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About Judo


The word Judo consists of two Japanese characters, “Ju”, which means "gentle", and “Do”, which means "the way". Judo, therefore, literally means “the way of gentleness”. People who practice Judo are called Judoka.


Gentleness – Seriously?

The gentleness of Judo may not be immediately apparent to newcomers who see bodies flying through the air and people pinned to the ground. Judo is, however, inherently the safest of all Martial Arts and one of the safest sports in the world. This is because of Judo’s focus on safety and mutual respect and welfare between players.


Judo’s origins from the Martial Arts

Judo has its origins in the Japanese Martial Art of Ju Jitsu. The art of Ju Jitsu was the name given to the collection of techniques that made up the art of unarmed combat which was made famous by the Samurai warriors of Japan. These techniques had been developed and perfected through their effective use in the many conflicts and wars of feudal Japan over a period of hundreds of years. Whilst Ju Jitsu techniques were undeniably effective on the battle field, many of the techniques in Ju Jitsu were seen to be far too dangerous to be used in the modern world as a form of self-defence. In the 1880s the creator of Judo, Dr Jigoro Kano (a Ju Jitsu Master and educationalist), removed all of the more dangerous techniques of Ju Jitsu. The techniques removed comprised techniques that relied solely on strength or power and all techniques that could not be performed in a safe and controlled manner. Dr Kano also removed all techniques that were likely to cause harm to an opponent (even when performed correctly), or where the sole intention of the technique was to harm an opponent.


No Punching or Kicking

Since the sole goal of all striking techniques is by definition to cause injury (and harm) to an opponent these types of techniques were seen to be inherently dangerous no matter what level of skill, control or restraint they were applied with. Striking techniques were therefore removed from Judo (except in Kata form). Techniques such as legs locks and wrist locks were also over time seen to have too great a risk of injury to an opponent or attacker and so they were therefore also removed. The result was a system of practical self-defence moves that we now know as Judo.

Athenry Judo Club