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What is Judo?

Ronda Rousey

by Brendan · 0 comments

I’ve decided to write a series of posts breaking down each martial art used in modern MMA. Starting with each art’s origin & the main people who pioneered it. We then take a look at the main characteristics or the martial art (is it striking or grappling based), do practitioners wear a uniform? Does it stay stood up at all times or can it go to the ground? and finally can it be used as a form of self defence? The idea is to hopefully give you a general idea about what the martial art is about if you are thinking or taking one up to get into shape I hope these articles will help you decide which one is right for you.

We are starting things off by taking a look at Judo.

What is Judo?

ronda rousey what is judoThe term Judo is Japanese for “gentle way”. Although this combat sport has existed over two hundred years, it is modern in comparison. The founder of Judo was Jigoro Kano (birth name being Shinnosuke Kano).

Honorable Jigoro was fourteen years old when his affluent family enrolled him in an English boarding school. Jigoro Kano experienced cruel and excessive bullying during his schooling and this encouraged him to seek a mode of effective personal protection. Jigoro sought someone with extensive self-defense knowledge and discovered a teacher who instructed students pertaining to a style referred to as Tenjin Shin’yo-ryu. This style encouraged students to use technique over exercise.

Jigoro became an enraptured student and continued to study the combined techniques of randori (free practice) and kata (pre-arranged style). Jigoro increased his study, which involved a variety of knowledgeable teachers. He opened his own school and Kodokan dojo in 1882. Kano believed in the principles of Judo, which emphasized mastering self-defense techniques providing minimum effort and optimum efficiency over an opponent. He instructed his pupils to evade an oncoming enemy rather than wasting energy in the initial battle. Evading techniques result in the opponent losing balance, effectively lowering their fighting strength. This moment during loss of balance allows the pupil quick defeat of the opponent no matter how large, while using little effort.

During this teaching period, Japanese people had acquired a common dislike for this practice of Jujutsu. Jigoro realized his teachings would be widely accepted of the Japanese people by simply changing the name of his technique. Jigoro combined the first syllable of Jujutsu, which means “art”. He added the second syllable of do meaning “path”. The term Judo was born.

The combinations of three important techniques; throwing, grappling and striking provide the foundation for the teaching of Judo.

Combined Throwing Technique (Nage-waza)

The aim or goal in a proper throwing technique is to have your opponent on his back using three stages.

  • Kuzushi – This style teaches the initial performance of a throwing technique – the previously mentioned balance break.
  • Tsukuri – This style instructs the second phase of the throwing technique – situating yourself for the throw.
  • Kake – This style teaches the final phase of the throwing technique – final and complete execution of the throw.

Further Breakdown of Combined Throwing Technique

Jigoro’s teachings provided a deeper level or breakdown of the combined throwing effect, which includes three distinct techniques.

  • Ashi-waza – The technique using feet and leg throws.
  • Koshi-waza – The technique of using hip throws.
  • Te-waza – The technique of using hand throws.

Grappling Techniques (Katame-waza)

Grappling techniques are combined proper instruction by teaching pupils the importance of effective use on an opponent.

  • Osaekomi-waza – The technique of pinning or trapping an opponent.
  • Shime-waza – The technique of submission by choking or strangulation.
  • Kasetsu-waza – The technique of submission by joint pressure pain.

Sacrifice Techniques (Sutemi-waza)

This technique refers to the sacrifice of your own balance allowing you an effective throw of your opponent. The momentum of your falling body is used to your advantage to strengthen the throw of your opponent.

  • Yoko sutemi waza – Proper side sacrifice technique.
  • Ma sutemi waza – Proper rear sacrifice technique

Breakfall Techniques (Ukemi-waza)

Students practice breakfall techniques (Ukemi-waza) to ensure non-injury when practicing necessary throwing technique (Nage-waza).

  • Ushiro ukemi – Approach from the rear.
  • Yoko ukemi – Approach from the side.
  • Mae ukemi – Approach from the front.
  • Zenpo kaiten ukemi – Follow through to rolling break.

Striking Techniques (Atemi-waza)

The technique of Atemi waza combines tori (taker) and uke (receiver) strikes connecting with vital locations on the body. The term tori refers to the individual initiating and executing a waza while a uke refers to the individual you are performing it on.

Traditional Uniform (Judogi)

ronda rousey judoJigoro Kano is also the creator of the traditional Judogi. A judogi is a uniform worn during Judo practice as well as during competitions. Jigoro Kano derived the uniform from traditional Japanese clothing such as the kimono. The construction includes a jacket (uwagi), pants (shitabaki), and belt (obi). A typical Judogi coat is made of a canvas material while the pants and belt are made of cotton. When worn in competitions Judogi’s fall under extremely strict length and size guidelines.

Judo ultimately involves the implementation of these various structured techniques. Initially opponents compete in hand combat followed by the implementation of throwing techniques, which allows throwing the opponent onto their back. The final defeat comes when using the submission techniques. This allows for an effective pin of the opponent.

The most important lesson Jigoro Kano implemented is respect of every human being. While instilling courage, restraint and self-discipline respect is the most important technique.

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