Judo originated in Japan (Japanese martial arts) in the 1800’s and was founded by Kano Jigoro. Kano’s martial art focused on two versatile phases of combat, which includes the standing phase and the ground phase. Each phase of Judo has its own strategies, special training, and techniques.
People who study Judo are called Judoka and these students do an extensive study on free-style sparring, which consists of sparring on the ground and sparring standing up. For the most part, sparring exercises are practiced to increase strength and promote a potent cardio-vascular system.
Some of Judo’s most popular techniques follow Kata, which are forms that display different martial arts methods. Kata is also used to illustrate techniques which are out of practice, not allowed in competition, or to demonstrate a correct carrying out of a procedure.
Although Judo is a martial art, it is also considered a sport. It was inducted into the Olympics in 1932 for the first time and became an official Olympic sport in 1964. The gold medal went to a Dutchman which helped eliminate the image of this martial art being a ‘Japanese only’ sport. Judo was primarily a man’s sport in the Olympics, but women also joined the sport in 1988. Men and women would practice Judo separately in the Olympics and still continue to do so, but training is co-ed.
The different techniques that are taught in Judo include pins, foot sweeps, joint locks, chokes, falls, throws, grappling, kicking, punching, and knife and sword practices. Many of these procedures are forbidden to use in contests for reasons of safety. During training and contests Judoka must wear a Judogi (a white cotton uniform with a colored belt which indicates a practitioner’s rank).
There are various styles of Judo including Olympic Judo, which is a form of Kodokan Judo, Brzilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kosen Judo, Russian Judo, and even Sambo. The main organization for Judo is an international one called the International Judo Federation (IJF).