Judo translates to “the way of gentleness.” Judo is a jujutsu or martial art that has its origins in Japan. Judo was developed by a man named Jigoro Kano in 1882 from traditional Japanese martial arts to be an ideal form of physical exercise and a reliable system of self defense against armed or unarmed attack. Kano mastered swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat and critically examined the older technical systems. He was looking for techniques that adhered to an underlying principle – to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy. The techniques in judo are those ancient techniques that adhere to this principle. Kano named his school Kodokan Judo.
Judo is system of martial arts that uses off balance (kuzushi) to disrupt a persons body mechanics so that he can be subjected to a throw (tsukri and kake) which brings his body to the ground. Judo also incorporates a sophisticated system of grappling including pins, joint locks, and chokes. Judo is learned through demonstration of technical aspects of the art followed by an opportunity to practice the techniques in a safe environment. Learning also takes place through katas and randori. Simplistically katas are prescribed movement series to allow the practice of techniques that might be dangerous otherwise. Randori allows for more free form practice without prescribed movement patterns.
Kano died in 1938 at the age of 78 returning from an International Olympic Committee meeting in Cairo. Judo has been an Olympic sport since the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Because of the Olympic history of judo, it is often practiced within the confines of tournament (shihai) rules. This means that judo from one dojo to another will seem very similar to a student. Judo also is a very viable self defense when practiced beyond the shihai rules. While our dojo does participate in shihai, we place a strong emphasis on the self defense aspects of the art.
We require all members of the dojo to become members of United States Judo Association (USJA) within six months of joining. USJA is one organization responsible for organizing and monitoring judo instruction in the U.S. USJA is part of the International Judo Federation (IJF) so as you practice and obtain rank, your rank will be recognized world wide. Membership in USJA also provides you and the entire dojo with liability and secondary medical insurance to you.