By Hayward Nishioka

Long past and little remembered even in Japan is the fact that there were three (3) maxims, not just two maxims of judo; Seiryoku zenryo (Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort), Jita Kyoe (Mutual Welfare and Benefit), and the one that was dropped off after the war, Jiko No Kansei, Self Perfection. The last one which can also be thought of as Self Perfection was thought to be to self-ish a consideration when trying to popularize judo, soon faded into the past.

The way it was translated to me by my stepfather, Dan Oka from a monthly magazine put out by the Kodokan in the 50s and 60s, went like this. Kano was asked about his maxim or Mutual Welfare and Benefit. How is it possible to have mutual welfare and benefit all the time?  So how is that mutual welfare? “How can there be two winners in a contest, let’s say as in a life and death match? One wins and one loses, – – – his life? To answer this dilemma, paraphrasing Kano, “ Eh!- -, that’s why there is Jiko no Kansei, Self Perfection, Thinking in a larger sense, in a war, would you side with your country or the other country? Certainly with your own country, likewise as between the opponent and yourself, you must choose yourself.” The reason I mention this story and this forgotten Maxim is that we are currently faced with this dilemma now between the Grassroots organizations and the Elite Organization.

What is so hard to understand that there was an agreement that the USAJ was to take care of Elite athletes and we were to take care of the Grassroots level of judo? That they have recently received from the IJF $25,000 dollars to develop judo and they have decided to use this money to open up Grassroots judo clubs in the Los Angeles area. Also that they have openly and without even a phone call to any of our elected leaders that they were going to run two of their largest tournaments in our area. These two tournaments cost us to have a $19,000 dollar drop in our own tournament revenue’s this year; revenues that we use to support our local events and competitors. Where is the mutual welfare and benefit when we allow USAJ to enter our tournaments with their membership cards yet they say, “NO” to our members entering their tournaments.

It is a quixotic dream that we should become one organization. That came to a close in 2006 when we lost our vote and our voice in the one avenue that had any possibility of redemption. Right now USAJ is what is called an oligarchical organization, which is controlled by a small group of people. Our USJF organization is a representative organization controlled by representatives from the various areas of the United States. Everyone has a voice and a vote in how things are run within the organization, which means there is oversight. If something is wrong in the organization a representative merely brings it up in the meeting and it is resolved, usually by a majority vote. In an oligarchy just the small group makes decisions. In the small USAJ group you have two business men acting as the CEO and the President who are not even judomen. You have other people who don’t even report back to anyone nor take concerns to the USAJ from anyone. The voting structure used in USAJ prevents true representation, and back and forth communication between the Generals and the troops who are on the front line. If something goes wrong, too bad.

Nobel laureate, Daniel Kahneman advocates thinking back from the future as one way to resolve a problem. So let’s say that we go to a one judo organization format in the future and it turns out to be USAJ. What will it be like for Nanka Judo? = = = “WHAT? No local tournaments with enough contestants to even fill all the weight categories? Where are our shorai programs? What about our Junior and senior referees program? What happened to our Nanka website? You know the one that we could post all our disagreements on? The one, that showed all our kids who were champions, and champions of character? We used to have quarterly meetings and could discuss how to improve local conditions, – – – but, no more. Who’s running the show!? How come we don’t have clinics anymore? What ever happened to the certification programs that tested for excellence in coaching and teaching? We don’t even have promotions anymore. What’s happening? We use to have a couple of rebel rousers, like that Nishioka guy, but now they just belly ache and don’t do anything constructive anymore. “Who me? – – – I just don’t have the time. Besides, isn’t that what the National organization’s suppose to be doing?”

SO, – – – can we really afford to ditch what we have now for an unknown future with an oligarchical organization who really doesn’t have a plan for our local dojo’s other than to take our resources and not even use the money for the athletes? I have seen too many good athletes lose opportunities to succeed because the USAJ doesn’t have a plan for success. If you don’t believe me, ask Olympic Bronze Medalist Ronda Rousey, Silver Medalist Travis Stevens, Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison, They’re the ones who IN SPITE OF USAJ, succeeded.