Study for Yourself, Cultivate Yourself

One basic principle which he put forward came from Buddhism—Jita kyoei or ‘mutual benefit for oneself and others’.

We in the West do not think so much in this way; we think just of a good man.

The good man sacrifices his own interests for others. But in the East they contrast the merely good man with the wise man, who is able to benefit himself as well as others. And the view of Dr. Kano is that you cannot in fact do much good to other people, unless you have cultivated yourself. We tend to think: ‘Oh, no, no. Do some good to others. Never mind about yourself’.

In such cases where it is a question of what to think and what to do, Dr. Kano recommended us to study for ourselves. Again and again he says in these writings: ‘Study for yourself, do research yourself, find these things out for yourself’. He also said: ‘Don’t read many books. Read a few really good books and know them minutely, in detail’. One of the subjects he recommended was the study of history.

History tells us that many people have thought that they wanted to do good, but that they have failed to think whether they themselves were going to be able to do good.

One of the examples from history was the Roman Emperor who came to the supreme position when he was only 18. He was an artist and a musician, and he wanted to replace the bloodstained triumphs of victorious generals by Triumphs of Art, where the crowns would be given to artists and musicians and dancers. He wanted to make Rome cultured and civilized. He passed a law under which any slave who was ill-treated could appeal to the magistrate, show the mark and ask for the magistrate’s protection. The magistrate must then order a compulsory sale of the slave to a good master.

So by that one act the young Emperor took away the fear of torture from the lives of something like a million people—there were probably that number of slaves in the

Empire at that time. That was doing good, wasn’t it? And yet, in ten years’ time he was personally taking part in the tortures himself, because he had not cultivated his own mind, and he became totally sadistic and degraded.

Dr. Kano made a big point of this: benefit others and benefit the self at the same time. He doesn’t specify in detail (at least in the parts I have read) what that benefit is, but he says: ‘Find it in yourself, cultivate it in yourself. Intelligence should be cultivated in yourself, and the Judo training is really a means of cultivating courage, will and intelligence through these forms of attack and defence’.

He adds that the same things can be learnt in other forms and gives the example of the big department stores in Japan. They were all originally—about 100 years ago—just haberdashery shops; they simply sold cloth. When the Westernization of Japan began, they became these huge department stores like the Selfridge’s. But they had all begun in a small way, selling cloth. Dr. Kano explains that it would be a mistake to think that their business success is necessarily tied up with selling that. It was true that they had learnt how to buy and sell by trading in cloth, but then they had extended that knowledge and skill to everything else.

In the same way, Judo must give us qualities which we can use in our daily life, and we must study how to apply what we learn in Judo to our lives.


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