Judo in the UK
Gunji Koizumi (1885-1965) is known as the founding father of British judo.
Born in a small village in Ibaraki Prefecture, north east of Tokyo, Koizumi trained as a telegrapher, taking up jūjutsu as a teenager. He made several trips to England in the early 1900s, participating in the Japan-British Exhibition as a martial arts demonstrator. After settling permanently in London, he established the Budokwai, the UK’s oldest judo club, in 1918.
Members of the Budokwai shared an interest in Japanese culture. They were also enthusiastic jūdoka attending instructional classes and training in the club dojo. For over fifty years the Budokwai put on an annual display of judo and Japanese martial arts at the Royal Albert Hall.
Koizumi taught judo in its purest form as a discipline of body and mind in balance. When Jigorō Kanō visited London in 1920 he approved of the work Koizumi was doing to popularise judo in the west. For the first half of the 20th century the Budokwai was viewed as the European centre of Kōdōkan judo.
Click on the images below to find out more or visit the exhibition gallery by clicking on the link to the right.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR JUDO IN THE UK
- 'Out of the East: The Early Introduction of Judo to the UK' by Dr Mike Callan, Associate Professor, University of Hertfordshire, and President of the International Association of Judo Researchers, 17th August 2021
Hollywood, Hayakawa Sesshu and Kendo by Paul Budden
- O-Soto-Gari (major outer reap) demonstrated by Kisaburo Watanabe
- Judo: A Brief Introduction exhibition booklet