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Masahiko Kimura – Short Documentary

Below is a video about training with the legendary Masahiko Kimura. Kimura is widely regarded as one of the greatest judoka of all time.

The video is brief yet the narration offers valuable lessons about combat training. For example, in response to some of the daily requirements, the narrator offers the following:

This is unreasonable, we know that, but it pushes us beyond a physical limit, to another place, way outside or way inside. I don’t know where exactly, but I’ve been there.

In today’s world, such an approach would be considered excessive and unnecessary. I’m not here to argue one way or another, but I can say that there are times when the best work makes the least sense. I’ve done things both personally and with my fighters that wouldn’t make sense on paper. The illogical approach was necessary at the time however to reach that place discussed by the narrator.

Masahiko Kimura was a legend. He didn’t become who he was by training like everyone else. He took himself to another place and stayed there throughout much of his life. The results speak for themselves. His success is undeniable, both as an athlete and later as an instructor.


Well done is better than well said. – Benjamin Franklin


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16 Comments so far

  1. blake November 28th, 2011 9:00 am

    thanks for sharing ross. that is a great vid.

  2. Jake November 28th, 2011 9:34 am

    Very cool.

    I also liked his line “In the beginning, I was a mystic, I suppose. But there’s no magic, no secret technique. Just hard work.”

    I’m mangling the quote a bit, but the spirit is right, I think.

  3. Patrick November 28th, 2011 1:01 pm

    It’s good to see some judo footage on your blog. Thanks for sharing Ross!

  4. athousandrights November 28th, 2011 6:17 pm

    awsome clip! I like the mind set. Kinda trippy with the whole outside and inside thing. I would like to go to that point one day just to see how it feels like. 600 pushups, imagine 100 burpees a day. Thats tight

  5. Keith November 28th, 2011 9:51 pm

    600 pushups a day? Surely this could not have been done in one session.

  6. sean p November 28th, 2011 10:55 pm

    Took me a while to find it, but here is the rest of the documentary:

  7. Joel November 29th, 2011 8:42 am

    Kimura beat Helio Gracie in Brazil. And subsequently invited Gracie to Japan (he never went though).

  8. Patrick November 29th, 2011 2:01 pm

    Good find Sean P! Thanks for providing the links here.

  9. Petr R. December 8th, 2012 8:53 am

    600 pushups a day… fuck I’m weak

  10. Blog July 1st, 2013 5:49 am

    [...] in action, you may note similarities to a previous entry about the legendary Masahiko Kimura (see here). Kimura trained his athletes in a way that would likely be scrutinized today. His work was not [...]

  11. Melvin July 1st, 2013 10:38 am

    I feel like I must reach that “other place” at least once in my lifetime. To not do so would be an insult to my very existence…

    I fear that it will be no easy task for my human self is weak and desires comfort from the slightest of hardships.

  12. Blog October 1st, 2013 5:48 am

    [...] are not limited to wrestlers. For example, if you refer back to this entry about the legendary Masahiko Kimura, you will notice a similar theme (ie. hard work with the [...]

  13. Donald November 17th, 2013 6:59 am

    I was a serious student of Judo back when I was a young teenager all throughout my 20′s. I was a student at the American Buddhist Academy in NYC’s Upper West Side. We were taught the Kodokan way and we excelled quickly. I am in my 60′s now and I can say I still know and enjoy the sport. Thank you for this post which is near and dear to my heart.

  14. Eduardo November 17th, 2013 4:27 pm

    They said that when Kimura was in the hospital in a terminal situation, nurses often find him making pushups. My judo club was named Kimura in honor of that warrior spirit.

  15. Richard March 5th, 2014 1:19 pm

    It’s just getting to being able to have that singular focus of working towards greatness everything else is just survival till you get back to training. Most are to scattered to have that kind of drive even for a short period in their lives. But if you have experienced it you will never be the same!

  16. Blog November 10th, 2014 3:49 pm

    [...] readers of the site may recall seeing a short documentary about the legendary Masahiko Kimura (see here). Kimura is considered by many to be the greatest judoka of all time. His training approach was [...]

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