What Is Judo?
Judo or Jūdō (柔道 jūdō?, meaning “gentle way”) is a modern Japanese martial art (gendai budō) and combat sport, that originated in Japan in the late nineteenth century. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw one’s opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one’s opponent with a grappling manoeuvre, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking the elbow or by executing a choke. Strikes and thrusts (by hands and feet)—as well as weapons defences—are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori).
Judo emphasizes a free-style sparring, called randori, as one of its main forms of training. Part of the combat time is spent sparring standing up, called tachi-waza, and the other part on the ground, called ne-waza. Sparring, even subject to safety rules, is much more practically effective than only practising techniques on their own, which is what jujutsuka were used to doing. Using full strength develops the muscles and cardio-vascular system on the physical side of things, and it develops strategy and reaction time on the mental side of things, and helps the practitioner learn to use techniques against a resisting opponent. A common saying among judoka is “The best training for judo is judo.”
In judo, there are two main phases of combat: the standing phase, tachi-waza; and the ground phase, ne-waza; with each phase requiring its own (mostly separate) techniques, strategies, randori, conditioning and so on. Special training is also devoted to “transitional” techniques to bridge the gap. Jūdōka may become quite skilled in one phase and be rather weak in the other, depending on where their interests most lie, although most are balanced between the two. Judo’s inclusion of both the standing and ground phases of combat gives judoka the ability to take down opponents who are standing up and then pin and submit them on the ground.
At Ojukan we practice all of the traditional techniques of Kodokan Judo, including throws, wrestling, and submission. Practice varies from day to day, but typically our practice sessions include warm-ups and stretching, balance and movement drills, uchi komi (form practice of techniques with a cooperative partner), nage waza (dynamic moving and throwing), focused lessons in standing or ground work, randori (free sparring), kata (pre-arranged formal collections of techniques) as well as shiai (competition) practice and self-defense.