In Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano (the founder of judo), chapter 19 Seiryoku Zen'yo Kokumin Taiiku contains a catalogue of individual striking exercises called Tandoku Renshu and partner exercises called Sotai Renshu. This is Kano's description:

a system of physical education ideally possesses three characteristics: it promotes the development of strong, healthy minds and bodies, is interesting, and is useful. Not only does Seiryoku Zen'yo Kokumin Taiiku meet all three requirements admirably, it goes well beyond being merely gymnastics or simply a martial art.

This kata consists of two groups of exercises. One is practiced alone, the other with a partner. All but one of the exercises have direct applications in self-defense.

Example individual exercise

The seven partner kata are all present in the promotion requirements for dan ranks, but Seiryoku Zen'yo Kokumin Taiiku is not. I have never seen it practiced in a judo context, either for physical development or martial purposes. Aside from the ukemi (falling) exercises, the Tandoku Renshu are the only solo exercises in the book, which presumably would make them valuable during times when partners are not available.

Why is this original content from the founder ignored, despite it being in one of the most popular judo books available?

  • 1
    I don't know the historical reason these exercises fell into disuse, but I know I started judo to get away from exactly this kind of low-return-on-investment drills. People who want to punch air instead of wrestle or box can find a light-contact karate dojo. Even then, these are an especially unrewarding example of the genre of forms practice. I mean, a double upward punch is one of the more useful movements. It's fundamentally not effective training; maybe it fell out of favor because people who wanted to get good noticed that? Jul 1, 2020 at 16:25
  • @DaveLiepmann Sure, they appear low-quality. But I am curious why only one kata was and dropped rather than revised and improved. Did judo decide at some point that training should be exclusively partner-based?
    – mattm
    Jul 1, 2020 at 23:07
  • Not relevant to your Q, but that motion of punching is often used as a modification of the spinning back-fist. Instead of hitting with the back side of the glove (which has cushion and creates a spat like impact), some use the edge of the glove (which is much harder and has no cushion). This actually digs into the face, which is more painful.
    – RoundHouse
    Jul 2, 2020 at 3:03
  • 1
    @mattm My assumption has always been that the decision was to focus on grappling training, which left striking unpracticed. Combine that with the loss of physical cultures of individual jiujitsu ryu during unification into judo, and then follow it with modernization of strength and conditioning practices during the 20th century, and you get a total lack of interest in punching/knife-hand exercises that only had value as a traditional & inferior form of physical exercise. Jul 2, 2020 at 8:52
  • For more on the physical culture side of that history, see Ishikawa & Draeger Jul 2, 2020 at 8:53


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