The one who lays the foundations of modern judo, through work and sweat, is Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), who eliminates all the dangerous elements that ju-jitsu art has.

Judo translates as “the way of flexibility”, or as the spiritual master called it – “the fight of the little ones against the big ones”; its roots lie in an ancient martial art called ju-jitsu, the origin of which is lost in years of training and practice by most Japanese.

Judo features a wide range of technical processes, some for Nage-WAZA wrestling, others for non-Waza long-distance wrestling, which add dynamism while stimulating the combinatorial imagination and creative thinking of athletes.

The great diversity of the technique is due to the multiple positions from which a judoka can attack, defend or counterattack.

Therefore, different types of throwing, immobilization, strangulation, or dislocation can be performed, all of which can be performed with different segments of the body: arms, legs, hips, abdomen, chest, etc.

Founder Jigoro Kano

In the fishing village of Mikage near Kobe in Japan, Jigoro Kano was born on October 28, 1860. In 1871, Kano’s family moved to Tokyo.

As a child, Kano was frail, weak, short, and sickly. Against the doctor’s advice, Kano decided to do something to improve his health and at the same time learn to defend himself.

At age 18, he enrolled in the Tenjin Shinyo ryu Jujutsu School. Under the tutelage of Fukuda Hachinosuke, Kano began his journey towards physical well-being.

Tenjin Shinyo ryu was a gentle martial art that addressed more harmony than combat, although it also included kicking and kicking techniques.

After studying at Tenjin Shinyo ryu, Kano moved to the kito ryu school to study with Tsunetoshi Iikubo. This form of jujutsu was much gentler and more moderate.

Around this time, Kano began a systematic and comprehensive study of other forms of jujutsu, such as sekiguchi-ryu and seigo-ryu. Very quickly he realized that he desired a mental knowledge that was lacking in the teachings of his teachers.

He was trying to understand the superiority of control that his masters had acquired. He also studied the manuscripts of the founders of various schools, I Ching (Book of Changes), Lao-Tsze philosophy.

In 1880, Kano began to rethink the jujutsu techniques he had learned. I wanted to combine the best techniques learned from different schools into one system to create a physical education program that developed physical and mental qualities.

In addition, he believed that the techniques could be practiced in the form of sport if the most dangerous were excluded. Thus, in 1882, he extracted the best personal elements from the old jujutsu and eliminated the dangerous techniques of hands and feet.

Kano, at the age of 22, introduced the newly obtained sport and called it the Kodokan. The Kodokan is divided into ko (reading, study, methodical), do (path) and kan (hall or place).

Consequently, “a place to study the way” is obtained. Similarly, judo is divided into ju (lin) and do (way or way) to get the “smooth way”.

Kano created his school, called the Kodokan, in the Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Eishoji. Later the school developed and moved.

The first Kodokan had only 12 mattresses (12 recalls 18 feet, approx. 3.65 x 5.48 meters) and nine freshmen. Today Kodokan has more than 500 mattresses and more than 1 million visitors a year.

Kano’s devotion to judo did not interfere with his academic progress. He studied literature, politics, political economy, and graduated from the Imperial University of Tokyo in 1881.

In 1886, due to the rivalry between the jujutsu and judo schools, a contest was held to determine which art is superior. The Kano students easily won the contest, thus establishing superiority and their practical principles and techniques.

The Kodokan Judo categorization was completed in 1887. Kodokan had three goals: physical education, competitive efficiency, and mental training.

Its structure as a martial art was such that it could be practiced as a competitive sport. Strikes, kicks, certain dislocations, and other techniques too dangerous for competition were taught only to advanced students.

Since 1889, Kano has left Japan for Turkey Europe and the United States. He traveled abroad 8 times to propagate his techniques and several times to participate in the Olympic games and meetings of various committees.

Despite the difficult working conditions, several Jigoro Kano students gave their existence to the spread of kodokan in foreign countries.

In 1892, judo began to spread around the world, with Takashima Shidachi reading of the history and development of judo before Japanese society in London.

In 1895, Kano classified the judo fields in Go Kyo no Waza. In 1900, the Dani Kodokan Shippers Association was established.

On July 24, 1905, representatives of the main jujutsu (ryu) schools in Japan met at the Butokukai Institute in Kyoto to agree on the forms of Kodokan judo and to continue the development of sports techniques.

The ancient techniques of jujutsu, peculiar to each school, would remain preserved for posterity in kata (directed battle).

In 1909, Kodokan became the official Foundation of Japan. In the same year Jigoro Kano became the first Japan-born member of the International Olympic Committee.

In 1910, judo was recognized as a sport that could be safely determined, and in 1911 it was adopted as part of the Japanese educational system. In the same year, they appeared: the Kodokan coaching department, the black belt association and the Japanese sports association.

Starting with the fifth Olympiad, held in Stockholm, Kano began to participate in all the Olympic games and International Olympic Committee meetings and became a personality in sport everywhere.

Kodokan Judo was re-evaluated by its members in 1920. Go Kyo no Waza was revised and 8 courts from the previous ranking were excluded. In 1921, the Medical Research Society was founded on Judo.

The Kodokan mottos were: Seriyoku-zenyo (maximum efficiency) and Jita-kyoei (mutual benefits and well-being), thus accetuing the moral and spiritual side along with physical training.

The ultimate goal was to perfect the individual so that he could benefit society. The gradually developed spiritual phase was completed in 1922. In the same year, the Kodokan Cultural Society of Judo was established.

Throughout his life, Kano earned a doctorate in judo, the equivalent of 12 dani, acquired only by the founder of judo. He constantly worked to ensure the development of Japanese athletics and sports in general, and was consequently called the “father of Japanese sports.”

In 1935, he was awarded the Asahi Prize for his outstanding contribution to the organization of sport in Japan throughout his life.

Besides being an innovator and a good manager, Kano was also an expert fighter, who was supported by all the advanced judoka, who conceded defeat to Kano.

During his return trip from the International Olympic Committee meeting in Cairo, where he managed to nominate Tokyo for the 1940 Olympics, Kano died of pneumonia aboard the SS Hikawa Maru on May 4, 1938, at the age of 78. years.

The Second World War changed the development of judo. Instead of being used as a sport, it was taught as a combat technique. Those selected for command and special service forces often attained a high degree of judo experience.

When Japan hosted the 1964 Olympics, it was given the opportunity to be an Olympic sport for the first time. Of the 16 medals awarded, Japan won 3 gold and one silver. Judo was no longer a Japanese sport, but had become an international sport.

For 60 years the structure of Kodokan Judo has not changed. However, in 1982 Go Kyo no Waza was revised, reintroducing the 8 excluded techniques in 1920 and adding 17 new techniques. These 65 techniques obtained from the review are known as the “65 Kodokan techniques”.

Over the years there have been two major lines of judo development. One is the introduction of new weight categories. At first, the weight potentials weren’t important.

They were all fighting each other. Therefore, if two equally skilled athletes were head to head, usually the hardest of them win. At first there was great opposition to the introduction of new weight classes.

Some teachers feared that this would spell the end of judo as an art. Initially there were three weight categories, and later there were five. Inclusion as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Olympics helped that reform.

The second line was the learning of judo by the children. Initially it was considered too dangerous a sport to be taught by children because they did not have the discipline not to use it outside the gym. Today, many clubs are made up mainly of juniors.

There are various styles of judo. With its inclusion as an Olympic sport, there has been a competitive shift. Consequently, some clubs practice this sport exclusively to participate in competitions.

Other clubs emphasize qualities. They repeat movements very often until they become instinctive and develop their speed through practice. These clubs also teach kata. They should be considered as traditional judo clubs.


1. I will always be the master of my thoughts and cultivate only the good ones. In the judo room I will control my state of mind so as not to hinder the work of my colleagues and myself.

2. I will always keep my tongue so as not to utter derogatory or annoying words. I will always tell the truth. I want to listen twice before judging and then speak, that’s why I have two ears and one mouth.

3. I will only fight for the truth, the beauty and the good. I will never harm anyone with my actions.

4. I will joke and laugh with my colleagues, but I will never make fun of anything, I will not spoil the good times. I want to enjoy everything that is beautiful.

5. I will listen to the advice of the best prepared coaches and judoka and try to apply it. In serious situations, I will remain serious. If I have other personal opinions, I will show them to my face.

6. In training I will determine nothing but our sport: JUDO. I want to agree all my thoughts only on judo. I will only progress by continually striving to get the most out of it. I want to help others to know judo in its splendid beauty.

7. During competitions I will fight bravely and honestly. I will respect my opponent and will always strive for victories for my team and my country. As a winner I will not be vain, and as a loser I will work ten more times to prepare.

8. In pain I will not complain, showing self control. I will not disturb my colleagues with howling and mourning. I will forgive those who, with or without their will, who have caused me these pains.

9. I will fight fairly, I will not brag and I will not seek to excel. If I am forced to defend myself, or to defend others in case of danger, I will not start out as a savage, but will use my strength and knowledge only to do good and defend the truth.

10. “The wise give in,” says an old saying. I want both in life I asked and in training to give in to win. I will never flee from cowardice, and I will not avoid danger by showing my back.

All this happened when Jigoro Kano opened the first Judo School, the so-called Kodokan

The Judo court is called a carpet and it is a square area consisting of 2 meter thin mattresses with a length of 1 meter and they fit together to make the mat.

It must have a size between 14 meters and a total of 16 meters, divided into three zones:

Combat zone:

He stands in the center of the mat, measuring between measurements 8 and 10. Here they are fighting and earning points. There are only two signs in this area that indicate where each of them should start and end the fight;

Danger zone:

This zone is marked by the red color and is located around the combat zone, taking the scale 1. It is red to warn the judoka to leave the end zone and apply the maneuver or return to the combat zone .;

Security zone:

The safety zone only exists to give judo a bit of freedom if they leave the combat zone, measuring how the 3s are wide. Here it is no longer possible to evaluate.

Weight categories

Like most combat sports, it is also divided into weight categories so you only fight someone with a similar weight to yours, making it a more balanced and balanced fight.

The weight categories and their weight are:
  • Very small weight (up to 60 kg);
  • Light weight (up to 66 kg);
  • Light weight (up to 73 kg);
  • Average weight (up to 81 kg);
  • Average weight (up to 90 kg);
  • Average weight (up to 100 kg);
  • Large weight (more than 100 kg);

Judo Fight

In other combat sports it is normal to see kicks and kicks, but in Judo it is not like that. It is a sport that aims to project the opponent on the field and that does not fit his head or distribute him as much time as possible, both being scores.

The fight lasts 5 minutes for men and 4 minutes for women. If by the time the time ends, the fight has not yet been decided or tied for points, then move on to the Gold Score.

The Gold Score is an extra 3 minutes that judoka must fight. The first to score automatically wins.


Judo has very characteristic and unique scores that are:

Yuhkoh: (athlete falls aside).

wazari: (the athlete falls backwards on the mat, but with a small speed).

Ippon: (the athlete falls perfectly on the mat).

These scores are also awarded if the opponent can be immobilized, being marked in this way:

  • From 1 to 14.9 seconds, he does not earn a point;
  • 15 to 19.9 seconds, Score to Yuko;
  • 20 à 24.9 seconds, Score to waza-ari;
  • Then complete 25 seconds ippon;

From the moment one of the opponents scores an ippon, the fight is over and the person is automatically the winner.


The accumulation of penalties is translated into points for the opponent as follows:

  • 1st shido: only a warning is provided;
  • 2nd shido: the opponent scores Yuko;
  • 3rd shido: the opponent scores waza-ari;
  • 4th shido: the opponent scores an ippon;


As in any sport, there is always the one who controls compliance with the rules, the marking points, etc., and Judo is no exception, having several judges, each one has its own function.

Head Judge: this is responsible for monitoring compliance with the rules on the mat.

Side Judges: There are two Side Judges, each seated at the top of the fighting area, both facing each other. They have the auxiliary function of the central judge and if both say something and the central referee does not agree, the majority is that they win.

Judge: is the tax judge who is outside the area of ​​competence.


Judogio is a type of kimono, which is made of cotton or another identical and equally resistant material, it should not be too thick, so as not to damage the impression of the opponent.

The outfit is also made up of pants, which have lengths and gaps between the body and the clothes that need to conform, making it easier to practice this sport.

You also need to have a strip, which should be twice the size of your waist, which has multiple colors, each representing a level of craftsmanship. Judoka must use the color of the court that corresponds to his current level.

The colors and the number of graduations in Spain.

One of the greatest potential of this martial art is that it not only focuses on victory, but also on learning and training as a physical and mental person, giving another ideal for combat.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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