Graceful but effective: the art of Judo
Many people consider Judo an ancient martial art form but are surprised to learn that it was actually founded in the late 19th century in Japan by Kano Jigoro. Jigoro initially studied in the Tenjin Shin’yo-ryu school of Martial Arts which was established in the beginning of the 19th century in Japan by Iso Mataemon Minamoto no Masatari. Both of these systems are derived from the more ancient school of Jujutsu in Japan.
Jujutsu itself dates to the period in Japan of the late 16th century. The art is distinguished by not training in the use of weapons, and fighters also Judokas do not wear any body armor. These traditions of Judo are very popular currently around the world with many practitioners at the local and international level in all countries. The sport is practiced competitively through regional Judo or Jujutsu associations, international regulatory associations, and the Olympics.
- Balance is regarded as very important for Judo practitioners to learn. This balance is required for evasive action, counter attack, and keeping one's feet in the match.
- Quick Movements are used by Judo Practitioners to enter areas of leverage beyond the defenses of an opponent, and to throw an opponent to the mat.
- Leverage is necessary to use the force of the body in motion to reroute the opponent to the mat and apply a pin.
- Pins represent the immobilization of the opponent through locks, chokeholds, and other moves similar to wrestling of Sumo.
- A pin of ten seconds scores a point, while a pin of 25 seconds will win a match.
- Throws are based in quick movement past an opponent’s defenses, or counter-attacks. Throws use points of leverage which are intuitively learned through repetitive practice.
- Submissions occur when an opponent has been pinned or a chokehold has been applied.
- Scoring is based on points awarded for throws and submissions or points deducted for penalties.
Judo and Jujutsu both value graceful moves and "gentleness" in the practice of this Martial Art. Thus there is a strong influence from the Taoist Martial Arts tradition in China such as Tai Chi. The practitioner of Judo must move gracefully through various stances to be effective. Both Judo and Jujutsu use grappling techniques to apply choke holds, locks, and pins to an opponent. When an opponent has been pinned through one of these maneuvers, the match is over. Points will be awarded based on whether the opponent was thrown, forced to the ground and pinned, or completely immobilized and subdued. Practitioners of the sport will compete in tournaments and advance by defeating opponents in this manner to challenge for championships or award medals. Judo training has also widely become popular for self defense and spiritual awareness across the world. There are teachers of Judo and Judo schools on nearly every continent and country, and competition in the Olympics, Good Will Games, and other international events is extremely competitive.
There are considered to be two stages to a Judo match: when the opponents are standing, attacking, and searching for the means to administer a throw, and the mat stage, when the opponents are wrestling on the mat. Students of Judo practice these techniques repeatedly at a Martial Arts school and then enter into competition. As such, all Judo schools focus on "grappling techniques" and throws more than striking and blows, and incorporate many aspects of wrestling in a Martial Arts format. The Judo uniform or "Judogi" has become standardized for international competition and training over the last 50 years.
Belt Levels in Judo:
- White Belt
- Blue Belt
- Yellow Belt
- Orange Belt
- Green Belt
- Purple Belt
- Brown Belt
- Black Belt
Judo is based on training through sparring, and it is necessary to enter a school with a good teacher. The beginning student will be awarded a white belt, and as he or she trains, learns the various techniques, and masters them, progresses through the degrees of discipleship to other belt colors and levels. The top respect is awarded with a black belt, and there may be up to ten levels of mastery within the black belt ranking system.Judo is popular worldwide, and children as young as 4 or 5 years may enter into training, continuing until old age. Judo is the basis of many other martial arts, and modern practitioners combine many styles into one practice or way. To find aJudo or Jujutsu school, visit the Martial Art School Finder which has a great list of all categories and locations.