Dr.Jigaro Kano conceived of his martial art Judo as resting upon two fundamental principles: Seryoku- Zenyo, maximum efficiency with minimum effort and; Jita- Kyoei, mutual benefit.  Dr. Kano believed strongly that as we undertake to improve ourselves through our Judo training, a practice encapsulated by the phrase, Jika no Kansei or strive for perfection, society as a whole benefits.  In Dr. Kano’s own words, “Once started, it is only a matter of course that a person will find goodness in harmony and cooperation upon realizing that his efforts will increase the prosperity of all.  This great principle of harmony and cooperation is, in other words, the concept of Jita-Kyoei, or mutual prosperity for self and others.”  The necessary consequence of each Judoka’s efforts to improve oneself is the improvement of society writ large. Indeed, I have often thought that the very nature of Judo practice is a physical metaphor of this idea: we must practice together, Tori to Uki, in order to improve.

The concept of Jita-Kyoei demands of us as martial artists that we transcend the practice of technique and carry the lessons learned on the tatami beyond the dojo. To that end, in the coming year Spirit Forge Martial Arts plans to support a number of initiatives outside of the dojo.  I encourage every member of Spirit Forge Martial Arts to consider what they might do to carry Jita Kyoei beyond the dojo, both as individuals and as a group.

Thus far and by way of example, we have committed to support Ms. Cornelia Moore’s R.A.D. program (R.A.D., Rape Aggression Defense, a self-defense program expressly designed for women) and Tim Kim’s recently formed charitable trust which provides grappling martial arts instruction to veterans; with input from Dr. Steve Moreale, develop and implement a program for senior citizens to teach them how to reduce the risk of falling and should they fall, fall safely with Ukemi waza and; fund raise to help Mr. John Landreneau 3D print prosthetic limbs for children with limited access by conventional means.  Please bring me your suggestions!

Again, in Dr. Kano’s words, “The principle of maximum efficiency, whether applied to the art of attack and defense or refining and perfecting daily life, demands above all else that there be order and harmony among people.  This can be realized only through mutual aid and concession.  The result is mutual welfare and benefit.  The final aim of Judo practice is to inculcate respect for the principles of maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit.  Through Judo, persons individually and collectively attain their highest spiritual state while at the same time developing their bodies and learning the art of attack and defense.”