Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Idokan in Cultural Dialogues: 70 years of activity (1948-2018)

Problem. This paper discusses the problems of cultural dialogues in the area of martial arts. It is linked to the 70th anniversary of judo-do (”extended road of judo”) and the traditions of the Idokan organisation. The theoretical perspective is mainly derived from the sociology and anthropology of martial arts and includes the Eliade/Tokarski theory of cultural dialogues.
Method. The main research method is an analysis of literature, both scientific and popular. Participant observation over more than 25 years (up to 2017) was also used. The author has also drawn on his own direct participation in the area for some of the factual analysis.
Results. The author distinguishes the successive stages, manifestations and effects of cultural dialogue. As a result of this research it may be concluded that intercultural encounter and dialogue have been through five stages in the Idokan tradition: 1) judo-do created by Julius Fleck; 2) the concept of Ido by Wally Strauss; 3) the Idokan Academy Europe; 4) Honbu dojo in Munich; 5) Activity of Idokan Poland Association (IPA). Between 1947 and 1954 organisational structures were being developed in a number of countries. Over the following 20 years the framework for the international federations including jujutsu and judo, was being established. Between 1970 and 1980, Strauss introduced the concept of Ido and developed an appropriate structure for Idokan. The achievements of the succeeding founders and leaders of Idokan contributed to intercultural dialogue in the Europe – East Asia – Australia triangle. It covered both their organisational activity and the creation of new ideas and direct teaching and popularization. This applies in particular to the elasticity, and thus universal concept, of Ido. The last stage is the international, successful activity of IPA.
Conclusions. The institutionalisation of teaching was developed as well as the introduction of teaching and master’s (technical and honorary) degree certification. Divisions within the judo-do federations and associations and Idokan have hindered their organisational development. However, the original ideas are still cultivated and developed further, especially in the IPA.