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History of Maeda Mitsuyo (details)

History of Maeda Mitsuyo (details)
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Mitsuyo Maeda (前田 光世 Maeda Mitsuyo),  was born in Funazawa, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan on 18 November 1878.

As a child, he was known as Hideyo.  He practiced sumo as a teenager, but lacked the ideal build for the sport. Because of the interest generated by stories about the success of judo at contests between judo and jujutsu that were occurring at the time, he changed to judo from sumo.

In 1894, at seventeen years of age, his parents sent him to Tokyo to enroll in Waseda University. He took up Kodokan judo the following year.

Mitsuyo Maeda began training in Kodokan Judo in 1895 at Kano’s academy, quickly becoming one of the academies star pupils and a believer that the best way to promotion Judo was through combat with other martial arts. So in 1904, when Kano was looking for students to send to the U.S. to demonstrate Judo, Maeda was a natural choice.
Maeda and his fellow Judokas traveled the U.S. making demonstrations, the most dramatic taking place at West Point. An All-American center.

He traveled to Europe, where he took on the ring name of "Count Koma" and won matches in England, Belgium and Spain. Maeda then headed back west and visited Cuba, instilling in that small island an interest that would grow to into an obsession with Judo. During these travels Maeda learned about Catch Wrestling and incorporated many techniques he learned into his Judo.  

In 1914, Maeda traveled to Brazil for the first time and for the next seven years he would constantly be visiting the South American nation fighting challenge matches.

In 1921 Maeda opened his own Judo academy in Brazil and helped the Japanese government and Brazilian government work out an arrangement for a large group of Japanese immigrants to move to Brazil.

Mitsuyo Maeda became a naturalized Brazilian with name Ottavio Maeda.

Maeda was fundamental to the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, including through his teaching of Carlos Gracie and others of the Gracie family. He was also a promoter of Japanese emigration to Brazil.

Maeda won more than 2,000 professional fights in his career. His accomplishments led to him being called "the toughest man who ever lived" and being referred to as the father of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Maeda died in Belém on November 28, 1941. The cause of death was kidney disease.

In May 1956, a memorial to Mitsuyo Maeda was erected in Hirosaki City, Japan. The dedication ceremony was attended by Risei Kano and Kaichiro Samura.

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