JUDO (柔道)

Judo (柔道), or the "gentle way", is a modern Japanese martial art and combat sport, that originated in Japan in the late 19th century. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking the elbow or applying a choke. Kicks, punches, chops and thrusts are also practiced, but only in pre-arranged forms. However, They are not allowed in judo competition or freestyle practice.

Ultimately, the philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for judo became the model for almost all modern Japanese martial arts that developed from "traditional" schools. Practitioners of judo are call judoka.

The early history of judo is inseparable from its founder, Japanese polymath and educator Kano Jigoro (嘉納 治五郎, 1860–1938).

Kano was born into a well-to-do Japanese family. His grandfather was a self-made man; a sake brewer from Shiga prefecture in central Japan. However, Kano's father was not the eldest son and therefore did not inherit the business. Instead, he became a Shinto priest and government official, with enough influence for his son to enter the second incoming class of Tokyo Imperial University.

Kano was a small, frail boy, who, even in his twenties, did not weigh more than a hundred pounds, and was often picked on by bullies. He first started pursuing jujutsu, at that time a flourishing art, at the age of 17, but met with little success. This was in part due to difficulties finding a teacher who would take him on as a serious student.

When he went off to the University to study literature at the age of 18, he continued his martial studies, eventually gaining a referral to Fukuda Hachinosuke, who is said to have emphasized technique over formal exercise, sowing the seeds of Kano's emphasis of free practice in judo.

The word "judo" shares the same root ideogram as "jujutsu": "jū" (柔), which may mean "gentleness", "softness", "suppleness", and even "easy", depending on its context. Such an attempts to translate jū are deceptive, however. The use of jū in each of these words is an explicit reference to the martial arts principle of the "soft method Juho(柔法). The soft method is characterized by the indirect application of force to defeat an opponent. More specifically, it is the principle of using one's opponent's strength against him and adapting well to changing circumstances.

For example, if the attacker was to push against his opponent he would find his opponent stepping to the side and allowing (often with the aid of a foot to trip him up) his momentum to throw him forwards (the inverse being true for pulling). Kano saw jujutsu as a disconnected bag of tricks, and sought to unify it according to some principle; he found it in the notion of "maximum efficiency". Jujutsu techniques which relied solely on superior strength were discarded or adapted in favour of those which involved redirecting the opponent's force, off balancing the opponent, or making use of superior leverage.

The second characters of judo and jujutsu differ. Where jujutsu (柔術) means the "art" or "science" of softness, judo (柔道) means the "way" of softness. The use of "dō" (道), meaning way, road or path has spiritual or philosophical overtones. Use of this word is a deliberate departure from ancient martial arts, whose sole purpose was for killing. Kano saw judo as a means for governing and improving oneself physically, mentally, emotionally and morally. He even extended the physical principle of maximum efficiency into daily life, evolving it into "mutual prosperity". In this respect judo is seen as a holistic approach to life extending well beyond the confines of the dojo.

Judo assumes that there are two main phases of combat: the standing (Tachi-Waza) and the ground (Ne-Waza) phase.

Each phase requires its own mostly separate techniques, strategies, conditioning and so on, although some special training is devoted to "transitional" techniques to bridge the gap. Some jūdōka may become quite skilled in one phase and be rather weak in the other, depending on where their interests most lie, although most are rather balanced between the two.

Judo emphasizes a free-style sparring, called Randori, as one of its main forms of training. A part of the combat time is spent sparring standing up, called Tachi-Waza, and the other part on the ground, called Ne-Waza. Sparring, even within safety rules, is considered to be much more effective than only practicing techniques. Using full-strength develops the muscles and cardio-vascular system on the physical side of things, and it develops strategy and reaction time on the mental side of things, and helps the practioner learn to use techniques against a resisting opponent. A common saying among judoka is, "The best training for judo is judo."

There are several types of sparring exercises , such as Ju Renshu (both judoka attacks in a very gentle way where no resistance is ever applied) and Kakari Geiko (only one judoka attacks while the other one relies solely on defensive and evasive techniques, without the use of sheer strength).

Judo's balance between both the standing and ground phases of combat gives judoka the ability to take down opponents who are standing up and then pin and submit them on the ground. This balanced theory of combat has made Judo a popular choice for many.

In the standing phase,the opponents attempt to throw each other. Although standing joint-lock and choke/strangulation submission techniques are legal in the standing phase, they are quite rare due to the fact that they are much harder to apply standing than throws are. Some jūdōka, however, are very skilled in combining take-downs with submissions, where a submission technique is begun standing and finished on the ground. Strikes (i.e. punches, kicks, etc) are not allowed due to their certainty of injury, but an athlete is supposed to "take them into consideration" while training by, for example, not fighting in a bent-over position for long, since this position is vulnerable to knee-strikes and other striking attacks.

The main purpose of the throwing techniques (nagewaza) is to take an opponent who is standing on his feet, mobile and dangerous, down onto his back where he cannot move as effectively. Thus, the main reason for throwing the opponent is to control the opponent and to put oneself in a dominant position. In this way the practitioner has more potential to render a decisive outcome. Another reason to throw the opponent is to shock his body through smashing him forcefully onto the ground. If an exponent executes a powerful yet fully controlled throw, he can win a match outright due to the theory that he has displayed enough superiority. In actual fact, this kind of victory is very difficult to achieve if the opponents are equally matched. Therefore points are given for lesser throws in the standing phase of combat. In a real fight, throwing an opponent in itself can also shock and injure them, and the impact can potentially knock the opponent unconscious (depending on the hardness of the fighting surface).

The standard Kokokan judo pedagogy dictates that any throwing technique is a four phased event:

* Off-Balancing
* Body Positioning
* Execution
* Finish

In the ground phase, which is considered the secondary phase of combat, the opponents try to pin each other, or to get the opponent to submit either by using arm-locks (Leg-locks are not allowed due to safety regulations) or by chokes and strangulations.

Hold-downs and pins are considered important since in a real fight the person who has control of his opponent can hit him with punches, knees, head-butts, and other strikes. If a hold-down is held for 25 seconds, the person doing the pinning wins the match. (This time requirement is said to reflect the time necessary for a samurai to reach his knife or sword and dispatch his pinned opponent. It also reflects the combat reality that a fighter must immobilize his opponent for a substantial amount of time in order to strike effectively.) In a match, a pin must be held for ten seconds to gain any score; a pin of less than 25 seconds will score, but will not win the match. A pin may result in a submission if the opponent is exhausted or cannot endure the pressure from the pin. This occasionally happens in competition, usually if the pin places pressure on an already injured part of the body, like the ribs.

If the person being held down has wrapped his legs around any part of his opponent's lower body or trunk, he is pinning his opponent as much as he is being pinned, as his opponent cannot get up and flee unless the bottom man lets go. While his legs are wrapped around his opponent, the bottom man can employ various attacking techniques, including strangles, arm-locks and "body scissors", while tying the opponent so that he cannot effectively strike from above. In this position, often referred to as the "guard" in English, the man on top does not have enough control over his adversary for the position to be considered hold-down. The man on top can try to pass his opponent's legs and pin or submit him, or he may try to break out of his opponent's guard and stand up. The bottom man can try to submit his opponent from his guard or roll his opponent over to get on top of him.

Scoring in judo consists of four grades of score namely;

* Ippon
* Waza-Ari
* Yuko and
* Koka.

An ippon literally means "one point" and awards the match.

This is awarded for a throw that lands the throwee on his or her back, since it requires skill to do this in sparring, for a mat hold of sufficient duration (25 or 30 seconds), or for opponent submission.

A waza-ari is awarded for a throw that does not quite have enough power or control to be considered ippon, or for a hold of twenty seconds. It is a half-point, and if two are scored, they constitute the full point needed for the win.

Yuko and koka are lower grades of score, and are only tie-breakers that are not cumulative with one another.

It is not uncommon for a match to be decided based on koka. For example, If scores are identical at the end of a match, the match goes to "Golden Score" in which the match clock is reset, scores are cleared, and the first to score wins.

The score for a pin is determined by how long the pin is held. A pin held for 25 seconds scores ippon, resulting in immediate victory. A score of waza-ari is given for a pin held for 20 seconds. A fifteen-second pin scores yuko and a ten-second pin scores koka. If the person pinning already has a waza-ari they only need to hold the pin for 20 seconds to score ippon by way of two waza-ari.

Joint locks (kansetsu-waza) are effective combat techniques because they enable a jūdōka to control his opponent through pain-compliance, or if necessary, to cause breakage of the locked joint. Joint locks on the elbow are considered safe enough to perform at nearly full-force in competition to force submission from one's opponent. Judo has, in the past, allowed leg-locks, wrist-locks, spinal locks and various other techniques which have since been disallowed in competition to protect athletes' safety. It was decided that attacking those other joints would result in many injuries to the athletes and would cause a gradual deterioration of these joints. Even so, some jūdōka still enjoy learning and fighting each other informally using these techniques that are banned from formal competitions, and many of these techniques are still actively used in other arts such as jujutsu.

Chokes and strangulations (締め技, shime-waza) are judo's deadliest techniques. They enable the one applying the choke to force the adversary into unconsciousness and even death. Strangulation cuts off the blood supply to the brain via compression on the sides of the neck, while a choke blocks the airway from the front of the neck.

In competition, the jūdōka wins if the opponent submits or becomes unconscious. A strangle, once properly locked in, can knock an opponent unconscious in 3 seconds. Although these are potentially lethal techniques, a properly-applied choke-hold, if released promptly upon submission or unconsciousness, causes no injury or lasting discomfort.

Judo practitioners traditionally wear white uniforms called jūdōgi, which simply means "judo uniform", for practicing judo. The jūdōgi is of a heavier weave in order to withstand the stresses of throwing and grappling.

The jūdōgi was created at the Kodokan, and similar uniforms were later adopted by many other martial arts. The modern jūdōgi consists of white or blue cotton drawstring pants and a matching white or blue quilted cotton jacket, fastened by a belt (obi). The belt is often colored to indicate rank. The jacket is intended to withstand the stresses of throwing and grappling, and as a result, is much thicker than that of a karate uniform.

While judo includes a variety of rolls, falls, throws, pins, chokes, joint-locks, and methods of percussion, the primary focus is on throwing (投げ技, nage-waza), and groundwork (ne-waza).

Throws are divided in two groups of techniques, standing techniques (tachi-waza), and sacrifice techniques (捨身技, sutemi-waza).

Standing techniques are further divided into hand techniques (手技, te-waza), hip techniques (腰技, koshi-waza), and foot and leg techniques (足技, ashi-waza).

Sacrifice techniques are divided into those in which the thrower falls directly backwards (真捨身技, ma-sutemi-waza), and those in which he falls onto his side (橫捨身技, yoko-sutemi-waza).

The ground fighting techniques are divided into attacks against the joints or joint locks (関節技, kansetsu-waza), strangleholds or choke-holds (絞技, shime-waza), and holding or pinning techniques (押込技, osaekomi-waza).

A kind of sparring is practiced in judo, known as randori (乱取り), meaning "free practice". In randori, two adversaries may attack each other with any judo throw or grappling technique. Striking techniques (atemi-waza) such as kicking and punching, along with knife and sword techniques are retained in the kata.

This form of pedagogy is usually reserved for higher ranking practitioners but are forbidden in contest, and usually prohibited in randori for reasons of safety. Also for reasons of safety, choke-holds, joint locking, and the sacrifice techniques, which can be very spectacular but often dangerous, are subject to age or rank restrictions.

In randori and tournament (shiai) practice, when an opponent successfully executes a choke-hold or joint lock, one submits, or "taps out", by tapping the mat or one's opponent at least twice in a manner that clearly indicates the submission. When this occurs the match is over, the tapping player has lost, and the choke-hold or joint lock ceases. This allows a merciful exit to the match, and therefore injuries related to these holds are quite rare.

Forms (kata) are pre-arranged patterns of attack and defense, which in judo are practiced with a partner for the purpose of perfecting judo techniques. More specifically, their purposes include illustrating the basic principles of judo, demonstrating the correct execution of a technique, teaching the philosophical tenets upon which judo is based, allowing for the practice of techniques that are not allowed in competition, and to preseve ancient techniques that are historically important but not used anymore in contemporary judo.

Knowledge of different kata is a requirement for the attainment of a higher rank.

There are seven kata that are recognized by the Kodokan today:

* Free practice forms (Randori no Kata), comprising two kata:
o Throwing forms (Nage no Kata)
o Grappling forms (Katame no Kata)
* Old style self-defence forms (Kime no Kata)
* Modern self-defence forms (Kodokan Goshin Jutsu)
* Forms of "gentleness" (Ju no Kata)
* The five forms (Itsutsu no Kata)
* Ancient forms (Koshiki no Kata)
* Maximum-efficiency national physical education kata (Seiryoku Zen'yō Kokumin Taiiku no Kata)

Judo rank is generally not considered of primary importance among jūdōka who participate in tournaments. Modern judo is primarily practiced as a sport, so there tends to be more emphasis on tournament records than on rank. Since rank does not determine competitive performance, and since tournaments are not structured by rank (except at the lowest novice levels), it is not uncommon to see lower-ranked competitors defeat higher-ranked opponents. An active competitor may not pursue high ranks, preferring to focus on preparation for competition.

Jūdōka are ranked according to skill and knowledge of judo, and their rank is reflected by their belt color. There are two divisions of rank, below black-belt "grades" (kyū), and black belt "degrees" (dan). This ranking system of was introduced into the martial arts by Kano and has since been widely adopted by modern martial arts. As initially designed, there were six student grades which were numerically ranked in decending order, with 1st kyū being the last before promotion to first degree black belt (shodan). There are ordinarily 10 dan ranks are in ascending numerical order. For dan ranks the first five are coloured black, 6th, 7th, and 8th dan have alternating red and white panels, and for 9th and 10th dan the belts were to be solid red.

The tenth degree black belt (jūdan) and those above it have no formal requirements. The president of the Kodokan, currently Kano Jigoro's grandson Yukimitsu Kano (Kano Yukimitsu), decides on individuals for promotion. Only 15 individuals have been promoted to this rank by the Kodokan. On January 6, 2006, three individuals were promoted to 10th dan simultaneously: Toshiro Daigo, Ichiro Abe, and Yoshimi Osawa. This is the most ever at the same time, and the first in 22 years. No one has ever been promoted to a rank higher than 10th dan.

Although dan ranks tend to be consistent between national organizations there is more variation in the kyū grades, with some countries having more kyū grades. Although initially kyū grade belt colors were uniformly white, today a wide variety of colors can be seen.

In Japan, the use of belt colors is conversely related to the age of the student. Some clubs will only have black and white, others will include a brown belt for advanced kyū grades and at the elementary school level it is common to see a green belt for intermediate levels.

Examination requirements vary depending on country, age group and of course the grade being attempted. The examination itself may include competition and forms. The kyū ranks are normally awarded by local instructors (sensei), but dan ranks are usually awarded only after an exam supervised by independent judges from a national judo association. For a rank to be recognized it must be registered with the national judo organization or the Kodokan.

While the rank requirements are specified by each judo association, the sensei ultimately determines all kyū rank advancement.

Dan advancement is strictly controlled by each judo association. A nominee for dan grade advancement must demonstrate competence in specific techniques and, usually, some elements of kata. These requirements vary somewhat between the different judo associations. Nevertheless, the associations mutually recognize each other's dan grades.

Although a fully featured martial art, judo has also developed as a sport. Judo became an Olympic sport for men in 1964 and, with the persistence of an American woman by the name of Rusty Kanokogi and many others, a sport for women as well in 1988. Popular legend insists that the men's judo event in 1964 was a demonstration event, but according to Michel Brousse, official researcher and historian for the International Judo Federation, Judo was in fact an official sport in the 1964 games. Thanks to Dutchman Anton Geesink who won the gold medal in the All Categories division defeating Aiko Kaminaga, Japan, judo lost the image of being "Japanese only" and became an international sport. The women's event was a demonstration event in 1988, followed by becoming an official medal event 4 years later. Men and women compete separately, although they often train together. There are currently seven weight divisions, subject to change by both governing bodies and age:

Under 60 kg
60~66 kg
66~73 kg
73~81 kg
81~90 kg
90~100 kg
Over 100 kg

Under 48 kg
48~52 kg
52~57 kg
57~63 kg
63~70 kg
70~78 kg
Over 78 kg

The object in a judo match is to either throw the opponent to the ground on his back, to pin him to the ground on his back, or to force him to submit using a choke or an arm-lock. Any of these score ippon (一本), immediately winning the match. When throwing, anything besides landing the opponent full on his back, such as landing on the hip or shoulder, will score waza-ari (技有), yuko (有効) or koka (効果) (waza-ari being the highest of the 3, koka the lowest), or no score. A waza-ari is a "near-fall", two of which will earn the match. Yuko and koka are scores of lesser value that are not cumulative to either that higher waza-ari. Rather, they are used as deciders if the match ends before either of the higher scores is achieved. On the typical electronic scoreboard, yuko scores 010 and koka scores 001. In the event that the match a draw, the clock is reset to match-time, and the contest is resolved by the Golden Score rule. This is a sudden death situation wherein the first contestant to achieve any score wins. If there is no score during this period, then the decision is by a majority opinion of the referee and the two corner judges.

After a non-ippon throw occurs (whether or not it is scored), combat may continue on the ground. Pinning an opponent (holding both shoulders to the mat) for 25 seconds results in ippon. Holding the pin for 20 seconds scores waza-ari; if waza-ari was previously scored, this constitutes ippon, since two half-points will complete the ippon score. An automatic ippon is also granted when one's opponent submits, which frequently occurs when strangleholds / arm-locks are used. If there is no ippon, the one with the highest score wins. Penalties may be given for being inactive during the match or using illegal techniques and fighting must be stopped if a participant is outside the designated area on the mat (tatami). If the referee and judges need to discuss something during groundwork, the referee will call sonomama (which means "do not move") and both fighters must stop in the position they are in. When they are done, the referee says yoshi and the match continues.

All scores and penalties are given by the referee. The judges can make a decision to change the score or penalty given by the referee.

Like any other sport, judo has an extensive set of rules. They can be baffling to the uninitiated observer, and even to the inexperienced competitor.

Judo rules tend to be motivated by one of two considerations. In the early days of judo, the primary consideration was safety. Thus, early rules prohibited joint attacks that were likely to result in injury before the player had an opportunity to surrender, e.g. finger and wrist locks. Later additions to the rules, while often also motivated by safety considerations, were also often motivated by a desire to keep matches dynamic and filled with action. For example, a late addition to the rules, motivated by the desire to avoid situations where players used non-standard gripping techniques to maintain small leads in points by preventing their opponent from attacking, allowed for penalizing the use of a non-standard grip for longer than three to five seconds. Similarly, late additions to the rules allowed for the awarding of penalties for stalling, non-combativity, and adopting a defensive posture.

Adding to the difficulty of understanding the rules of judo is that they are in constant evolution.

The literal meaning of judo is "the gentle way", but competition judo, one of the roughest and most demanding of sports, could hardly be called gentle. Regulation time in a World Championship or Olympic match is only 5 minutes, but will leave participants exhausted; in the event of a tie, matches proceed to an overtime phase called Golden Score which can last as long as regulation time.

Because competition judo does not contain the kicking and punching so common to other martial arts, Judo is often portrayed as friendlier than, for instance, Karate. Proponents believe this contributes to judo being underrated as a method of self-defense although advanced kata do contain defenses against kicking, punching, and armed techniques. In addition, while throws executed with proper break falls on soft mats can seem light and graceful, their more practical application on a hard surface (and potentially with greater intent to harm) could be dangerous. Even in the controlled environments of a match or dojo training session, injuries can easily occur due to a lapse in focus or overzealous application of a technique. Anecdotal evidence demonstrates that Judo techniques are often effective in self-defense situations.

It should be noted that the ability to throw an opponent to his back and apply a pinning technique is of enormous importance in these kinds of competitions, as is the ability to finish off a downed opponent with strikes or a submission hold. Judo, uniquely among combat sports, puts equal emphasis on the initial throwing and the final pinning and submitting phases of combat, ideally enabling practitioners to dominate grappling-fights from the get-go.