Judo (“gentle way”) was created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano as a modern form of Jujutsu which has become an Olympic sport. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke.
Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defences are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (Kata) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (Randori).
The philosophy and subsequent teaching methods developed for judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that developed from Koryū (traditional schools). The worldwide spread of Judo has led to the development of a number of offshoots such as Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Central to Kano’s vision for Judo were the principles of seiryoku zen’yō (maximum efficiency, minimum effort) and jita kyōei (mutual welfare and benefit).
Kano believed that “Jujutsu” was insufficient to describe his art: although Jutsu means “art” or it implies a method consisting of a collection of physical techniques. Accordingly, he changed the second character to dō, meaning way, road or path, which implies a more philosophical context than Jutsu. Thus Kano renamed it Judo.
There are three basic categories of Waza (techniques) in judo:
- Nage-Waza (throwing techniques)
- Katame-Waza (grappling techniques)
- Atemi-Waza (striking techniques)
Judo is most known for Nage-Waza and Katame-Waza.