Judo was originally developed by Dr Jigaro Kano in 1882 in Japan. After studying at different schools of the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu, Dr Kano could see an opening for a sport/physical training method based on elements from Jiu-Jitsu. He effectively took the best elements from each of the Jiu-Jitsu schools, removed the less effective and dangerous techniques, and added some of his own techniques to create Judo.
The word Judo is formed from 2 Kanji characters “Ju” meaning pliancy and “Do” meaning way. Often it is translated as the gentle way, but Dr Kano maxim of maxim for “minimum effort for maximum efficiency” means that the more informed students of judo describe it as the way of least resistance.
In 1882 the Kodokan was formed in Tokyo. Tke Kodokan was the first school of Judo. Students from the Kodokan took part in the Japanese annual Police martial arts competition in 1882 and won most of the categories. As a result Judo was taken up by the Japanese Police force for un-armed combat and physical training. As the success within the Japanese Police force grew so did public opinion in Japan, leading to Judo being introduced to the Japanese National schools’ curriculum.
Dr Kano was responsible for many innovations. Judo was the first Martial Art to use a “Gi” or suit for the purpose of training and competition. Judo was the first Martial Art to have a belt system to designate grades of its participants. Dr Kano represented Japan on the Olympic committee and ensured that Judo be the first Martial Art or Wrestling Art to become an Olympic sport.
Over time Judo has spread through-out the World and continues to spread through-out the world. Today Judo is fast paced Olympic Sport with a strong history in tradition, respect and all round physical education. It is enjoyed at all levels from those trying to increase fitness, flexibility, body-shape and personal confidence to those competing at international competitions.