About Judo

Quick Facts

  • An Olympic sport since 1962
  • Est. 1882 in Kodokan, Japan
  • Practiced by young, old, men and women everywhere
  • A great sport, self-defense skill and fun recreation
  • Doesn’t include punching or kicking attack techniques

Judo means the gentle way, in Japanese. It was developed by Professor Jigoro Kano in the 1880’s, and was derived from Ju-Jitsu (the gentle art). However, Ju-Jitsu was anything but gentle. It was principally a fighting art for combat, with roots extending back 1000 years to China.

Professor Kano was an educator in the Japanese school system and an expert in Ju-Jitsu. He found that Ju-Jitsu was far too hazardous for the average participant, resulting in many injuries. Professor Kano sought to develop a martial art, which could be safely practiced by everyone as a sport and for physical fitness. He removed from Ju-Jitsu all of the dangerous techniques. What remained were the throws, chokes and grabbling techniques, which he further refined into what he called Judo.

The principle of maximum efficient use of power is the foundation of Judo. Power, in this sense means both mental and physical power. Simply put, it means to make the most efficient use of your and the opponents power – against him utilizing leverage and off-balancing, together with your opponent’s size, strength, and momentum, to throw him to the ground. Unlike Karate, Judo does not use any kicks or punches.

Professor Kano began his Judo in February 1882, and three months later The Kodokan Judo Center was established. Today, The Kodokan is located in Tokyo in a modern eight-story building. The Kodokan has nearly 1.5 million members – worldwide. The U.S. Judo Federation, the U.S. Judo Assoc., and U.S. Judo Inc. govern Judo, here in America.

The goal of Professor Kano was to develop a martial art, which could be utilized in physical education. In Japan, Judo is an integral part of the physical education for many children and university students. In the U.S. it is widely practiced in clubs and tournaments.