The History Of Judo

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Judo is a martial art that was originally developed in Japan in the late 19th century. It is known for its emphasis on throws and grappling techniques and is now practiced by people of all ages and skill levels around the world. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of Judo and some of the key events that have shaped it into the sport it is today.


What is Judo?

As mentioned above, Judo is a martial art that is characterized by its throws and grappling techniques. It was created by Dr. Jigoro Kano, who was a Japanese educator and martial artist, in the late 1800s. Kano was born in 1860 and was educated at the Tokyo Imperial University and went on to become the principal of a school in Tokyo.

Kano began studying Ju-jitsu, a Japanese martial art, when he was 18 years old. He noticed that many of the techniques used in Ju-jitsu were harmful and caused injuries to both participants. Kano was determined to develop a martial art that could be practiced safely and without causing harm to the practitioners.

By combining elements of Ju-jitsu with other martial arts and his own innovative ideas, Kano developed Judo. The martial art quickly gained popularity in Japan and eventually spread throughout the world.


The founding of Judo

Jigoro Kano founded Judo in 1882. At the time, martial arts in Japan were divided into two main schools: the Koryu (traditional) school and the Shinbudo (new) school. The Koryu schools were focused on preserving ancient martial arts and their techniques, while the Shinbudo schools were focused on creating new martial arts.

Kano decided to create a new school of judo, which he called the Kodokan. He based his new martial art on the principles of Ju-jitsu, which he had studied extensively. His goal was to create a martial art that was not only effective in self-defense but also promoted physical and mental development.

The Kodokan quickly became popular and attracted many students from across Japan. Within a few years, Kano was able to establish branches of the Kodokan in other parts of Japan and even in other countries.


The spread of Judo

Judo started to gain popularity around the world in the early 20th century. In 1904, Kano sent some of his top students to the United States to promote Judo. The students opened a dojo in San Francisco and taught Judo to anyone who was interested.

Around the same time, Judo was introduced to Europe. Judo became a popular sport in France, where it was taught in schools and universities. The French Judo Federation was established in 1946, and in 1951, France hosted the first European Judo Championships.

In the 1960s, Judo spread to other parts of the world, including South America, Asia, and Africa. By the 1970s, Judo had become an Olympic sport, which further increased its popularity.


The development of Judo techniques

Judo techniques can be divided into two main categories: throws (nage-waza) and grappling techniques (katame-waza). Nage-waza techniques involve throwing an opponent to the ground, while katame-waza techniques involve grappling on the ground.

When Judo was first developed, it focused heavily on throws. However, over time, Kano and his students recognized the importance of grappling techniques as well. They developed a wide range of techniques that could be used to control an opponent on the ground and apply submissions or pins.

One of the most famous Judo techniques is the ippon-seoi-nage, which is a shoulder throw. This technique involves throwing an opponent over your shoulder while maintaining control of their arm. It is a difficult technique to master but can be very effective in competition.


Judo as a sport

Judo has become a popular competitive sport around the world. Competitive Judo matches are called randori or shiai. Randori is a more informal type of competition, while shiai is a more formal competition.

Judo competitions are divided into weight classes and age categories. The goal of Judo competition is to throw your opponent to the ground and hold them in a pin for a set amount of time or to force your opponent to submit by applying a submission hold.

There are various levels of Judo competition, including local, national, and international competitions. The most prestigious Judo competition is the Olympic Games, which is held every four years.


Judo today

Today, Judo is practiced by people of all ages and skill levels around the world. It is a popular sport for children and adolescents, as it promotes physical fitness and mental well-being. Judo has also become a popular martial art for self-defense and is often taught to law enforcement officers and military personnel.

Judo continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its practitioners. New techniques are developed, and rules of competition are modified to make the sport safer and more accessible to everyone.



In conclusion, Judo is a martial art that has a rich history and continues to thrive today. Its founder, Jigoro Kano, created a martial art that not only promoted physical fitness and self-defense but also promoted mental and emotional well-being. Today, Judo is practiced by millions of people around the world and is a popular competitive sport. With its focus on safety and self-improvement, Judo remains a martial art that will endure for generations to come.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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