What is Judo? Practiced by millions around the world and deemed an official Olympic sport since 1964, Judo is a martial arts form developed in Japan hundreds of years ago. First practiced by the samurai and feudal warrior classes, Judo means “the gentle way,” referring to techniques which involve giving way to the force of one’s opponent. In practice, however, Judo is an intense physical sport and powerful means of self-defense.

Combining jujitsu with mental discipline, Judo techniques include throws, falls, and grappling moves such as pins, chokes, and arm locks. Judo does not involve kicking, punching, or striking and does not use weapons or equipment. Rather, two individuals use balance, power, movement, and gripping of the opponent’s judo uniform or judogi to try to subdue one another. Mastery of judo techniques takes considerable time, effort, and energy and involves rigorous physical and mental training.

Judo Way of Living or Code of Ethics

More than just a combat sport, Judo offers students a code of ethics – that is, a way of living and being. It is a part of the physical education program of numerous junior high and high schools, colleges, training centers, and clubs around the world where people are discovering the way of life known as judo.

Judo Practice Skills and Techniques

A student practicing Judo is called a Judoka, while a Judo teacher is called Sensei, meaning “one who came before.” This is a reminder that anyone can become a Sensei with time and practice and that the job of the Sensei is to instruct his students as he was taught by his former Sensei. The primary objective of a Judo Dojo is the continuance of the tradition of Judo.

Demanding great physical prowess and mental discipline, techniques and skills practiced in Judo include:

  • Lifting and throwing opponents onto their back
  • Pinning opponents down to the ground
  • Controlling opponents
  • Applying different chokeholds or joint locks until submission

Through daily practice, Judo students develop a sound base of fundamental skills, knowledge, and ability, allowing them to be formidable opponents in competition and turning them into first-rate athletes.

Benefits of Judo

Judo benefits people in multiple physical ways, including:

  • Developing physical fitness
  • Growth in strength and flexibility
  • Increased speed and agility
  • Greater endurance
  • Good static and dynamic balance
  • Improved reaction time
  • Excellent coordination
  • Increased self-confidence

Indeed, many students become bigger, stronger, and faster through their Judo practice.

Beyond the physical, Judo students learn:

  • To control their feelings, emotions, and impulses
  • About the nature of competition
  • How to overcome their fears
  • How to show courage in the face of pressure or fear
  • The value of a solid work ethic
  • Valuable social skills
  • About justice and fairness
  • To build meaningful relationships with others

International Judo Federation

Practiced by over 22 million people around the globe, Judo has become an international language which transcends cultures and borders and bonds countries and communities. For the latest news and information about Judo, visit the website of the International Judo Federation (IJF), which as an organization boasts the greatest number of member nations worldwide.