What Is Judo?


Judo - The Gentle Way (ju = gentle; do = way)

  Judo is a Japanese martial art, formalized by Dr. Jigoro Kano in February 1882.  Dr. Kano refined the techniques of Judo by modifying techniques from several styles of Jujutsu (The Gentle Art).   Dr. Kano was a very adept student of Ju Jitsu and did not like the fact that techniques could not be completed during practice without severely injuring or killing the practice partner.   Dr. Kano sought to remove the most deadly or crippling techniques and open the art up to children and women as practitioners while allowing all participants to apply all techniques fully.  The result is a highly effective means of self-defense, as well as a fun sport.  In May 1882, Dr. Kano opened the Kodokan (School for Studying of the Way) in Tokyo.  Even today, the Kodokan is the leading authority in Judo.  
  Judo is one of only two martial arts practiced in the Olympics.  In fact, it was the first Martial Art to be included as a Medal sport.  The first Olympic games to include Judo were held in 1964 in Tokyo, Japan.  Today, Judo is practiced all over the world by men, women, girls and boys.  
  Judo techniques consist of throws, pins which are commonly referred to as hold-downs, chokes and arm bars rather than kicks and punches.  There are striking techniques in Judo, but they are reserved for Kata (pre-arranged forms), and are not used in regular practice.  
  Judo is great for people of all ages.  Although strength is advantageous, Judo teaches that proper skill and timing can make the most elaborate technique possible for anyone to execute, even against a larger opponent.  
  Judo players (Judoka) wear uniforms made of cotton.  The Judo jacket is made of thick, woven material to withstand the tugs and pulls of the sport.  This is a much heavier fabric than traditional Karate uniforms.   
  Judo is practiced on various types of mats for added safety.  Usually, these are Tatami mat squares, placed together to create larger mat areas.   Here in the west, mats typically are composed of foam of varying densities.  The practice area size varies from Judo club to Judo club based on the number of students and space.  However, in Judo competition, the mats must conform to regulation sizes.  
  This is just a basic synopsis of Judo.  If you would like more information, or if you have a specific question, please contact us!