When most people think of martial arts, they picture lots of kicking and punching that they saw Bruce Lee on television. However, not all martial arts are dependent on this kind of combat.
Judo is a relatively modern Martial Art that is derived from earlier Japanese fighting styles. Judo places an emphasis on throwing opponents and subduing them via pins and locks, making it an effective self-defense form, as well as a sport that even children can participate in.
Japan in the 1800s was an uneasy time, when a weak government struggled to contain feudal lords and America was threatening war on the reclusive nation. The domestic uncertainty led to a coup d'état which started Japan on the path to industrialization.
Much of this modernization came at the expense of the advancement of Martial Arts. Even Jiu Jitsu, the prominent style of the time, declined in relevance. However, a man named Dr. Jigoro Kano—a teacher and student of Jiu Jitsu—saw the need to blend various styles together in a way that allowed for safer training coupled with moral development.
With that, Judo was born.
Kano created the Kodokan, the premier Judo training facility, and worked throughout his life to promote the sport. He introduced it to Japan’s teaching system and saw it picked up by the military. Soon it was spreading all over the world. In 1964, Judo became a part of the Olympics and has been a part of them ever since. You can learn more about Judo’s from the International Judo Federation, The United States Judo Organization, and the United States Judo Federation.
Kano wanted Judo, which means ‘the gentle way,’ to be able to be a competitive sport that refrained from breaking its students in two. Thus, it generally lacks the emphasis on striking common to other martial arts.
It remains an effective means of self-defense, however, by relying on throwing and flipping a larger or more powerful adversary to the ground, then applying ground combat techniques to control an opponent once they are in a position of disadvantage. Rather than relying on striking back, it allows the student to use his or her opponent’s strength against them, and subdue them without exerting undue—or unavailable—amounts of power and strength.
Judo is meant to be conservative with energy, meaning that it shouldn’t take all of one’s strength to pull off moves to stop an opponent. It’s also meant to transform the student into a person more likely to contribute to society by emphasizing discipline and increasing focus.
Judo classes are run by a Sensei, a trained Judo instructor. Rank can be determined by the color of one’s belt. Dojos, aka Judo schools, are the training locations where students practice on mats. Students, known as Judoka, wear Judogis, the white outfits many associate with karate.
A major part of Judo instruction is safety, beginning with the teaching of ukemi (falling correctly). This is critical since it is designed to prevent the student from being injured during training when they hit the ground. Other components of training include drilling, form practice, and of course, sparring, which is overseen by the Sensei.
In a life-threatening situation, the pinning techniques Judo teaches are also helpful for keeping a mugger or other attacker down without putting yourself in excessive danger. The chokeholds and body locks (at last resort, of course, since Judo is only a defensive art) are capable of restraining an attacker without having to continually try to strike them.
Judo is a strenuous martial art designed for those capable of exercising at mild to intense levels for varying periods of time. The intense nature of Judo offers the benefits that can come from regular exercise, such as weight loss, muscle gain, and a healthier heart. Flexibility, focus, coordination, and discipline can increase as well.
No, it’s a great combination!
Many schools offer Judo classes for kids. Some want students to be mature enough to appreciate what they are learning and develop the discipline needed. Check with the dojo or school about their specific Judo for kids programs.
Generally, classes for younger students are more focused on form practice and balance. As the child progresses over their time in Judo, they learn more and are able to advance to higher belt rankings with more emphasis on the combat.
Your child not only learns about how to handle themselves in a Judo match, but also can become better focused in school and more agile for other sports. Judo can become a wide-spectrum benefit for the young.
Competition is a major part of Judo culture, especially since Judo was partially designed to be a sport.
In a Judo match, students are paired by weight levels and have to complete their fight within a marked area on a mat. One of the competitors wears a blue judogi, and both competitors bow to each other. Respect for an opponent is thus heavily encouraged during a competition.
Referees analyze the moves each combatant uses and determines the allocation of points. Fighters defer to everything a referee says, especially when it comes to pausing a match. Points are given based on the quality of the competitor’s fighting, and in the end of the match overall performance is examined to decide the match.
The discipline is also intended develop a stronger moral character in its students as they work to control themselves and benefit others through their newly developed skills.
As students continue to study the rough and tumble art, they develop stronger endurance, not only physically but also in life. Judo offers training in patience and perseverance when strenuous events occur and an ability to push through whatever tough times come your way.
Judo students are also able to develop better confidence and control over their actions. They can face life with training that enables a strong, solid approach to life.
If you want to be able to develop better self-defense skills or get in shape through a Martial Art based on the proper channeling of force, then Judo is for you! Click here to help you find Judo schools near you.
Judo is a form of martial arts that originated from Japan. Its grounding lies in the combat style of jiu-jitsu, which focuses on throwing, grappling and engaging your opponent in arm-locks, chokeholds and ground-holds. There are a great number of judo training centers and gyms across the country and all of these provide full training in the various techniques and principles that make up this century old form of martial arts.
Judo training is typically done two to three times per week at a specialized academy or even in the school gym after regular classes (for kids). For those who aspire to take judo to professional heights, more frequent classes may be required, but two or three per week is ideal for beginners and for those who want to learn a peaceful yet effective form of self-defense.
The combination of techniques practiced in judo includes grappling, chokeholds, hold-downs, arm-locks and grip training. The core philosophy of judo is to disable your opponent in a non-violent way, which is really reflected by the very name of this form of martial arts, the meaning of which in Japanese is “The Gentle Way”. To highlight this very point, the act of striking has been banned from judo for 50 years since it was causing injury to the contestants.
The great thing about judo classes is that there really is no age limit! There are judo classes for kids as young as four and five and for people who are well in their eighties and nineties. Provided that you can move around with a certain degree of dexterity and that you adhere to all the rules and regulations, there’s no reason you can’t train your body to be a defensive machine! In fact, judo classes are an excellent way for school kids to build confidence, strengthen their bodies and to become disciplined and respectful.
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