Maeda Bio?


Mitsuyo Maeda aka Quincy Rice has been working hard at posting a biography of Mitsuyo Maeda (the judo man) on the UG Forum.

The biography, if substantiated with legitimate historical fact-backing, would be a coup in terms of Judo/jiujitsu history. Unfortunately, there seems to be FAR too much information/embellishment provided without substantiation.

Therefore, I am asking Mr. Rice to provide the following:

1) Who is Michael Watt, and what is his academic background? Is he trained in history?

2) Where is his work available - on-line or in book form?

3) Can you provide a sample of his endnotes/footnotes? At least a bibliography?

4) How has he been able to reproduce extensive, detailed, seemingly eyewitness accounts of matches, repeated conversations that occurred between principle parties, and report on the mental state of those involved?

These should be relatively easy to answer for anyone posting documented historical facts.

Please don't disappoint us, Q, I would love to have the information you are posting be documented. We just cannot confuse what we want to be true, or what we wish were true, with what we can show is true.


I see he is posting the info from the Pro Judo.Jiujitsu Journal!

That's the one that also includes faked photographs to "simulate" what certain scenes would have looked like!

Sorry, that is historical FICTION, a la Sugata Sanshiro. NOT fact.

Until we can see Watt's sources.....which I doubt Quincy will be able to provide.


I would strongly advise NOT archiving this set of threads pending documentary evidence. The whole issue of Judo/BJJ/Maeda history is poorly understood as it is without more obfuscation being tossed in.


Good points, TG. Those are some questions I would also like to have answered, but in fairness to MM/QR probably the only person able to do so would be Watt or maybe the Judo/JJ Journal editor. (Nori Bunasawa?)

I think the question really becomes whether the articles can be supported through the newspaper/microfilm research. I haven't had the time nor desire to do so (yet), but eventually someone will and we should be able to find out how accurate they are. My guess is that they are generally probably detailing actual events, but it is clear that portions are exaggerated, particularly weights and sizes of opponents.

My guess is that Watt is translating either a Japanese biography or an autobigraphical book or even a Maeda interview from Japanese into English. Hence the "kayfabe" type feel. I think that would explain the exaggerations, as the Japanese public would probably expect it and it is pretty common for autobiographies to be at least sympathetic, if not outright fabrication (for an example of that, see John L. Sulliavn's autobiography).

If it turns out this didn't come directly from Maeda, I don't see how it can be anything but historical fiction when detailing thoughts and words of the parties. But at least if the events turn out to have happened, this could help guide the future academic research.

I didnt write them, I was merely sharing information, I will refrain from doing so..It appears tactical grappler will give us a 100% truthfull account of Maeda...I cant wait..get to writing tactical, I love all information I can get..

From: MitsuyoMaeda
Date: 17-Dec-03 10:13 AM
Member Since: 16-Jun-03
2458 Total Posts Ignore User

Micheal Watt used various sources of information, including Maeda's biography "a lions dream", which is where he got the detailed info on the matches of Maeda..(Just like everyone else)..
If you have questions for him, pose them to him. I dont know who his third grade science teacher was or what university he attended, nor do I really care....

I posted from articles I had that you people do not, nothing more..While you should be thanking me for sharing the info, you are acting as if I said they where 100% true or that I wrote them..

It is obvious to me, you do not want the info and this is why I will no longer waste my time..If you have something better to share with the forum, do so, otherwise get off my nuts, have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up..


From: TacticalGrappler
Date: 17-Dec-03 10:33 AM
Member Since: 04-Apr-03
314 Total Posts Ignore User

Jason was right, it was a better question for Michael Watt himself.

Q, you have demonstrated that you are not equipped to answer the questions I asked - nor to address the concerns I raised.

Fair enough. But to respond with rudeness and defensiveness - if you are concerned with the factual truth of what you are posting shouldn't you be asking the same questions? If not, and you are satisfied with telling stories, fine - just call 'em like they are.

I guess until Michael Watt comes onto the UG and provides his sources, this whole Maeda Bio is best left in the category of "the blind leading the blind."

Good story, though!


For better sources look to the work of Joe Svinth, a trained historian. He has a chapter on this subject in this new book:

As a judoka you would also be interested in the chapters on Yamashita, and on the development of European judo and relating to Judo and the Olympics.

FWIW, you might also like Getting A Grip (also available from EJMAS). It deals mainly with Judo in the Pac NW (nothing on Maeda) but it is a fascinating read with a lot of accounts from early newspapers on bouts between judo and jiujitsu men and wrestlers and fights and assaults involving judo and jiujitsu that were reported on "police blotters."

Joe is also working with a Brazilian scholar looking into the history of judo,BJJ, vale tudo and the pro-wrestling scene in Brazil, using primary sources. We'll have to be patient for that info to come out.

Here is a little tidbit that is sourced that might wet your appetite re: accounts of Maeda's fights:

From Hjalmar Lundin, "On the Mat -- and Off: Memoirs of a Wrestler" (New York: Albert Bonnier Publishing House, 1937), pp 93-95

"The Greco-Roman Wrestling Tournaments which took place in December, 1909 in Havana, Cuba, and the following month in Mexico City, bring back many memories.

Although the majority of the wrestlers were Europeans, a Jap named Konde Koma competed during the final week of the Tournament in Mexico City. Because Konde, a Jiu-Jitsu wrestler who had been in Mexico for some time prior to the Tournament had gained a fine reputation for himself, the fans more or less expected that he would fulfill his challenge to throw any one of the contestants in ten minutes, using his own style of wrestling. He claimed to be the Champion of his country, and although he could not back up his assertions with any proof in black and white, his actions in the ring were sufficient!

His first appearance during the final week was with a huge Frenchman named Auvray who tipped the scales at 265 pounds. The Jap weighed about 170, but the way he tossed the Frenchman around, one would have thought one's eyes, and not Konde, were doing the tricks. Despite the difference in their avoirdupois, Auvray went sailing back and forth across the stage for almost four minutes before the Jap was declared the winner, much to the Frenchman's relief. After the match I asked Auvray, whom I knew to be strong as an ox, why he didn't grab the Jap and hold him. (I might mention here for those who have never witnessed a Jiu-Jitsu match, that contestants in the famous old Oriental sport always wear a jacket.) Auvray replied that everytime he tried, the Jap would grasp the former's sleeves, go down upon his back and put his feet up until they met the Frenchman's middle, and with a quick but hard shove, would send the French contestant flying!


The Jap continued to beat his opponents until the sixth night, when my turn came. Of course I had profited a little by watching the others, but nevertheless I admit I was a bit nervous. I didn't want him to make a monkey out of me as he had done the others.

My early training in the collar, elbow and Cornish methods I knew would aid me, because they consisted mostly of tripping and hip-locking. The Cornish wrestling in particular had been very popular among the Irish and Scotch and it was through a few of them I learned what I did of the style. Those tactics and the quick-tripping which I had often practised were foremost in my mind when I went on the mat with Koma.

Having been accustomed to handling the big Greco-Roman wrestlers with ease, the Jap thought he could do likewise with me, but in the first mix-up I got the better of him, after which my confidence returned. I had no trouble then in winning the match. It was a surprise to the crowd and a set-back for Koma. He had been the hero all week, but as soon as he was beaten the fans, true to form, called him a bum. The Mexicans had thought he could beat anyone, but they had not taken into consideration the fact that I was trained in the catch-as-catch-can style as well as the Greco-Roman.

I am glad to know that our police-force is taught many of the Jiu-Jitsu tricks and holds, for with lightning-speed a man can down another by fast foot work, or even break an arm or leg, should the occasion demand it. "

Here at least we have a first person account, with a citation.

We can't know what is 100% factually true because two people often see the same fight or same experience totally differently.

But at least this is a voice that was actually present at the event.

"It was a surprise to the crowd and a set-back for Koma. He had been the hero all week, but as soon as he was beaten the fans, true to form, called him a bum."

99.9% of all UG'ers!

LOL..The holes in this story already show it isnt 100% fact...I will debunk it..Not to prove you wrong, but rather to show that no history is going to be 100% factually correct...I have to go train, I'll be back.

Not that I expect you to be correct WHEN POSTING SOMEONE ELSES WORDS!! That seems to be your expectation though.

Exactly, this is someone elses words,


You are going about this all wrong. I am not questioning YOU personally, other than that you seem to be claiming you are posting a "true" history of Maeda. My expectations are of Watt's work and how much of it is based in documentable proof.

I can only say that it appears you don't understand the difference between anecdotal, folk history and history based on documented, contemporary primary sources. What I provided is a primary source - something written by a participant in the event. He may be lying about his role, sure - that's why history is never 100%. The way to test that is find another primary source which proves he didn't win his match or wasn't there or what have you.

In Watt's work as you posted it, you have a secondary source which does not offer citations to primary sources. This fails to meet even the basic standards of academic history. There is a reason that works of history have annotations , foot notes, end notes, bibliographies, etc. It is a peer reviewed profession. People check facts, especially when you are providing a level of detail previously unheard of, or come to conclusions not supported by what has heretofore been known, or supposed, to be true.


Your last post makes the same point I did in mine. Stop taking it personally and you will see that. We can't know what happened 100% factually. ALL history is based on someone else's words/writings - that's kinda the definition of history. Indeed, history is often the study of how certain people in certain times perceived things the wrong way in light of other recorded facts.

What we CAN do is come to some understanding of an event based on accounts of those that were there, as well as contemporary written accounts and documentation. Note, the source I provided does not tell us what Maeda was thinking, nor does he go into a lengthy, detailed explanation of EXACTLY what techniques were used, using proper judo terminology, and writing as if it sounds like a modern MMA match. That is NOT how they wrote back then - look at enough original articles nd writings and you will see that.

Watt's stuff may be based in fact. But it is one thing to look at an article or account of a fight, and report it as is, than it is to look at an account of a fight and add all sorts of technical details that you can't prove, and to get inside a historical figure's head and report what he was saying and thinking - not unless Watt has an unknown diary written by Maeda, and in which Maeda recorded his fights move by move and his mental state during those fights.

Maybe Watt has such a diary - even so, unless he cites it chapter and verse and footnotes it what he is writing cannot in any way be called acceptable history.

That's all I want, and that's what you should demand as well- proof that this level of detail is documented somewhere else besides just what Watt wrote. Otherwise post it as an "interesting story" and not the "Maeda bio."

Incidentally, where are you getting the "true history of the Fusen-ryu" information?

Why the MitsuyoMaeda name change? A reaction to the trolling on the UG?

Here's one I've been wondering about for a good while. I pulled this from a website:

"He lost two matches in the catch-as-catch-can world championships held in London. In this tournament, Maeda entered both the middleweight and heaveyweight divisions, advancing to the semi-finals and finals respectively."

I can't remember the source but I use to know the year, anybody know what year it was?

I also remember reading that it was not really a world level tournament (appears alot of small tournaments used that label for effect) certainly none of the big names were involved. In fact I understand it was suppose to be an amateur event and most of the competitors were tough street kids from the London area, not an international event at all. Any info on this?

ok, im back,


No I changed the name to Maeda because my other screen name was no longer functioning and I didnt feel like going through the hassle of getting it back working..Maeda was awesome so I took his name..

To answer your question,

Maeda lost to Crazy Henry in the Middleweight semis and to Jimmy Esson (two in a row, in a best of three) in the Heavyweight final..I covered most of that tournament (including prelims) on the "Maeda Bio pt.3" thread but did not finish as the history geniuses here have all but called this info worthless.


"Stop taking it personally"

You made it personal..I did nothing but post


You questioning and "CHALLENGE"ing me is rediculous..

Read the other forum with the Q = Owned bullshit..You didnt "own" anyone although it's obvious by your tone that this is what you wanted to achieve....


I was sharing info I had in my possesion. Not that I authored, nor did I post it in a manner that should have reflected on me (CLEARLY STATING IT WAS WATT'S BIOGRAPHY OF MAEDA)...Apparently, according to scuffler's question, it was info people ARE LOOKING FOR.

I wont be wasting my time with you here anymore...

(p.s. lol @ me taking my ball and going home.....Anyway if yall wanna read it I'll have it on our site soon and possibly on the Judo Q&A...I want to finish typing in it's entirety but it is a massive amount of typing..)

Give it up, there is a real historical link between judo and BJJ. People may argue as to the extend and depth of it, but it's real.

Stop responding to threads like this. This is an argument that needs to go away.


Have it your way. It seems you are in over your head and, realizing it, want to bail out.

That "owned" crap was not written by me - and not my intention. And YOU started the personal crap by telling me to "fuck off." A nice, well-reasoned, factually based response if I ever heard one.

My intention WAS to call into question the blind acceptance of what you were posting that was seeming to run rampant - because it seems some people on the UG seem to accept you as a point of information for Maeda, and your source for the Maeda Bio is at best questionable at best, pending the revelation of Watt's sources.

Its not your fault, you succumbed to the thirst for knowledge about Maeda as well and seem to have left your critical faculties at the door. You don't know Watt's sources and don't seem to want to find out.

Since you don't even seem to care about the reliability of the source for your posts its probably a good thing that you don't want to participate anymore.

I am interested in researching Maeda's history as well - it just seems I am a little more discerning about the information I choose to repeat. Everybody seems to want more information - does that mean we should just blindly post everything we read about Maeda without corroboration? I hope you don't think that way - I know you don't or you would be accepting all the stories the BJJ websites print.

So go ahead, post a bunch of speculation on the Judo Q&A, and your own site, and wherever else you want. Everyone that doesn't know any better will think you are the man to go to about Maeda info - they will cast their vote for moderator, ask that your posts be enshrined in the archives. In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king.

Some of use will still be out here looking for the truth with both eyes open...


Where, anywhere, have I questioned the historical link between Judo and BJJ?

There can be no question= no judo, no Maeda, no BJJ. That does not at all mean that we can simply blindly conjecture about those links and call it "history."