Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The First Non Japanese Woman Judo Black Belt

At, there is an article about Sarah Mayer, the first non Japanese woman black belt. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here.

Sarah Mayer started Judo in London, England at the Budokwai, which had been founded by Gunji Koizumi on January 26, 1918. She visited Japan in the 1930's and studied at the Kodokan and later at the Kyoto Butokukai (which had been established in 1890 and was led by Kano's representatives). On March 1, 1935 the Japanese Times bore the headline "Foreign Woman wins Shodan at the Butokukai". Sarah Mayer was offered this rank on February 27, 1935 and was the first non-japanese woman in the world to be awarded black belt rank in Kodokan Judo.

She returned the same year to Britain, bringing Ichiro Hatta* with her, and practiced at the Budokwai for a while before setting up her own dojo in her home in Burgh Heath. Sarah was involved in the theatre and wrote a play "Hundreds and Thousands" which played at the Garratt theatre in 1939. She went on to write articles and stories for the Evening Standard.

During Ms. Mayer's stay in Japan, which spanned about two years, she wrote letters to Gunji Koizumi. The following letters are reprinted courtesy of Richard "Dicky" Bowen of the Budokwai and they reveal interesting information about early Judo training.

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