What Is The Meaning Of Hajime In Judo?

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In the realm of judo, the term “hajime” holds a significant place. As one of the most widely recognized words in the sport, it carries deep meaning and importance for both practitioners and enthusiasts. Derived from Japanese, “hajime” is an essential command that signifies the beginning of a judo match or practice session. Beyond its literal translation as “begin,” this single word encompasses a multitude of concepts and values that define the spirit and philosophy of judo. In this article, we will delve into the rich meaning of “hajime” and explore its relevance in the context of judo, shedding light on its historical roots, its role in matches, and its broader significance in promoting discipline, respect, and personal growth.


What is the origin and historical significance of “hajime”?

To truly understand the meaning of “hajime” in judo, it is essential to explore its origins and historical context. The term traces its roots back to ancient Japan, where martial arts flourished as a means of combat and self-defense. Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, recognized the importance of establishing a clear command that would signify the start of a match or training session. By incorporating “hajime” into the vocabulary of judo, Kano aimed to foster discipline, focus, and respect among practitioners.


What is the role of “hajime” in judo matches?

In the realm of judo matches, “hajime” serves as the decisive moment when opponents engage in combat. As the command is given, both athletes spring into action, relying on their skills, technique, and mental fortitude to gain an advantage over their opponent. “Hajime” represents the transition from stillness to movement, emphasizing the need for readiness and alertness. It signifies the start of a physical and mental battle, where athletes strive to execute their techniques effectively while adhering to the principles of judo.


How does “hajime” reflect the values of discipline and respect in judo?

Discipline and respect lie at the heart of judo, and “hajime” embodies these values in a profound manner. When the command is given, both athletes must adhere to the rules, regulations, and etiquette of the sport. This includes showing respect towards each other, the referee, and the spectators. “Hajime” represents the moment when opponents set aside personal differences and engage in a controlled contest, displaying mutual respect throughout the match. It highlights the discipline required to train diligently, hone one’s skills, and follow the principles of judo, even in the heat of competition.


How does “hajime” contribute to personal growth in judo?

Judo is not merely a physical sport but a holistic discipline that fosters personal growth and development. “Hajime” plays a crucial role in this aspect by challenging practitioners to push beyond their limits, both physically and mentally. As the command is given, athletes must tap into their inner strength, courage, and determination. The pursuit of excellence in judo requires constant self-improvement, resilience in the face of challenges, and the ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. “Hajime” encapsulates these qualities and acts as a catalyst for personal growth, pushing individuals to discover their true potential and cultivate a strong character.


How can beginners incorporate the essence of “hajime” in their judo practice?

For beginners embarking on their judo journey, embracing the essence of “hajime” can provide a solid foundation for growth and progress. To incorporate this essence into their practice, beginners should focus on developing discipline, respect, and mental fortitude. This can be achieved through consistent training, attentiveness to the instructions of their coach, and adherence to the principles of judo. Additionally, beginners should strive to cultivate a positive mindset, embracing the challenges they encounter on the mat as opportunities for growth. By adopting the spirit of “hajime,” beginners can build a strong foundation for their judo practice and embark on a fulfilling journey of self-discovery.


How does “hajime” extend beyond the realm of judo?

While “hajime” finds its origins in judo, its profound essence extends beyond the boundaries of the sport. The principles embedded within this single word – discipline, respect, and the pursuit of personal growth – can be applied to various aspects of life. Whether it be personal relationships, academics, or professional endeavors, “hajime” encourages individuals to approach every challenge with determination and an unwavering spirit. By embracing the spirit of “hajime,” individuals can cultivate a mindset that is driven by self-discipline, respect for others, and a constant drive for improvement, enabling them to overcome obstacles and reach their full potential in any endeavor.



In the world of judo, “hajime” goes beyond a simple command to begin a match. It encapsulates the essence of discipline, respect, and personal growth, serving as a guiding principle for practitioners. This single word carries the weight of history, tradition, and philosophy, infusing every judo match and practice session with its profound significance. By understanding the true meaning of “hajime” and incorporating its principles into our lives, we can strive to become better individuals, both on and off the mat. Let “hajime” be a reminder of the values and virtues that define judo and inspire us to continually grow and evolve.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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