The global cast that came together was best seen inside Kodokan’s largest dojo, a sprawling rectangle spanning almost the entire seventh floor. There in one corner, a training group of athletes from Algeria and Jordan stopped for afternoon prayers. Right in front of them, two Croatian teammates practiced holds and blocking techniques. Next to them, a lightweight competitor was attempting to perfect a teardown involving an ankle sweep.
Essentials of the Summer Olympics
The whole scene – the babbling of overlapping instructions in English with Arabic, Russian and Jamaican accents, the various national flags on the backs of uniforms – was a testament to the growth of the sport since Jigoro first established a training school. on the site in 1882.
While the center has changed over the past century, with new facilities – including dorms and a restaurant – added as interest grows, the founder’s presence continues to be keenly felt. With framed portraits of Jigoro carefully placed in every room and signs describing his aphorisms or rules of conduct that every Kodokan trainee is expected to follow, the past is an integral part of the present.
“Every judoka should come and train here and feel this culture,” said Madeira, a regular visitor to the Kodokan. Francis Moola, a Zambian coach, nodded vigorously in agreement. He made his first pilgrimage to the site in 1997, and said there was still no such thing.