Judo is an Olympic sport enjoyed by more than 4 million men, women and children of all ages, and over 400,000 people in the United States.
The reasons for learning and playing Judo are varied. Judo is a sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational or social activity, an exercise program, a self-defense means, an interesting challenge, and a philosophy. A person may learn it to develop coordination, stamina, self-esteem, confidence, self-discipline, poise, muscle tone, flexibility, or obtain the personal rewards Judo provides.
Judo emphasizes sport, fun, safety, and full physical activity for top conditioning. It offers a type of fellowship not found in other sports and develops a keen desire to coordinate mind and body. One soon realizes that sheer weight, height, strength or age are not the governing factors of one's ability.
Judo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength. By training you in its techniques, Judo refines your body and spirit, and helps make the spiritual essence of the sport a part of your very being. In this way you are able to perfect yourself and contribute value to society. This is the final goal of Judo.
There is nothing mysterious nor secret about Judo, It is neither harmful nor dangerous. Skill in Judo is simply a combination of basic knowledge, speed, timing, balance, and coordination of mind and body. The only "secret" to Judo is lots of practice and development of mind and body.
As in all sport, Judo has a strict set of rules governing competitive play to ensure safety and enjoyment. For those who desire to test their skills, Judo offers competition at all levels - from local club and national tournaments, to major international events, to the Olympic Games.
Judo can best be described as a special wrestling form that emphasizes throws, pins, and hold-downs. In fact, Judo is best known for its spectacular throwing techniques. Players wear special clothes to help with the application of throws and other skills. This same clothing enhances control for maximum safety in practice and competition. Judo is also played on special mats for added comfort and safety.
If you like sport and physical activity, you will probably like Judo. Judo is an inexpensive, year-round activity, that appeals to people from all walks of life. Judo provides the means for learning and improving oneself - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
Judo, which means "the gentle way," uses the principle of "flexibility" in the application of technique. This is the flexible or efficient use of balance, leverage, and momentum in the performance of Judo throws and other skills. Skill and timing, rather than brute force, are the essential ingredients for success in Judo.
Dr. Kano felt that healthy social attitudes, as well as sound mind and body, could be developed through proper Judo training. He stated this Judo philosophy in two maxims.
The first maxim, "Maximum Efficiency," means that whatever one does, it should be done with optimal use of one's mental and physical energy. In Judo, you learn how to make the most effective use of both mind and body and apply this ability to everyday life. It is the basic principle of doing everything well.
The second maxim, "Mutual Welfare and Benefit," means that one should be considerate of and helpful to others. In Judo, students quickly learn to cooperate and help each other to advance in their training. This idea of give and take, or cooperation, can be applied in our association with others in life.
The final aim or goal of Judo, as expressed by Dr. Kano, is self-perfection or "The harmonious development and eventual perfection of human character." Simply stated, the true goal of Judo is to make a person the best that he/she can be.
Judo can develop a competitive spirit and a feeling of confidence in a variety of situations. Judo develops self- discipline and respect for oneself and others.
Regular Judo training can improve an individual's aerobic capacity, speed, power, strength, agility, and flexibility. As a sport that evolved from a fighting art, it develops complete body control, fine balance, and fast reflexive action. Judo uses virtually every muscle of the body and is an excellent overall conditioner.
For those who compete, Judo is both a challenging and rewarding sport. For those not interested in competition, Judo provides an excellent exercise or recreational activity that emphasizes fun with safety. Furthermore, Judo training gives a person an effective self-defense system with a decisive advantage if the need arises. Finally, Judo training teaches a person how to fall safely without injury, a skill unique to Judo and useful in everyday life.
Judo has a system of ranks designed to recognize a person's degree of competence, knowledge of the sport, and display of sportsmanship and leadership. There are separate ranks for juniors (under 17) and seniors (17 and older). Senior ranks are divided into student (Kyu) grades and instructor (Dan) grades. Like most martial arts, Judo ranks are identified by colored belts. Judo promotions are earned through organizations sanctioned by the International Judo Federation (IJF). An accredited promotion system means international recognition of your Judo rank.