Interesting Facts about Judo: Know your Sport!

     Judo is the 2nd most practiced sport in the world (2nd only to soccer)

     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.

     Judo is a Sport and a Martial Art

      Judo is an official Olympic sport; it was added in 1964, when Tokyo played host to The Games. Judo as a Paralympic event was added in 1988. Paralympic Judo events are for visually impaired contestants and the rules only very slightly from normal Olympic Judo.Almost every Nation belonging to the United Nations has a judo team…and in terms of volume judo is second only to soccer on the global scale.Many Special Forces, Military and Police Forces around the world include judo, along with other martial arts in there training to keep them safe. Judo has been practiced by police in Japan since 1886 when the Tokyo Police Department sponsored a competition between the then new Kodokan Judo School and older Ju-jitsu schools. There’s even a judo kata form for it… “RenkohoWaza” – Judo Arresting Techniques.

     Dr. Jigori Kano: The Father of Judo

      Jigori Kano, responsible for inventing judo, began judo history when he developed his own opinions and techniques regarding martial arts. In principle, Kano’s style sought to use an opponent’s energy against him or her and eliminated some jiujutsu techniques that Kano deemed dangerous. By the time Kano was 22 years old, people began calling his art “Kodokan Judo,” and Japanese society accepted the newly found style because of its sports- and teamwork-friendly attributes.Jigoro Kano was only 5’2″ and wighed 90 lbs. Because of many contributions in the field of athletics, Professor Kano is called the “Father of physical education and sport” in Japan.

     The Beginnings of Judo

       Oddly enough, judo history began as a form of Japanese jiujutsu, which the Samurai practiced and continually improved. During these early days, the Samurai used throws and joint locks as a means of defending themselves against attackers with armor and weapons. During the 1800s, jiujutsu was so popular that instructors taught more than 700 different jiujutsu styles. However, after Commodore Perry invaded Japan in the 1850s, the Samurai ways became lost and many jiujutsu practices disappeared, giving birth to the world of judo.

      Major Developments in Judo History

        After Kano created his school, called the “Kodokan,” he held a contest in 1886 to determine whether jiujutsu or  judo was superior. Kano’s students of judo won the competition easily. In 1910, judo became a recognized sport and, by 1911, was adopted as a part of Japan’s educational system. In 1964, this martial art became an Olympic sport and gave credence to Kano’s long-ago dreams. Today, millions of people visit the first Kodokan Dojo every year.As both an effective and efficient martial art, judo has taught students how to use their opponents’ energy against them for hundreds of years. For help deciding whether this martial arts style is a good option for you, it is a good idea to consult with a professional judo instructor.

     The Philosophy of Judo “the gentle way”

      Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder and president of the University of Education in Tokyo, Japan, developed the principles of judo, which include maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit. Maximum efficiency teaches you to use the least amount of strength necessary to throw an opponent with proper techniques and timing. Subsequently, the goal of mutual welfare and benefit is to teach you to become a better member of society through studying this martial arts style. While most people practice judo simply because it is a fun social activity that provides great exercise and a means to learn self-defense, others use this art as a way of life. Like most popular martial arts, judo awards its practitioners with colored belts, including white for beginners, yellow, green, and brown for intermediate students, and black belts for masters.

      Judo Techniques “It’s about control not brute force”

     In the world of judo, spectacular throwing techniques and those useful for controlling an opponent while on the ground are the most well-known moves. A master judoka, a practitioner of judo, uses his or her opponent’s advantage against him or her to bring an opponent to the ground with throws or take downs. Once the opponent is down, the judoka applies joint-manipulating holds, chokes, strangleholds, and arm locks to subdue the opponent. During the process of learning these maneuvers, judokas learn how to fall safely to avoid injury.


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