What is Judo?
Judo is many things to different people. It is a sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational or social activity, a keep fit program, a means of self defense, and a way of life. It is to some extent all of these, but to most participants, it is a sport.
Judo comes to us from the fighting system of feudal Japan. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial art of Jujitsu. Dr. Kano, President of the University of Education, Tokyo, made a comprehensive study of those ancient art forms and integrated those techniques into what is now the modern sport of Judo.
Judo was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964 and is now played by millions of people throughout the world. People play Judo to excel in competition, to stay in shape, to develop self confidence and for many other reasons. But most of all, people play judo just for the fun of it. Judo is a sport that’s a lot of fun!
As in all sports, Judo has a strict set of rules that governs competitive play and ensures safety. For those who desire to test their skill, Judo offers the opportunity of competition at all skill levels, from club to national tournament’s, to international events, to the Olympic Games. There are separate weight divisions for men and women, and boys and girls.
Judo can best be described as a special form of wrestling that emphasizes throws as well as pins. In fact, Judo is best known for its spectacular throwing techniques. The players wear special cloths to help with the application of throws and other skills. The same cloths enhances control for maximum safety in practice and competitive play. Judo is played on special mats for added comfort and safety. Unlike most other martial arts, there is no kicking and punching in Judo. You do not have to wear protective gear or boxing gloves to play judo. Judo emphasizes sport, fun, safety, and and full physical activity for top conditioning.
If you like sports and physical activity, you will probably like the sport of judo. Judo is a year round inexpensive activity, that appeals to people from all walks of life. Judo provides the means for learning and improving oneself, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
Principles and Goals of Judo
Judo, which is often called “the gentle way,” prescribes the principle of “flexibility” in the application of technique. This is the flexibility or the efficient use of balance, leverage and momentum in the performance of Judo throws and other skills. Skill and timing, rather than use of brute strength, are the essential ingredients for success in Judo play.
Dr. Kano felt that healthy social attitudes, as well as a sound mind and body, could be developed through proper Judo training. He stated this philosophy of Judo in the form of two maxims.
The First Maxim , “Maximum Efficiency” means that whatever one does, it should be done with optimal use of ones mental and physical energy. In Judo, you learn how to make the most effective use of both mind and body. This ability can be applied to every day life. It is the basic principle of doing everything well.
The Second Maxim, “Mutual Welfare and Benefit” simply means that we should be considerate of and helpful to others. In Judo, the student quickly learns to cooperate and help each other to advance in their training. This is basically the idea of give and take. This concept of cooperation can also be applied in our association with others in life.
The final aim or goal of Judo, as expressed by Dr. Kano, is “Self Perfection or the Harmonious Development and Eventual Perfection of Human Character”.
Judo training can develop a competitave spirit and a feeling of confidence in a variety of situations. Judo develops self discipline and respect for one self and others.
Regular Judo training can improve an individuals aerobic capacity, speed, power, strength, agility, and flexibility. As a sport that has evolved from a fighting art, it develops complete body control, fine balance and fast reflexive action. Above all, it develops a sharp reacting mind well coordinated with the same kind of body. Judo utilizes virtually every muscle of the body and is an excellent overall conditioner.
Judo is unique in that all age groups and both sexes can participate together in learning and playing the sport. Judo provides a lifetime recreational opportunity that can be practiced by any healthy individual. Many people over sixty years of age enjoy the sport as well as very young boys and girls. For those who compete, Judo is both a challenging and a rewarding sport. For those not interested in competition, Judo provides for an enjoyable keep fit or recreational activity that emphasizes fun with safety.
Judo training gives a person an effective self defense system if the need arises. While self defense is not normally emphasized in peactice, Judo training does give one a decisive advantage over the untrained individual.
Finally, Judo training teaches a person how to fall safely without injury, which is a skill that is unique to Judo. This is a useful skill in everyday life.