Jon Bluming

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John Bluming (1965)

Johannes Cornelius Bluming (born February 6, 1933) is a Dutch instructor of Judo, Kyokushin Karate, and mixed martial arts. He was the coach of two-time Olympic champion Willem Ruska.

Born in Amsterdam, he was 16 when he applied for the Marines and was accepted to the bootcamp in Doorn in July 1949[citation needed]. In the summer of 1950, the Korean War started, and he applied as a volunteer in the van Heutz regiment. When he was wounded, he was transported to a Japanese hospital in Tokyo. There he saw Judo for the first time when he visited the Kodokan in March 1951.

Martial arts career[edit]

In 1957, he was invited to train at a police dojo in Berlin, Germany and at a private judo club. In January 1958 he arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He started his career as a professional judo teacher at Dalhousie University.

Back in Tokyo, he started under the guidance of Donn F. Draeger. Weight training for judo and karate allowed him to achieve the transformation to heavyweight at 102 kg from his previous 79 kg.

In April 1959, Dreager invited him to the police dojo and to train under Takaji Shimizu and Ichitaro Kuroda in jōdō, kendo, and iaijutsu. Bluming did an examination for Kuroda in iaijutsu and got his third dan from the JKF.

In May 1960, he defeated Akio Kaminaga with a strangulation hold. During the Olympic training summer of 1960, he threw Isao Inokuma, his friend and training partner with an uchi mata makikomi. He also received his 4th dan from Kodokan.

In 1961, Bluming was invited to make a gonin gake (a match against 5 third dans) instead of Inokuma. Draeger said to him, "Do it, that’s good for your name."

Back to the Netherlands[edit]

Bluming received a letter from the Netherlands in which Opa Schutte asked him to come back and teach at the old dojo and the Amateurs Association for a year on contract. Bluming, who by then had a reputation in Japan and was unbeaten in Judo and Karate, went back to teach his old friends, make some new ones, and participate in the 1961 World Judo Championships in Paris in December. It went very differently than planned.

Bluming became coach of the Dutch Amateur Judo Association. He made his name throughout the Netherlands and Europe solely because of his fight against the Judo Union of Anton Geesink, who told tales to the press about Bluming but refused several times to meet Bluming on the tatami. Bluming, under false accusations, was not allowed to participate in the Paris competitions. The press was amazed, especially when Bluming was introduced to the black belts of the NAJA as the new coach in the first week of December 1961 in Bloemendaal. He made a match against all comers, some 80 judoka from 1st dan to 4th dan, and threw them all within about four seconds in full view of the press.

Reporters wrote the next day that the Netherlands would be first and second in Paris and that Bluming must be allowed to fight. This did not help, and Bluming watched the victory of Anton Geesink in Paris. It made him so miserable that he stopped competing and focused only on teaching instead.

In his career as a teacher he has coached several champions, such as:

  • Chris Dolman (four-time world champion),
  • Willem Ruska (double Olympic champion in 1972)
  • Ottie Roethof (world champion in soft style karate and the team world champion, three times world champ judo),
  • Semmy Schilt (at the top in K-1 and free fight winner three times in the daido juku and three time King of Pancrase),
  • Robert Kool (1964 New York Cosmopolitan heavy weight champion)
  • The students of his students like Jan Plas (who fought well against Ernesto Hoost and Peter Aerts), Peter Adelaar and Jan Kallenbach.

Bluming traveled throughout Europe and founded the European Kyokushin kai kan. The first karate union in Europe was founded by Bluming in January 1962. The first-ever karate championships were held in the Krasnapolsky Hotel Amsterdam in 1965. The first international match was held against the team of Steve Arneil (a student of Oyama and Bluming in 1967) and was won by the Budōkai dojo.

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