Trevor Leggett

Literature & Zen Site

cover pic. drag.gif



I began Judo with Yukio TANI, a Japanese teacher of the old school. To most students he taught Judo as a health-giving sport, but for a few really keen ones the training was on a different basis. I was one of these, practising every evening till the training period ended. One day I felt rather off-colour, and prepared to leave early. The teacher said: "Where are you going?" I replied, "I am not feeling very well: I will come tomorrow". He said, 'If a man comes up to you in the street with a hammer, wanting to kill you, can you say to him "I am not feeling very well; come back tomorrow"?' I remained that evening till he sent me home. This one remark, heard only that time but never forgotten, was a big help later on when facing very gruelling training programmes, and very gruelling life situations.

judo pic.mask1a.jpg


  The balance in stillness is not the real balance:
  it is the balance in intense activity that is the real balance.


Judo, at first mistaken for fighting, and with daunting training programmes, seems like a dragon or demon. But this is only a mask. Beyond the mask is something calm, effective and friendly. Yet that too is a mask. There is something further: transcendence of the limited field of the Judo hall itself, to the spirit of the Way which has its application everywhere.


The book by a high-grade Judo expert who trained some international Judo stars, gives lively accounts of his own traditional-style training, and something of his own training methods to develop the inner side of Judo. Close combat is a deep-seated instinct, and one aim of Judo is to refine and finally spiritualize it into an inner training for mutual benefit - making friends and not enemies.

Some of the pieces are very unusual - for instance how a boy who has lost an arm but is still madly keen on Judo, is trained in secret so that he can win a county championship.

There are reminiscences of the classical figures in Judo; Trevor Leggett at seventeen met Dr. Jigoro KANO and heard him describe the incident where one of his maids whom he had instructed in a particular way of doing the laundry, used the method to rout a Tokyo down-town tough who attacked her.


Judo and the Ways The Dragon Mask I
Introduction The Dragon Mask II
Efficiency of the Heart Onshi
Outer and Inner Balance Tricks
Judo and Calligraphy Manners
The Cherry Tree The Killer Instinct
Question A lovely style
Cutting off the bull's horns Specialization
Help Tigers and Rabbits
Limits of Technique Specialities
Humble Predicting the Result
Dr. Kano's washing New Black Belt
Ingenuity Inspiration
The tradition of Judo Kangeiko
Judo koan Disadvantages
Beginners The learning process
Kind-hearted Surprise
Hard and soft Falling
Irrelevancies Faith
Ippon-yari Endurance
Run-up Quick
Sacrifices Even effort
Special duties Hold


Trevor Leggett illustrates that Judo is not just a sport but gives skills for everyday life. The attractive layout, with a range of photographs that break up the text, makes it easier to dip into for a shorter or longer read depending on your mood. It is not just restricted to Judo enthusiasts as the traditions apply to other sports and to life in general. ...Each story contains useful advice, from confronting our weak points and ... dealing with them to training techniques that maintain inner and outer balance and develop energy and courage for life. The last piece, called Hold Tightly, Let Go Lightly, is a principle that Trevor Leggett explains can be applied at every level, to cultivate and invigorate everyday life,' and perhaps give a glimpse of something beyond, hidden in the everyday'. World Judo