Someone has said there are 3 paths (or types of practitioner) of judo. It goes something like this, but I might remember the details a bit wrong:

One is a competitor, advances quickly in rank, but might end up giving up judo because competition is so hard on one's body

One is practising judo for recreation and fitness, not necessarily advancing much.

One studies judo and it's techniques and philosophies all his life, not necessarily to win competitions

I think it was not Kano, but maybe one of the later senseis (high dan).

  • 1
    I like these quotes especially as they apply to martial arts in general, not just in judo.Nonetheless, good philosohy.
    – Fel31
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 9:02
  • I am desperately trying to find the original source, because it is essentially the thing I have been trying to tell everyone in our club - most can only see judo as a sport, dismissing any of it's philosophical and/or recreational aspects.
    – diynevala
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 9:28
  • If you are looking for an answer that discusses philosophical and recreational benefits outside competitive sport, that could be a new question. I don't think this quotation captures the idea as indicated in your comment.
    – mattm
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 19:04
  • I found one blog post that says exactly what I am after: In a general martial arts class you probably have the three types. Therefore, it’s unfair to the recreational practitioner to have them go through the mandatory rigors the competitive practitioner must go through to achieve their goals.
    – diynevala
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


Obviously, the sourcing is kind of messy, but considering Hal Sharp used to actually be in personal contact with this man, a video of his will have to suffice for validation.

Yoshimi Osawa, 10th Dan, said,

"There are three types of judoka,

  1. Recreational.. practices for enjoyment.

  2. Technical.. studies, practices, and teaches most of their life

  3. Competitor.. only be able to compete for a limited time."

Video link

  • This is it! I am amazed how I could not find this even if I googled with almost all of the words the above quote holds. Obviously, the only thing missing was the name of that 10th dan judo master. I am somewhere between recreational and technical, still learning the basics and enjoying training, but also teaching kids.
    – diynevala
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 11:48
  • @diynevala: I basically lurked through youtube and was interested in what was hiding behind the title of this video. The moment I heard the quote, I immediately thought of this question. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 12:26

The earliest reference I can find to this quote is from the following:

Three types of attitude are discussed next: training attitude. competitive attitude, and personal attitude. First, training attitude refers to your willingness to train and the work ethic that you develop through regular practice. Second, a competitive attitude refers to your psychological makeup before, during, and after a competition. And third, your personal attitude is the overall attitude you develop, which is a reflection of you as a person both on and off the mat.

However the idea of a distinction between hypercompetitiveness and personal development competitiveness in sports psychology has been generally discussed since at least the 30's (Horney, 1937):

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