Introduction to Judo
In Japan 1882 Judo was developed by Jigoro Kano, it was originally designed to help people who are physically weak to overcome those who were much stronger. That was the starting point for this great sport.Judo has evolved considerably from its roots in the Tokyo Kodokan to reach the Olympic Games as an official sport.
First appearance at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1932, Judo did not become an official Olympic sport until the men’s category was introduced by the Japanese at the Tokyo games in 1964in which Anton Geesinkfrom Netherlands won the gold medal in the men’s open weight event. The women’s and Paralympic categories were introduced for the Seoul Games in 1988.
Similarly to other martial arts, Judo is sub-divided into weight categories as well as being differentiated by gender and grade. Each gender is divided into seven weight categories, with men’s weight categories starting at under 60 kg then 60 – 66, 66 – 73, 73 – 81, 81 – 90, 90 – 100 and over 100 kg. Women’s weight categories are under 48 kg, 48 – 52, 52 – 57, 57 – 63, 63 – 70, 70 – 78 and over 78 kg.
This grading system allows the competitors to be more equally matched at the events. The Judo grading system incorporates nine different color belts, starting with whitecolor, then red, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, black and red/white striped. The red/white striped belt denotes a grade of the sixth Dan or higher. Competitive Judo is divided into two categories, blue belt lower and brown belt or higher. It is rare for competitive events not to be organized this way. To attain Dan grade in Judo, judoka must be at least 15 years old. To progress to a second Dan grade judoka must be minimum age of 20 years old.
During the competition, there are up to five ways to achieve victory. These include throwing your opponent and landing them flat on their back, forcing your opponent to submit with either a, strangle,chokeor arm-lock, holding your opponent flat on their back for 25 seconds and by counting points or by referees decision. To win by referees decision, the match needs to be finished with both judoka levels on scores after five minutes and an additional three minutes of golden score. The latter is the scenario whereby the first scoring technique wins. The scoring techniques are known as Ippon or full score (throwing to flat on back, hold-down or submission), Waza-ari or half score (landing your opponent on their shoulder/side of body or holding down for 20 seconds) and Yuko (hold-down for 15 seconds or throwing onto the side of the leg).
Concerning the awards, Judo competitionhas two bronze medals alongside the silver and gold medals. When a judoka loses the semi-final of an event he/she must fight what is known as a ‘Repecharge’ against the finalist’s defeated opponent from the quarter final. The winner of this match is awarded a bronze medal. Currently, Judo is the only Olympic sport to offer two bronze medals.