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Tuesday, June 29, 2010



Judo ("the way of gentleness") is a relatively new Japanese martial art, dating only from the Meiji Period. The sport was developed in 1882 by Dr Kano Jigoro (1860–1938), a weakling as a child who took up jujutsu training to strengthen himself during his studies at Tokyo University.

Kano developed and systemized judo as a martial art from the older jujutsu techniques, which had been formulated in a number of "schools" under various masters in the Edo Period (1603-1868) as a means of unarmed combat training for samurai warriors.

This systemization and rationalization of a previous feudal form was part of the general modernizing underway in Japanese society during the early Meiji Period, as people looked to transform samurai ethics into spiritual disciplines and practical self-help techniques more in tune with the prevailing Victorian zeitgeist of the day.

In 1882 Kano founded the Kodokan (at Eishoji, a Buddhist temple in Kamakura) to teach judo to others and as his new style increased in popularity, it evenually displaced jujutsu in Japan.

Judo is based on three major principles: throwing (nage waza), groundwork (katame waza) and striking (atemi waza).

Judo spread quickly overseas as Kano and his students actively promoted the sport in the USA and Europe. Gunji Koizumi (1885-1965) the "Father of British Judo" settled in London and founded the Budokwai. Mikonosuke Kawaishi (1899-1969) taught with Koizumi in England before moving on to Paris to set up a judo school.

In the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, judo became an Olympic sport for men and for women at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

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