Episode 196 – Fist of Legend, Part 3

This week: the rise of judo and of the modern budo, and karate strikes back!

Listen to the episode here.


Haines, Bruce. Karate’s History and Traditions.

Morio, Higaonna. The History of Karate: Okinawan Goju-ryu.

Gainty, Denis. Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan.


Yamashita Yoshiaki and his wife at the White House.
The Butokukan in Kyoto upon its completion in 1899.
The opening ceremony of the Butokukan.
Higaonna Kanryo, the man behind
A wonderfully confusing chart for those of you interested in Karate and interested in tracing some lineages around.

3 thoughts on “Episode 196 – Fist of Legend, Part 3”

  1. Hi – another great episode.

    One correction – the photo you label above as the ‘Kodokan Shitenno’ (the 4 Heavenly Kings of the Kodokan) are not _the_ Four Heavenly Kings. These gents were a generation (or two) after the original Shitenno, who, as you noted, were among Kano shihan’s earliest students.

    These gents were also not on an official Kodokan visit AFAIK – Maeda Mitsuyo (far right) and the others were traveling mostly separately, giving professional wrestling bouts, and linked up in Cuba for a time for some shows – hence the name of the photo in Japanese as 玖馬の四天王, ‘Cuba’s 4 Heavenly Kings’. That was a play on the original Four Heavenly Kings of the Kodokan, who in the date of the photo, Meiji 45 (1912) were in their mid to late forties.

    Maeda went on to fight throughout Latin America as Conde Coma, ‘Count Combat’ in Spanish, before settling down in Brazil, where his fighting style and strong groundwork left a huge impact on Brazilian martial arts.


    Lance Gatling
    Embassy Judo

  2. Hey, I hope this is the appropriate way to get in touch with you regarding your Q & A. If not, I apologize.

    I recently watched Kagemusha on Netflix, and I was wondering about the degree to which the premise is based on reality. Did Shingen really have a body double (or a rumored body double) as portrayed in the movie? Were body doubles a thing that was even done back then? Or does the whole notion spring from Akira Kurosawa’s fertile imagination?

  3. In listening to your Fist of Legend series, I was reminded of a tradition called “sumai”, which was represented as the more martial version of sumo wrestling (I draw parallels between jujitsu and judo, for comparison). Has your research uncovered any information about this, or is sumo solely the outgrowth of Shinto performance and competition?

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