. The soft method is characterized by the indirect application of force to defeat an opponent. More specifically, it is the principle of using one's opponent's strength against him and adapting well to changing circumstances. For example, if the attacker was to push against his opponent he would find his opponent stepping to the side and allowing his momentum (often with the aid of a foot to trip him up) to throw him forwards (the inverse being true for pulling.) Kano saw jujutsu as a disconnected bag of tricks, and sought to unify it according to a principle, which he found in the notion of "maximum efficiency". Jujutsu techniques that relied solely on superior strength were discarded or adapted in favour of those that involved redirecting the opponent's force, off-balancing the opponent, or making use of superior leverage.

The second characters of judo and jujutsu differ. Where Nihongo|jujutsu|柔術|jūjutsu means the "art" or "science" of softness, Nihongo|judo|柔道|jūdō means the "way" of softness. The use of Nihongo|""|道, meaning way, road or path (and is the same character as the Chinese word "tao"), has philosophical overtones. This is the same distinction as is made between Budō and Bujutsu. Use of this word is a deliberate departure from ancient martial arts, whose sole purpose was for killing. Kano saw judo as a means for governing and improving oneself physically, mentally, emotionally and morally. He even extended the physical principle of maximum efficiency into daily life, evolving it into "mutual prosperity". In this respect, judo is seen as a holistic approach to life extending well beyond the confines of the dojo.

Judoka (practitioner)

A practitioner of judo is known as a judoka or 'judo player', though traditionally only those of 4th Dan or higher were called "judoka". The suffix -ka, when added to a noun, means a person with expertise or special knowledge on that subject. For example, "Benkyo-ka" means "scholar". Other practitioners below the rank of 4th dan were called "kenkyu-sei" or "trainees". However, today the term judoka is used worldwide to refer to any practitioner of judo without any particular level of expertise being implied.

A judo teacher is called sensei. The word sensei comes from "sen" or "saki" (before) and "sei" (life) – i.e. one who has preceded you. In Western dojos it is common to call any instructor of "dan" grade "sensei". Traditionally, that title was reserved for instructors of 4th "dan" and above.

Judogi (uniform)

Judo practitioners traditionally wear white uniforms called "jūdōgi", which simply means "judo uniform", for practicing judo. Sometimes the word is seen shortened simply to "gi" (uniform). The "jūdōgi" was created by Kano in 1907, and similar uniforms were later adopted by many other martial arts.Fact|date=March 2007 The modern "jūdōgi" consists of white or blue cotton drawstring pants and a matching white or blue quilted cotton jacket, fastened by a belt ("obi"). The belt is usually coloured to indicate rank. The jacket is intended to withstand the stresses of grappling, and as a result, is much thicker than that of a karate uniform ("karategi").

The modern use of the blue judogi was first suggested by Anton Geesink at the 1986 Maastricht IJF DC Meeting.cite web
title=Introduction of the Blue Judogi
publisher=International Judo Federation
] For competition, a blue "jūdōgi" is worn by one of the two competitors for ease of distinction by judges, referees, and spectators. In Japan, both judoka still use a white judogi and the traditional red sash (based on the colours of the Japanese flag) is affixed to the belt of one competitor. Outside Japan, a coloured sash may also be used for convenience in minor competitions, the blue "jūdōgi" only being mandatory at the regional or higher levels. Japanese practitioners and purists tend to look down on the use of blue "jūdōgi".

Techniques & practice

While judo includes a variety of rolls, falls, throws, hold downs, chokes, joint-locks, and strikes, the primary focus is on Nihongo|throwing|投げ技|nage-waza, and groundwork ("ne-waza"). Throws are divided in two groups of techniques, standing techniques ("tachi-waza"), and Nihongo|sacrifice techniques|捨身技|sutemi-waza. Standing techniques are further divided into Nihongo|hand techniques|手技|te-waza, Nihongo|hip techniques|腰技|koshi-waza, and Nihongo|foot and leg techniques|足技|ashi-waza. Sacrifice techniques are divided into Nihongo|those in which the thrower falls directly backwards|真捨身技|ma-sutemi-waza, and Nihongo|those in which he falls onto his side|橫捨身技|yoko-sutemi-waza.

The ground fighting techniques are divided into Nihongo|attacks against the joints or joint locks|関節技|kansetsu-waza, Nihongo|strangleholds or chokeholds|絞技|shime-waza, and Nihongo|holding or pinning techniques|押込技|osaekomi-waza.

A kind of sparring is practised in judo, known as Nihongo|"randori"|乱取り, meaning "free practice". In "randori", two adversaries may attack each other with any judo throw or grappling technique. Striking techniques ("atemi-waza") such as kicking and punching, along with knife and sword techniques are retained in the "kata". This form of pedagogy is usually reserved for higher ranking practitioners (for instance, in the "kime-no-kata"), but are forbidden in contest, and usually prohibited in "randori" for reasons of safety. Also for reasons of safety, chokeholds, joint locking, and the sacrifice techniques are subject to age or rank restrictions. For example, in the United States one must be 13 or older to use chokeholds, and 16 or older to use armlocks.

In "randori" and tournament ("shiai") practice, when an opponent successfully executes a chokehold or joint lock, one submits, or "taps out", by tapping the mat or one's opponent at least twice in a manner that clearly indicates the submission. When this occurs the match is over, the tapping player has lost, and the chokehold or joint lock ceases.

Kata (forms)

Forms ("kata") are pre-arranged patterns of attack and defence, which in judo are practised with a partner for the purpose of perfecting judo techniques. More specifically, their purposes include illustrating the basic principles of judo, demonstrating the correct execution of a technique, teaching the philosophical tenets upon which judo is based, allowing for the practice of techniques that are not allowed in competition, and to preserve ancient techniques that are historically important but are no longer used in contemporary judo.

Knowledge of various kata is a requirement for the attainment of a higher rank.

There are seven "kata" that are recognised by the Kodokan today:

*Free practice forms ("Randori no Kata"), comprising two "kata":
**Throwing forms ("Nage no Kata")
**Grappling forms ("Katame no Kata")
*Old style self-defence forms ("Kime no Kata")
*Modern self-defence forms ("Kodokan Goshin Jutsu")
*Forms of "gentleness" ("Ju no Kata")
*The five forms ("Itsutsu no Kata")
*Ancient forms ("Koshiki no Kata") [http://www.judo-educazione.it/video/koshiki_en.html]
*Maximum-efficiency national physical education kata ("Seiryoku Zen'yō Kokumin Taiiku no Kata")

There are also other kata that are not officially recognised by the Kodokan but that continue to be practised. The most prominent example of these is the Go no sen no kata, a kata that focuses on counter-attacks to attempted throws.

Randori (sparring)

Judo emphasizes a free-style sparring, called "randori", as one of its main forms of training. Part of the combat time is spent sparring standing up, called "tachi-waza", and the other part on the ground, called "ne-waza". Sparring, even subject to safety rules, is much more practically effective than only practicing techniques on their own, which is what jujutsuka were used to doing. Using full strength develops the muscles and cardio-vascular system on the physical side of things, and it develops strategy and reaction time on the mental side of things, and helps the practitioner learn to use techniques against a resisting opponent. A common saying among judoka is "The best training for judo is judo."

There are several types of sparring exercises, such as "ju renshu" (both judoka attack in a very gentle way where no resistance is applied); and "kakari geiko" (only one judoka attacks while the other one relies solely on defensive and evasive techniques, but without the use of sheer strength.)

Combat phases

In judo, there are two main phases of combat: the standing ("tachi-waza") and the ground ("ne-waza") phase. Each phase requires its own (mostly separate) techniques, strategies, "randori", conditioning and so on. Special training is also devoted to "transitional" techniques to bridge the gap. "Jūdōka" may become quite skilled in one phase and be rather weak in the other, depending on where their interests most lie, although most are balanced between the two.

Judo's balance between both the standing and ground phases of combat gives judoka the ability to take down opponents who are standing up and then pin and submit them on the ground. This "balanced theory of combat" has made judo a popular choice of martial art or combat sport.

tanding phase

In the standing phase, which has primacy according to the contest rules, the opponents attempt to throw each other. Although standing joint-lock and choke/strangulation submission techniques are legal in the standing phase, [ [http://www.ijf.org/rule/rule_referee.asp?Code=2 Shiai rules] ] they are quite rare due to the fact that they are much harder to apply standing than throws are. Some "jūdōka", however, are very skilled in combining takedowns with submissions, where a submission technique is begun standing and finished on the ground.

Strikes (i.e. punches, kicks, etc...) are not allowed due to their certainty of injury, but an athlete is supposed to "take them into consideration" while training by, for example, not fighting in a bent-over position for long, since this position is vulnerable to knee-strikes and other striking attacks.

The main purpose of the throwing techniques ("nage waza") is to take an opponent who is standing on his feet, mobile and dangerous, down onto his back where he cannot move as effectively. Thus, the main reason for throwing the opponent is to control the opponent and to put oneself in a dominant position. In this way the practitioner has more potential to render a decisive outcome. Another reason to throw the opponent is to shock his body through smashing him forcefully onto the ground. If an opponent executes a powerful yet fully controlled throw, he can win a match outright (by "ippon") on the basis that he has displayed sufficient superiority. A lower score is given for lesser throws. A score for a throw is only given when executed starting from a standing position.

In keeping with Kano's emphasis on scientific analysis and reasoning, the standard Kodokan judo pedagogy dictates that any throwing technique is theoretically a four phased event: off-balancing ("kuzushi"); Nihongo|body positioning|作り|tsukuri; Nihongo|execution|掛け|kake; and finally Nihongo|the finish or coup de grâce|極め|kime. Each phase follows the previous one with great rapidity - ideally they happen almost simultaneously.

Ground phase

In competition, combat may continue on the ground after a throw occurs or if the contestants otherwise legally end up on the ground; a contestant is not allowed to simply drop to the ground to commence ground fighting. [Legal ways that contestants may commence ground fighting are as a result of a throw; or of a 'skillful' takedown; or if one contestant is dragged to the ground; or if a contestant otherwise loses balance and falls to the ground. (Of course, if an Ippon is scored from the throw, the match is immediately terminated.)]

On the ground, the contestants aim to either obtain a hold down, or to get their opponent to submit either by using a choke or strangulation or armlock (locks on joints other than the elbow are not allowed for safety reasons.)

Hold downs

Nihongo|Hold downs|押さえ込み|osaekomi are important since in a real fight the person who has control of his opponent can hit him with punches, knees, headbutts, and other strikes. If "osaekomi" is maintained for twenty-five seconds, the person doing the holding down wins the match. An "osaekomi" involves holding an opponent principally on their back, and free of their legs.

According to the rules as they stood in 1905, it was only necessary to hold down an opponent, on his shoulders, for two seconds - said to reflect the time necessary for a samurai to reach his knife or sword and dispatch his held opponent. The newer longer requirements reflect the combat reality that a fighter must immobilize his opponent for a substantial amount of time in order to strike effectively.

The score for a hold down is determined by how long the hold down is held. A hold down may sometimes result in a submission if the opponent cannot endure the pressure from the hold down.

The 'guard' and 'body scissors'

If the person being held down has wrapped his legs around any part of his opponent's lower body or trunk, he is pinning his opponent as much as he is being pinned, because his opponent cannot get up and flee unless the person on the bottom lets go. While his legs are wrapped around his opponent, the person on the bottom can employ various attacking techniques, including strangles, armlocks and "body scissors" ("do-jime"), while controlling the opponent so that he cannot effectively strike from above. In this position, often referred to as the "guard" in English, the person on top does not have enough control over his adversary for the position to be considered "osaekomi". (Note that while the guard is commonly used, "do-jime" is no longer legal in competition judo.) The person on top can try to pass his opponent's legs and in turn hold down or submit him, or he may try to break out of his opponent's guard and stand up. The person on the bottom can try to submit his opponent from his guard or roll his opponent over to get on top of him.

Joint locks

Joint locks ("kansetsu-waza") are effective combat techniques because they enable a "jūdōka" to control his opponent through pain-compliance, or if necessary, to cause breakage of the locked joint. Joint locks on the elbow are considered safe enough to perform at nearly full-force in competition to force submission from one's opponent. Judo has, in the past, allowed leglocks, wristlocks, spinal locks and various other techniques that have since been disallowed in competition to protect athletes' safety. It was decided that attacking those other joints would result in many injuries to the athletes and would cause a gradual deterioration of these joints. Even so, some "jūdōka" still enjoy learning and fighting each other informally using these techniques that are banned from formal competitions, and many of these techniques are still actively used in other arts such as sambo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and jujutsu.

Chokes and strangulations

Nihongo|Chokes and strangulations|締め技|shime-waza enable the one applying the choke to force the adversary into unconsciousness and even death. Strangulation cuts off the blood supply to the brain via compression on the sides of the neck, while a choke blocks the airway from the front of the neck. The terms are frequently interchangeable in common usage, and a formal differentiation is not made by most "jūdōka". [ [http://www.judoinfo.com/shimewaza.htm The Challenges of Shimewaza] by Elie A. Morrell, Shichidan (judoinfo.com)] In competition, the "jūdōka" wins if the opponent submits or becomes unconscious. A strangle, once properly locked in, can render an opponent unconscious in only a few seconds, but normally causes no injury.

As a sport

Although a fully featured martial art, judo has also developed as a sport.

The first time judo was seen in the Olympics was at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, where Kano and about 200 judo students gave a demonstration. [ [http://www.judoinfo.com/kano.htm The Contribution of Judo to Education] by Kano Jigoro (judoinfo.com)] Judo became an Olympic sport for men in the 1964 Games in Tokyo. With the persistence of Rusty Kanokogi, an American, and many others, judo became an Olympic sport for women as well in 1988. It is often stated that the men's judo event in 1964 was a demonstration event, but according to the International Judo Federation (IJF) and International Olympic Committee, Judo was in fact an official sport in the 1964 games. Dutchman Anton Geesink won the first Olympic gold medal in the open division of Judo by defeating Aiko Kaminaga of Japan. Judo then lost the image of being "Japanese only" and went on to become one of the most widely practised sports in the world. The women's event was a demonstration event in 1988, and became an official medal event 4 years later. Men and women compete separately, although they often train together. Judo has been a Paralympic sport (for the visually impaired) since 1988. Judo is also one of the sports at the Special Olympics.

Collegiate competition in the United States, especially between UC Berkeley and San Jose State, contributed towards refining judo into the sport seen at the Olympic Games and World Championships. In the 1940s Henry Stone and Yosh Uchida, the head coaches at Cal and SJSU, developed a weight class system for use in the frequent competitions between the schools. In 1953, Stone and Uchida successfully petitioned the Amateur Athletic Union to accept judo as a sport, with their weight class system as an official component. In 1961, Uchida represented the United States at the IJF meetings in Paris, where the IJF adopted weight classes for all future championships. The IJF was created largely based on the earlier European Judo Union, where weight classes had also been used for many years.

Weight divisions

There are currently seven weight divisions, subject to change by governing bodies, and may be modified based on the age of the competitors:

In Japan, the use of belt colours is related to the age of the student. Some clubs will only have black and white, others will include a brown belt for advanced "kyū" grades and at the elementary school level it is common to see a green belt for intermediate levels.

For "dan" ranks, the first five are coloured black, 6th, 7th, and 8th "dan" have alternating red and white panels, and for 9th and 10th "dan" the belts are solid red. However, holders of grades above "godan" (5th "dan") will often wear a plain black belt in regular training.

Some countries also use colored tips on belts, to indicate junior age groups. Historically, women's belts had a white stripe along the centre.Fact|date=April 2008

Examination requirements vary depending on country, age group and of course the grade being attempted. The examination itself may include competition and kata. The "kyū" ranks are normally awarded by local instructors ("sensei"), but "dan" ranks are usually awarded only after an exam supervised by independent judges from a national judo association. For a rank to be recognized, it must be registered with the national judo organization or the Kodokan.

Australia and Europe

For Australia and most of Europe, the belt colours in ascending order are white, red, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and finally black. Some European countries additionally use a red belt to signify a complete beginner, whereas other European countries such as the UK use a red belt as the belt one grade above a beginner to show that the person is a full member of a club.


Brazilian belt rankings are normally white, blue, yellow, orange, green, purple, brown and black. Additionally, a grey belt may be given to very young judoka (under 11 or 13 years old) just before the blue. Competitors are organised into two categories depending on grading; the first is from white to green, and the second is purple through black.


In Canada belt rankings for Seniors are, in ascending order: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and finally black. Belt rankings for Juniors use white, white-yellow, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-green, green, green-blue, blue, blue-brown, and brown.

United States

In the US only senior players (adults, usually those age 16 and over) are allowed to earn "dan" levels, signified by wearing a black belt. The USJF and USJA recognise "dan" grades awarded by the other organization. Advanced "kyū" levels can be earned by both seniors and juniors (children under the age of about 16) and are signified by wearing belts of various colours other than black. The order of belt colours can vary from dojo to dojo, depending on the dojo's organizational affiliation.


For senior players, both the United States Judo Federation (USJF)cite web
title = United States Judo Federation Rank Requirements
url = http://www.usjf.com/public/rank_requirement.pdf
] and The United States Judo Association (USJA)cite web
title = United States Judo Association Rank Requirements
url = http://www.usja-judo.org/Docs2004/National%20Judo%20Rank%20System.pdf
] specify four belt colours for the six "kyū", as listed in the table. The USJA also specifies wearing a patch specifying the practitioner's level. This is true for both "kyū" and "dan" levels.


The USJF Juniors ranking system specifies ranks to 11th "kyū" ("jūichikyū"). The USJA Juniors ranking system specifies twelve levels of "kyū" rank, beginning with "Junior 1st Degree" (equivalent to "jūnikyū", or 12th "kyū") and ending with "Junior 12th Degree" (equivalent to "ikkyū"). As with the senior practitioners, the USJA specifies that juniors wear a patch specifying their rank.

ee also

*Hard and soft (martial arts)
*Judo at the Summer Olympics
*Judo techniques, full list of judo techniques
*The Canon Of Judo, a book by Kyuzo Mifune (1960)
*The Principle of Ju
*World Judo Championships



*Anderson, Victor [http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=146 "The Four Pillars Of Judo"] . Fighting Arts website.
* [http://judoforum.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=2809 "Bibliography of over 1500 Judo books".]
* [http://www.bstkd.com/JudoHistory/HistoryOne.htm History of the Kodokan] - University of Montana Judo website.
*Kano, Jigoro (1994) [http://www.amazon.com/dp/4770017995 "Kodokan Judo"] is the standard reference on judo. ISBN 4-7700-1799-5.
*Ohlenkamp, Neil (2006) [http://judounleashed.com "Judo Unleashed"] another basic reference on judo. ISBN 0-0714-7534-6.

External links

Governing bodies
* [http://www.kodokan.org/ Kodokan Judo Institute] - Headquarters of judo (Kano Jigoro's school)
* [http://www.ijf.org/ IJF International Judo Federation.] The worldwide governing body for judo
* [http://www.commonwealth-judo.org/ CJA Commonwealth Judo Association.] The governing body for Commonwealth judo

* [http://www.judoinfo.com/ Judo Information Site] - Judo Techniques, History, Principles, Videos, etc.
* [http://www.usja-judo.org/users/judo.stamps/ Judo stamps] - a comprehensive list of judo (and other martial arts) featured on stamps
* [http://www.ippon.org/ Ippon.org] - Tournament Results
* [http://www.judoinfo.com/contacts/browse2.php?Country=&sort=Country Worldwide Judo Clubs, Dojos, & Contacts Database]
* [http://judoforum.com/ Judo forum] - forum for dicussion of judo events, techniques, as well as sport and martial applications

* [http://www.judo-snijders.nl/engels/video-technique-judo.html categorized judo techniques on video]
* [http://www.kusu.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~judo/library/pv300.asf Demonstration of judo techniques from Kyoto University] - primarily throwing techniques
* [http://www.judoinfo.com/video/okcdt.wmv Demonstration of judo techniques from Oklahoma City] - primarily throwing techniques and transitions into newaza (matwork)
* [http://www.judovision.org/ Judo clips from Judo Vision] - over 1,250 clips available
* [http://judoinfo.com/video.htm Judo clips from the Judo Information Site]
* [http://www.judo-educazione.it/video/koshiki_en.html Koshiki no kata - Kano Jigoro and Yamashita Yoshiaki]

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