Who was Mitsuyo Maeda, and how is it that he came to influence and unknowingly help create and popularize one of the most iconic martial arts in the world today? Just picture a Japanese man who looked remotely similar to Super Mario and had Mario's fighting prowess from Super Smash Bros- only he didn't shoot fireballs from his ass(Wouldn't that have been a sight?) and he never pretended to be a plumber. Maeda was a man who traveled around the world, challenging many prize fighters and athletes to a competition of skill to test his abilities and his Judo skills that he learned from the founder, Kano Jigoro(during his life, he would label the art as Kano Jiu-Jitsu).
Who was Conde Koma?
Mitsuyo Maeda was conceived on November 18, 1878 and kicked the bucket in November 28, 1941. He was Japanese and was later naturalized Brazilian as Otávio Maeda. He was a judōka (judo master) and prizefighter in no holds barred competitions. He was otherwise called Count Combat, or Conde Koma in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, a handle he grabbed in Spain in 1908. In 1894, at seventeen years of age, his parents sent him to Tokyo to enroll in Waseda University, where he later on began to train Kodokan Judo. Kano needed to prove Judo's legitimacy to alternate countries of the world and sent his understudies far and wide exhibiting Judo and taking test matches against other specialists in combat. Maeda rapidly got to be one of the foundations star understudies and an adherent that the most ideal approach to advance Judo was through battle with other hand to hand fighting. So in 1904 when Kano was searching for understudies to send to the U.S. to show Judo, Maeda was the student that Kano believed was the best choice.
There is some disarray about Maeda's experience. It is not remarkable for some to claim that Maeda was an understudy of conventional Japanese Jiu Jitsu, not Kodokan Judo, and that he was conveying the last remnants of customary Samurai battle. This has been an incredibly common misconception among the martial arts community, the reason being that this is mostly because of the term 'jiu jitsu' was not yet isolated from Judo in the mid 1900s, since numerous Judoka's in Japan and even some of Kano's own understudies still considered Judo to be simply one more style of 'jiu jitsu'. Maeda himself was known to label his style of Martial Art as Kano Jiu-Jitsu.
Mitsuyo Maeda's Career and Legacy
In 1905, Maeda and his fellow Judoka's, Tomita and Satake had traveled to the United States and gave a few open exhibitions of Judo. On February 17, 1905, Tomita and Maeda gave an exhibition at Princeton College, when Maeda tossed N. B. Tooker, a Princeton football player, while Tomita tossed Samuel Feagles, the Princeton exercise center teacher. On February 21, 1905, they gave a Judo show at the United States Military Foundation at West Point, where Tomita and Maeda performed kata (designs)— nage-no, koshiki, ju-no, et cetera. At the solicitation of the group, Maeda wrestled a cadet and tossed him effortlessly. Since Tomita had been the instructor in the kata, the cadets believed that it was best that they should wrestle him as well. Tomita tossed the main (Charles Daly) with no inconvenience. Be that as it may, Tomita twice neglected to toss another football player named Tipton utilizing tomoe-nage (stomach toss). A short time later, the New York sportswriters asserted the triumph for the cadets on the grounds that Tomita was tossed, while the Japanese government office staff announced that Tomita had accomplished an ethical triumph, in light of the fact that he was a far littler man. A clashing record gave by the New York Times on February 21, alluding to Tomita as "Prof. Tomet," states that
The professor [Tomita] wrestled with his assistant, throwing him around like a rubber ball. He then called for cadet volunteers. Cadet Tipton, the husky All-American football centre, went on the mat and football methods soon had jiu-jitsu beaten. The big fellow pinned the wiry Jap flat on his back three times without being thrown in the bout. Cadet Daly also threw the professor
After his time in the United States, Mitsuyo Maeda decided to travel to Europe. It was during his time in Spain where he gained the nickname 'Conde Koma'. According to some sources, The ring name "Conde Koma" came to fruition when Maeda was in Spain in 1908. Maeda found out about another Japanese in Spain who was charging himself as Japan's number one. As Maeda was at that point celebrated, he knew this judoka would leave town on the off chance that he found that Maeda was some place close. Maeda considered this an issue. In the meantime, he had different issues, most of them being financial. To portray his own particular state, Maeda utilized the Japanese verb "komaru" which intends to be stuck in an unfortunate situation or to be in a fix. He pondered calling himself Maeda Komaru, yet chose it didn't have a decent ring to it. He dropped the last syllable and just passed by the name "Koma". A Spanish acquaintance recommended including "Conde" which means "Count". From that point on, Maeda went under the name "Conde Koma" whenever he participated in a fight. Throughout his tenure in Europe, Maeda won matches in England, Belgium and Spain. Maeda then headed back west and went by Cuba, ingraining in that little island a hobby that would develop to into a fixation on Judo.
In 1914, Maeda wound up landing in Brazil, he met Gastão Gracie who was a business accomplice of the American Circus in Belém. In 1916, Italian Argentine bazaar Queirolo Brothers arranged shows there and introduced Maeda. However, there are still debates about this story and exactly how was it that these two men met each other. Others argue that they met have met during the mass immigration of Japanese foreigners into Brazil, who knows, but what we do know is that these two men met and they established a great friendship that would change their lives in a remarkable way. Gastao, the child of a Scottish settler, was worried about his child Carlos Gracie, who needed control and Gastao felt that preparation under Maeda in Judo would be an amazing outlet for Carlos. At age 14, Carlos took his first lessons in Kano Jiu Jistu. For the following eight years Carlos spent preparing under Maeda and the other Kodokan Judo students. When he was 22-years of age, he believed that he needed to make his life out of jiu jitsu, which he would guarantee for whatever is left of his life gave him direction and reason. In 1925 Carlos, now a black belt, opened the primary Gracie claimed Jiu Jitsu foundation in Rio.
Carlos' first understudies were his more youthful siblings Oswaldo, Gastao, George and Helio Gracie. Helio was 11 years younger than Carlos and was very sick as a youngster, given to blacking out spells and was forced to watching Carlos giving lessons more often than not. Carlos would give Helio lessons, but Helio’s frail body had trouble executing some of the movements. Helio had to rely more on the leverage and timing of move than the speed or strength he could execute the move with. Together the five brothers, through trial and error, developed the foundation of what they would call Gracie Jiu Jitsu, but would become known to the world as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, the Gracie family were not the only students that Conde Koma took up as apprentices. There were different notables, for example, Luiz Franca: his genealogy would incorporate men like Oswaldo Fadda (according to the Onzuka siblings broad verifiable rundown, here). Others have guaranteed that Maeda was not even the primary Japanese hand to hand fighting educator in Brazil. In a Global Training Report article, Moises Muradi focuses to an educator named Miura landing in 1903, over 10 years before Maeda.
On page ninety of his theory, Jose Cairus noticed that Carlos Gracie might have prepared under a previous Brazilian student of Maeda, called Jacyntho Ferro. A neighborhood wrestler, Ferro started training Judo under Maeda in 1915, and Cairus states that Ferro was perceived as "Check Koma's most finished understudy," indicating interviews from Folha do Norte on the fourth August 1920 and fourteenth December 1923. Pedreira makes a considerably bolder case: Carlos was never a general understudy under Maeda. Pedreira contends that while Carlos might have brought a couple of lessons with Maeda, it is a great deal more probable Carlos gained from Maeda's understudy, Donato Pires dos Reis. Nonetheless, regardless of whether the Gracie family were the first Brazilians to gain from the style of Judo, they are certainly the most famous, so it is their name which lingers biggest in later history, and all this could not have been possible without their friendship and training under Mitsuyo Maeda, a man whose wishes, dreams and desire to spread Judo, The Gentle Way, would somehow help create a kin martial craftsmanship, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and with his theory of system over size and the logic of his ancestors, he would wind up making an everlasting legacy on the universe of hand to hand fighting that proceeds even right up 'til the present time.