The history of judo

The origins of judo

Judo is a Japanese martial art that was created by Jigoro Kano in the late 19th century. The word “judo” means “the way of flexibility” in Japanese. This reflects the idea that this martial art can help individuals develop their physical and mental flexibility.

L’histoire du judo est indissociable d’autres arts martiaux traditionnels japonais tels que le jujitsu. Le jujitsu est un ensemble de techniques de combats enseignées aux samouraïs à partir de l’époque d’Edo ( 1600-1868 ). Cette discipline avait pour but de les entrainer à se défendre à mains nues, lorsqu’ils se retrouvaient désarmés.

Jigoro Kano studied several styles of jujitsu before creating judo. He realized that the techniques of jujitsu had become inadequate for modern times. Some of them were dangerous to learn and most of the masters were not pedagogical or taught in an archaic way.

Thus, inspired by Western gymnastics, Kanō decided to remove the dangerous movements from ju-jitsu and to codify the remaining techniques in the form of kata in order to facilitate their teaching. The goal was to create a new educational martial way, rid of its warlike vocation, which would no longer be ju-jitsu but would be called judo.

Jigoro Kano’s first classes were given in the Kodokan in Tokyo. This hall became mythical and inspired great champions throughout the world.

Democratization of judo in the world

Judo was first introduced to Europe in the early 20th century and quickly became popular throughout the world. Japanese masters went to the West to share their knowledge. Jigoro Kano always had the wish to see his martial art in big international competitions.

In 1964, judo became an Olympic sport during the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Thanks to this event, judo develops more quickly and everywhere in the world. If it is initially reserved for the men in international competitions, in 1980 the first world champion of judo is crowned in New York, Jane Bridge today 8th dan.

Finally, judo has become an essential sport of the Olympic Games, practiced in almost all countries of the world. This martial art has become for some a way of life beyond a simple physical activity.

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