If you ask anyone to name one martial art from Japan, it is probably going to be judo or karate. Judo has been spread all over the world and is practiced as a common way to teach kids and adults self-defense. The word judo literally means ‘the gentle way’, and just like in most other Japanese martial arts, deflecting your opponent’s attacks instead of trying to hurt them as much as possible is the most important part of the sport.
History and Rules
Judo’s origins lie in jujutsu, and it was created over a hundred years ago by Kano Jigoro as a way to instill physical, mental, and moral teaching into the people. The key point of Judo is to overwhelm an opponent by taking advantage of their own strength and weight. While competing, thrusts and strikes are not allowed, and the goal of the game is to throw or take your opponent down to the ground and then immobilize them. If you immobilize them perfectly on their back, you will get a full point. If you imperfectly immobilize them or immobilize them on their side you will get a partial point.
The color of the practitioners’ belts shows class, category, and rank, indicating physical ability. For example, those of the lowest (beginner) class wear a white belt, and those who completed their training and are deemed good enough to enter the ‘dan’ ranking will wear a black belt. Once you have a black belt, the highest level you can reach is the 10th, which is a very rare rank to reach.
After WW2, Judo spread everywhere in the world and became an Olympic game. The International Judo Federation was founded in 1591 and currently has 187 member nations and regions.
If you come to Japan and are interested in seeing a judo training in progress, please let us know while you are booking with us and we will work with you to incorporate it in your itinerary.