Donn F. Draeger
Donald Frederick "Donn" Draeger (1922 –1982) was an internationally known teacher and practitioner of Japanese martial arts. He was the author of several important books on Asian martial arts, and was a pioneer of international judo in the United States and Japan. He also helped make the study of martial arts an acceptable topic of academic research.
Draeger reportedly began his involvement in the martial arts while living in the Chicago area, at around the age of 7 or 8. His first training was in jujutsu, but he soon changed to judo and by age 10, he reportedly achieved the grade of 2nd kyu (the lower of the two levels of brown belt).
By 1948, Draeger was ranked 4th dan in judo. This grading occurred before 1947, so it probably occurred while he was stationed in China in 1946. His known judo instructors in Tianjin included Mike Matvey.
In 1952, Draeger was one of the leaders of the newly established US Judo Black Belt Association. This was the first national-level judo organization in North America, and the forerunner of what later became the United States Judo Federation. Draeger's national-level postings included vice-president of the Pan-American Judo Association and chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Amateur Judo Association of the United States. He also helped promote judo throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
Draeger officially represented US judo interests during international contests held in Cuba and Belgium in 1953, and in 1964, he was named the United States Amateur Athletic Union judo representative in Japan, in anticipation of judo's inclusion in the 1964 Olympics.
Draeger also participated in judo activities in Japan. For instance, in 1961, Draeger and British judo athlete John Cornish were the first non-Japanese athletes selected to demonstrate nage-no-kata during the All-Japan Judo Championships. Draeger became a member of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai, the oldest Japanese cultural organization for the study and preservation of classical martial arts. He was the first non-Japanese practitioner of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, achieving instructor status (kyoshi menkyo) in that system. He also held high ranks in Shindo Muso-ryu jodo, kendo, and aikido, among other arts.
Draeger studied the evolution and development of human combative behavior and was director of the International Hoplology Society (IHC) in Tokyo until his death in 1982.