This article is from the Martial Arts FAQ, by Matthew Weigel email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
(Contributors: Neil Ohlenkamp - JudoSensei@aol.com,
Michael D'Auben - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Judo is a sport and a way to get in great shape, but is also very
useful for self-defense.
Judo is derived from Jujutsu (see Jujutsu). It was created by
Professor Jigoro Kano who was born in Japan in 1860 and who died in
1938 after a lifetime of promoting Judo. Mastering several styles of
jujutsu in his youth he began to develop his own system based on
modern sports principles. In 1882 he founded the Kodokan Judo
Institute in Tokyo where he began teaching and which still is the
international authority for Judo. The name Judo was chosen because it
means the "gentle way". Kano emphasised the larger educational value
of training in attack and defense so that it could be a path or way of
life that all people could participate in and benefit from. He
eliminated some of the traditional jujutsu techniques and changed
training methods so that most of the moves could be done with full
force to create a decisive victory without injury.
The popularity of Judo increased dramatically after a famous contest
hosted by the Tokyo police in 1886 where the Judo team defeated the
most well-known jujutsu school of the time. It then became a part of
the Japanese physical education system and began its spread around the
world. In 1964 men's Judo competition became a part of the Olympics,
the only eastern martial art that is an official medal sport. In 1992
Judo competition for women was added to the Olympics.
Judo is practiced on mats and consists primarily of throws
(nage-waza), along with katame-waza (grappling), which includes
osaekomi-waza (pins), shime-waza (chokes), and kansetsu-waza
(armbars). Additional techniques, including atemi-waza (striking) and
various joint locks are found in the judo katas. Judo is generally
compared to wrestling but it retains its unique combat forms. As a
daughter to Jujutsu these techniques are also often taught in Judo
Because the founder was involved in education (President of Tokyo
University) Judo training emphasizes mental, moral and character
development as much as physical training. Most instructors stress the
principles of Judo such as the principle of yielding to overcome
greater strength or size, as well as the scientific principles of
leverage, balance, efficiency, momentum and control.
Judo would be a good choice for most children because it is safe and
Judo training has many forms for different interests. Some students
train for competition by sparring and entering the many tournaments
that are available. Other students study the traditional art and
forms (kata) of Judo. Other students train for self-defense, and yet
other students play Judo for fun. Black belts are expected to learn
all of these aspects of Judo.
Because Judo originated in modern times it is organized like other
major sports with one international governing body, the International
Judo Federation (IJF), and one technical authority (Kodokan). There
are several small splinter groups (such as the Zen Judo Assoc.) who
stress judo as a "do" or path, rather than a sport.
Unlike other martial arts, Judo competition rules, training methods,
and rank systems are relatively uniform throughout the world.