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Judo Buyo: Discovering The Lost Art

The Lost Art of Judo Buyo

Not many know about Judo Buyo, I learned about it recently myself.

This tradition was born in the 1960s, however, its roots can be found in traditional Japanese dance.

Judo Buyo simply means “Judo dance”.

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Nihon Buyo was a form of entertainment for the Samurais from the 17th century up until the 20th century.

Before 1978, women were not allowed to compete in Judo on the international stage, so Judo Buyo was performed by female judokas before the international competition took place.

Similar to how Kata was performed in the Olympic Games prior to 1964.

Once women started competing on the international stage in 1978, Judo Buyo almost faded into memory.

Keiko Nagasaki, a Judo Buyo veteran, tried to revive this tradition, adding more elements from the traditional Kata to make it a more techniques-based dance.

Former world champion Hiroyuki Akimoto was inspired by this tradition to create his artistic project.

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Whether it is leg grabs, Kata, self-defence training, or academic studies, we should be free and able to practice any aspect of Judo, Judo is far more than endless rounds of randori.

As the legendary Keiko Fukudo once said,

“There are two types of judo that can be learned. The first is narrow and emphasizes judo techniques...The second approach is much broader and deals with the development of a human being."

We should never forget that Judo is about human development for a better society and education.

We should have the right to specialize and train in whatever aspect that suits our diverse human preferences.

Judo should not be reduced to fit the very narrow IJF and Olympic frames.

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