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Judo classes have a huge following with many judo competitions and meetings to attend every year, with the ultimate meet of the top players flexing their judo muscles every 4 years at the olympic games. Judo is a great skill to have under your belt and is attended by people of all ages, shapes and builds, why, because its gives the player fitness and an outlet to learn something that enhances life in general. And always remember that meditation has traditionally been the cornerstone to any good martial art.
Judo (path of gentleness) was founded by Dr Jigoro Kano around 1882, judo is really a form of jujitsu that Dr Kano reformulated into a new style judo (gentle way) style. The difference between judo when it was create, and jujitsu of the time is some subtle changes in technique and the strictness of rules that have to be followed for safety reasons by the judoka.
Judo is based on 2 defining principles, maximum efficiency with minimum effort (seiryoku zenyo) and mutual welfare and benefit (juta kyoei).
Dr Kano had studied many different styles of jujitsu (including kito and tenjin shinyo), combining the best attributes of each jujitsu style that came before, to create the new style of Kodokan judo, with his first club the Kodokan opening in 1882.
Judo first appeared in europe in 1885 when Dr Kano started to introduce it to to the continent, and by 1902 one of Kano's students was teaching in the USA. It was in 1918 when the Budokwai martial arts club was opened in London by Gunji Koizumi, with one of the clubs first instructor jujitsu master Yukio Tani (who had originally been brought to England to be an instructor at the Barton-Wright Bartitsu style club). Master Tani taught jujitsu at the Budokwai dojo with Koizumi, but jujitsu at this venue changed to the gentler jujitsu style of judo after being persuaded to teach the new jujitsu - judo style by the judo style founder, Dr Kano shortly after the Budokwai dojo opening in central London.
The Budokwai is known to be the oldest, established judo club that is still open in europe.
1929 saw the first international judo competition between the German national judo team and the Budokwai, with which the Budokwai winning the event.
Over the next decades after 1929 judo evolved all over the world with the introduction of weight classes and world championships with small judo factions breaking away from the influence of the Kodokan, until the Tokyo Olympic games of 1964, when judo, for the first time was included as a competitive game in the Olympic tournament and has been a strong conerstone of the Olympic games and the spirit of the games since its first inclusion.
The first thing a judo student learns to do when attending a class is how to fall or ukemi (falling). Judo is usually practice in a training hall (dojo) with thick absorbent mats to practice throws on, with the arms striking the mat to act a shock absorbers on falling, head always lifted and the body completely relaxed.
As judo student progress they must learn and understand the following kata's before moving up a grade. Following is the kata progression as used by the Kodokan (grading kata's and technical programme may differ in each club).
1. Nage no kata (throwing)
2. Katame no kata (grappling and holding)
3. Kime no kata (decision making)
4. Go no sen no kata (goshin-jujitsu - self defense)
5. Ju no kata (gentle forms)
6. Koshiki no kata (antique forms)
7. Kodokan goshin jutsu (Kodokan forms of self defense)
8. Seiyoku zenyo kokumin taiiku no kata (national physical education forms)
9. Fujoshi yo goshin no kata (self defense for women)
10. Ippan yo goshin no kata (self defense for men)
The student moves up the judo ladder through regular grading (testing skills), and constant training to develop technical knowledge and abilities. Beginning with a white belt kyu (grade) students eventually progressing up to black belt, or Dan (degree). then on up through the dan grades until 10th dan this is when the judoka has reach the panicle in technical, physical and spiritual judo level.
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