HISTORY OF JUDO

In May 1882 Jigoro Kano was inspired by traditional forms of combat to create a method of physical, intellectual and moral education, which he named judo.

Initially considered as a personal defense system, judo is step by step recognized for its educational value, its benefits for the development of the body and the character.


Judo became an Olympic sport in the Tokyo Games in 1964, and thus became universal. The International Judo Federation today brings together 195 national federations and 5 continental unions.

The art of the ‘weak against the strong’ is not reserved for men. While remaining elegant and feminine, women practiced the Japanese art early on. In London, the "jujutsuffragettes" used the Japanese art as a weapon in the service of their political struggle to gain the right to vote.

Small, bullied by his classmates, Jigoro Kano wanted to strengthen his body and learn to defend himself. He studied jujutsu but soon realized that the fight focused on a powerful body and not spiritual and educational means.

Kano removed the dangerous jujutsu techniques, he improved the art of falling, imposed that both fighters grab each other and created his own method by synthesizing the oldest forms of defense. In 1882, he opened a place that he called the Kodokan, the "place where the way is studied".

Judo techniques were divided into three categories: the throws or nage waza, the controls or katame waza and the kicks or atemi waza. In competition, atemi waza are not allowed.

Official sporting events start to take place in the early 20th century. It is in Germany on August 11th, 1932, that the European Judo Union was created. The first European Championships were held in Dresden in 1934. The Kano method was chosen as a demonstration sport for the Tokyo Olympics in 1940, which never took place because of the Second World War. It is not until the 1964 Games that judo officially entered the Olympic program.

Source: International Judo Federation www.ijf.org

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