During my trip to Japan in December 2010, I had the pleasure of visiting the Yamagata University Medical School Judo Club, coached by Dr. Hiroshi Takei, a former student of mine. In spite of the name, the club has a large children’s program in addition to the university players. I attended two practices. Dr. Takei invited me to teach the last hour of the second practice. When I asked him what he would like me to cover, he half laughingly said, “Transitions,” an obvious choice.
Several days after the conclusion of the Tokyo Grand Slam, I travelled with my host, Dr. Hiroshi Takei, his wife, my Japanese wife, and our daughter to Kuji in Iwate prefecture. Kuji is the birthplace of Kyuzo Mifune, the legendary 10th dan, and 1981 world champion Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki. It’s also home to the memorial museum and gymnasium dedicated to Mifune, who is referred to as Mifune Judan.