Sunday, January 13, 2013

Judo: "The Gentle Way"

Judo is a modern martial art that originated in Japan that demands not only physical prowess, but also a great deal of mental discipline. It is also known for its competitive play style and techniques. 

So a brief history on Judo is that it developed from Jujitsu, which is an older art that spanned a thousand years in Japanese history. Jujitsu or “the gentle practice” makes use of leverage, speed, and technique in order to evade enemy attacks. 

Jigoro Kano

In Medieval Japan Jujitsu was strictly a combat technique practiced by warriors and so, contests were rare since they were decided either by the death or crippling of one of the competitors. And when the Japanese Society began to change, many of the traditional martial arts, including Jujitsu, began to die out. In the early 1880s, Professor Jigoro Kano, who is an expert in many types of Jujitsu, modified most of the its dangerous techniques and thus created a new discipline in which he called “Judo” or “the gentle way”.

Judo is referred to as “the gentle way” since the end result is “maximum efficiency with minimum effort”. As a sport, it promotes sportsmanship. As an art, it teaches its contestants self-respect, self-confidence, and self-expression. And as a science, it involves the mastery of the natural laws of physics. (Flachmann & Sakamoto, n.d.)

Here are some techniques. You can see more from the source.

Harai Goshi (Sweeping Hip Throw)

Ippon Seoinage (One Arm Shoulder Throw)

Osoto Guruma (Large Outer Wheel) [aka: my favorite]

The only time I got to try Judo was last summer vacation when I took it as a PE subject.  I did not really plan to take it but since it was the PE subject given to me by crs I decided to go along with it anyway. And I am really glad I did.

It was a really fun experience that betrayed all that I expected before the class started. At first I was kind of neutral in taking the class but when my professor threw one of her students (an upperclassman from the woman's varsity team) as a demo, I was honestly scared. I can still feel that shiver in my spine when I saw the swooping motion the student was thrown in and the thunder like noise it made on the mattress. At that time I began to question my sanity in deciding to take this class. And then since the class was odd numbered, my prof herself became my "buddy" or sparring partner... (I cursed my luck back then). So I never won once during Randori (a free-style practice). So imagine my joy when I finally won one against one of my classmates when we are practicing with each other for the inter-class competition (I guess my prof took pity on me).

I actually want to post the cartoon sticker certificate I received from our inter-class tournament in PE. But, unfortunately, I cannot find it from the mess known as my room. I was the 1st runner up for the my weight division. I guess I made a handful of mistakes in the final round. I was too aggressive and went in too deep and eventually lost my balance. And I guess I was also relying too much on leg wheel and foot sweep techniques [I really can't help it since these techniques are my best ones and I am more comfortable when I use them].

Judo thought me more than just self-defense. I cannot count the times I have been thrown on my back, and the painful and humiliating feeling that goes along with it. But there is only one way out of it. It is to stand up stronger than ever. To never give up and to keep trying.

“The aim of Judo is to utilize physical and mental strength most effectively. Its training is to understand the true meaning of life through the mental and physical training of attack and defense. You must develop as a citizen to society”
-Professir Jigoro Kano, Founder of Kodokan Judo

Flachmann, M. & Sakamoto, K. (n.d). History of Judo. Retrieved December 29, 2012 from

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