Judo, meaning “gentle way”, is a modern Japanese martial art and combat sport, that originated in Japan in the late nineteenth century. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw one’s opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one’s opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking the elbow or by applying 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. While throwing opponents to the floor wins most matches, it is the only Olympic sport where submission holds allow choking an opponent or breaking an arm.
The Judo Rank System
Judo created the system of ranks, now used in most other martial arts, that recognize a person’s degree of knowledge, ability, and leadership. There are separate ranks for juniors (under 17) and seniors. Judo ranks are identified by colored belts, and ten degrees of advanced grades for black belts. Regular advancement encourages students to achieve more.
Principles and Goals of Judo
The principles of Judo, such as “Maximum Efficiency” and “Mutual Welfare and Benefit”, can also be used in our dealings with others in life. The ultimate goal in Judo is to develop oneself to the maximum extent possible, always striving for perfection, so that you can contribute something of value to the world.
Judo as a Sport
In 1964, Judo became the first martial art to be sanctioned as a medal sport in the Olympic Games. Judo competitions are also held throughout the world. Points are awarded for throwing an opponent, holding an opponent on his back while on the mat for a designated amount of time, or forcing an opponent to submit via “tapping out” to an armlock or choke or rendering the opponent unconscious with a choke. A match is won with a “perfect throw” called an Ippon, two near perfect throws called Wazari, holding an opponent on his back on the mat for 25 seconds, a combination of one Wazari and holding an opponent down for 20 seconds, or submitting an opponent with a choke or armlock. Members of the Notre Dame Judo Club are registered as amateur athletes in the State of Indiana through the state judo governing body, Indiana Judo Inc. Members are offered frequent opportunities to compete. However, competition is not necessary for membership in the club.