Judo originates from Japan and is translated as “the gentle way”, although anyone watching competition Judo would be correct in thinking otherwise!
The inventor of Judo was Jigarro Kano (see photo), who took various elements of Ju-Jitsu to develop the form of Judo which includes throws, holds, strangles, chokes and armlocks. Legend has it that there was a lot of dispute over which martial was better. When a competition was held between the two, Judo was the unanimous winner.
Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964 when it was hosted in Tokyo, Japan. At that time it was a men only event and there were only four weight categories. Although skill is emphasised in Judo, size can help sometimes! There are now a range of weight categories for male and female competitors. The Japanese traditionally dominated the medal tables but since the Gold medal win for the Dutchman Anton Geeskink in 1964, the Japanese have not found things so easy with different styles of competition Judo developed in different parts of the world challenging their traditional style.
Find out more at www.britishjudo.org.uk