Tony Reay wrote this book when he was both a 6th degree black belt and Development Officer for the British Judō Association. So his qualifications are beyond a doubt. The book is an overview of the sport of judō that covers techniques, etiquette, rules, warm-up exercises, grading approaches, and other specialty topics. It covers the gamut of issues related to the sport of judō, but without going into much detail. It would be a suitable book for a youngster who is considering whether they might want to get involved. I emphasize that it’s about “sport judō” because there are those who consider judō to be an approach to self-defense and others who think of it as a whole-life philosophy. This isn’t the book for those who want to learn more about judō as anything other than a competitive sport.
The eight chapters of the book cover: history, the grading structure, recreational judo, fitness, techniques, competition, the judō instructor, and judō as an art. However, most of the chapters are cursory. The bulk of the book is devoted to showing 69 of the art’s most fundamental techniques, including: 40 throws, 12 holds, 10 chokes, and 7 arm-locks. For each of these techniques there is a line drawing and a brief description. In a few cases there are black and white photos taken of the technique being performed in competition. This overview of techniques is mostly of value for learning names and accounting for what techniques one has (or hasn’t) learned. There’s not enough detail–either graphically or textually–to help a practitioner improve a technique that they’ve learned. (The latter isn’t a point of criticism, but rather to let people know what they are and aren’t getting in the book.) Still, there are tips scattered throughout the book that might help a practitioner improve their techniques in a general sort of way.
There is a glossary of Japanese terms commonly used in judō.
I found this book to be a fine overview of the sport of judō, and would recommend it for that purpose. While I’ve found other books on the art much more useful for my purposes, I think this is a fine book for someone looking to get into the sport from ground zero. I should point out that the book is from the mid-80’s, and so there will probably be details on rules, scoring, and grading that have changed, but the bulk of it will remain of value.