Chapter 1: Young Max and esoteric training
Cecil Maxwell Cade, usually called Max, was born on December 3, 1918 in Kensington, London. His mother was a well-known actress, Phyllis Courtenay Cade, who at one time ran a theatre in Lewes, East Sussex. His father, Reginald Cade, was a staff officer in the British Colonial Service for which he designed postage stamps. Max himself hated stamp collecting.
He had an unusual childhood. At times when his mother was travelling, Max had a private tutor. Before he was 10 years old, his father introduced him to mind-training techniques; he would uncover a tray full of objects for one minute and then Max had to list all the objects on the tray. Or he would stop at a shop window, memorise all the items on display and then recall them. His father also taught him yoga, and breathing exercises on long walks during which I had to breathe in for six paces, hold my breath for ten paces, breathe out for four paces, and so on. I started this at a very early age, and it all seemed quite natural! (ref 1-1).
At the age of 12 Max formed what was to prove an influential friendship with a Japanese boy, Rio Shimizu, who may have been a school friend, who aroused my interest in judo, kendo, Zen and other esoterica. Through the boys father Max was introduced in 1934 to the Budokwai, a Japanese martial arts centre in London, which at that time was in Lower Grosvenor Place opposite Buckingham Palace. The Budokwai (literally, the martial way society) had been founded in 1918 by two Japanese martial arts masters, Yukio Tani and Gunji Koizumi, and was the first judo and martial arts club in the West.
The Budokwai and its masters became a very important influence on Max so it is worth explaining here the clubs origins and ethos. It was a direct outcome of the development of judo in late 19th century Japan after imperial rule was restored in 1868 - the Meiji Restoration - and the spread of judo into the western world. Tani learnt judo with the master Jigoro Kano, the father of judo, who created the discipline at a time when traditional aggressive martial arts such as jujitsu and the swordsmanship practised by the Samurai in the feudal period had fallen into decline. Kano, seeking a skill of value to individuals in everyday life, took the best of the many self-defence practices (a century earlier Japan had more than 700 jujitsu systems) and developed a physical practice emphasising economy of effort and underpinned by moral and spiritual values.
Tani arrived in Britain with his brother in 1900 and for a while used his skills very successfully to make money by touring music halls, giving demonstrations and taking on all-comers. The first 36 students to join the Budokwai were all Japanese, probably businessmen and bankers living in London, and sailors. Lectures by experts in cultural aspects of Japanese life and art such as poetry and ikebana (flower arranging) were offered from the beginning because the study of judo is regarded by the masters as part of a spiritual path rather than simply a sport or self-defence technique.
Here, Max studied such disciplines as meditation, yoga, Zen, the tea ceremony and aikido, eventually gaining a judo Black Belt. The club records of the time mention judo contests he took part in but are hazy about his membership. He appears to have gained his first judo grade in the late 1940s, while in his twenties, not as a Budokwai member but through an affiliated club, the Osram-GEC Judokai based at the west London electrical factory where he worked at that time. Max quickly gained a number of grades given by the Budokwai. It is clear that the spiritual aspects of martial arts interested him greatly.
Gunji Koizumi became a powerful influence in Maxs life and their paths were linked for several decades. Koizumi was born in 1885 in a village north of Tokyo - the youngest son - and joined a kenjitsu (fencing) school at the age of 12. At 14 he moved to Tokyo to fend for himself and found a job in the post office; he had ambitions to work in the electrical industry. But he soon left Japan, finding it too narrow-minded. He travelled in the Far East finding work as he went and for a while was employed by Korean railways, at the same time studying kenjitsu and jujitsu under the instruction of a former samurai.
In 1906 he reached Britain, and the next year moved on to America. But the Americans go-getting attitude did not suit him and in 1910 then returned to London, where he stayed for the rest of his life. To earn a living he started a business in the district of Pimlico selling lacquered furniture (he became an expert on oriental lacquerware and at one time was a consultant to the Victoria and Albert Museum). Koizumi, a charismatic and forthright man, developed a taste for the British way of life and was usually dressed distinctively in a dark suit, with a cream shirt and black bow tie. At weekends he favoured a Norfolk jacket and breeches while taking a Sunday walk. The Budokwai, through his influence, was instrumental in spreading the teaching of judo outside Japan and in later life he was graded 8th Dan. By the time of his death, in 1965, he was acknowledged as the father of judo in Europe.
Koizumi taught judo always as a method of moral and
spiritual character training. He
and Yukio Tani, who was chief instructor until 1950, were tough teachers,
ready at any time to call a judo student a coward if he (or she) showed any
sign of reluctance to go on to the judo mat. But they taught students that
strategy, least effort and resourcefulness of mind were the key, not strength
or technique. Koizumi liked
to remind students of the dictum: The sword is best used by not using
it. In 1960 he wrote:
The effect of human actions and words depends on the manner of delivery. Non-action, non-resistance, silence can be effective, indeed more so if the manner is appropriate. The indescribable subtlety and delicacy of such manners are the expression of the state of physical, mental and spiritual training and are the ultimate object of judo training. The training is not the accumulation of knowledge; it is a process of assimilation. (ref 1-2).
To make his point he told the story of a fencing master who, realising his advancing age, decided to choose a successor from his three pupils, who were of almost equal skill in swordmanship:
One day he contrived a trap over the door of his room, so that a stick would fall on the head of anyone who entered, and called his pupils one by one.
The first came in and cut the stick in half with his sword as it fell, a demonstration of fine skill, but it was the act of a rash and discourteous man to draw his sword in the presence of his master without permission. The second one caught the stick in his hand as it fell. The third removed the stick as he entered the room. The master selected the last pupil as his successor.
It was this world of training, discipline and extraordinary possibilities that shaped Maxs outlook for his lifetime.
Max recalled that when he was quite young his first master at the Budokwai died. This master believed that if you sat still long enough you would automatically learn to meditate, though maybe not in this lifetime. One day his new master, Gunji Koizumi, walking round the class on his first morning, stopped in front of Max, looked down and said: What you doing, Mr Cade, sitting cross-legged on mat, staring at the wall, doing nothing. Max was quite upset. Sir, I am meditating, he replied. No, No. Doing nothing, wasting time!, Koizumi declared and then introduced him directly to the practice. Perhaps the master was operating from the psychic level or perhaps using body cues, but Max never forgot this experience. When, 25 years later, he discovered the electrical skin response (ESR) reading on a meter, he saw how Western technology could be harnessed to traditional teaching so that he would know whether the student had really experienced a first taste of the practice.
In a traditional centre such as the Budokwai, it is impossible to do a physical practice such as judo without also beginning a sitting practice such as meditation. Today many of us who take up Eastern meditation neglect to include a physical aspect such as yoga and this can lead to a very unbalanced experience of meditation. Max trained in both and later, in the 1950s, at intervals was an honorary instructor in martial arts to the Metropolitan Police and British Rail police.
In his youth Max was a keen swimmer. One of his instructors, a doctor friend of his fathers, channelled his determination and encouraged him to become an outstanding performer, winning many cups and representing Britain in competitions. However, this led to Maxs first serious accident. At one diving event, a last-minute substitute in the team surfaced in the wrong place as Max dived. Their heads collided and Max sustained a broken neck. He was in hospital for a year. After his recovery he continued competitive swimming and made several attempts to swim the English Channel. He almost succeeded in one attempt despite being chosen only as the pacemaker for the group. The pacemaker is expected only to set the pace of the group without attempting to conserve his energy for the final stage of the crossing.
As well as teaching Max swimming, this friend also aroused his interest in the Sufi teachings, and those of the esoteric teacher G I Gurdjieff and his follower P D Ouspensky. It was he [Gurdjieff] who first introduced me to the strange idea that I was not properly awake, that I suffered from selective attention . . . , Max wrote later.
During his Budokwai training, Max experienced altered mental states. He requested Kundalini training from his master who was rather reluctant to give it, perhaps because he thought that Max was too young. Kundalini is considered in India to be psychic energy which lies sleeping in the base chakra, one of seven centres linked by energy channels in the body. When awakened, it begins a journey through all the chakras, culminating in the experience of a thousand suns in the crown chakra at the top of the head. He underwent this training, finally, in 1953-54 when he was in his thirties. It resulted in hallucinatory experiences, one of which Max told me about. He had gone to the wardrobe at home to fetch a dressing gown. As he began to take it out, he realised there was something behind it - a full-grown tiger about to leap at him! His master said when Max told him: Well, I did warn you.
In Eastern meditative training it is claimed that psychic abilities and phenomena will appear as progress is made, though the student is warned not to give any attention to them since it is very easy to imagine that you are almost enlightened.
Such events occurred regularly around Max in later life too. One day he met Harry Edwards, a renowned British healer (who died in the late 1970s) and found himself talking to a small group of people. A woman who had been there for some time finally asked him: Who is the small Japanese man standing behind you? She then proceeded to describe Gunji Koizumi and correctly noted that he was wearing a suit, a bowler hat and carrying an umbrella - unlikely apparel for a Japanese even if she had known that Max had a master.
A year after Maxs death, in 1985, we had taken a stand at the Health and Healing exhibition in Kensington, London. Somebody from among the show visitors was wired up on one of the instruments and Maxs wife, Isobel, was interpreting the results. Another visitor, who had been there for some time, asked: Who is the man watching you all rather benignly? and then described Max accurately.
1-1. C Maxwell Cade. The Awakened Mind. Delacorte Press/Eleanor Friede New York 1979. Delta Books New York 1980. Wildwood House London 1979. Element Books 1987.
1-2. Budokwai Bulletin October 1960.