A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING JUDO
HISTORY OF JUDO
Judo is an art and a sport, a means of defense, and equally, a means of offense. Like Jujitsu, its forerunner, judo is a method of turning an opponent's strength against himself, thus defeating him in the most efficient manner. Jujitsu was practiced seriously for many years in olden days as a means of killing or seriously injuring one's opponent, but with the advent of modern warfare the need for hand-to-hand combat diminished, until the sport almost died out.
In 1882 Mr. Jigoro Kano, a student of Jujitsu, founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo. There he formulated a new system of bare-hand fighting which he named "judo". Judo means "gentle way", and utilizes the very best of the jujitsu techniques, eliminating the harmful ones, and modifying others so that they can be practiced safely.
In a narrow sense Judo can be defined as the study of the maximum use of the body and mind for the purposes of attack and defense. In a wider sense the principles of judo can be applied to all affairs of life. The ultimate objective of judo is the perfection of one's self by the systematic training of the mind and body through exercise so that each works in harmony with the other.
Judo is intended for the harmonious development of the body by bringing all groups of muscles into play, and in that it uses the mental abilities to supplement and advance one's skill in the sport.
The judo player's mind and body must work as one, always alert to the demands of the moment, his body able to move flexibly and with agility. Such automatic command of one's movement prepares the player to meet and avoid any threat. Although the proper use of the body is important, one's mental attitude is equally important for self-control and for grasping the opportunity.
Some students believe that judo is only a matter of learning a few tricks that can then be applied for self-defense. You may be enthusiastic at the beginning, but when you find you cannot make as much progress in a short time as they had expected they drop out. But as in all other activities, there are grades of skill in judo. Slow and steady progress will take the student where he wants to go. Practice in judo goes on continuously for many years, and it is possible to keep on learning, no matter how long one studies.
It is essential in daily practice to apply the proper techniques at the proper time. It is also important to train our minds as well. Even those who can perform well in practice often lose in a contest because they cannot control themselves under the demand of circumstances. Fear, anxiety, and irritation at an opponent may act to keep one from seeing an opening or to waste one's strength at random. If an opponent seems dull, one is likely to underestimate him, thus leaving oneself off guard and liable to an unexpected defeat. This is due to an undisciplined mind. Therefore, a student of judo must train his mind as well as his body in order to be in full command of all his faculties at the necessary moments.