About Sensei Mikinosuke Kawaishi

Mikinosuke Kawaishi was born in Kyoto in 1899, and he died on January 30, 1969 in Paris. In the mid-1920's he left Japan and toured the United States, teaching particularly in New York and San Diego. In 1928, he arrived in the United Kingdom and established a jujitsu club in Liverpool, where he taught Aiki-jujitsu. He supplemented his meager income from teaching by wrestling professionally under the name "Matsuda", taking on wrestlers and boxers in the ring and on stage in music halls.

In 1931, he moved to London, founding the Anglo-Japanese Judo Club and teaching Judo at Oxford University. Around this time Kawaishi was awarded his third dan by Jigoro Kano. In 1936 Kawaishi moved to Paris where he taught jujitsu and Judo. During World War 2, Kawaishi returned to Japan and was imprisoned in Manchuria for a time, but he returned to Paris after the war to continue teaching.

Kawaishi came to believe that merely transplanting the teaching methods of Japan to the West was inappropriate. He developed an intuitive style of instruction and a numerical ordering of the techniques that he felt was more suitable for the West. He adapted his teaching methods to suit the European culture. This became known as the Kawaishi Method. One of the changes he is credited with is the introduction of many colored belts to recognize advancement in Judo. This seemed to catch on in France and there was a rapid growth of interest in Judo. His system of Judo is fully described in his book My Method of Judo written when he was a 7th dan and published in English in 1955. He wrote:

   And now some words of advice. Learn thoroughly all these movements. Study them carefully in all their details. One can never know too much technique. And then, above all, at the dojo train hard, conscientiously, seriously and courageously.

After World War II and through the 1950's, the Kodokan moved more and more towards the sport of Judo; banning techniques from shiai and dropping them from the Kodokan syllabus. Kawaishi, however, continued to teach many of these techniques. He authored My Method of Self Defense, Standing Judo and several other books.

Kawaishi placed special emphasis on kata training. He promulgated Kyuzo Mifune's Gonosen No Kata (Forms of Counters) in Europe, and possibly his own version of Go No Kata, the forms of hardness. He also wrote the book Seven Katas of Judo. 

Kawaishi is credited with being the person most responsible for the spread of Judo throughout France and much of Europe. His books continue to be popular, and the Kawaishi Method is still practiced around the world today. Kawaishi and Moshe Feldenkrais founded the French Judo Federation and he served as Technical Director for many years. In 1947 he and Koizumi held the first ever international Judo tournament between France and the United Kingdom which became known as the Kawaishi Cup.

Kawaishi Jujitsu is essentially judo in its most complete sense, as against the competitively orientated sport judo we might be most familiar with. Judo was never intended to be "just" a sport but the sporting element has been largely responsible for its enormous rate of takeup around the world and into the olympics. For judo to be a safe and satisfying sport that could evolve constantly under the pressure of contest, many of its techniques had to be disallowed in competition, since the defining characteristic of judo matches are that they be true contests where each player was allowed to go "full pelt" against a defiantly resistive and skilled opponent. For this to be done in relative complete safety, only throws, pins and submissions (armlocks and chokes) are allowed, since the nature of these techniques is that they are not inherently dangerous in a controlled and refereed environment and where both players are skilled in breakfalling and other defensive tactics. Wrist locks, leg locks, strikes and kicks however cannot be done with full force safely and thus are not allowed in Shiai (contest). Nevertheless they are still a a part of judo and are typically practiced by the higher grades in the form of kata. It is the competitive element of sport judo that has been so responsible for its proven character building and its constantly evolving proving ground for the these techniques - the only environment where one can ascertain whether their skills are truly effective under pressure. Sporting contest also presumes, requires and encourages a strongly developed sense of fair play and mutual benefit amongst players if it is to be viable on a regular, enjoyable and continuous basis as a sport. Kawaishi Jujitsu preserves these building blocks but includes from the very start the disallowed techniques, which together with the highly effective sport bred throws and ground work effectively comprise a modern "goshin" jujitsu eminently suitable for young, old, men, women and youngsters. Removed from the sporting element provided for by Judo, jujitsu loses much of its ability to assess itself under pressure. In a sporting environment, anything that doesn`t truly work under pressure has a very short lifespan in a curriculum, thus, when compared with most other so-called goshin jujitsu systems, Kawaishi Jujitsu has a much smaller set of techniques but they all have a history of great reliability and achievability under pressure. These factors, more than any other, set Kawaishi Jujitsu apart.