The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, ju, which means “gentle”, and do, which means “the way”. Judo, therefore, literally means the way of gentleness. Although the gentleness may not be immediately apparent to newcomers who see bodies flying through the air and people pinned to the ground, it is this principle of gentleness, or yawara (which is the same character as the ju in judo), on which all judo techniques are based.
Judo:(柔道 jūdō, meaning “gentle way”)
Judo is practiced in over 250 countries in the world making it the largest of all martial arts.
Judo originated in Japan as a derivative of the various martial arts developed and used by the samurai and feudal warrior class over hundreds of years. Although many of the techniques of judo originated from arts that were designed to hurt, maim, or kill opponents in actual field battle, the techniques of judo were modified so that judo students can practice and apply these techniques safely and without hurting opponents:
- Judo does not involve kicking, punching, or striking techniques of any kind.
- Judo does not involve the application of pressure against the joints to throw an opponent.
- Judo involves no equipment or weapons of any sort.
Instead, judo simply involves two individuals who, by gripping the judo uniform or judogi, use the forces of balance, power, and movement to attempt to subdue each other. Thus, it is simple and basic. In its simplicity, however, lies its complexity, and mastery of even the most basic of judo techniques that often take considerable time, effort, and energy, involving rigorous physical and mental training.