What is Judo?
Judo is a modern form of Japanese martial art. Unlike other forms of martial arts, Judo has not been around for so long as it was an evolution from the older jujutsu. Today, it is popularly recognized as a sport.
The Judo sport gets its meaning from its own name. The word can be split into two separate parts. That is ‘ju’ which means ‘gentle’, and ‘do’ which means ‘way’. When you put this together, it forms ‘gentle way’. This brings out the whole idea behind Judo which is to use gentleness to harness powerfulness and hardness.
How Was Judo Started?
Having been in existence for over 700 years old, the Japanese jujutsu is the basis from which the Judo art evolved. This was after jujutsu lost much of its old culture when the warriors became more exposed to guns instead of swords. A jujutsu student, known as Jigori Kano noticed this and was determined that the art could change for the better. He was looking for a way into which it could be integrated as an acceptable spot in the modern-day world. He, therefore, improved some of the techniques and philosophies, hoping to refine jujutsu. However, a new martial art known as Judo ended up being born.
How Does Judo Differ from Jujutsu?
When he developed Judo, Kano’s aim was to remove some aspects of the jujutsu which he felt were quite dangerous such as a couple of the throwing techniques that were involved. He envisioned an art that focused on safety. Therefore, instead of just having a collection of physical techniques, he wanted to introduce a way of life wrapped around some martial art techniques. With this, Judo’s philosophies came to be maximum efficiency with minimum effort, mutual welfare and benefit, and softness controls hardness. He also incorporated a moral code encompassing several principles such as respect, friendship, and honesty among others.
Just like any other art and sport, Judo has its own specific terminology. One of the most commonly used is ‘judoka’ which is used to refer to the practitioners. There is also ‘judogi’, sometimes simply referred to as ‘gi’, and it is the name used for the uniforms. Having the judogi on is a requirement for safety purposes. Another popular term is ‘Kodokan’ which means ‘a school of studying the way’. This term is at times used to refer to Kano’s Judo style as a way of differentiating it from the other emergent Judo types such as the Olympic judo.
Apart from the terminology, we also have techniques that are special to the Judo martial art. The Judo techniques are usually grouped into three main categories.
Throwing Techniques- These are usually referred to as nage-waza. Throwing in Judo can be done in two ways. First, standing techniques that use the hand, hip, foot, or leg can be used. There are also the sacrifice techniques where one is required to fall on the other’s side so as to perform the throw.
Grappling Techniques- These are referred to using katame-waza. Grappling can be done using various techniques such as strangulation, joint lock or pinning.
Striking Techniques- Referred to as atemi-waza, strikes are only allowed kata, which is a formal prearranged practice as opposed to free practice.