Judo is a modern form of martial art which originated in Japan in the year 1882. This combat technique and Olympic sport was first created by martial artist Jigoro Kano. The most prominent feature of Judo is the competitive element, where one has to defeat the opponent by taking him down to the ground, immobilize the opponent with grappling maneuver or oblige him into submission by executing strangle hold and choke or by joint locking. Thrusts and strikes by feet or hands as well as various weapons are used in Judo. However, these can only be used in pre-arranged varieties and are not accepted in free practice or in Judo competitions.

The philosophy developed for Judo as well as its subsequent teaching methods inspired various other modern martial arts techniques that originated from the traditional schools or koryu in Japan. The worldwide popularity of Judo has resulted in the development of numerous offshoots including the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo. Judo practitioners are commonly known as judoka.

History of Judo

It is not possible to discuss its early history without mentioning its founder, the Japanese martial arts master and educator named Jigoro Kano. Kano's birth name was Shinnosuke Kano. He came from a fairly affluent family. Jirosaku was Kano's father. He was the 2nd son of the head-priest of Shinto Hiyoshi shrine located in Shiga Prefecture.

Judo versus Jujutsu

The main principles of jita kyoei (mutual benefit and welfare) and seiryoku zen'yo (minimum effort and maximum efficiency) were fundamental to Jigoro Kano's idea of Judo. He demonstrated the practical application of the principles of zen'yo with the principle of ju yoku go o seisu (gentleness controls the hardness).

Judo Image Kano discovered the possibility of wider philosophical application of the seiryoku zen'yo concept, which was initially considered to be a Jujutsu concept. He coupled the Confucianist-influenced concept jita kyoei with the concept of seiryoku zen'yo to develop Judo. Kano rejected the techniques not matching these principles due to their stress on the significance of efficiency in executing the techniques. He believed that practicing Jujutsu while following these ideals was helpful for self- improvement as well as social welfare.

According to Kano, "Jujutsu" was not sufficient for describing his art; because, even though the word "Jutsu" stands for "means" or "art", it involves a method comprising of various physical techniques. So, he changed the 2nd character of the name to "do", meaning road, path or way. It implies a higher philosophical context compared to Jutsu, having the same origin with Tao, the Chinese concept. Hence, Kano renamed the technique with Judo.

Judo Techniques

The basic techniques or waza in Judo are divided into three basic categories: nage-waza or throwing techniques, atemi-waza or striking techniques and katame-waza or grappling techniques. Judo is mainly known for the katame-waza and nage-waza.


This technique is further divided into the following categories:

Te-Waza or Hand Throwing Techniques:
  • Ippon seoinage
  • Kata guruma
  • Kibisu gaeshi
  • Morote gari
  • Obi otoshi
Koshi-Waza or Hip Throwing Techniques:
  • Daki age
  • Hane goshi
  • Harai goshi
  • Koshi guruma
  • goshi
Ashi-Waza or Foot Throwing Techniques:
  • Ashi guruma
  • Deashi harai
  • Hane goshi gaeshi
  • Harai goshi gaeshi
  • Harai tsurikomi ashi


These techniques are taught within kata and are occasionally used in informal randori. However, they are not permitted in Judo competitions.

Ashi-Ate-Waza or Leg Striking Techniques:
  • Mae-ate
  • Mae-geri
  • Naname-geri
Ude-Ate-Waza or Arm Striking Techniques:
  • Empi-uchi
  • Kami-ate
  • Kirioroshi


This category is subdivided into the following divisions:
  • Osaekomi-waza or holding techniques
  • Shime-waza or strangulation techniques
  • Kansetsu-waza or joint techniques