Judd Reid: The Young Lions


 – 1,000 Days of Training Under a Karate Legend and the 100-Man Kumite

This past week I had the absolute pleasure of reading Shihan Judd Reid’s new book, The Young Lions – 1,000 Days of Training Under a Karate Legend and the 100-Man Kumite.

When my copy showed up I couldn’t wait to begin, and every free moment I had was turning another page. Ever since reading Nicholas Pettas’ book and account of the Uchi Deshi program under Sosai Mas Oyama I was excited to read another perspective. And I wasn’t disappointed.

For those who are not familiar with Judd, he grew up in Australia training under Shihan Eddie Emin, is the first, and one of only two, foreigners to have completed 1000 days live-in student training (Uchi Deshi) under Kyokushin Karate founder Masutatsu ‘Mas’ Oyama in Japan, from 1990 to 1993, won the Australian heavyweight title in 2002, won the WKO World Championship in Thailand 2010, and became last ever student of Sosai Oyama’s to finish the 100 man kumite, in 2011. This was chronicled in a great documentary, 100 Man Fightshot by his best friend and corner man, Anton Cavka. Tragically, Anton passed away before the completion of the book, and Judd dedicated it to his memory.

Tournament History:

1998 – Melbourne Martial Arts Academy – MKK City Dojo
Titles Held: 1994 – 97 – Australian Nationals – Runner up Heavyweight
1996 – 6th World Tournament (Tokyo) – 4th round elimination
1998 – World Tournament (Paris) – Ranked 3rd in Team Event
1998 – 2005 – WRKA Ring Karate Champion
2004 – Burakuren World Tournament (Osaka) – Ranked 3rd
2005 – Riyu-Jitsu World Tournament (Abu Dabi) – ranked 3rd
2006 – Victorian Championships – Heavyweight Champion
2010 – WKO World Championship – Heavyweight Champion
2011 – Completed the 100-Man Kumite (Osaka, Japan)


the-young-lionsThe tale of Judd Reid is such an amazing and inspiring story, and the book weaves the tale in a wonderful way. Interspersing his journey through the 100 Man Kumite, along with his story of becoming an Uchi Deshi under Sosai Oyama.judd-reid

The book tells of his upbringing in Australia, his entry into Kyokushin Karate, his passion for golf and pursuit to become an Uchi Deshi.

Through his mother’s encouragement, Judd got introduced to Kyokushin Karate and from there the story unfolds of his youth, training and early mentors, working to save money for training in Japan, and training under Sosai Mas Oyama, shaping his path in the martial arts and life.

Judd Reid with Nicholas Pettas at Honbu in Japan

Judd Reid with Nicholas Pettas at Honbu in Japan

Like Pettas’ book, you get drawn into the story and can’t help but fantasize what it must have been like. Being an Uchi Deshi was no easy task in those days. Aside from the obvious culture shock, they endured great hardship and training, which would break most people.

You actually learn that the dropout rate was extremely high in the program. With very few students making it through the full three years. To be a Young Lion under Sosai Mas Oyama Judd had to endure the most harsh and brutal training regime on the planet, and endure it he did for 1000 days!

judd-reid-honbuWithout much contact to the outside world, and family, Judd trained from morning to night, combined with the chores which were expected of an Uchi Deshi, not to mention a brush with the law! As well, they all endured physical and psychological pressure from the more senior students. Judd speaks of the hierarchy involved in the training, which is indicative of the Japanese culture.

In the book you are taken through the story of a small skinny kid from Australia who becomes a man inside the “Lion’s Den”.

I really loved the subject mater and Judd’s writing style, which gives a detailed insight and look into the uchi deshi life.

As a student of Kyokyshin Karate I enjoyed it even more, as it gave me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall inside Sosai Mas Oyama’s Honbu dojo. Reading this book, you discover Sosai Oyama had a huge impact on Judd, and the other Uchi Deshi, instilling the principles of Budo through his actions and words.

A true story about perseverance and never giving up! This book is pure inspiration for every martial artist and should be compulsory reading in all kyokushin dojos.


Comments 4

    1. Post
  1. Sensei Dennis Harris 4th Dan

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book!! it brings back lots of memory’s of how we use to train in the earlier days. We use to do things in the Dojo, that we wouldn’t be allowed to do now -a-days, it separates the Men from the boys. In my opinion I think this Book should be on all our Kyokushinkai bookshelf’s.
    Best Regards Shihan Reid OSU!!!!

    1. Peter G.N. GRIFFIN Sempai (Nidan)

      HARRIS Sensei,

      Osu !

      1. Yes, your post where you say, “we wouldn’t be allowed to do now -a-days, it separates the Men from the boys” … holds true. However I must add that CANADA is filled with this ‘wrapped in cotton wool’ mentality more than ever due to this generation whom have an entitled mentality. Back home in AUSTRALIA we STILL train as we did back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s as you would remember. I also think our neighbours (Maori) from New Zealand assist when they have a naturally proven genetic warrior gene.

      2. Unfortunately CANADA in particular is filled with a now, watered down, weak sense of all sports , and coddle their children ; especially young males into Beta-Boys (non-Aplha). I know this given my wife is a primary school teacher of almost 20 years here in CANADA.

      3. Knowing and having trained with Judd in our earlier days before he went to JAPAN , I can assure you he runs his classes the way we always trained – leading by example. This way others follow willingly into the depths of complete and utter pain that one day numbs / succumbs to one’s own self / spirit where one’s true sense of self is forged. Hence the name of Sosai’s Karate …’KYOKUSHINKAIKAN’ ….. “Society of The Ultimate Truth”.

      Domo Arigato Gozaimasu

      Osu !

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