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What is Judo?

Judo is many things to different people. It is a sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational or social activity, a fitness program, a means of self-defence or combat, and "a way of life". It is all these and more.

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.

Judo was founded in 1882 by Professor Jigoro Kano, who modified the more dangerous techniques of ju-jitsu and developed Judo from a martial art to a sport. He also gave Judo a physical education emphasis and a strong moral orientation.

 

"It's for Women and Girls, Too!"

Judo is a wonderful practice for girls and women.

Any young person can benefit from the physical fitness, mental toughness, and disciplined training that judo provides. Girls who practice judo tend to blossom, not just as adolescents, but as they take judo's lessons further on in life. Plus, it's fun! Testing your limits on the mat, being allowed to challenge and excel in a way no social avenue provides. judo brings a vitality and richness to any girl's world.

Women also benefit from judo's principal attributes, and from the knowledge of self-defense. A woman who practices judo will feel safe in any situation where strength, technique, and intelligence are primary in her safety.

Judo is also a practice that families can enjoy and grow in together. It fosters a respect and care that enrich any social group, but especially a family.

Judo truly is for anyone: especially girls and women.

 

 Benefits of Judo

Judo has several benefits that include increased strength, stamina, agility, coordination, and balance. Judo is however much more than a sport, it is also seen to be effective as an educational system in both physical and moral spheres. If you are interested in reading further you will find an exert from the British Judo Association website under "The Value of Judo" which covers the values of Judo excellently.

"Many people have a pre-conceived notion of what they believe Judo to be which is well wide of the mark. Judo bears no resemblance whatsoever to many of the martial arts it is so often associated with. Here we examine what Judo was, is and the benefits it can offer its participants in sport and day-to-day life."

Judo was developed in Japan by Dr Jigoro Kano towards the end of the 19th century and has evolved from being a martial art into one of the world’s most popular sports. Since its inclusion in the 1964 Olympic Games Judo has progressed rapidly and is without doubt the worlds most popular combat sport. Judo is however much more than a sport, it is also seen to be effective as an educational system in both physical and moral spheres.

Judo training is an ideal form of physical exercise and it serves as a great cardiovascular workout, which improves stamina, general health and overall fitness. Physical strength is also improved as a direct result of trying to control and dictate the movement of the opponent and as well as enhanced power; a Judo player will also improve their flexibility. For the same reasons the balance and posture of a player will also be enhanced. Physical co-ordination can be seen to develop dramatically from participation in Judo and reflexes are also improved together with mental reaction time.

The moral benefits of Judo are a direct result of the transition from martial art to what Kano termed “Do” or “way of life”. Kano added a strict code of ethics and a humanitarian philosophy to his system. His Judo instructors and students were expected to be outstanding examples of good character and honest conduct. Combat outside of the training hall or behaviour that brought shame to the school would lead to suspension or even expulsion. Kano's ultimate concern for the well being of both the individual and the community is reflected in his teaching methods and one of Judo’s guiding principles is “mutual benefit and prosperity”. Kano believed that the diligent practice of Judo should lead to the realization that one could not progress at the expense of others; only mutual prosperity offered the key to any real progress in human life. These principles still underpin the sport today and this can be seen from the respect shown between rival exponents.

Judo is an ideal sport for all ages, males or females and attracts very many disability groups. Confidence and self-esteem are enhanced as a player progresses through the ranks and the very nature of the grading system ensures that the next goal is always realistic and achievable with effort. The grading system also ensures that regardless of their skill level all Judo players can actively compete with players of similar ability and hence they have a reasonable chance of emerging victorious".

 

Fun Judo Facts

  • Judo is the safest contact sport for children under the age of 13 (American College of Sports Medicine).
  • Judo is the most widely practiced martial art on earth.
  • Judo is the second most-practiced sport worldwide, behind the most-widely practised sport of soccer. Judo is practiced by more than 100 million people worldwide.