Judo is many things to different people. It is a fun sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational and social activity, a fitness program, a means of self-defense and combat, and a way of life. It is all of these and more.
Judo comes to us from the fighting system of feudal Japan. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial art of ju-jutsu. Dr. Kano, President of the University of Education, Tokyo, studied these ancient forms and integrated what he considered to be the best of their techniques into what is now the modern sport of Judo! Judo was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964 and is practiced by millions of people throughout the world today.
People practice Judo to excel in competition, to stay in shape, to develop self-confidence, and for many other reasons. But most of all, people do Judo just for the fun of it. Judo is best known for its spectacular throwing techniques, but it also involves a unique style of grappling on the ground using specialized pins, control holds, arm locks, and Judo choking techniques. As in all sports, Judo has a strict set of rules that governs competition and ensures safety. Judo emphasizes safety, and full physical activity for top conditioning. For those who want to test their skills, Judo offers competition at all skill levels, from club events to national tournaments to the Olympic Games.
There are separate weight divisions for men, women, boys, and girls. Judo is unique in that all age groups (from children to seniors) and both sexes can participate together in learning and practicing the sport. Judo is an inexpensive year-round activity that appeals to people from all walks of life. Judo develops self-discipline, and respect for oneself and others. Judo provides the means for learning self-confidence, concentration, and leadership skills, as well as physical coordination, power, and flexibility. Since it is a sport that evolved from a fighting art, it develops complete body control, fine balance, and fast reflexes. Above all, it promotes a sharp mind well-coordinated with a quick-reacting body. Judo training also gives a person an effective self-defence system if the need arises.