The aesthetics of Judo meets Poetry and Music

When you enter a dojo, the last thing you expect to find are books of poetry and a guitar on the tatami. “What on earth…?” you might ask yourself. But this is just the immediate reaction. You then realise the relevance of these items of Art with that of Judo.

Poetry, Music and Judo: Arts so dissimilar yet intimately tied by the cord – almost imperceptible yet real nevertheless – which is aesthetics: seeking the beauty of expressive form, involving both he who creates the art as well as he who receives it.

The idea to weave this artistic trio on the tatami came from Judo Master Corrado Croceri: an idea inspired by constant cultural studies and persistent dedication to aesthetics which are at the heart of the Gentle Way. So it was that on Thursday, 14 May 2015, assisted by his friend Giandomenico Papa (a lawyer and Judo aficionado), Judo Master Croceri organised an evening on the theme of aesthetics, inviting to the Kenshiro Abbe Dojo in Corridonia two well-known figures from the Marchigiano artistic world: the poet Francesco Scarabicchi and the musician Grazia Barboni. An evening followed attentively by those gathered in the dojo and seated on the mats, but also by hundreds of followers on the internet, thanks to the event being streamed live.

It was Judo Master Croceri who introduced the evening and explained the choice of venue and the role of aesthetics in his chosen discipline: “The dojo is the ‘place where the Principle is made manifest’. The principle being Sei-Ryoku-Zen-Yo, or the ‘best use of the body’s energy and the mind’. In Judo, only by practising aesthetics can you reach Sei-Ryoku-Zen-Yo”. Croceri added, “Judo is an art of the body because it obliges us to search for, in every movement, the maximum expression of aesthetics. Aesthetics is that which tries as much as it can to reach objective beauty”.

It’s something that every judoka aims at: a technical move which is aesthetically pleasing is, simultaneously, a practical and perfect execution of the move, from an effectiveness point of view. For this reason, each judoka ought to create his own style of expression, following aesthetics. Style is a very personal thing which others will view as wholly unique: the harmony and elegance of the moves let you achieve the most efficient use of your energy. “Instinctively,” continued Judo Master Croceri, “each one of use should aim for Beauty” and this concept is not limited to Judo, but extends to every sphere of human action.

A short film helped demonstrate his point. Croceri, through words and images, told us of his human journey into the world of Judo and his current intention which echoes those of Judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano.

After Judo, came the live part of the evening with performances by Francesco Scarabicchi and Grazia Barboni. The poet and the musician divided the evening, alternating between poignant verse written by Federico García Lorca and Antonio Machado and the Argentine and Chilean notes on a classical guitar. Two unique talents, brought together in this unique place, for an evening to stir the emotions and giving rise to a combination of Poetry and Music which was hugely appreciated by everyone.

The closing, magical words came from the writer, Massimo De Nardo: “Beauty is a question of knowledge: the more you know, the more beauty belongs to you, and makes you happy. Because Art makes even  suffering beautiful”.

Who wouldn’t want more evenings like this! A blend of stories and paths, a journey that can benefit us all. To share knowledge and then, to share beauty.

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