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A Brief History of Judo

Have you ever wondered why a judo uniform differs from other martial arts uniforms? Knowing the history and objective of judo will help explain the uniform's heavy, durable construction.

In his early twenties, Jigoro Kano founded judo, officially named Kodokan judo. This demanding sport came about when Kano studied the dated Japanese martial art called Jujutsu. He implemented what he believed were the best techniques of Jujutsu to create his own activity. Kano named his sport, Kodokan judo, which breaks down into ko (lecture, study, method), do (way or path), and kan (hall or place), meaning "a place to study the way." Judo means "the gentle way". The foundation of judo rests on the aims of physical education, competition proficiency and mental training.

Kano opened a judo school in the Eishoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo called the Kodokan. With increasing competition between judo and jujitsu (another Japanese martial art), Tokyo held a contest between practicing students to determine the superior art. Kanoís students won, which earned judo its exclusive status. The official categorization of Judo occurred in 1887.

People partake in the activity to stay fit, build self-confidence and to have fun. Judo is considered a sport to some individuals, while others see it as a discipline or even a way of life.

The combat form of judo is called randori, which means "free practice". Throughout randori, two judokas (the name for judo practitioners) attack one another at random. Participants focus on throwing and groundwork. Throwing techniques incorporate both standing and sacrifice phases. During the standing phase, opponents try to defeat one another by a throw, joint-lock or choke. If a judoka throws an opponent to his or her back, the judoka has control, which will increase the chance of winning. Groundwork often transpires after a throw takes place. Here, opponents try to win the match by pinning their rival. Judokas integrate hold downs, guards, joint locks and chokes.

The goal in randori is to force the opponent to "tap out". For example, when judokas canít release themselves from a chokehold, they tap the mat twice to indicate the end of the match. Due to the risk associated with judo, a person living in the United States must be 13 or older to use chokeholds and age 16 or older to use armlocks.

If seeking to perfect judo techniques, many people practice kata with a partner, which involves pre-arranged attacking and defending. Engaging in kata can promote both the physical and mental understanding of the martial art. Those who partake in kata, increase their rank. An option to learning judo on your own can be by purchasing judo books. Just pick one up when youíre out for martial arts supplies. Rather than investing in a kata class instructed by a sensei (judo teacher), self-teaching can help you achieve your desired rank.

Those who wear high ranking belts can potentially compete in the Olympic Games. The 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo first introduced judo as a men's sport. It officially became a medal event for women in 1992. Men and woman often train together, but play separately.

You might be able to distinguish the judo uniform from other martial arts uniforms because itís heavier and more hard-wearing than a karate uniform. Thatís due to the intensity of fighting. Plus, opponents need to be able to grip each other during combat. Judokas wear a white or blue thick, cotton jacket, secured by a belt. The color displayed on the belt indicates the judokaís rank. Knowledge and skill levels differ from country to country as well as the belt color. Find your own judo gi, judo books and other martial arts supplies in our online store.

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