What is Judo?
Judo is a tremendous and dynamic combat sport that demands both physical prowess and great mental discipline. Beginning from a standing position, it involves techniques that allow you to lift and throw your opponents onto their backs. On the ground, it includes techniques that allow you to pin your opponent down to the ground, control them and apply various choke holds or joint locks until submission.
Judo is a …
- Sport with local, national, and international competition. It was the first eastern martial art introduced to the Olympic Games.
- Martial art that teaches you discipline, self-respect, and confidence. It is a way of life.
- Physical activity that involves psychomotor development of the total person.
- Method of self-defense that teaches you how to protect yourself.
The underlying theme in Judo is mutual welfare and respect. Judo provides an emphasis on discipline and tradition that lets you learn from your opponents and ultimately learn about yourself. Judo encourages a balance of skill, physical ability, and mental strength.
The History, Philosophy, and Goals of Judo
Judo, translated literally as “the gentle way,” is a martial art that originated in Japan. While Japan has produced many forms of Karate, there is only one recognized form of Judo. Its founder, Jigoro Kano, was a teacher in Tokyo and a Jujutsu expert. Jujutsu included many of the forms of combat used by medieval Samurai. Because Jujutsu was strictly trained as a wartime art, application of such techniques was generally viewed as potentially very dangerous to its victims.
In the early 1880s, Kano attempted to modify or eliminate the most dangerous Jujutsu techniques, promoting Judo as an art that can and should be learned by all. Through this modification Kano created an entirely new discipline, called Judo – translated as “the way of gentleness.” Rather than just learning techniques, Judo was a way to learn how to live with a mind and body that was fluid and adaptable. His first dojo was called “Kodokan” which literally means “place to learn the way.” He gave Judo both a strong moral orientation and a physical education emphasis.
Although Judo does not appear gentle to the observer, it is gentle in the sense that its techniques are most effective when one “gives in” rather than fights directly against an opponent. It largely emphasizes controlling an opponent by turning their attacking force against them. The end result is the accomplishment of the over-encompassing goal of maximum efficiency with minimum effort, with the development of harmony and trust among people.
Today, Judo is practiced worldwide and is one of the world’s most popular sports. Judo has millions of participants and 183 member nations in the International Judo Federation (the largest of any international sport organization). Its students learn an art, a science, a sport, and a method of self-defense. From Kano sensei’s humble beginnings (his first dojo included only twelve tatami mats), Judo has grown to be the world’s foremost martial art activity.
The Goals of Judo
Judo has many faces – as a sport, self-defense, exercise, and philosophy. As a result, there are many goals that one can realize through the practice of Judo, the most important of which is the development of oneself as a person. To develop one’s character through Judo means to learn many values, morals, and ethics which can be summarized by the two mottoes of Judo:
Sei Ryoku Zen yo
“the maximum and most efficient use of one’s mental energies”
Ji Ta Kyo Ei
“mutual welfare, benefit, and prosperity”
By disciplining and cultivating the body and spirit through the practice of techniques of offense and defense, one may thereby master the essence of Judo. And by these means, it is the ultimate goal of Judo to build oneself up to perfection and thereby benefit the world.
Benefits of Judo
Of course, Judo students enjoy vigorous physical activity and exercise, fostering good health and condition. Judo practitioners also learn how to protect and defend themselves using the various techniques learned. The biggest benefits through the practice of Judo, however, involve important mental and psychological development.
Through judo, students learn …
- discipline and hard work
- social manners, rules, and etiquette
- respect for themselves and for others
- fair play and honesty
- modesty and frugality
- patience and understanding
Judo Influence in MMA
Judo, originally developed in Japan, spread throughout the world when Jigoro Kano sent students off to demonstrate their accomplishments. Mitsuyo Maeda, one of Kano’s star students, traveled through many countries (all the while fighting successfully in challenge matches) until he eventually settled in Brazil. Maeda taught Judo to Carlos Gracie, who eventually opened his own gym. Carlos and his brothers modified this Judo (commonly called Kano Jujutsu at the time) into what has today become recognized as Brazilian or Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
Although the influence of BJJ in MMA is well-documented, Judo has made a big impact as well. For example, the bent-arm lock called Kimura in BJJ is an homage to Masahiko Kimura, a Judo player who traveled to Brazil and defeated (and temporarily broke) Helio Gracie with the arm lock that now bears his name.
Notable Judoka that have competed in MMA:
- Ronda Rousey
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Anderson Silva
- Frank Mir
- Yoshihiro Akiyama
Schedule: Tuesday / Thursday 6:30-7:30 pm (kids)
Tuesday / Thursday 7:30 – 9:00 pm (adults)