Judo is a dynamic combat sport that demands both physical prowess and great mental discipline.
Judo is a traditional Japanese wrestling sport. The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, ju, which means "gentle", and do, which means "the way". Judo, therefore, literally means "the way of gentleness". Although the gentleness may not be immediately apparent as bodies fly through the air and competitors are pinned to the ground.
Judo is based on giving in rather than fighting back. It is this principle of gentleness, or yawara (which is the same character as the "ju" in judo), on which all judo techniques are based.
Judo does not involve kicking, punching, or striking techniques of any kind, or the application of pressure against the joints to throw an opponent. Nor does judo involve any equipment or weapons. Instead, judo simply involves two individuals who, by gripping the judo uniform or 'judogi', use the forces of balance, power, and movement to attempt to subdue each other.
To the untrained eye, judo may appear simple and basic. In its simplicity, however, lies its complexity, and mastery of even the most basic of judo techniques often takes considerable time, effort, and energy, involving rigorous physical and mental training.
During a judo contest the two athletes (judoka), one in white and, one in blue (judogi),compete for five minutes. The contest is regulated by a main referee and two judges of equal status. Calls are decided by majority vote and the main referee calls all points and penalties.
To win the contest, a judoka must score an Ippon (a degree equalling 10 points), using a successful technique, in which case the match is over. Lesser scores such as Waza-ari (7 points), Yuko (5 points) and Koka (3 points), can be awarded when a technique does not warrant an Ippon.
An Ippon is given to the athlete:
- who manages to throw his opponent on his back with a technique combining speed, force and control.
- who applies an osaekomi technique and manages to hold his/her opponent to the ground for 25sec.
- who applies a strangling or joint technique, forcing his/her opponent to give up by tapping twice or more with his/her hand or foot, or saying "maitta" (I give up).