Judo is known for its spectacular throwing techniques but also includes numerous techniques for controlling an opponent while on the ground. Judo is often compared to freestyle wrestling and while the two share many techniques, Judo retains many dangerous self-defense maneuvers. A good judoka, one who practices Judo, will first use timing and leverage to bring his opponent off balance and execute a throw. Once the judoka has thrown his opponent to the ground, he will use painful hold-down techniques, chokes, strangleholds, and armlocks to control and subdue the opponent. If the opponent does not surrender, he will either have his elbow joint dislocated by means of an armlock or will be rendered unconscious with a chokehold. A judoka first learns "ukemi", the art of falling properly to avoid injury. All Judo practitioners wear a judogi and a belt. Judo is practiced on mats for safety.
The main principles of Judo are "Maximum Efficiency" and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit." The goal of maximum efficiency teaches the judoka to use the least amount of physical strength necessary to throw an opponent. This is accomplished by proper use of technique and timing. The goal of mutual welfare and benefit was an extension of Dr. Kano's belief that Judo could help the individual become a better member of society. Dr. Kano felt that the personal discipline that Judo taught would extend beyond the dojo into daily life and could allow the judoka to become a more productive member of society.
Judo as a Sport
In 1964, Judo became the first martial art to be sanctioned as a medal sport in the Olympic Games. Judo competitions are also held throughout the world. Points are awarded for throwing an opponent, holding an opponent on his back while on the mat for a designated amount of time, or forcing an opponent to submit via "tapping out" to an armlock or choke or rendering the opponent unconscious with a choke. A match is won with a "perfect throw" called an Ippon, two near perfect throws called Wazari, holding an opponent on his back on the mat for 25 seconds, a combination of one Wazari and holding an opponent down for 20 seconds, or submitting an opponent with a choke or armlock. Members of the Notre Dame Judo Club are registered as amateur athletes in the State of Indiana through the state judo governing body, Indiana Judo Inc. Members are offered frequent opportunities to compete. However, competition is not necessary for membership in the club.
Other Aspects About Judo
People practice Judo for many different reasons such as exercise, self-defense, a social activity and for many practitioners Judo becomes a way of life. But if you ask most judoka why they train Judo, they will say that the practice Judo because it is fun. Judo is a great exercise routine. It promotes flexibility, develops speed and co-ordination, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and promotes balanced muscular development. Many Judo techniques can also be employed as a means of self-defense. The throws and chokeholds of Judo are particularly effective if one is forced to deal with an assailant. Judo ranks are awarded for developing proficiency in certain techniques and for regular practice. All judoka begin as white belts. Over time, they may earn a yellow belt, green belt, three degrees of brown belt, and finally a black belt.