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Judo is a Japanese martial art based upon the ancient techniques of jujutsu. Judo means `the gentle way` in Japanese. It is a sport of unarmed combat intended to train the body and mind. It teaches the principle of flexibility in the application of technique.
Judo can be many things; an art, a discipline, a fun sport, a recreational or social activity, a fitness programme, a means of self defence or combat and even a way of life.
Judo was founded in 1882 by Dr Jigoro Kano, who studied the ancient form of jujutsu and integrated the best techniques into modern Judo. It was introduced into the Olympics in 1954 and is practised by millions of people throughout the world. There is also an annual Judo World Championship.
It is a competitive sport where the objective is to either throw or takedown one`s opponent to the ground, then immobilise or otherwise subdue them with a grappling manoeuvre, or force them to submit by joint locking or by executing a strangle hold or choke.
Judo is all about the flexible or efficient use of balance, leverage and movement in the performance of judo throws and other skills. Skill, technique and timing, rather than the use of brute strength, is the key to success in Judo. To overcome a stronger opponent it is often better to give way rather than use force, as adjusting to and evading the attack will cause the opponent to lose balance, thus reducing his power and resulting in his defeat.
Judo develops self-discipline and respect for oneself and others. It provides the means for learning self confidence, concentration and leadership skills, as well as physical coordination, power and flexibility. Judo develops complete body control, fine balance and fast reflexive action.
Judo has a ranking system that recognises a person`s degree of knowledge, ability and leadership. There are junior and senior ranks, which are identified by coloured belts, and ten degrees of advanced grades for black belts. Regular advancement encourages students to achieve more.
Judo is an inexpensive activity that can be enjoyed by all sorts of people and it is a year-round activity. Injuries can occur but a lot of time is spent on learning to fall properly and the manoeuvres are performed on safety mats.
You will need a Judogi which is the white uniform worn in Judo. The jacket is designed to withstand the stresses of grappling.