The Struggle of USA Kudo
Let me start by explaining what exactly Kudo is. Kudo is a Budo Mixed Martial Art meaning it utilizes techniques from multiple disciplines to address hand to hand combat at all fighting distances to includes outside striking, clinch fighting, throws/take-downs, and ground fighting.
It was originally created in 1981 by Jukucho Takashi Azuma as a combination of Kyokushin Karate and Judo. It has evolved since then to incorporate techniques from arts such as boxing, sambo, muay thai, and brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Kudo was originally known as Daido Juku Karate-do but as it evolved Jukucho Azuma decided it had changed so much it could no longer be considered a style of karate. He then created the name Kudo, setting the art up as another Japanese Budo martial art such as Judo, Kendo, Karate-do, and Sumo.
Kudo roughly translates as "The Way of the Open Mind." The philosophy of Kudo is to always strive to find a better way and to not get bogged down in "how things have always been done."
Kudo first came to the USA around 1994. A small club opened in New Jersey but ultimately was not successful and ended up closing its doors. Kudo finally got a solid foothold in the USA in Detroit, MI thanks to the effort of Sensei Dan Kendall in 2012 and in Los Angeles, CA thanks to the efforts of Sensei Masataka Ito in the same year.
From there we have grown to 5 official branches in Detroit, MI; Rochester, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; and Houston, TX.
Now that I've covered the general history of Kudo in the USA. I want to talk about the difficulty we have faced growing Kudo. The single biggest hurdle I face when I promote my dojo is the education of what Kudo is. At this time, Kudo has a very small footprint in the minds of the American martial arts world. When your average person thinks of martial arts they think about arts as karate, judo, tae kwon do, and jiu-jitsu. This makes it very difficult when I reach out to the community. I must always include some sort of education or explanation of what Kudo is and in a sense validate it when I do marketing because I can't just assume people will understand what I am talking about.
Because we are the new kids on the block, it is less likely people are going to walk through our door. Even though my dojo has a very low student drop rate and a high level of satisfaction, I still struggle to grow just because people have never heard of what I teach.
This is one of the primary reasons I started this blog. I want to reach out and educate people on who we are and what we do. In the future, I will be posting all sorts of blogs about the philosophy and unique techniques of Kudo to show what we have to offer.
James "J.D." Alexander
Iron Forged Martial Arts
2025 E. Bijou St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80909