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About Judo

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

Judo is many things to different people: martial art, sport and way of life are just a few. Judo is one of the best forms of physical education. When Japanese educator Jigoro Kano developed Judo in 1882, his main goal was to create a comprehensive method of physical education for an evolving, modern Japan. After decades of international expansion, Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964.

Martial arts can be grouped into three categories: the striking arts (taekwondo, karate, kung fu), the weapon arts (kendo, iaido, escrima), and the grappling arts like Judo and jujitsu. Judo involves wrestling-like moves. It has no strikes and uses no weapons.

Today, Judo is practiced for fun, fitness, recreation, self-defense and competition throughout the world by millions of people. Judo has found its way into the school systems of many European and Asian countries. At the Olympic level, Judo's popularity is so great that it's usually the first sport to completely sell out.

Judo is a better form of physical education, especially for children. Judo training is tougher, so your body is better prepared mentally and physically to withstand the rigors of an assault. It's more complete because it has standing and ground fighting skills. It provides a better sense of true accomplishments because there is no "make believe" in its training. It's an excellent sport to cross-train in because it offers great development in balance, kinesthetic awareness, coordination and ruggedness.

Judo Q&A

Is Judo appropriate for girls or women?

Yes, females need Judo more than males do. According to many statistics, as many as one in three females will be subjected to an assault, mugging or rape in her lifetime. Judo training will give females the physical strength, mental toughness and self-defense tools to better handle an assault. Judo will also help females develop assertiveness and confidence to face the day to day hurdles in today's society.

Will Judo help me defend myself?

Some people will tell you that Judo isn't effective for self-defense because it's a sport. On the other hand, the same people will tell you that boxing, which is another Olympic sport, is effective for self-defense. The bottom line is that Judo is effective for self-defense because it is a combative sport. The competitive element in Judo training gives you a much more realistic preparation for self-defense situations, especially since Judo involves both standing and ground fighting skills. There are no forms or "air bashing" in Judo, only real interaction with a real partner who fights back.

Will Judo help me in other sports?

Judo is one of the best sports to cross-train in, especially if you play a contact sport. It's a natural complement to wrestling. Judo will improve your balance, coordination, kinesthetic awareness, strength, physical and mental toughness, and self-confidence, and will make you a better athlete.

Is judo practice physically challenging enough to substitute for time in the gym?

Yes. Judo offers anaerobic, aerobic, strength and flexibility training in addition to the technical and self-defense benefits.

Will judo help me be a better high school wrestler?

Yes. Wrestlers will benefit from being a Judo player. Wrestlers who do Judo become better wrestlers. Wrestlers will benefit from Judo's emphasis on leverage and finesse, and will learn a different set of combative techniques to complement their wrestling skills.

What is the best age to start Judo?

A good starting age would be 6 or 7 for most children. The starting age will depend on a child's maturity level, attention span, interest, and sports background.

Am I too old to start Judo?

That really depends on how old you think you are, and what kind of physical and medical condition you are in. There are people who begin Judo well into their forties. Judo is a sport that you can practice beyond your sixties provided you start early enough in your life.


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.


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