There are two important principles of judo. First is to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy, or as it is most literally translated, maximum efficiency with minimum effort. The second is to give way, or the "ju" part of the word judo, which means for example, if your opponent pushes you, and you give way, you put your opponent off balance and can defeat him or her.
Judo's founder was, Kanō Jigorō, a Japanese educator and athelete. Kano founded the Kodokan judo school in Tokyo in 1882, when he was only 22 years old. Kano created judo to practice lethal techniques in a very safe manner, as injuries in judo are rare since safety is emphasized, there are no striking techniques (unlike Karate, Taekwondo, and MMA), and training involves falling practice and balance. Because of its safety, judo can be practiced by both men and women, children and adults, of all ages 5 and over.
"By taking together all the good points I had learned of the various schools and adding thereto my own inventions and discoveries, I devised a new system for physical culture and moral training as well as for winning contests." - Kanō Jigorō
Judo training is practiced both as a competitive sport, or "sport judo" and as kata. Kata are organized sets of judo techniques presented as exercises with the goal of perfecting the judo technique. In kata, in deliberate moves, your opponent, called the Uki, totally submits, giving you the opportunity to learn the ideal way of executing the technique. On the other hand, in sport judo, you train to go "one on one" with your opponent, each using both throwing techniques and grappling (or wrestling) techniques trying for an Ippon, or a full point in a judo match, basically to throw your opponent on his back, with full speed and control.
Throwing techniques include the throw you see in many westerns where when someone is charging into the good guy, he puts his foot on their hip, falls back, and tosses them over his head (Tomoe Nage shown on the right). Judo students can often name the throw used in many movie fight scenes. Grappling techniques that can even be taught to beginners, can enable them, without significant effort, and for a long period of time, to hold down a person much larger than themselves. Holding a larger person down with little effort is an example of the maximum efficiency principle above.
Training in judo improves both the body and the mind, increases flexibility, builds strength, and develops confidence.
The United School of Judo emphasizes both sport judo and kata in our program. Read more about Judo.