A-Z of Judo

The A-Z of Judo
Syd Hoare
Ippon Books, 1994
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This review of Syd Hoare’s The A-Z of Judo (Ippon Books) is something of a departure from the classical martial arts in that it is about modern judo techniques, but I decided to do it anyway because I think it is a book of great value to people studying both the classical and modern Japanese martial arts.

Syd Hoare is one of the most experienced judoka in Great Britain. If he were Japanese, he would probably be in the running for designation as an “(In)tangible Cultural Asset” for his knowledge of and contribution to better understanding between the Western world and Japan.

He originally studied judo with T.P. Leggett at The Budokwai in London, then went to Japan in the early 1960s to continue his training and to study the Japanese language. After competing in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, he returned to the U.K. and studied at the University of London’s School of African and Oriental Languages, taking a degree in Japanese and Zen Studies. He served as the chief instructor at The Budokwai for many years and is now head of the London Judo Society.

The A-Z of Judo should be part of the collection of books owned by every budo student, no matter what art it is that they study. It is an invaluable reference of modern judo’s basic throwing, pinning, joint-locking, and strangling techniques, and their variants, as well as a number of techniques (particularly throwing and joint-locking) that have been banned from shiai and randori due to their inherent danger. For those who are interested in the self-defense aspects of martial arts, these are an important resource.

The book is divided into sections on nage waza (throwing), osaekomi waza (pinning), ude kansetsu waza (armlocks), ashi kansetsu waza (leglocks), kubi kansetsu waza (spinelocks), and shime waza (strangles).

Each of the techniques listed includes a brief description of the technique and how one applies it, as well as other relevant information that can help martial arts students develop an effective technical repertoire. A number of the techniques are not illustrated, but are cross-referenced to similar waza so the reader will be able to understand them easily. Each section contains a list of the techniques, making a handy reference guide, and at the end of the book there is a further list of the official techniques of the International Judo Federation, the governing body for international and Olympic judo competition. A pronunciation guide and a list of the sources used by Hoare completes the book.

I highly recommend this book as a basic reference work in the martial arts library of all people interested in budo. It is one of a series of very fine technical books put out by Ippon Books of England. In the future, I’ll do reviews of other books by this publisher because I think that they’re an important contribution to the overall body of budo literature. In the meantime, I urge you to buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Meik Skoss

Copyright ©1998 Meik Skoss. All rights reserved.