The word "judo"
shares the same root ideogram as "jujutsu": "jū" (柔), which may mean
"gentleness", "softness", "suppleness", and even "easy", depending on its
context. Such attempts to translate jū are deceptive, however. The use of jū
in each of these words is an explicit reference to the martial arts
principle of the "soft method" (柔法 ,jūhō). The soft method is characterized
by the indirect application of force to defeat an opponent. More
specifically, it is the principle of using one's opponent's strength against
him and adapting well to changing circumstances. For example, if the
attacker was to push against his opponent he would find his opponent
stepping to the side and allowing his momentum (often with the aid of a foot
to trip him up) to throw him forwards (the inverse being true for pulling.)
Kano saw jujutsu as a disconnected bag of tricks, and sought to unify it
according to a principle, which he found in the notion of "maximum
efficiency". Jujutsu techniques that relied solely on superior strength were
discarded or adapted in favour of those that involved redirecting the
opponent's force, off-balancing the opponent, or making use of superior
The second characters of judo and jujutsu differ. Where jujutsu (柔術) means the "art" or "science" of softness, judo (柔道) means
the "way" of softness. The use of "dō" (道), meaning way, road or path (and
is the same character as the Chinese word "tao"), has philosophical
overtones. This is the same distinction as is made between
Budō and Bujutsu.
Use of this word is a deliberate departure from ancient martial arts, whose
sole purpose was for killing. Kano saw judo as a means for governing and
improving oneself physically, mentally, emotionally and morally. He even
extended the physical principle of maximum efficiency into daily life,
evolving it into "mutual prosperity". In this respect, judo is seen as a
holistic approach to life extending well beyond the confines of the dojo.
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).
Practitioners of judo are called jūdōka.While judo includes a variety of rolls, falls, throws, hold downs, chokes,
joint-locks, and strikes, the primary focus is on throwing (投げ技
,nage-waza), and groundwork (ne-waza). Throws are divided in two groups of
techniques, standing techniques (tachi-waza), and sacrifice techniques (捨身技
,sutemi-waza). Standing techniques are further divided into hand techniques
(手技 ,te-waza), hip techniques (腰技 ,koshi-waza), and foot and leg
techniques (足技 ,ashi-waza). Sacrifice techniques are divided into those in
which the thrower falls directly backwards (真捨身技 ,ma-sutemi-waza), and
those in which he falls onto his side (橫捨身技 ,yoko-sutemi-waza).
The ground fighting techniques (ne-waza) are divided into attacks against
the joints or joint locks (関節技 ,kansetsu-waza), strangleholds or chokeholds
(絞技 ,shime-waza), and holding or pinning techniques (押込技 ,osaekomi-waza).
A kind of sparring is practised in judo, known as randori (乱取り), meaning
"free practice". In randori no kata, two adversaries may attack each other
with any judo throw or grappling technique. Striking techniques (atemi-waza)
such as kicking and punching, along with knife and sword techniques are
retained in the kata.
Judo in the Olympics.The
first time judo was seen in the Olympics was at the 1932 Games in Los
Angeles, where Kano and about 200 judo students gave a demonstration.Judo
became an Olympic sport for men in the 1964 Games in Tokyo. With the
persistence of Rusty Kanokogi, an American, and many others, judo became an
Olympic sport for women as well in 1988. It is often stated that the men's
judo event in 1964 was a demonstration event, but according to the
International Judo Federation (IJF) and International Olympic Committee,
Judo was in fact an official sport in the 1964 games. Dutchman Anton Geesink
won the first Olympic gold medal in the open division of Judo by defeating
Akio Kaminaga of Japan. Judo then lost the image of being "Japanese only"
and went on to become one of the most widely practised sports in the world.
The women's event was a demonstration event in 1988, and became an official
medal event 4 years later. Men and women compete separately, although they
often train together. Judo has been a Paralympic sport (for the visually
impaired) since 1988. Judo is also one of the sports at the Special