5

Early judo contained (in addition to strangles and arm-locks) various types of leg-lock. At some point in the early 20th century all leg-locks were banned in both randori and competition, and removed from the kodokan's syllabus (with the sole exception of ashi-garami which remains as part of the katame-no-kata).

When and why did this happen?

7

Leg-locks were banned shortly after an 1899 exhibition match in Kyoto (held before Emperor Taishō) between Kodokan 3rd dan Yuji Hirooka and Fusen-ryū master Mataemon Tanabe. During the match Tanabe performed a throw and subsequently applied a leg-lock, breaking Hirooka's leg.

At the next meeting of the Butoku Kai that year, Kano proposed banning leg-locks from regular jujutsu/judo competitions due to:

  1. the possibility of injury to the legs
  2. concerns over the 'interestingness' of leglocks from a physical education perspective

Tanabe objected, noting that other aspects of judo were equally dangerous. However of those present only Kaisuke Masuda (Shinnuki-ryū) supported Tanabe, and thus the ban was decided by majority.

In spite of this, due to petition from Tanabe, one of his favourite leglocks ashi-garami was included in the Kodokan katame-no-kata.


Sources:

Some years ago I came across an account of a match held in 1899/1900 which was attended by the Emperor. This account was either in the Kodokan’s monthly Judo magazine or it was in the Judo International which was a joint French-Japanese project. The match took the best part of thirty minutes and eventually the Kodokan man succumbed to an ashigarami leg lock. As I recall one of the competitors was Tanabe Mataemon. It was felt at the time that this was a messy match and should not have been held before the Emperor. Rule changes were mooted. I am still looking for that account.

Tanabe Mataemon Talks About His Fusen-Ryu JuJitsu, translated from the Dai-Nippon Judo-Shi (Great Japan Judo History), 1939

Changes to match rules and the controversial Isogai match

In May, 1899, prior to the fifth Enbu Taikai of the Butoku Kai, an umpire conference was held, chaired by Jigoro Kano. I will pick it up from the memoirs of Mr. Sanzo Maruyama.

At the opening of the event, Chairman Kano said:

"During shiai 'ashi-hishigi' have the potential to damage the nerves of the legs, and I wish to abolish it because it is not very interesting in physical education."

Needless to say, Tanabe rebutted the argument, arguing that:

"Ashi-hishigi have never taken a human life, and there are some dangers in both the Shin-ryū (Kodokan style) and the Ko-ryū. Banning ashi-hishigi is a great blow for the Koryū."

However, when Kano asked the participants, "Those in favour of Tanabe's proposal," only Kaisuke Masuda of Hiroshima (correction: Shinnuki-ryū) agreed. And since Hoshino Kumon, the head of the Shiten school in Kumamoto, represented Ko-ryū and agreed to the abolition, Tanabe had to concede.
...
Supplementary note

Let us examine a little the ashi-hishigi used by Tanabe. Maruyama describes the injury in the previous bout as "knee joint". Since the historical ashi-hishigi refers to the current Achilles-heel-gatame, naturally, the point of pressure is the Achilles tendon, and it seems that Tanabe used tomoe-nage as an entry into ashi-hishigi (generally, the right foot of the opponent is placed on the right side, and the left foot is held on the left side, and it is sandwiched between both legs). Another entry was to pass the foot outside from the inside of both feet of the uke and to turn it outward, as such it may have been closer to "ashi-garami".


試合規定の変更と疑惑の磯貝戦

 明治三十二年五月、武徳会第五回演武大会の前に、嘉納治五郎を委員長として審判協議が行われた。これも丸山三造氏の回顧録から拾ってみる。
 開口一番、嘉納委員長より「このたびの試合から固技中『足挫』は足の神経を害する恐れがあり、体育的にも甚だ面白くないから廃止したい」という申出があった。当然のことながら田邊から反論が出た。田邊は「足挫は人命に及んだことは無く、多少の危険は新流(講道館流)にも古流にもある。足挫を禁止することは古流にとって非常な打撃だ」と反論意見をしている。
 これに対して嘉納は「田邊論に賛成のお方は」と、参加者に聞くと広島の松田魁輔(訂正、真貫流)だけが賛同するのみであった。そして、熊本の四天流家元の星野九門が古流を代表して廃止論に賛同を示したので、田邊も意見を引かなくてはならなかった。
...
補記
 ここで少し田邊が使った足挫について検証してみよう。先に書いた廣岡戦での怪我の箇所を丸山氏は「膝関節」と書いている。足挫はご存知のように現在のアキレス腱固なので、当然、痛む箇所はアキレス腱であるが、田邊は巴投げからかける順手の足挫(一般的には相手の右足を右脇に、左足は左脇に抱えて両足で挟む)であったようだ。それも外になる足を相手の両足の内側から通し大きく外側にまわすようにする入り方で、「足緘」に近い入り方であったといえるだろう。

外編2−古流と講道館流 - Koryu and Kodokan style (archive: bokuden.or.jp)

  • 1
    I welcome any corrections to the translation here from anyone fluent in Japanese. – ukemi Jul 19 at 14:54

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