What is Judo

Judo is a fun sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational or social activity, a fitness program, a means of seld defence or combat and a way of life.

Judo consists primarily of throws, along with grappling, which includes pins, chokes, leg sweeping and joint locks. Additional techniques includes striking and various joint locks found in Judo katas.

Judo is the modern scientific application of selected jujutsu techniques that may be practiced for self development, physical education and sport.   Jiu jitsu retains more dangerous self defense techniques, while judo can generally be practiced with full force and complete safety.



Judo practitioners traditionally wear white uniforms called judogi, for practicing judo. Sometimes the word  is seen shortened simply to gi (uniform). The judogi was created by Kano in 1907, and similar uniforms were later adopted by many other martial arts. The modern judogi consists of white or blue cotton drawstring pants and a matching white or blue quilted cotton jacket, fastened by a belt. The belt is usually coloured to indicate rank. The jacket is intended to withstand the stresses of grappling and, as a result, is much thicker than that of a karate uniform . Judogi are designed to allow an opponent to hold onto it, while karategi are made from slicker material so that an opponent cannot get a grip on the material.

For competition, a blue judogi is worn by one of the two competitors for ease of distinction by judges, referees, and spectators. In Japan, both judoka use a white judogi and the traditional red sash is affixed to the belt of one competitor. Outside Japan, a colored sash may also be used for convenience in minor competitions, the blue judogi only being mandatory at the regional or higher levels.In the IJF Event, contestants must wear Judogi with International Judo Federation Official Logo Mark Label. This IJF official label proves that the Judogi Model has been approved by IJF

Techniques and Practice

While judo includes a variety of rolls, falls, throws, hold downs, chokes, joint-locks and strikes, the primary focus is on throwing (??? nage-waza), and groundwork (?? ne-waza). Throws are divided in two groups of techniques, standing techniques (tachi-waza), and sacrifice techniques (??? sutemi-waza). Standing techniques are further divided into hand techniques (?? te-waza), hip techniques (?? koshi-waza), and foot and leg techniques (?? ashi-waza). Sacrifice techniques are divided into those in which the thrower falls directly backwards (???? ma-sutemi-waza), and those in which he falls onto his side (???? yoko-sutemi-waza).

The ground fighting techniques (ne-waza) are divided into attacks against the joints or joint locks (??? kansetsu-waza), strangleholds or choke holds (?? shime-waza), and holding or pinning techniques (??? osaekomi-waza).

A kind of sparring is practiced in judo, known as randori (???), meaning “free practice”. In randori, two adversaries may attack each other with any judo throw or grappling technique. Striking techniques (atemi-waza) such as kicking and punching, along with knife and sword techniques are retained in the kata. This form of pedagogy is usually reserved for higher ranking practitioners (for instance, in the kime no kata), but are forbidden in contest, and usually prohibited in randori for reasons of safety. Also for reasons of safety, choke holds, joint locking, and the sacrifice techniques are subject to age or rank restrictions.

Sparring (Randori)

Judo emphasizes a free-style sparring, called randori, as one of its main forms of training. Part of the combat time is spent sparring standing up, called tachi-waza, and the other part on the ground, called ne-waza. Sparring, even subject to safety rules, is much more alive than only practicing techniques on their own, and it is akin to real self defense situations where speed and strength are experienced to the maximum. Using full strength develops the practitioner’s muscles and cardio vascular system, and the strategy and reaction time help the practitioner develop mentally. The aim is to learn to use techniques against a resisting opponent.

As a sport

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 Kano and about 200 judo students gave a demonstration. Judo became an Olympic sport for men in the 1964 Games  in Tokyo. When Dutchman Anton Geesink won the first Olympic gold medal in the open division of judo by defeating Akio Kaminaga of Japan. Judo then lost the image of being “Japanese only” and went on to become one of the most widely practised sports in the world.

As self defense

Judo has formed the basis for many military combative and defensive tactics training around the world. In addition to the above, judo’s background in traditional Jujitsu combined with its police and military applications, has resulted in kata specifically designed to teach technical principles for self-defence: Kime No Kata (Forms of Decision) and Kodokan Goshin Jutsu (Forms of Self-defence). Renkoho Waza feature techniques specially designed for police. Joshi Judo Goshinho feature self-defence techniques for women. Other kata sets feature self-defence applications in more subtle ways.

Various aspects of judo principles and training methods promote attributes and skills helpful in self-defence:

  • Training with full power and speed against fully resisting opponents: builds speed, stamina, strength, and tenacity.
  • Body and mental conditioning by repeatedly being thrown with significant force.
  • Training in safe methods to take falls.
  • Ability to accurately and quickly use balance, distance, and timing against skilled opponents in fully resistive sparring. Judo practitioners are experts in controlling their opponent’s balance whilst maintaining their own.
  • Sports Judo rules emphasize rapid transition to pins or submissions after a take-down, which builds skills in explosive use of chokes and locks in self-defence situations.
  • Emphasis in controlling one’s opponent during throws allow a practitioner to dictate the angle, direction, and force with which their opponent lands on the ground. The consequences could be gentle or lethal, depending on the judo practitioner’s intentions.



July 2020
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