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The Foundations of Judo - Yves Klein


Judo is, in fact, the discovery by the human body of a spiritual space.
Yves Klein May 1958

In 1952 the 24-year-old Yves Klein left Paris for Japan, to pursue his first love; not art but judo. After becoming one of very few Europeans to receive a coveted 4th dan black belt from the Kodokan in Tokyo, Klein returned to France and opened the Judo Académie de Paris. In 1954 the prestigious firm of Grasset published his book Les Fondements du Judo, illustrated with hundreds of photographs of Klein and the leading Japanese teachers demonstrating the six major Kata of judo.

Now this extraordinary work has finally been translated into English.

'My interest in Judo, what fascinates me, is Movement, and while the end of Movement is always abstract and purely spiritual, it can be combined with the passion and emotion of the moment.'
Yves Klein September 1952

The author of this book, Mr Yves Klein, currently a Ko-do-kan 4th dan Black Belt, is a young man and full of enthusiasm. It was necessary for him to study at the home of Judo, to see first-hand the great Japanese masters. So he has recently spent a year and a half in Japan. He has spent this time solely studying Judo, mainly at the Ko-do-kan and with the Municipal Police of Tokyo, under Master Oda, 9th dan. Morning and night he has been practising randori and kata, making innumerable notes, photographing and filming. He gives us part of this rich documentation in his book The Foundations of Judo. This book fills a great gap in the European literature of Judo: the explanation of the Katas.
from the original preface by Ichiro Abe May 1954

Translated and typeset by Ian Whittlesea