg behind uke and the arm entangling the leg just as in the mistaken waza here, with tori falling more on his side as in tani-otoshi, but clearly it is not the same.
The henka-waza picture there falls into ura-nage (ma-sutemi-waza)and not tani-otoshi.
It may have been a simple case of using the wrong set of pictures for the book, as I'm sure that Daigo-sensei is fully aware and would would have covered both henka-waza in his original Kodokan magazines. :)