Jigoro Kano's Judo

Jigoro Kano Judo Founder Performs Kata
Jigoro Kano Judo Founder Performs Kata 2
Karate vs Judo

The purpose of this page is to talk about Judo. Why Judo? Because I have been involved in Judo all my life. Judo is a Japanese word which translated into English means the Gentle Way. It was invented in the middle of the 18th century, around 1890's by Professor Jigaro Kano, who is a revered figure in Japan. He was an expert in Jui Jitsu, at Tokyo University. Jui Jitsu is a Japanese term meaning "the art of killing". It is a martial art, used by the Japanses Summari warriors. They were Japan's equivalent to Europe's Knight errantry. They were chivalrous knights whose job it was to protect with their lives, if necessary the Emperor of Japan, who was revered as a God. They had a code of honour, which they followed rigorously.

Jui Jitsu, uses several principles of movement, and balance. With the influx of Westerners into Japan and the introduction of firearms, the Japanese summari were no longer allowed to use their skills in combat to kill their opponents. Guns were slowly replacing the more traditional modes of combat, such as Jui Jitsu, Karate, and Kendo. With the advent of court justice, the Summari were losing their raison d'etre, and their spirit d'corp was waining. Jigoro Kano, knew it was no longer possible for the Summarai, to practice Jui Jitsu (the art of killing), so he removed the coup'de grate, in the Jui Jitsu techniques, with out disturbing the principles of balance, movement and respect for the opponent that are an intrinsic element of the Summarai's fighting code. He called this new form of martial art Judo, the gentle way, and taught the remaining Summarai and University students the sport. He made Judo into Japan's national sport and is recognised as a National hero for his work.

Judo is now an olympic sport and practiced by many countries throughout the world. It is strongest in Japan, but also very strong in Korea, France, Germany, England, Holland and Ireland. People of all ages and both sexes play Judo.


The principles of Judo are:-

  • Respect for your partner - A true Judo player, will always have honour. They will thereby never cheat, or play Judo in order to win at all costs. The aim is to play the sport well, and if winning is the result of skill well applied then so be it. A good Judo player will trust his opponent, and show that trust by bowing without looking at their opponent, at the start of a contest. This is tradition and stems from the days of the Summarai warrior.
  • Submission - An equal and opposite force is never applied to an opposing force. Submission, that is giving up your position in the event of an attack, and using your opponents attack by directing their energy is a basic principle of Judo. It stems from respect for your opponent. And this is the underlying reason why Judo is considered the gentle way.
  • Using your partners strength - Very similar to the previous principle, except it includes the addition of your own strength. Thus a small person can end up with the strength of two if this principle is applied correctly.
  • Positions of balance - Being on balance, spiritually, mentally and physically, is a basic principle of Judo. Balance means that your spirit, mind and body are in a constant state of equillibrium at all times, this can be achieved by being constantly aware of your own position and being able to predict with opponents movements before they occur. This is done through the sense of touch. That is why Judo is a grappling martial art.
  • Action/Reaction - The best form of defence is sometimes an offence, especially if a consistent reaction can be observed from an opponent. A good Judo player will know how to manipulate their opponent by an action that will create a predictable reaction. Thereby staying on balance themselves, and defeating their opponent by creating an imbalance in them. The aim of a Judo player is to stay on balance while creating an environment that will result in their opponent losing their balance.

How the Game is Played - The Rules (Overview)

Judo is a combative sport played between two contestants. The contest is played on a mat area. It is played between two contestants of the same sex and approximate weight. The contests last between 3 and 6 minutes long. They are controlled by an umpire or referee, whose decision is final and who can be backed up by the decisions of two side judges. The result of a contest is decided on who is able to over balance their opponent and either throw them in the air with force, and make them freely submit, by using a grappling technique such as a arm-lock, or strangle. A contest can also be won if one opponent is able to hold the other for more than the specified limit of 25 to 35 seconds. That is one opponent is able to get up while the other can't and is under the control of the winning opponent.


Techniques are divided into categories throws, holddowns, strangles, and armlocks.


Are ways of breaking your opponents balance, and using their strength to your advantage, to throw them to the ground. If the throw is executed with force and the opponent is thrown into the air, then the thrower will be awarded an Ippon score (a win). If the throw is not quite an ippon, it will be awarded a wazari (considered half a point or nearly ippon). Two wazari scores for the same contestant in the same fight can be combined to create an ippon score. A throw that is not quite a wazari is given a score of Yuko, and a throw that results in a contestant dropping to one knee can be awarded a koka score (koka has been dropped from the modern game), which is less than a yuko. Koka and Yuko scores cannot be added to escallate to the higher score. Throws are divided into :-

  • Hand Throws
  • Shoulder Throws
  • Foot Sweeps
  • Leg Wheels
  • Sacrifice Throws

Hold downs - Katame Waza

These are techniques where a contestant can pin their opponent to the mat, in such a way that demonstrates to the referees that they have taken control of their opponent, so that they are at liberty to escape whereas their opponent isn't. Hold-downs can be broken by the opponent breaking the control the contestant has on them. This could be done by wrapping the legs of the winning contestant, or by breaking the control a contestant has on them.

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