Interesting Facts about Judo: Know your Sport!
According to Judoinfo, judo is the second most popular sport in the world, after soccer. This datum has been picked up widely in the US judo press. However, according to the International Judo Federation, in 1997 there were 2.2 million judoka worldwide, with the most color belts in Europe and the most black belts in Asia. The IJF is assuming the latter numbers to be reasonably accurate, then judo is more accurately described as the second most popular combative sport in the Olympics (ahead of freestyle, boxing, Greco-Roman, and fencing, and behind TKD) than a serious rival to volleyball, basketball, and jogging, with their hundreds of millions of participants.
More people practice Judo in France than Japan
Approximately 58,000 judoka are registered with the French Judo Federation. That number is a little over three times larger than that of Japan, birthplace of the martial art. Compared with Japan, where the number of registered competitors has been in a slight decline since peaking in 1993, the number of practitioners in France has continued to grow steadily since the judo federation was established there soon after the end of World War II. Symbolic of judo’s popularity in France is David Douillet, 43. A gold medal winner in the heavyweight division at the Atlanta Olympics and again in Sydney, he was appointed Minister of Sports for the country last year.
Judo for the Visually Disabled
Did you know that judo, along with other grappling martial arts are the most taught to the visually disabled? Judo is one of the few competitive sports that the visually impaired athlete can participate in fully without major accommodations.Blind athlete can attain a special sense of satisfaction from participating on an equal basis with sighted individuals. In competition, both “Shiai” (tournament) and “Kata” (forms), blind athletes have achieved great success against top sighted and non-sighted competitors.World class competition for male blind athletes has been available since the mid-80’s when the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) accepted judo as a Paralympic Sport and for women beginning in 1995. Today, opportunities exist for Local, Regional, National and International competition and training camps specifically for blind judo athletes.