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www.zenjudo.co.uk 40 Years 1974 to 2014

The Zen Judo Family

Custodians and Yudansha (Black Belt) Panel.

This article gives information on The Zen Judo Family Custodians and also the Chief Instructors of the British Zen Judo Family Association, American Zen Judo Family and Zen Judo in Spain.


After the death of Shihan Dominick Mac McCarthy 8th Dan and the founder of The Zen Judo Family, it was decided that there was no one person who could replace him. Therefore it was decided that the ZJF would be run by a group of Custodians, at the time these where mostly 6th Dan rank. Since then there has been an effort made to bring in new blood and to get more input from the ZJF's members.


Since the original setting up of the ZJF's Custodian system there have been a number of changes to the Zen Judo organisation as a whole, with a number of the original Custodians retiring or setting up organisations of there own.


In the summer of 2010 it was decided that due to the small number of Custodians still actively participating in the day to day running of Zen Judo Family Clubs, it was time to make the change to a Yudansha (Black Belt) Panel under the leadership of the present Head of The Zen Judo Family. This would allow the main Club Sensei and active Black Belts more control over the running of the organisation.

Our Origins:

Timeline & Evolution of Zen Judo.

Dr Jigoro Kano (1860-1938) founded Kodokan Judo in Tokyo in 1882.

Kano Jigoro: (1860 - 1938)  

Japanese founder of Kodokan  judo.

Due to a weak constitution, Kano began practicing the Japanese martial art jujitsu at the age of 20. He soon incorporated his philosophy of mental and physical training with aspects of jujitsu and other martial arts to develop what he called judo (Japanese for "gentle way"). In 1882 in Shitaya, Tokyo, he founded Kodokan, his first dojo with only nine pupils. In 1885 Kano went to Great Britain to popularise judo in the West. By the time of his death in 1938, judo had over 100,000 black belt practitioners.

Kano Jigoro: (1860 - 1938) Japanese founder of Kodokan Judo.

Kenshiro Abe (7th Dan) & Bill Woods (2nd Dan) founded the British Judo Council in 1958.

Kenshiro Abe (7th Dan) founded Kyu Shin Do.

Dominick McCarthy (8th Dan Zen) founded The Zen Judo Family in 1974 (Petersfield Zen Judo Club).

Zen Judo Family Custodians was formed under Sensei  Andrew Millard (6th Dan Zen)  in 1996. After Shihan McCarthy passed away in 1995.

The British Zen Judo Association founded by Shihan Andrew Millard (6th Dan Zen) and Sensei Gordon Lawson (3rd Dan Zen) on 1st January 2000.