– 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 Fight, shot 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.
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 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.
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.
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!
Without 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.