What is Judo?

 Judo is both a martial art and sport derived from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. Translated into English, Judo means “The Gentle Way.”

Judo techniques involve sparring/throwing (randori), grappling (newaza), forms (kata) and repetition drills (uchikomi).

Stressing leverage over strength, Judo techniques (throwing and grappling) allow a smaller opponent to defeat someone larger. 


History of Judo

Judo and the Kodokan (Judo’s birthplace) were founded in Japan in 1882 by the late Professor Jigoro Kano, the father of Judo.

Combining different styles of Jujitsu – of which he was an expert - Kano was able to develop a style of martial art whose aim was not to merely win fights and defend oneself, but also to train one’s body, mind and spirit.

A professional educator, Kano was instrumental in promoting Judo throughout Japan as a form of physical exercise, eventually making it part of the Japanese public school curriculum of the early 1900s.

Kano also promoted Judo and physical exercise outside of Japan and in 1909 became the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  In 1964, Judo became the first martial art to become an official event in the Olympics, experiencing international growth and recognition ever since.

Unlike many martial arts, Judo has resisted splitting into different styles and associations and continues to be governed by one association, The International Judo Federation (IJF).  


Philosophy of Judo

Kano’s maxims for all students, or judoka, were "maximum efficiency with minimum effort" and "mutual welfare and benefit." These principles were meant to be ways in which to live a positive and fulfilling life.  Read more about the philosophy of Judo. 


Judo as Self-Defense

Although meaning “The Gentle Way” when translated, there is nothing gentle about Judo techniques.  Combining takedowns (throws, sweeps and reversals) and grappling (pins, arm locks and chokes), it is a very effective form of self-defense. 

Commonly thought of as a ‘defensive martial art,’ Judo techniques tend to be most effective when being attacked, grabbed or brought to the ground; all situations that the experienced Judoka faces in his or her training.  Thus, when provoked, an experienced Judoka can prove to be a lethal adversary.


Kids and Judo

One of the more child-friendly martial arts, Judo imparts many lessons, including break-falls (how to fall properly); respect; discipline; team work and more. 

Many children learn about sportsmanship by participating in Judo tournaments; earning medals and trophies while also building self-esteem.  Those children that continue on in Judo earn belts and learn that with hard work comes rewards.


Adults and Judo

Judo works out all the muscles in the body, as well as the mind (tactically) – it has often been called chess played with the entire body.  Competition judo can be pursued from local regional tournaments all the way up to national, international and Olympic levels of play.

Adults can pursue Judo recreationally, competitively, or a as a mixture of the two.


Find a Judo and Martial Arts Club in Canada

Find a Judo Club in North York, Ontario


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