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Jigoro Kano

"Consider fully, act decisively"





Frequently Asked Questions

As found at Judo Info


This Judo FAQ is intended to help a beginning Judo student understand some of the important concepts, terms, rank system, and history of Judo. It is not as useful for the Judo expert or an individual who has not yet begun Judo training, but it is the kind of basic information that lower rank students may be required to know for promotion.

What is the English translation or the meaning of the word Judo?

Gentle Way

What is the purpose in learning Judo?

The development of character, mind, and body so that one can contribute something of value to the world.

What are the other main principles in learning Judo?

The principle of cooperation (jita kyoei), working for mutual welfare and benefit. The principle of maximum efficiency (seiryoku zenyo), using the least amount of effort to achieve the greatest results.

Where did Judo come from?

Modern Judo is a martial art based on the traditional Jujutsu fighting and self-defense techniques of Japan.

What is the difference between Judo and jujutsu?

Judo is the modern scientific application of selected jujutsu techniques that may be practiced for self-development, physical education and sport. Jujutsu retains more dangerous self defense techniques, while Judo can generally be practiced with full force and complete safety.

When and where did Judo begin?

Judo was first officially taught at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan in 1882.

Who created Judo?

The father of Judo is Professor Jigoro Kano (1860-1938). He studied jujutsu at an early age and founded the Kodokan to teach the art of Judo.

What must every beginner learn about Judo?

How to fall (ukemi) and the rules of safety and courtesy.

What are some of the working principles of Judo?

The use of balance and off-balancing. The use of leverage to achieve greater power. Taking advantage of the opponent’s strength. Taking advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses. The value of yielding and giving way. The proper application of timing, momentum and force.

What is kuzushi?

Kuzushi is breaking the balance of an opponent.

What are some of the ways kuzushi can be achieved?

Hands: pushing and pulling.
Feet: for example, blocking the opponent from stepping forward.
Body: bending, pivoting, twisting or bumping the opponent to unbalance.
Voice: distracting, or mentally unbalancing, the opponent.

What is kiai?

A sudden concentration of physical and mental power, combined with a loud shout used to defeat the opponent. Often also applied effectively to distract the opponent.

By what means is kiai achieved?

1. A sudden concentration of the abdominal muscles.
2. A forceful exhalation of breath.
3. A sharp loud yell or shout.

What are the main types of Judo techniques?

Nage waza (throwing techniques), Katame waza (grappling techniques), Atemi waza (striking techniques)

What are the types of Judo throws?

Te waza: hand and arm techniques
Koshi waza: hip techniques
Ashi waza: foot and leg techniques
Ma sutemi waza: rear sacrifice techniques
Yoko sutemi waza: side sacrifice techniques

What is a combination throw (renraku waza)?

A series of attempted throws in which the last one is successful.

What is a counter throw (kaeshi waza)?

A throw that is executed in answer to a throw attempted by the opponent, taking advantage of the opponent’s movements or the loss of balance involved in his throw.

What are the types of grappling techniques (katame waza)?

Osae waza: matholds and pins
Shime waza: choking and strangling techniques
Kansetsu waza: arm bars and joint locking techniques

What is tori and uke?

Tori is the person executing a technique such as a throw, while uke is the person receiving the technique.

What are the main methods of Judo training or practice?

Kata: formal exercise.
Uchi komi: repetitive throwing practice.
Randori: free practice.
Shiai: contest

What is kata?

A formal demonstration of prearranged techniques of Judo. There are forms for throwing techniques (nage no kata), grappling techniques (katame no kata), self defense techniques and other aspects of Judo.

What president introduced Judo into the United States and at what date?

Theodore Roosevelt, about 1902.

When did Judo become an Olympic sport?

Judo, the only martial art that is a full Olympic medal sport, was an official competition for men in 1964 and has been in every Olympics since. Olympic Judo competition for women was added in 1992.

What are the referee and contestants called in a tournament?

The referee is called shimban. The contestants are aka (red) and shiro (white).

What are the Judo ranks?

Achievement in Judo is recognized by awarding different color belts. The six student ranks are called kyu. The ten black belt, or expert, ranks are called dan. Juniors under 17 years old earn different color belts than seniors. In the US most dojos use the following system:


        English                 Japanese        Senior belt     Junior belt

        6th grade               rokyu           white           white
        5th grade               gokyu           white           yellow
        4th grade               yonkyu          white           orange
        3rd grade               sankyu          brown           green
        2nd grade               nikyu           brown           blue
        1st grade               ikkyu           brown           purple

        1st degree              shodan          black
        2nd degree              nidan           black
        3rd degree              sandan          black
        4th degree              yodan           black
        5th degree              godan           black
        6th degree              rokudan         black or red/white
        7th degree              shichidan       black or red/white
        8th degree              hachidan        black or red/white
        9th degree              kudan           black or red
        10th degree             judan           black or red





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