The Kano Society




From Yukimitsu KANO

August 4, 2000  

Messrs. The Kano Society  

Dear Sirs,  

Upon learning the passing away of Mr. Trevor Leggett, I should like to extend my sincere condolences.  

Mr. Leggett had learned Kodokan judo since early age and had made great contributions to its diffusion. In addition, with the deep understandings of the wide range of Japanese culture, he had acted as the bridge of friendship between U.K. and Japan mostly through judo.  

I sincerely hope that the soul of Mr. Leggett rest in peace.  

Sincerely Yours,

Yukimitsu KANO  

President   -  Kodokan Judo Institute ; All Japan Judo Federation


From Arthur Tansley

I was extremely sorry to hear of TP's death. It is many years since I last met him, he was at the Budokan watching the All Japan Championships with John Newman. I was very pleased that he recognized me and even remembered my name. TP must have been the last gaigin to train at the pre-war Kodokan. It is the end of an era.


From David Waterhouse Toronto

The sad news of Trevor Leggett’s death brings to its close a special, formative era in British Judo; and it brought back personal memories extending, at intervals, over many years. 

I first encountered Trevor Leggett when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, and heard him give a visiting lecture about judo. Later I was privileged to be a member of the Renshuden in the early 1960s, when he was still going on the mat regularly; and I came on the receiving end of his famous oguruma. However, he will be remembered above all for the impact of his personality, teaching and scholarship: not only in judo, but also in Zen, yoga and other fields of endeavour. I cannot claim to possess all his books: but I do have many of them, including his book on shogi, and his monumental The Complete Commentary by Sankara on the Yoga Sutras. As it happens, I have just had occasion to consult his still valuable treatise on Nage no kata; and I venture to say that his publications will continue to be read for years to come. Few scholars can hope for such a long shelf-life for their books.    

Of course, his approach was not simply through scholarship. He believed in serious practice, and the seeking of personal goals: and he manifested this through his own diverse achievements. His contributions to British judo will be the subject of endless debate: but surely they were nearly all positive. I remember those path-breaking displays at the Albert Hall; and I wish now that I had subscribed regularly to those sadly defunct magazines Judo and Judo Bulletin, which must have owed much to his inspiration. I had no direct experience of his work for the Budokwai: but Dicky Bowen, the Goodger brothers and many others can speak to that. His homiletic writings, both collected in hard covers, and serialised in the Budo Monthly or on his web site, demonstrate a great gift for stating fundamental issues in simple language. I do hope that they can be gathered together in more convenient form for a new generation of readers. 

During the past few years, on visits to London, I was happy to be able to renew acquaintance with Mr. Leggett; and enjoyed several conversations with him about the history of judo. He was most friendly and informative; and I treasure the memory of him struggling to his feet to demonstrate (on Ben Anderson) two moves from the half-forgotten Go no kata: about which I had expressed curiosity, and which he had seen in performance at the Kodokan in the late 1930s. 

It is too bad that his last months should have been soured as a result of that silly dispute with the Budokwai. Now the lecture will never be given: because, even if a prepared text exists, there can be no substitute for that resonant voice, with its polished, almost mantic delivery. I offer you good wishes for continued success with the work of the Kano Society, even if it has now lost its principal figurehead in England.

 Yours sincerely,   DAVID WATERHOUSE


From Ken Knott

Thank you for sending the information about Mr. Leggett.  He was one of the giants. Unfortunately, in my occasional encounters with Judo  during the last 35 years I see no replacements. How sad.

 Dickie Bowen send me a copy of Leggett's recent book, "The Old Zen Master". I received it last week and started to read it. Just after finishing one chapter, I put the book aside to check my E-Mail, and it was then I received your message. On page 20, which I had just read, Leggett had written the following.

I had just finished reading a portion of the book when I received the news of Mr. Leggett's death. One paragraph in the chapter I had just finished read as follows

 "We can learn a lot of other things from music. You do not hang on to a chord no matter how beautiful. You do not regret the end of a piece of music. The piece is played and comes to a natural end. In the same way a life is played."

Who else could have written such a great epitaph?

Sincerely   Ken Knott


 From Angelo Sanna - Sardinia

I am devasted by the news,  it is also a blow to the Kano Society. Give my deapest felt Sympathy to the family of Mr Leggett.Angelo Sanna


From Siv Ostman - Sweden

It was very sad to get the news that Trevor Leggett had died. I didn’t learn to know him but he gave me in my life a glimpse of perfection. He inspired me of seeking with his curiosity of life. I had just finished a letter to you in which I wrote about Trevor and asked you to send him my regards. After that I went looking at the website of Kano Society. I was stoned by the message of this death. 

I want to do what I can do, with in the judo to continue the work you all started in The Kano Society. It feels the right direction - way to continuing on. Do send my regards to Trevor Leggett’s relatives. I am happy to have had the opportunity to meet such a great man. I always going to remember him. Love Siv


 From Brian Watson

Trevor P. Leggett: A man who said more in 10 minutes than others say in 10 years

I trained in judo at the Renshuden and Budokwai in the 1960s.  Over the years I was privileged to have received his instruction and advice through meetings,  personal letters, books and his lectures on judo, Japanese language study and life. 

Perhaps one of his greatest attributes was that he was always positive, always trying to guide and encourage others.  A builder, never a destroyer.  

Judoka in Britain and Japan have lost a great teacher and a true friend.

Brian N. Watson