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was founded in Japan by Jigaro Kano in 1882. Kano studied Japanese Tenjin
Shinyo-ryu and Kito-ryu styles of JuJutsu. JuJutsu is one of
many combat arts practiced and honed by the Samurai during feudal Japan
for fitness, strengthening
of the mind and body, and war. Traditional JuJutsu, founded in 1532 as
aspects of combat,
which included punching, kicking, breaking of joints, choking,
throwing, fighting on the ground, as well as the use and defense of
weaponry. The principal of the art was "defeating strength through
During this period of training and refining his skill, Kano realizing the techniques were so dangerous that if practiced at full speed, injury or death was imminent. Kano then altered the various curriculum from the schools, removed a lot of the dangerous techniques, to an art with a new principal "maximum efficient use of physical and mental energy".
This principal can be applied to just about any aspect of one's life. Kano removed the "Jutsu" from JuJutsu, meaning "art", and replaced it with "do", meaning "way". Then creating a new name for his art, called Judo, meaning "gentle way".
Judo embodies many aspects of grappling that can transcend it's core principals to just about any Martial Art. This includes the art of throwing an opponent to the ground by manipulating their balance and points of leverage. Once an opponent is thrown, Judo moves in to ground fighting, known as "newaza", and this includes pinning an opponent for 30 seconds or more, perform a joint breaking technique on a vulnerable point of the body, and/or choking an opponent unconscious by attacking the blood supply to the brain. Each of these pieces can be applied to take away the mind of the opponent and their willingness to fight or be combative. All Martial Arts are based on balance and leverage of some kind in order to be effective. Take this away and you severely hinder the abilities of your opponent.
In 1964 Judo was officially introduced to the Olympic games as a sanctioned event. At this time no other Martial Art was allowed as an event in the Olympics. Today Judo, practiced in approximately 195 countries, and Tae-Kwon-Do are the only Martial Arts sanctioned as an Olympic event.
Some interesting Judo facts from USA Judo.org. Judo is the most widely practiced Martial Art in the world. It is the second most practiced sport in the world, behind Soccer. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, Judo is the safest contact sport for children under 13.