What’s Judo?

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Judo is a martial art that originated in Japan and emphasizes balance, leverage, and movement. Practitioners wear a cotton uniform called a judogi and learn throwing and grappling techniques. Judo rewards flexibility and technique over strength and is popular worldwide for fitness, self-defense, and competition. The rank system, identified by belts of different colors, was first used in judo. Black belts are the highest rank.

Judo is a Japanese word meaning “gentle way” and is a type of martial art that derives from the ancient Japanese martial art of jujitsu, which means “soft way”. In 1882, Dr. Jigoro Kano, president of the Tokyo University of Education, incorporated what he believed to be the best jujitsu techniques into what is now the sport of judo. He emphasizes the use of balance, leverage and movement in all of his skills, especially throws.

Judo practitioners wear a cotton uniform called a judogi, meaning “judo uniform,” and sometimes referred to simply as a gi. These uniforms are usually white but can also be blue. They consist of loose-fitting drawstring trousers and a quilted jacket fastened by an obi, or belt. The uniforms were originally created for this sport but are now used for many different types of martial arts.

Most noticeable to someone watching judo would probably be the variety of powerful throwing techniques. Grappling techniques are also important to learn and include various control holds, arm and joint locks, pins and choke techniques. Safety is emphasized in practice, and the sport emphasizes both standing and ground fighting.

Judo rewards the idea of ​​flexibility in techniques, adapting technique to what is required at a particular moment. Strength is not as important as technique and skill, as is timing. This allows the techniques to be performed effectively by a smaller person on a much stronger person.

This sport is popular today among people of all ages, all over the world. It’s a great way to keep fit, build self-confidence, and learn self-defense. Body control is developed, as well as quick reflexes, balance and effective self-defense in case of need.

Judo is also a competitive sport, introduced as such at the 1964 Olympics. This Olympic sport was only open to men until 1988, when it was a women’s demonstration sport; in 1992, it became an official women’s Olympic medal event. There are also collegiate competitions in the United States.
The rank system found in many martial arts, usually identified by belts of different colors, was first used in judo. The ranks recognize hard work, as well as greater martial art knowledge and skill. There are separate junior classes for children under 17 and for adults. Black belts are the highest ranks, with ten different degrees of black belt.

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