Judo

Judo is a gentle, non-aggressive martial art making it perfect for beginners or for those who are looking for basic self-defence techniques within a controlled environment. A gentle discipline and a strong sense of belonging can be experienced by those who practise regularly, making it a good environment for all. It has become a renowned martial art over the years and was founded in Japan in 1882 by Dr Jigoro Kano. It simply means ‘the gentle way' and consists of throws, joint locks, and strangles.

It was originally developed from Jujitsu, however all of the lethal elements of jujitsu were removed, and the techniques used within Judo were devised so that all the opponents force can be used against him and the syllabus is designed more to improve the fitness of those taking part. There is a well-known judo quotation ‘Maximum efficiency with minimum effort for the mutual welfare and benefit of all'.

Now an Olympic sport since 1966, judo has many devoted followers who work their way up through the belt system. In the west, much emphasis is on achieving the black belt, although Japanese instructors view the achievement of the black belt as the starting point for really learning about this martial art. White belts are worn by novices and various other colours are worn throughout the study of the style as further accomplishment is reached.

Judo uniforms, known as Judogi, is a loose jacket and trousers and these are made of a heavy white material, strong enough to withstand the force of being pulled and grabbed which this martial art is renowned for. Although there is much physical contact between those involved, it is very much controlled, and the emphasis is on technique. One of the first things taught in judo is how to fall safely which is important considering the nature of the syllabus.

Martial arts have grown in popularity over the years due to the films advocating different styles depicting extreme kicks and punches and supple, agile bodies, but many people continue to seek out the gentler non- violent attributes of Judo and still experience many of the benefits associated with other styles.

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