Judo as a modern combat sport, is often described in some circles as more of a gentle martial art. That depends on your view as a competitor, as the first objective of the sport is to throw or take down your opponent to the ground. Then the aim is to immobilize or subdue the opponent with a pin either in joint lock or choke. During competitions or free practice, using your hands to strike or thrust at an opponent is not permitted, but it can be part of the sport if the form is pre-arranged. An example of this is kata. Judo was first created by Kanō Jigorō, an educator and athlete born in Japan in 1860. It was the first Japanese martial art to gain worldwide popularity and recognition. It was also the first to become an Olympic sport. Kanō Jigorō had a passion for sport and served as the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He also represented Japan at the Olympic Games, and later acted as the spokesman for Japan’s bid for the Games in 1940. In 1999 Kanō was inducted as the first member of Judo’s Hall of Fame.  

In judo contest is very important. As the sport has developed in popularity over the last century, the rules have also adapted to ensure it stands clear from all the other forms of martial arts that originated from Japan and are now independent combat sports. Today there are several weight divisions, and these may be modified depending on the age of the competitors. Fighting is specific to an area and the contest will be stopped should the opponents venture outside the parameters. Penalties often play a major role in determining the winner, including ensuring the spirit of the contest remains at the highest levels. Safety is paramount and penalties also prevent prohibited techniques from being used. Scoring is categorized by an ippon, a waza-ari, and now also a yuko. The points are awarded based on the control when an opponent is thrown to the ground, or when a submission is enforced.  

The International Judo Federation (IJF) is the official and highest recognised authority for the sport. Their headquarters are based in Budapest, Hungary. The federation was founded in 1951 originally from national federations from Europe and Argentina. Today there are over 200 national federations representing every continent, with over 20 million athletes practicing the sport. Judo was first contested at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. Women’s judo was added to the 1992 Games. IJF oversee international competitions like the World Championship held every year. In addition to overseeing regional competitions, there is also a Grand Prix series occurring every year in many locations around the world.  

International Judo Federation

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