Amid sickening thuds in the L.A.B. the other day, several white-jacketed judo enthusiasts were watching two of their fellows "giving way so as to conquer." Respectfully shielding myself behind their backs, I watched a balding, mustachioed chap talking earnestly to another student on the mat. A second later, the man with the mustache flipped out one of his feet, twisted his shoulder, and the pair of them spun to the mat in a tangle of arms and legs.
"Are you giving way or are you conquering?" I asked the man on top.
"I am conquering," he replied. His adversary twisted an arm, and an instant later sat above his previous assailant.
"I am now giving way," quivered the mustaches.
I was reluctantly prepared to watch these reversals continue all afternoon, but luckily, the two men extricated themselves and came over to explain Harvard's newest athletic organization--the Judo club, Nick Strater '53, of Leverett House, was the one with the mustache, and the inspiration for the club.
Strator, who had successfully interested and trained several friends, then fell across Dick Corbeil, who has already won his "brown bolt"--symbol of second-highest achievement in judo. Last spring and fall, Corbeil, Strater, and a half-dozen friends worked out in the I.A.B., and this year, they have University permission to do so officially.
"'Randora" is what we use," explained Corbeil. "That means 'free play, catch-as-catch-can. It's nothing but Angle-Saxon wrestling with a ritual."
I heard a thud on the mat and looked up. Bob Ogden was rubbing his left shoulder. "Was that an Uchi-Mata?" he asked his opponent, foigning civility.
"Hiza-Guruma," replied Malcolm Ing complacently.
"Oh . . ."
There was another thud, and Ing walked off rubbing his right hip. "Protty good," he admitted.
Ogden smiled and said under his breath, "Ura Nage."
Strater had with him a modest little book which he allowed me to thumb through. The many photographs looked like shots of daring jitterbug steps, with one partner suspended in midair. Beneath each picture was a short paragraph of English prose and a diagram resembling an Arthur Murray dance step. I could not understand the corresponding Japanese.
In the preface were listed the "Ten Commandments of Judo." The last was: "Apply to your private life the motto, 'Give Way So As to Conquer.'"
I gave way backward as gracefully as I could, aware of the padding in the shoulder of my jacket. Just as I turned to leave, I heard someone say, "The heart of a Judoist must at all times be like a thousand mirrors, reflecting god-like speed and courage."
Every afternoon between three and five, on the mezzanine