Judo, which is translated as the “gentle way”, teaches the principle of flexibility in the application of technique. This is the flexible or efficient use of balance, leverage, and movement in the performance of Judo throws and other skills. Skill, technique and timing, rather than the use of brute strength, are the essential ingredients for success in Judo. For example, in Judo classes you may learn how to give way, rather than use force, to overcome a stronger opponent.
Kodokan Judo comes to us from the Jujitsu fighting system of feudal Japan.
Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial art of Jujutsu. Dr. Kano, President of the University of Education, Tokyo, studied these ancient forms and integrated what he considered to be the best of their techniques into what is now the modern sport of Judo.
Although a fully featured martial art, Judo has also developed as a sport.
The first time Judo was seen in the Olympics was at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, where Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo and about 200 Judo students gave a demonstration. Judo became an Olympic sport in the 1964 Games in Tokyo.
Judo is best known for it’s spectacular throwing techniques but also involves considerable grappling on the ground utilizing specialized pins, control holds, arm locks, and Judo choking techniques. Judo emphasizes safety, and full physical activity for top conditioning. Judo is learned on special mats for comfort and safety.
As in all sports, Judo has a strict set of rules that governs competition and ensures safety. For those who want to test their skills, Judo offers the opportunity for competition at all skill levels, from club and national tournaments, to the Olympic Games. There are separate weight and age divisions for men and women, as well as for boys and girls.