What is Judo?

Jigoro Kano

Judo was founded by Prof. Jigoro Kano in 1882. The school he founded is called the Kodokan. The word Kodokan, translates to "Place of Learning the Way".

Kodokan Judo comes to us from the fighting systems of feudal Japan. Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial arts of Ju-jitsu. Dr. Kano, studied these ancient forms in his younger years. He took what he learned from the Ju-jitsu schools and integrated what he considered to be the most efficient and effective of their techniques into what is now the modern martial art and sport of Judo. Techniques that required brute strength and force to be effective were not included into modern Judo.

Olympic Judo

Judo is made up of two Japanese words JU - Gentle or Yielding, and DO - Way. Judo literally means "Gentle Way". Judo takes from Ju-jitsu ("Gentle Art") the principle of using your opponents strength and force against him. Kano saw ju-jitsu as a disconnected bag of tricks, and sought to unify it according to some principles: he found it in the ideas of "Maximum Efficiency" and "Mutual Welfare". With that, he renamed his art "Judo", to indicate his view of it as a means of physical and spiritual development, as well as self-defense.

  • Kano's 1st Principal of Judo: Seiryoku Zenyo - Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort
  • Kano's 2nd Principal of Judo: Jita-Kyoei - Mutual Welfare and Benefit
  • Kano's Goal of Judo: Jika no Kansei - Strive for Perfection (as a whole person)

Judo is thought to be one of the first "modern" martial arts. Many of todays martial arts incorporate judo techniques into their own style. They may even include the name "Judo" into their style or school name. This can lead to some confusion. The judo that you see in the Olympic Games and is studied around the world follows the teachings and traditions of Dr. Kano and the Kodokan Judo School of Tokyo, Japan.

ude garame

The Martial Art of judo incorporates Throwing techniques (Nage Waza), Ground or Mat techniques (Ne Waza), and Striking techniques (Ateme Waza). Many of the Choking (Shime Waza) and Joint Locking (Kansetsu Waza) techniques can be used in either the standing or ground positions. Traditional judo is taught trough the use of Kata (forms), Rondori (free practice) and Shiai (competition).

The Sport of judo has developed from the use of rondori training. Many of the more dangerous techniques are not allowed, including striking techniques and joint locks other than the elbow joint. This has resulted in very athletic and spirited contests where opponents can fight all out. Points are awarded based on the efficacy of the techniques.

At SWPA Judo we utilize all of these aspects of training to learn Judo. Beginners start with the basics of learning to fall and body movement. After many Uchikomis (fits), beginners are introduced to the self defense and rondori aspects of judo. As the students skill level increases, the difficulty level of the techniques increases. This is most often manifested by the students rank.

kata guruma

Students at SWPA Judo are encouraged to enter competitions, although it is not mandatory. Competitions provide the student the oportunity to evaluate their skills against other students of similar rank, age and size. Competitions are held at all levels in both kata and shiai (free fighting).

For more information about judo go to the Judo Info web site.