About Judo

Fun Judo Facts

  • Judo is the most widely practiced martial art on earth.
  • Judo is the second most-practiced sport worldwide, behind the most-widely practiced sport of soccer.
  • Judo is the safest contact sport for children under 13 (American College of Sports Medicine).

Letter To Parents


Click HERE to read a letter to parents written by a martial arts instructor with 30 years of teaching experience.

He provides a good explanation of how martial arts can help your child throughout life.

About Judo

Judo, which means "The Gentle Way", is a Japanese martial art based upon the ancient techniques of jujutsu. In 1882, Dr. Jigoro Kano developed a scientifically balanced system to build the mind, as well as the physical body. Kodokan Judo was started as a result of Dr. Kano combining the best techniques, modifying and eliminating the dangerous elements of several Jujitsu styles. He gave Judo strong moral orientation with physical emphasis. Judo emphasizes controlling an opponent by turning their attacking force against them. Dr Kano created Judo as a lifelong sport and discipline to develop the mind, body and spirit to it's fullest potential. 

An exciting Olympic contact sport, Judo teaches body awareness and self discipline and provides developmental structure. Judo perfectly combines aerobic with anaerobic exercise. It develops strength, speed, agility, flexibility and endurance for all ages.

Judo is known for its spectacular throwing techniques but also includes numerous techniques for controlling an opponent while on the ground.  Judo is often compared to freestyle wrestling and while the two share many techniques, Judo retains many dangerous self-defense maneuvers.

A good judoka, one who practices Judo, will first use timing and leverage to bring his opponent off balance and execute a throw.  Once the judoka has thrown his opponent to the ground, he will use painful hold-down techniques, chokes, strangleholds, and armlocks to control and subdue the opponent.  If the opponent does not surrender, he will either have his elbow joint dislocated by means of an armlock or will be rendered unconscious with a chokehold.  A judoka first learns "ukemi", the art of falling properly to avoid injury.  All Judo practitioners wear a judogi and a belt.  Judo is practiced on mats for safety.

The main principles of Judo are "Maximum Efficiency" and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit."  The goal of maximum efficiency teaches the judoka to use the least amount of physical strength necessary to throw an opponent.  This is accomplished by proper use of technique and timing.  The goal of mutual welfare and benefit was an extension of Dr. Kano's belief that Judo could help the individual become a better member of society.  Dr. Kano felt that the personal discipline that Judo taught would extend beyond the dojo into daily life and could allow the judoka to become a more productive member of society.

Seiryoku Zenyo (Maximum Efficiency) and Jita Kyoei (Mutual Welfare and Benefit) represent the fundamental principles of Judo. Judo is also a method of training for the mind and the body, to be used throughout one’s life and daily affairs. The development of self-confidence, interpersonal relations, and the mutual respect for oneself and others remains the hallmarks of Judo and are the goals for which we strive. 

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.

Both competitors and recreational players are ranked by belt. There are opportunities for competition at all levels, from grass roots to the Olympics. Practiced in 182 countries, Judo has been enjoying immense popularity as a chosen method of physical fitness and means for competition.

Subpages (1): Letter To Parents